St. Louis Cardinals – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-05-22T02:26:59Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals To Utilize Alex Reyes In Rotation]]> 2018-05-21T23:46:17Z 2018-05-21T23:46:17Z The Cardinals had been waiting to decide — or, at least, to announce — how they’d use rehabbing righty Alex Reyes upon his return. But GM Mike Girsch said today that Reyes will join the team’s rotation when he’s ready, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter.

That decision, while hardly surprising, does set the stage for some further decisions. “We expect him to be in the rotation,” Girsch said of Reyes (as Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets), “which leads to a whole bunch of other questions, which we have to answer in the next week to two.”

The current rotation mix features Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, and John Gant. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see Gant bumped to the bullpen or back to Triple-A. Beyond that, there are some tough decisions to be made. Weaver carries only a 4.37 ERA, but that’s still a solid output and he has arguably been a bit better than the results. Flaherty is the more recent addition to the MLB rotation, but he has been excellent through four starts (2.31 ERA with 10.4 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9).

Of course, Reyes isn’t the only pitcher making his way back to the majors. Girsch provided some other updates, as’s Joe Trezza reports (links to Twitter). Carlos Martinez is only just beginning to throw, meaning he probably won’t be back until June — and likely not at the earlier portion of the month. Veteran Adam Wainwright, meanwhile, is still being looked over closely. Since he has already gone on the 60-day DL, he won’t be back for some time.

Several relievers are also among the moving parts. Lefty Tyler Lyons is expected to be back in short order, though righty Dominic Leone does not appear to be making much progress from the nerve issue that has kept him out. (There’s no update yet on Luke Gregerson, who only recently went on the DL with a shoulder issue.)

At the end of the day, a slight pitching pile-up is a good problem to have for the Cards, who are engaged in what looks likely to be a year-long battle in a tough NL Central. While there are other strong options, particularly once Martinez is back, the hard-throwing Reyes could be an ace in the hole. He certainly seems ready to pick up where he left off when he headed in for Tommy John surgery last spring. The 23-year-old, who posted a 1.57 ERA in his first 46 MLB innings, has allowed just six hits in 16 scoreless rehab outings thus far in 2018, while racking up 31 strikeouts against six walks in 16 innings.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Taking Advantage Of Roster Flexibility ]]> 2018-05-20T15:24:47Z 2018-05-20T15:15:52Z
  • The Cardinals have taken advantage of minor league options and the 10-day DL with their pitching staff this year, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. Specifically, the Cardinals have shuttled four pitchers with options – Mike Mayers, John Gant, John Brebbia and Jack Flaherty – between the majors and minors to quality results. The quartet has combined for a 3.28 ERA over 49 1/3 innings, and Mayers, Gant and Brebbia have formed “Voltron” in relief, Goold writes. Although the instability likely hasn’t been easy on those pitchers, both Mayers and Brebbia suggested to Goold that they understand the Cards’ plan. For his part, president John Mozeliak said that he’s not sure “if it’s going to become the new norm or not,” adding: ““It’s not intentional to do that. This is not us trying to manipulate any system. It’s just you look at the moves we have made and they’ve all been very logical. If you’re carrying 13 pitchers, it’s because you feel there’s some vulnerability there. I think a lot of this has been more circumstance. You play the hand your dealt.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Holland, Martinez]]> 2018-05-20T02:34:51Z 2018-05-20T02:34:06Z Greg Holland’s short tenure with the Cardinals took another disastrous turn Saturday when the once-dominant reliever got the loss against the Phillies, who scored twice on him in 2/3 of an inning. Holland, whom the Cards guaranteed $14MM after he went through spring training unemployed, has now pitched to a sky-high 7.30 ERA with astoundingly poor strikeout and walk rates (6.57 K/9, 10.22 BB/9) across 12 1/3 innings this season. Nevertheless, there’s no indication the the Cardinals will ask him to head to the minors to work through his issues, Joe Trezza of tweets. Even if the Redbirds were interested in demoting Holland, they’d need the 32-year-old’s consent to do so. It doesn’t appear they’d receive it, though, as Holland “flatly denounced the idea” of going down, Trezza writes.

