The Cardinals announced they’ve selected outfielder Moisés Gómez onto the 40-man roster, a move first reported by Daniel Guerrero of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). The decision prevents him from qualifying for minor league free agency in the coming days.
It’s the first stint on an MLB 40-man roster for Gómez. A Venezuela native, he first joined the professional ranks as an international signee of the Rays during the 2014-15 signing period. The right-handed hitter drew some prospect attention a few years later, with his power potential and decent corner outfield defense giving him a chance to be a part of the long-term Tampa Bay outfield. He appeared among Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in an always-deep Rays farm system every year from 2019-21, but he fell off the prospect radar with a dismal .171/.256/.309 showing in 76 Double-A games last year.
Tampa Bay declined to put Gómez on their 40-man roster after that season, and he qualified for minor league free agency as a player who’d spent seven years in the minors. The Cardinals gave him another shot, inking him to a non-roster deal and sending him to Double-A Springfield. Gómez had an incredible .321/.401/.705 showing, popping 23 home runs in 257 plate appearances in his second crack at the level. The Cards bumped him to Triple-A Memphis, where he added another 16 longballs with a .266/.340/.541 line in 244 trips to the dish. That didn’t get him onto the MLB roster during the season, but St. Louis will add him to the 40-man now to retain his long-term contractual rights.
It remains to be seen if Gómez will hold that roster spot all winter. He clearly has big power potential, with Guerrero noting his 39 cumulative homers led all minor league players this year. Questions about his hit tool lingered during his time in the Tampa Bay system, though, and those are still present in spite of his huge power showing. Gómez struck out in an immense 34.7% of his plate appearances this year, a rate not topped by any big league hitter with 500+ trips to the dish. Any further spike in whiffs against MLB arms would figure to leave Gómez on the roster bubble.
Whatever concerns the Cards front office may have about his swing-and-miss propensity, they clearly value Gómez enough not to let him walk at the start of the winter. His selection brings their 40-man roster tally to 37.