The Cardinals announced they’ve agreed to minor league contracts with infielder Anderson Tejeda and right-hander James Naile. Both players will receive invitations to big league Spring Training. Additionally, St. Louis passed righty Ljay Newsome through outright waivers.
Tejeda has briefly appeared in the majors in each of the past two seasons, tallying 94 combined plate appearances with the Rangers. He’s hit just .220/.245/.385 in that time, and he’s coming off a tough season. The switch-hitting infielder posted just a .194/.266/.368 line over 318 plate appearances across three levels of the minors in 2021, leading Texas to outright him off their 40-man roster after the season. Tejeda had enough minor league service time to elect free agency.
It hasn’t been a great showing for Tejeda recently, but he’s still just 23 years old. Baseball America placed him among the top ten farmhands in the Texas system on three separate occasions, including entering this past season. He twice appeared on top 100 overall prospects lists at Baseball Prospectus. There’s little harm for St. Louis in taking a flier on a still young player to see if a change of scenery can yet unlock some of the power and middle infield defense that made him a highly-regarded prospect.
The Cards just claimed Newsome off waivers from the Mariners last month. He doesn’t have the requisite service time to elect free agency, so he’ll stick in the St. Louis organization as non-roster depth. The 25-year-old has twelve big league appearances (five starts) under his belt, with 30 1/3 innings of 6.53 ERA ball to show for it.
Newsome doesn’t throw especially hard or miss many bats, but he’s posted extremely low walk rates throughout his minor league career and can work as either a starter or multi-inning reliever. He underwent Tommy John surgery at some point this past summer, so it remains to be seen when he’ll be healthy enough to try to work his way back onto the 40-man roster.