The Cardinals announced this morning that the club had selected the contract of infielder Taylor Motter. Infielder Jose Fermin was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Motter on the active roster while the club granted right-hander Jake Walsh his unconditional release, a move that opened a 40-man roster spot for Motter.
A 17th-round selection by the Rays in the 2011 draft, the 33 year old Motter has played for seven MLB clubs since making his debut with Tampa back in 2016. Motter has never hit well at the big league level, with a career .191/.263/.309 slash line in 468 career plate appearances. That being said, the veteran journeyman does offer a great deal of versatility. Across his six seasons in the big leagues, Motter has appeared at every position on the diamond except for center field and catcher. He’s even taken the mound previously in his career, with 1 1/3 innings of work to his name as a pitcher.
With Motter seemingly poised to take over as the club’s big league utility option in the infield, Fermin is headed back to Triple-A. The 24-year-old rookie made his big league debut with the Cardinals earlier this month, though it hasn’t gone well to this point. In five games with the big league club, Fermin has slashed just .091/.167/.091 while chipping in at both second and third base. Fermin, who came to St. Louis in a cash deal with the Guardians last November, has an uninspiring career slash line of .216/.337/.338 at the Triple-A level, though he’s still a potentially valuable utility option given his solid glove all around the infield.
Making room for Motter on the 40-man roster is Walsh, a 16th-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2017 draft. Walsh, 28, made his MLB debut for the Cardinals last year, allowing four runs on three hits and two walks while striking out five in 2 2/3 innings of work. That difficult start to his big league career seems to have carried over into his performance at the Triple-A level, where he’s posted a 5.28 ERA in 30 2/3 innings of work this season.
In addition to Walsh’s struggles at the big league level, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat indicates that health may have been a factor in the club’s decision to release Walsh, as the right-hander had just been placed on the minor league injured list with a nerve issue in his arm. Now on the open market, Walsh figures to look for a new club with whom he can rehab his current injury and attempt to work his way back to the majors.