The Cardinals have announced that left-hander Genesis Cabrera has been activated from the injured list. To make room for him on the active roster, right-hander James Naile has been optioned to Triple-A. Since Cabrera was on the COVID IL, he wasn’t occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. To make room for him there, righty Angel Rondon has been designated for assignment.
Rondon, 24, was an international signing of the Cardinals out of the Dominican Republic in 2016. He largely worked as a starter in the lower levels of the minors but has gradually transitioned into more of a relief role in the upper levels and in the majors. He has just seven MLB innings on his ledger so far, five of which came in a single appearance this year. After Steven Matz started the game against the Pirates on May 22, he departed after just four pitches. Rondon entered and threw five scoreless frames, but was optioned out for a fresh arm the next day.
Through 49 Triple-A innings on the year, he has a 4.04 ERA with a 24.2% strikeout rate but a concerning walk rate of 15.3%. Five of his 18 appearances have been starts, meaning he hasn’t fully crossed the threshold that separates the rotation from the bullpen. He still has youth on his side and is in his second option year, meaning he can be stashed in the minors for the rest of this season as well as another campaign. Given the mounting injuries around the league, it’s entirely plausible that some team is intrigued enough to take a shot on him. Baseball America has considered him to be one of the top 30 prospects in the Cardinals’ system in each of the past three years, highlighting his slider as the best offering in his four-pitch mix. The Cardinals will have a week to trade him, pass him through waivers or release him.