Right-hander Chris Ellis and catcher Oscar Hernandez were among the 33 minor leaguers released by the Cardinals in the final week of May, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reports (Twitter thread). Right-hander Johnny Hellweg was also cut loose. Jones’ thread has additional names from each level of the Cardinals’ system, though none of the bunch has any MLB experience.
Each of Ellis, Hernandez and Hellweg has had a fleeting look at the Majors. Ellis was a Rule 5 pick of the Royals in 2018 and subsequently tossed one inning in Kansas City last year before being returned to the Cards. The 27-year-old has been moved in a pair of notable trades, going from the Angels to the Braves alongside Sean Newcomb in the Andrelton Simmons swap before being flipped from Atlanta to St. Louis a year later in the Jaime Garcia deal. (The Braves also sent John Gant and Luke Dykstra to the Cards in that deal.) Ellis had a nice year between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, but he was rocked for a 7.18 ERA in 79 Triple-A frames in 2019.
Hernandez himself was once a top pick in the Rule 5 Draft, going from the Rays to the D-backs in 2014. He appeared in 22 games with Arizona but hit just .167/.239/.262 in 47 plate appearances. Now 26 years old, Hernandez signed a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp this winter. Despite a solid defensive reputation, he’s managed just a .210/.279/.336 slash in parts of three Triple-A campaigns.
Hellweg, 31, was once a rather well-regarded prospect himself. Originally a 16th-round pick by the Angels (2008), he was in the midst of a solid 2012 campaign at the Double-A level when the Halos flipped him, Jean Segura and Ariel Pena to the Brewers to rent ace Zack Greinke. He was hit hard in 30 2/3 frames with the Brewers and hasn’t pitched in the Majors since the 2013 season. Since then, he’s spent time with the Padres and the Pirates in addition to stints in the independent Canadian-American Association and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. Like Hernandez, he’d inked a minor league deal with the Cards this winter.
Is the july 31 trade deadline still a thing?
seems highly unlikely
Is baseball still a thing?
Not looking too promising at this point
Kirtley surprises me a bit
Ynfante was once top 30 in their system.
vincent k. mcmahon
Is Luke related to Lenny?
Luke Kravitz? I don’t think so
the cuban solution
That’s his son.
But what I really want to know is, is he gonna go my way?
It’s his son
Roxie begat Lenny. Lenny begat Zoe.
Ellis… another top prospect that didn’t pan out. So far, that 2nd deal appears to have been mutually beneficial to both the cards and Braves.. although u could argue the Braves got robbed by the angels in the 1st trade :/
What a shame by the Cardinals. But most teams are releasing minor leaguers with the exception of the Detroit Tigers. It’s just sad they want to save some cash. Once again, what a shame.
I read the report that some of them would have been released in March had the season progressed normally. You’d like them to be able to keep everyone but at least they aren’t cutting off paying all minor leaguers like Oakland is and they are one of a few teams still paying their non-player employees.
Yea this is common. They typically cut more before now, but the draft is right around the corner. They need some space and maybe a little capital for the players they are about to bring in. I guess my question is, do they intend to bring in the same amount of players they normally do this draft class, even though the draft is much shorter, and the free agent signing afterwards is gonna be tougher to get players you truly want with the “equal” spending cap? I wouldn’t be shocked if teams only bring 10-15 players this draft. Thus prob not justifying the large cut
A lot of minor leaguers get released at the end of ST every year. They have to be to make room for the June draftees and other UFA signings. Maybe some of these guys could have saved their jobs, but most likely, their baseball careers were going to end.
Wow didn’t know Hellweg was still playing….also surprised they cut Kirtley
Didn’t know Hellweg had even signed. Not surprised about Ellis after he was a disappointing rule V pick. Was looking forward to Oscar Hernandez being the fourth catcher—this year’s Joe Hudson—though…