    • In better news for the Cardinals, ace Carlos Martinez received “encouraging” results on the right shoulder MRI he underwent this week, according to president John Mozeliak (Twitter link via Rob Rains of STLSportsPage). Martinez is on track to begin a throwing program Monday and return to the Cards’ rotation within one or two weeks, Rains adds. The fireballer has been out since May 8, before which he notched a 1.62 ERA/3.38 FIP across 50 innings.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Paul DeJong On 10-Day DL With Fractured Hand]]> 2018-05-19T17:07:52Z 2018-05-19T17:06:28Z May 19th, 12:06pm: DeJong’s surgery was successful,’s Joe Trezza reports, though a timetable for his return has yet to be shared.

    May 18th, 4:24pm: Unfortunately, it does not seem that DeJong has suffered a run-of-the-mill fracture. The injury is to his pinky, per’s Joe Trezza (via Twitter). DeJong will undergo surgery this evening to insert a plate, per president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter), with the expectations being that there’ll be a “significant” layoff.

    3:05pm: The Cardinals have announced that shortstop Paul DeJong is heading to the 10-day DL after he was diagnosed with a fractured left hand suffered on a hit-by-pitch. Also headed to the DL is righty Matt Bowman, who’s dealing with blisters.

    To fill the two openings on the roster, the Cards have called up infielder Yairo Munoz and outfielder Tyler O’Neill. Both players are already on the 40-man roster.

    It’s not yet known whether DeJong is a candidate for surgery, let alone what kind of rehabilitation timeline will be required. But his absence will tell, even if it’s for a relatively short period of time.

    The major difficulty for the Cardinals is that, while they feature quite a few infield options, none really profile as regular options at short. Greg Garcia has the most experience at the position in the majors; Jedd Gyorko has lined up at short, but not very often and not for some time. It seems Munoz might also be viewed as an option, as he has spent much of his minor-league career at shortstop.

    Clearly, those players aren’t likely to account for the missing productivity of DeJong, who’s not only a quality fielder but carries a .260/.351/.473 slash through 171 plate appearances on the year. With much of the Cards offense still working to round into form, the loss of DeJong will leave the team without one of its best bats to this point of the season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Wainwright Headed For Further Testing After Inconclusive First Wave]]> 2018-05-18T02:39:43Z 2018-05-18T02:12:42Z The Cardinals’ sudden decision to transfer Adam Wainwright to the 60-day disabled list today means the Cardinals will be without him for a notable portion of the summer, but the exact cause of his elbow pain remains unclear, as Joe Trezza of writes. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said that there’s “nothing that really stood out as a smoking gun” after the first wave of tests, which included an MRI and a bone scan, but he’ll undergo a further series of evaluations tomorrow. “We don’t know what that is right now, other than he has discomfort,” said Mozeliak. While the club obviously has no defined timetable for Wainwright’s return, Mozeliak spoke with some cautious optimism: “He knows he might be part of that second-half push. …. I would guess he’ll pitch again.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Carson Kelly On 10-Day DL, Select Steve Baron]]> 2018-05-17T19:51:03Z 2018-05-17T19:28:05Z 2:28 pm: Veteran righty Adam Wainwright is moving to the 60-day DL to create roster space, the team announced.

    1:55pm: The Cardinals have placed catcher Carson Kelly on the 10-day DL with a hamstring injury, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on Twitter. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by fellow backstop Steve Baron, which will mandate a still-undetermined 40-man roster move.

    Kelly, 23, has long been seen as the heir apparent to Yadier Molina, who is himself on the shelf at the moment. But Kelly has struggled offensively in his limited MLB action over the past there years. This season, he has mustered only two singles in 19 plate appearances.

