The Cardinals announced Wednesday that they’ve designated right-hander Dominic Leone for assignment. St. Louis also selected the contracts of righty Jake Woodford, infielder Elehuris Montero and right-hander Alvaro Seijas.
Leone’s two seasons with the Cardinals didn’t pan out as the organization hoped when acquiring him from Toronto; in 64 2/3 innings as a Cardinal, he pitched to an ugly 5.15 ERA. Leone did manage to punch out 10 hitters per nine innings pitched, but he struggled with walks (4.2 BB/9), home runs (1.7 HR/9) and, in 2019, stranding baserunners (68.2 percent).
The 28-year-old Leone had been eligible for arbitration and was projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz to be in line for a $1.6MM salary in 2020. Already a non-tender candidate, he was instead cut loose a couple weeks ahead of the early-December tender deadline. The Cardinals will have a week to trade him, release him or pass him through outright waivers. Anecdotally, both players the Cardinals acquired from the Blue Jays prior to the 2018 season in exchange for Randal Grichuk have been designated for assignment in the past hour, as the Royals just designated Conner Greene minutes ago. (Kansas City claimed him from St. Louis last November.)
Both Montero (No. 4) and Woodford (No. 13) rank inside the Cardinals’ top 30 prospects in the most recent rankings at MLB.com. Montero, 21, struggled through a miserable season in Double-A but is regarded as a strong-armed third baseman with plus raw power. Given the pitcher-friendly nature of Double-A in 2019 and Montero’s young age relative to the competition he faced in that setting, the Cards were undeterred by his struggles.
Woodford, meanwhile, posted passable numbers in a deadly Triple-A setting for pitchers, working to a 4.14 ERA with 7.8 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 36.2 percent grounder rate in 26 starts (151 2/3 innings). He’ll give the Cards some rotation depth for the upcoming season.
The 21-year-old Seijas hasn’t pitched above Class-A Advanced, although as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out (via Twitter), the team’s unexpected loss of righty Luis Perdomo a few seasons ago may have contributed to aggressively protecting Seijas despite the fact that he’s a ways from MLB readiness.