The Cardinals have made several roster moves, per their transactions tracker at MLB.com. Infielder Taylor Motter has been selected to the club’s 40-man roster, while infielder/outfielder Juan Yepez and lefties Génesis Cabrera and JoJo Romero were optioned to the minors. The Cardinals already opened up a spot on their 40-man roster last week when right-hander Freddy Pacheco was lost on waivers to the Tigers, meaning a corresponding move won’t be necessary for the addition of Motter.
Motter, 33, is a veteran journeyman utility guy, who has appeared in 161 major league games scattered over five different seasons. He’s spent time with the Rays, Mariners, Twins, Rockies, Red Sox and Reds. In that time, he’s hit .191/.262/.309 for a wRC+ of 55. With Cincy last year, he got into just two major league games, spending most of his time in Triple-A. He was released in July and then latched on with Atlanta via a minor league deal. Between the two organizations, he got into 81 Triple-A games and hit .254/.357/.523, wRC+ of 129.
Though he doesn’t have much of a track record of success hitting MLB pitching, Motter certainly can provide defensive versatility, having played every position on the diamond except for center field and catcher. That seemed to give him an edge on a roster spot when shortstop Paul DeJong suffered some back tightness that is going to have him start the season on the injured list. That left the club a bit light in the middle infield behind shortstop Tommy Edman and second baseman Brendan Donovan. Nolan Gorman can play second but doesn’t really play short, so Motter will give the club a bit of extra protection.
The optioning of Yepez comes as a bit of a surprise, as he hit 12 home runs in his 76-game debut last year, leading to a .253/.296/.447 batting line and a 109 wRC+. However, unlike Motter, he’s somewhat limited defensively, as he can only play the corner positions. Since the Cards have Nolan Arenado at third and Paul Goldschmidt at first, Yepez would be limited to the designated hitter spot and some corner outfield work, where his defense was graded poorly last year. The outfield is also getting pretty crowded, with Tyler O’Neill, Lars Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson set to return and prospect Jordan Walker looking like he will make the team, though nothing had been made official there. It seems Yepez would have had a limited path to playing time in the big leagues and will instead get some regular at-bats in the minors.
The optioning of Cabrera is also somewhat surprising, given his track record. In 2021, he made 71 appearances in 2021 with a 3.73 ERA, striking out 26.0% of batters faced. His 12.2% walk rate was certainly on the high side, but it was a strong campaign nonetheless. In 2022, he dropped his walk rate to 10.3% but his strikeouts also vanished, dropping to 16.5% and leading to a 4.63 ERA. Despite that rough year last year, he was having a nice performance here in Spring Training, throwing seven innings with seven punchouts, no walks and a 2.57 ERA. But that evidently wasn’t enough to get him a nod for the Opening Day roster.
Romero, 26, came over from the Phillies in the Edmundo Sosa trade. He has a 6.25 ERA in 36 MLB innings thus far in his career. His option doesn’t come as a shock, but with him and Cabrera out of the picture, it seems possible that Zack Thompson and Packy Naughton might be the club’s lefty relief options to open the season.
As mentioned, today’s moves won’t require a corresponding move to open up a 40-man roster spot for Motter. However, if Walker is indeed going to make the team like many expect, he will need a spot in the coming days.
Free the Walker!
So, Jordan Walker…???
Gotta think the initial plan for DH was Gorman/Yepez platoon. With Yepez down…yeah could be Walker time.
I think Gorman will DH with Walker in the OF and Donovan at 2nd.
Yeah. Walker came up as a 3B, too. He can probably play the corners to give Nado and Goldy a break.
He offers a lot more than Yepez right now.
I think this means the left handed bat Burleson is the fifth outfielder. I like the decision.
Burleson backs up 1st Gorman 3rd. That’s how ST went during WBC.
I guess Spring Training does Motter this year.
High five. He Motters
Motter has put on a hell of a show this spring, he deserves it.
Larry Brown's crank
Motter is a joke. he should be playing slow pitch softball. cards fans will be glad when he’s released….
The more comments I read from you, the more convinced I am that it’s time fornyou to the clean the black mold from your coffee pot. It’s eating your brain.
Congratulations to Red Sox legend Taylor Motter
Motter over Yepez are they actively trying to lose?
They want a bench middle infielder with DeJong out.
Donovan can play short on the rare off day for Edman
Yeah I don’t know. They could get by with playing Gorman at 2nd more often. I think it makes sense to have another bench infielder though.
Yepez hasn’t had a good spring and he needs to be an .800 OPS guy, minimum, to justify having a DH-only guy on the roster with all the options they have.
Exactly. Motter is filler deep chart 3rd at SS and garbage time elsewhere. Time killer journeyman until DeJong is ready to give it another go.
Really good for Donovon and Gorman to insure at bats early season and stake a claim against giving lame duck DeJong at bats. Looks like Maysn Winn will be adding middle infield competition before opening day 2024.
I think Winn will be back sometime in 2023.
The Cardinals need better starting pitching. It will take a package. Few teams need multiple outfielders. A middle infielder will be in that package.
The odds are a pitching prospect will also be in the package.
Motter has outplayed Yepez thus far during spring training. He deserves the opportunity.
But Yepez is the king of St. Louis
They also want Yepez to continue to get regular at bats. With Walker making the team, Yepez didn’t have a clear role. Motter is a 33 yr old career minor leaguer. They don’t mind keeping him on the bench.
It won’t hurt to sit Motter, and play him occasionally. It would not be productive to do that with Yepez. Let the outfield work itself out. The roster will settle in around that.
Yepez can hit. It is one thing for him to lose playing time to a red-hot HOFer last year but to lose his roster spot to Taylor Motter is just unbelievable.
Yepez didn’t lose a spot to Motter. Motter is replacing DeJong (we can have a whole other conversation about DeJong having the 26th spot…). Yepez is losing his spot to someone else. Maybe Walker.
Sending Genesis on an Exodus.
Y’all remember when Motter attended an open tryout with DET and barely stood out even there?
Motter is outperforming many this spring. That’s all that matters. Looks like an older version of Donovan. Again, it’s only a month of preseason, but he definitely earned his way onto a very deep team. He can be very proud of that.
Anyone else notice walker hasn’t been the same since that head first slide? Maybe coincidence, but he may not be 100%. I’m sure cards are watching closely.
And Masyn Winn looks like a future (near) starter.
If the left field options for the braves don’t do anything worth a crap I wouldn’t mind throwing the cards one of our pitchers pushed down the depth chart to take a flier on yepez. Could be a good one for one swap. Anybody else see that as a good possibility at some point?
Sid Bream Speed Demon
That would be bringing Yepez back to Atlanta. We got fleeced in that deal just like the JD Drew trade.
What a cool name, Jo Jo Romero
Get Back Jo Jo, Your ma ma is waiting for ya. Get back Loretta.
The Cardinals may want Yepez to play everyday at Memphis with the goal of learning to be an effective hitter with the pitch clock. He was called out on strikes during a recent game because he was poking around and didn’t get into the batter’s box in time.
Motter is a joke and a waste of a roster spot. I expect more from the Cardinals, but they are screwing the pooch here. Kramer Robertson should be up and Motter should be hitting the pavement.
Yepez was never going to be a factor in the 3B mix with or without Arenado on the team.
Sure, send all of them Latinos packing outta here !! Bring on the Made in America talent! Just sayin’…