    Francisco Pena has appeared in a dozen games, making him the most-used catcher other than Molina, who’s expected to be out until at least early June. In the meantime, Baron will help hold down the fort. The 27-year-old, a former first-round pick, has appeared briefly in the majors once before. He signed a minors deal with the Cards and was off to an ugly .153/.167/.186 slash in sixty plate appearances at Triple-A.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Luke Gregerson On DL; Carlos Martinez Headed For MRI]]> 2018-05-16T16:59:11Z 2018-05-16T16:59:11Z The Cardinals have placed righty Luke Gregerson on the 10-day DL with a right shoulder impingement, the team announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by John Brebbia.

    Meanwhile, starter Carlos Martinez — who has been on the shelf since May 10th — is headed for an MRI to further assess the injury, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets. Martinez won’t return when he’s eligible to be activated, then, but we likely won’t learn more about his anticipated timeline until his imaging is read.

    It’s not clear just how concerning the shoulder condition is. That broad description has resulted in brief DL stints or much more significant problems, so it’s hard to make much of it without more information. Notably, though,’s Joe Trezza adds on Twitter that Gregerson has also dealt with some elbow soreness, adding to the universe of concerns.

    The 34-year-old Gregerson has had some stumbles to start his tenure in St. Louis. Since returning from a hamstring injury, he has thrown only 8 1/3 innings in a dozen appearances, allowing eight earned runs on eight hits (two for home runs) and three walks. He has recorded a typically useful tally of eight strikeouts and 14 groundballs, however, and despite a bit of velocity loss is still maintaining a strong 16.7% swinging-strike rate.

    All told, then, it still seems there’s reason for optimism regarding Gregerson’s ability to contribute this year — so long as he’s able to get back to full health. The Cards owe him $11MM over a two-year term, including a buyout on an option for 2020. While there’s still quite a lot of pitching talent at and near the MLB level for the St. Louis organization, the team is stretched a bit with Gregerson joining Martinez and Adam Wainwright on ice. Fortunately, high-octane youngster Alex Reyes is not only nearing a return from Tommy John surgery, but has opened eyes with his early rehab showing.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Wainwright, Reyes, Wong]]> 2018-05-14T02:33:33Z 2018-05-14T02:31:41Z Here’s the latest out of St. Louis…

