The Cardinals are selecting right-hander Roel Ramírez and recalling lefty Brandon Waddell to the big league roster, general manager John Mozeliak told reporters (including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat). Righties Jake Woodford and Seth Elledge have been optioned to Triple-A Memphis to clear active roster space. To open a 40-man roster spot for Ramírez, St. Louis is designating first baseman John Nogowski for assignment.
Ramírez went from the Rays to the Cards as part of the 2018 Tommy Pham trade. He made a cameo at the big league level last season, making his MLB debut against the White Sox. It didn’t go well, as Ramírez yielded six runs on as many hits (including a staggering four homers) while recording just two outs. He was designated for assignment before he got another major league opportunity.
The 26-year-old Ramírez has now pitched his way back to the bigs, where he’ll hope to find more success this time around. He’s tossed 27 innings across 18 appearances as a multi-inning reliever with Memphis this year, working to a 4.67 ERA with slightly better than average strikeout (25.2%), walk (7.5%) and groundball (49.3%) numbers.
Woodford has worked in a similar multi-inning relief capacity at the major league level this year. He’s being optioned to build up as a potential starting pitcher, Mozeliak said. In 2019, his last full minor league season as a starter, the 24-year-old tossed 151 2/3 frames of 4.15 ERA ball with Memphis. Woodford’s peripherals that year weren’t especially impressive, and he’s struggled over his MLB time coming out the bullpen. St. Louis has been hit hard by injuries and underperformance in the rotation, though. They’ve scoured the market for potential upgrades, but Woodford will stretch back out as a potential internal option.
Nogowski has picked up 24 plate appearances at the MLB level over the past two years. They’ve not gone well, and the 28-year-old has slumped to a .195/.304/.297 line over 148 trips to the dish in a hitter-friendly Triple-A West environment in 2021. It’s been a difficult season for Nogowski, but he’d previously been a very productive offensive player in the minors. Through parts of seven minor league seasons, Nogowski has compiled a .281/.370/.404 mark, including a .295/.413/.476 line with Memphis in 2019. The Cardinals will have a week to trade him or place him on waivers.
Mozeliak also revealed that St. Louis has released outfielder Matt Szczur from his minor league contract (via Zachary Silver of MLB.com). The 31-year-old hit just .186/.236/.382 in 112 plate appearances with Memphis.