MARCH 30: St. Louis announced that Quezada has cleared outright waivers and been assigned to Double-A Springfield (h/t to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat). He doesn’t have the requisite service time to refuse an outright assignment, so he’ll remain in the organization.
MARCH 29: The Cardinals have designated right-hander Johan Quezada for assignment, tweets Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His roster spot will go to Albert Pujols, whose one-year deal to return home to St. Louis is now official.
Originally an international signee with the Twins back in 2012, Quezada didn’t surface in the Majors until 2020, after he’d signed with the Marlins as a minor league free agent and found himself selected to the MLB roster that summer. He tallied just three innings of work and yielded three runs — all coming on one swing of the bat from Rafael Devers. He’s since bounced to the Phillies and the Cardinals via waivers.
Although it’s been nine years since the now 27-year-old Quezada signed his first professional contract with the Twins, he’s been limited to just 207 innings between the minors and the big leagues. That’s partly due to his work in short relief stints but also due to various injuries and the absence of a 2020 minor league season. Quezada averaged better than 97 mph on his heater in his brief Major League look with Miami, but command issues have plagued him throughout his minor league career, where he’s walked more than 16% of his opponents.
Last season, Quezada split his time between the Cardinals’ Triple-A, Double-A and Rookie-level affiliates while spending considerable time on the minor league 60-day IL. He logged 24 innings when healthy but posted just a 6.38 ERA in that time. That said, Quezada fanned a quarter of his opponents, walked a much-improved 8.0% of them and posted huge ground-ball rates that generally align with his career mark of 56.7%. The Cardinals will have a week to trade Quezada, place him on outright waivers, or release him.