    • Adam Wainwright’s return from the disabled list was a brief one, as the righty felt elbow pain while warming up during his start today and lasted just 2 1/3 innings (allowing two runs on three hits and six walks).  Today’s outing was Wainwright’s first after missing over three weeks due to elbow inflammation, and he is likely headed back to the DL in the wake of this latest issue.  He will miss at least his next start, and return to St. Louis for examination.  “I need to pause and get it right. This team deserves more than that and the fans deserve more than that and the organization does, too.  If I’m going to be a force down the stretch, I need to get healthy first,” Wainwright told’s Jay Paris and other media.  The veteran underwent arthroscopic surgery on that same right elbow last October after battling some elbow problems in 2017, and also missed all of the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery.  With Carlos Martinez also on the DL, the Cards rotation is down to Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, and Luke Weaver, with Jack Flaherty tapped to start on Tuesday.
    • Alex Reyes could also eventually factor into the St. Louis rotation plans, as the star prospect will pitch on Monday in what will be the second of four scheduled minor league rehab starts as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery.  President of baseball operations John Mozeliak told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team won’t be moving to a six-man rotation once Reyes is ready, though it remains to be seen exactly how Reyes will be deployed.  “Rather than lay it [the team’s plan] out there for public consumption, I would rather wait and do it based on where we are, where he is, and how to best optimize that,” Mozeliak said.  As Frederickson notes, the Cards are trying to manage Reyes’ workload on several fronts — they want to ease him back into action, while also keeping him fresh to pitch in a postseason race (and into October) and on track to move into a starting role in 2019.  Using him as a multi-inning reliever or piggybacking his outings with another starter would be complicated from an innings-management standpoint, and Mozeliak said that the team could even keep Reyes in the minors if that is what is best for him at this point in his development and recovery.
    • Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (subscription required) opined that Kolten Wong’s second base glove has become such a plus for the Cardinals that the team should consider giving him more regular playing time, even against left-handed pitching.  Since Saxon’s piece was written, Wong has started each of the Cards’ last two games against southpaw opposing starters, with Jedd Gyorko playing third base and the struggling Matt Carpenter getting a three-game break.  Wong has been one of baseball’s best defenders at any position this season, and his bat has started to show some signs of life after an ice-cold start to the season.  With Jose Martinez more or less locked in as the starting first baseman at this point, it leaves the Cards juggling Wong, Gyorko, and Carpenter between second and third base, with backup infielder Greg Garcia also in need of some playing time.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Brett Cecil, Place Tyler Lyons On DL]]> 2018-05-12T23:31:45Z 2018-05-12T23:31:14Z
  • The Cardinals have activated left-handed reliever Brett Cecil from the disabled list and placed fellow southpaw Tyler Lyons on the DL with a mild back strain, per Joe Trezza of Cecil only made one appearance this year, on Opening Day (March 29), before landing on the shelf with shoulder soreness. Cecil, who’s in the second season of the four-year, $30.5MM deal he signed with the Cards in November 2016, logged a 3.88 ERA with 8.82 K/9 against 2.14 BB/9 across 67 1/3 innings in 2017. Lyons was also an effective piece of the Redbirds’ bullpen last year, though he began this season with an ugly ERA (6.17) in 11 2/3 frames prior to his DL placement.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Undrafted Free Agents, Urshela, Aledmys]]> 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z 2018-05-12T19:29:00Z J.J. Cooper of Baseball America recently answered a question from a Twitter fan about undrafted free agents in MLB. It turns out that there were eight undrafted free agents on MLB rosters at the start of the year, and all eight of them were right-handed pitchers. Unlike football, where there are plenty of UDFA success stories, it’s exceedingly rare for a UDFA to produce significantly at the MLB level. Some outliers include Matt Shoemaker, Miguel Gonzalez, Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. Of the UDFA’s currently in the majors on opening day, Tigers reliever Joe Jimenez (23 years old) and Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge (28) are the only players below the age of 30. There are a few more fun facts in Cooper’s piece, making it well worth a full read.

    Other items of note as the Tigers and Mariners prepare for a remarkably cold double-header…

    • The Blue Jays announced earlier today that they’ve activated infielder Gio Urshela and optioned outfielder Dalton Pompey to Triple-A Buffalo. Urshela, 26, was recently acquired for cash (or a player to be named later) after the Indians designated him for assignment earlier this month; he’d been on the DL since the start of the season. While acclaimed as somewhat of a defensive wizard, Urshela carries an anemic bat and has posted a wRC+ of just 57 throughout the course of his major-league career.
    • In other Blue Jays news, shortstop Aledmys Diaz has begun throwing, says Ben Nicholson-Smith of He’s expected to begin hitting later this week. Diaz left last Sunday’s game after spraining his ankle, but it doesn’t appear as though the injury will keep him sidelined for much longer than the ten-day minimum at this point. Diaz was acquired from the Cardinals this offseason in exchange for outfielder J.B. Woodman; the shortstop has hit .216/.273/.431 so far with his new club.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mesa Brothers Leave Cuba To Pursue MLB Contracts]]> 2018-05-11T17:54:46Z 2018-05-11T17:48:56Z 12:48pm: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (via Twitter) that the Cardinals have interest in Victor Victor Mesa and have long been monitoring his performance. Of course, St. Louis is one of the eight teams listed below which can only invest $300K in either brother, so it seems quite likely that another club could push bidding past that level.

    11:39am: Outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. have left Cuba with the intent to pursue contracts with Major League clubs, reports Jesse Sanchez of (Twitter link). The elder Mesa brother is 21 years of age, while the younger is still just 16. Victor Victor seemingly confirmed as much this morning by tweeting a picture in which he is wearing a Team USA jacket  alongside his younger brother. They’re being represented by Magnus Sports, per Sanchez.

    Both brothers will be considered amateur players under the collective bargaining agreement and will therefore be subject to Major League Baseball’s international bonus pools, despite the fact that the older of the two does come with six seasons of pro ball in Cuba under his belt. As such, they’ll be limited to minor league contracts and signing bonuses that are relatively minimal when compared to the top prices paid for prior Cuban stars.

    The Mesa brothers are the sons of Victor Mesa, a 19-year veteran of the Cuban National Series who has in the past served as the manager of Cuba’s team in the World Baseball Classic. Scouting info on the pair is somewhat sparse, especially as pertains to the 16-year-old Mesa Jr.

    Prior to last year’s WBC, however, Sanchez called the elder Mesa brother one of the top prospects in all of Cuba, reporting that he was one of the main draws for MLB scouts to the international spectacle. Per Sanchez’s brief report, Victor Victor is a plus runner and defender in the outfield with a strong throwing arm. He enjoyed a terrific campaign in the 2016-17 season in the Cuban National Series, hitting .354/.399/.539 and swiping 40 bases in 70 games — lending credence to reports on his impressive speed. In all, he’s a career .275/.334/.378 hitter in his six professional seasons in Cuba. His aggregate numbers are weighed down, to an extent, by the fact that he made his professional debut at the age of 16 and, unsurprisingly, endured some struggles against the island’s top pitchers in his first couple of seasons.

    There’s obviously a fair ways to go before either will be able to sign with a big league organization. The Mesa brothers will first need to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball — a process that could take several months but has, at times, also taken as much as a year for some players. Even if they’re cleared in short order, it stands to reason that they’d likely wait to sign until at least July 2, when the 2018-19 international signing period kicks off, thus resetting the bonus pools for teams throughout the league.

    Eight teams — the Reds, A’s, Nationals, Braves, White Sox, Astros, Cardinals and Padres — will still be in the metaphorical “penalty box” for previously shattering their league-allotted pools by more than 15 percent and will subsequently be barred for signing any international amateur player for more than $300K. The other 22 clubs will be able to allocate as much of their pool space as they wish to either or both brothers — it’s not clear if the two are set on signing with the same organization — though the new CBA placed a hard cap on signings and no longer allows clubs to exceed their bonus pools in any capacity.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Carlos Martinez On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-05-10T20:15:33Z 2018-05-10T19:51:14Z The Cardinals have placed righty Carlos Martinez on the 10-day DL with a right lat strain, per a club announcement. He’ll be replaced on the active roster for the time being by reliever Mike Mayers.

    At this point, it’s not clear how long Martinez will be down. Clearly, though, the Cards can ill afford to go without a pitcher who has been a steadily excellent presence in the rotation. He’s off to a great start, leading National League starters with a 1.62 ERA on the season.

    As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out (Twitter links), with an off-day coming, the Cards can juggle their rotation to accommodate the addition of Jack Flaherty. Though the top prospect just made a start in Triple-A yesterday, the time off will allow the Cards to move the rest of their starters up a day and slide Flaherty into the back end of that mix. In that sense, Mayers’ promotion to the big leagues could be relatively short-lived.

    The injury to Martinez also puts increased importance on the recovery of both Adam Wainwright and Alex Reyes, the latter of whom, Goold notes, is preparing to return as a starter for the time being. While the Cards have said in the past that they don’t expect him to expose Reyes to the rigors of an every-fifth-day schedule in the rotation, stretching him out as a starter and then scaling back his workload in a transition to the ’pen would be easier than easing him back in via the bullpen and stretching him out in the Majors. Wainwright, meanwhile, could return this weekend.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    With Martinez out for an undetermined period of time, the Cards will rely on Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver and Michael Wacha in addition to Flaherty, once he is presumably called up next week. If Wainwright is indeed activated over the weekend, he’ll be added to that group and round out the rotation. If it’s deemed that the veteran needs additional time to rehab, then perhaps John Gant would receive a second spot start at some point next week.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Tommy Pham Injury Update]]> 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z
  • Tommy Pham left Saturday’s game due to what an MRI revealed to be slight irritation in his right hip abductor, the Cardinals outfielder told media (including’s Joe Trezza)  Pham missed a few games due to a similar injury earlier this season, and said that another brief absence could be necessary, though he was hopeful of playing on Monday.  The Cardinals didn’t start Pham in tonight’s game against the Cubs, though he is available to pinch-hit.  Pham is off to a wonderful start, hitting .327/.445/.541 over his first 119 PA and leading the league in on-base percentage.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yadier Molina Undergoes Surgery, Will Miss At Least Four Weeks]]> 2018-05-06T14:58:28Z 2018-05-06T14:55:55Z 9:55am: Molina will miss at least four weeks after suffering a “pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma,” the Cardinals announced (Twitter links via Joe Trezza of They’ve placed him on the DL and recalled Kelly. The club also recalled reliever Mike Mayers, who will take Dominic Leone’s place. Leone is headed to the DL with “right arm upper nerve irritation.”

    8:11am: Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina underwent surgery Saturday after being hit in the groin by a foul tip, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed to Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cardinals are now expected to go without Molina for at least a month.

    Molina suffered the injury during the Cardinals’ victory over the Cubs, which was St. Louis’ fourth straight win to open the month of May. The Cardinals, now 19-12, own a half-game lead over the Brewers in what has been a rather competitive NL Central to this point. As usual, their success has come thanks in part to the revered Molina, who has slashed .272/.292/.456 (103 wRC+) with six home runs in 120 plate appearances. Behind the plate, the 35-year-old Molina has ranked as one of the game’s top pitch framers in the early going, and has helped the Cardinals’ staff to the majors’ fourth-best ERA (3.36).

    While Molina has been eminently durable during what could be a Hall of Fame career, this injury may help lead to his lowest games played total since 2014, when he appeared in 110 contests. He has otherwise seen action in at least 136 games in each season since 2009. The Cardinals aren’t exactly accustomed to life without Molina, then, though they’ll have to make do with their reserve backstops for at least a few weeks.

    Without Molina, it seems likely St. Louis will go forward with the 28-year-old Francisco Pena and the well-regarded Carson Kelly, 23, the only other catchers on its 40-man roster. The Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate scratched Kelly from its game Saturday, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch tweeted then, indicating he’s on his way back to the majors after logging a combined 89 PAs at the game’s highest level from 2016-17.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Leone, Mikolas, Wainwright]]> 2018-05-05T17:50:54Z 2018-05-05T17:50:26Z The Cardinals will place setup man Dominic Leone on the 10-day disabled list with what the team is calling a nerve issue in his right biceps, per Joe Trezza of (Twitter links). The team didn’t have enough time following today’s diagnosis to call up a replacement for him, however, so a formal move won’t be made until tomorrow. The St. Louis ’pen already had nine relievers in tow, so the pitching staff won’t be especially short handed even if Leone is unavailable.

    As Stu Durando of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains, Leone was called upon for a relief appearance last night but felt something unnatural in his biceps while throwing his warmup pitches. After immediately calling for a trainer, he exited without throwing a pitch. “It was something I hadn’t felt before and I was concerned,” said Leone. “I didn’t want to put a bad product on the field. I didn’t want to mess with it and potentially hurt myself worse or be ineffective.” It’s not yet clear how long Leone will be out of action at this time, though the Cards figure to have further updates before the weekend is up.

    Here’s more out of St. Louis…

    • While many Cards fans were skeptical of the team’s two-year, $15.5MM deal with righty Miles Mikolas this offseason, but the 29-year-old has gone a long way toward proving his doubters wrong with a 2.70 ERA and a 31-to-2 K/BB ratio through his first 40 innings back in the Majors. Mikolas chatted with the Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold about the Cardinals’ offseason pursuit of him, revealing that the division-rival Cubs were also in pursuit of his services before they “cooled of” and eventually struck up a deal with Tyler Chatwood“I guess they didn’t want me that bad,” said Mikolas of the Cubs. “I guess they thought it would be more fun facing me than having me on their staff. They figured they’d take their chances.”
    • Adam Wainwright tells reporters that he’s lined up to make a rehab start with the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate on Monday (Twitter link via Trezza). The veteran has been out since April 22 with inflammation in his right elbow but could seemingly return to the club in the near future if all goes well in Springfield. The 36-year-old posted a 3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings to open the season but also turned in an ugly 12-to-8 K/BB ratio and hit a pair of batters in that time, demonstrating questionable control. That said, with both Wainwright and top prospect Alex Reyes nearing returns from the disabled list, the Cardinals are on the verge of adding some significant depth to the pitching staff.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL Notes: Harvey, Braves, Rendon, Hedges, Lamb, Reyes]]> 2018-05-05T03:54:01Z 2018-05-05T03:54:01Z After deciding to designate Matt Harvey for assignment, the Mets are now sorting out exactly how his tenure with the organization will come to an end. Initial trade discussions seem not to be generating much traction, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter), who says that the team is offering to “eat a significant amount” of the remainder of Harvey’s salary in hopes of securing something in return. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the response from rival officials has to this point been that they’d prefer simply to pursue Harvey if he passes through waivers. If that occurs, he’ll surely either be released or decline an outright assignment, at which point he’d be a free agent who could sign for a pro-rated version of the league minimum, leaving the Mets on the hook for the balance of the $5.6MM he’s owed.

    More from the National League:

    • New Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos has been discussing his team’s promising start with quite a few outlets of late as excitement has mounted. He largely credited the prior regime with “outstanding” work in accumulating and developing talent in a chat with Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Anthopoulos also says he’ll be “open-minded to do things” if the team is in position to push for the postseason at the trade deadline, though he notes there’s still quite a lot of baseball to be played before making any final assessments of where the 2018 roster may be headed. In comments to MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (via Twitter), Anthopoulos did note that payroll constraints and an ongoing focus on the future would continue to weigh significantly in the team’s decisionmaking.
    • Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon acknowledged after his rehab appearance today that he has a hairline fracture in his injured toe, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweets. That explains his somewhat extended absence after fouling a ball off of his foot. The important thing for the Nats, though, is that Rendon seems to be ready to be activated as the club attempts to extend a six-game winning streak.
    • The Padres have a plan in place for assessing the balky elbow of catcher Austin Hedges, as Dennis Lin of The Athletic reports on Twitter. He’ll be given a week or ten days of rest before it’s decided whether he needs to undergo an MRI. Hedges hit the DL recently with a bout of tendinitis. It seems the hope remains that the issue will resolve itself with some down time. Hedges has struggled at the plate in 2018, hitting at a .173/.235/.293 clip to open the season.
    • Diamondbacks third baseman Jake Lamb received an MRI and cortisone shot after reporting continued discomfort in his injured left shoulder, per’s Steve Gilbert (Twitter links). That said, the belief is that this will not constitute a significant setback. It’s still disappointing to hear that Lamb is not yet back to health, as the club no doubt hoped he’d already be nearing a return at this point. Given his extended absence, it stands to reason that he’ll require some rehab time once he is cleared for game action. Fortunately for the Snakes, Daniel Descalso has filled in admirably.
    • Prized Cardinals righty Alex Reyes is prepared to begin a rehab assignment next week, as’s Joe Trezza writes. As he works back from Tommy John surgery, the high-octane hurler is said to be working in the upper nineties and looking good. That’s great news for the Cards, though the team is expected to handle Reyes with care as he ramps up fully. It’s still not clear how the organization will deploy the 23-year-old, who showed ample promise in his 2016 debut, once he is ready to return. But he’s building up as a starter and figures to be a valuable addition to the MLB roster in any role when he is activated.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Norris To Remain Closer For Time Being]]> 2018-05-04T03:58:58Z 2018-05-04T03:54:52Z
  • Given Greg Holland’s disastrous start to the 2018 season, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny confirmed today that Bud Norris is his closer for the time being, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes“It’s Bud’s game right now,” said Matheny after effusing praise for the manner in which the veteran Norris has performed in high-leverage spots while ascending to the ninth-inning role. “But we’re going to have to have other people to pitch the end of the game. There are going to be times when Bud’s down and times when we need to put Bud in a little earlier and he needs help.” There’s no indication as to when Holland might be given another try in save situations, though with Norris boasting a terrific 1.72 ERA and 22-to-2 K/BB ratio through his first 15 2/3 innings of the season, he’s likely earned himself a reasonably lengthy leash in the the ninth inning.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Inside Mike Matheny's Tenure As Cardinals' Manager]]> 2018-04-30T01:54:11Z 2018-04-30T01:54:11Z
  • With Mike Matheny set to manage his 1000th game on Tuesday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks at how Matheny has handled the pressure and expectations of his six-plus seasons running the Cardinals’ dugout.  Despite Matheny’s 559-440 record, he has faced criticism from some corners of the St. Louis fanbase for not having either the consistent success (particularly after consecutive non-playoff seasons) or the openness to publicly discuss decisions as former skipper Tony La Russa.  Behind closed doors, however, Matheny has been praised for his leadership and teaching skills.  “He’s got a lot of talents….He has it all covered,” Michael Wacha said.  “Whenever he talks in front of a group of people that group of people is leaning in, listening to what he’s saying. He carries that confidence that he knows he belongs where he is.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Recall Austin Gomber]]> 2018-04-29T13:37:06Z 2018-04-29T13:36:26Z
  • The Cardinals have recalled lefty Austin Gomber from Triple-A, putting him in position to make his major league debut, and optioned righty Jack Flaherty. Gomber, whom the Cardinals chose in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, ranks as the team’s 14th-best prospect at The 24-year-old has registered impressive numbers as a starter in the minors, including this season (2.45 ERA, 9.47 K/9 and 3.16 BB/9 in 25 2/3 innings), but he’s likely to open his MLB career as a long reliever, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Offseason In Review: St. Louis Cardinals]]> 2018-04-25T15:15:08Z 2018-04-25T15:15:08Z This is the latest entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason In Review series.  Click here to read the other completed reviews from around the league.

    The Cardinals brass made a concerted effort to improve their roster through retooling and talent consolidation this offseason. They’ll hope those tweaks can help them get back to the playoffs after missing them in back-to-back seasons.

    Major League Signings

    Trades and Claims

    Notable Minor League Signings

    Notable Losses

    Cardinals 25-Man Roster & Minor League Depth ChartCardinals Payroll Overview

    Needs Addressed

    The Cards entered the offseason facing the pressure of a roster crunch; myriad players would soon become vulnerable to the Rule 5 Draft, and spots on the 40-man were already prime real estate. They lost right-hander Luis Perdomo two years prior, and would need to navigate the process carefully to prevent losing valuable players such as Alcantara, Tyler O’Neill, Oscar Mercado, Derian Gonzalez and Austin Gomber.

    Through some clever maneuvering, the Cardinals managed to entirely avoid being targeted during the draft’s major league phase. Alcantara, along with a pair of pitching prospects, went to the Marlins in exchange for Ozuna, while the latter four players of concern earned protection by way of addition to the expanded roster. Ozuna’s acquisition gave the Redbirds a formidable outfield trio, making Piscotty and Grichuk more luxury than necessity. Because of that, and with the safety net of outfield prospects Harrison Bader and O’Neill, they were able to flip Piscotty and Grichuk to fill a need in the bullpen and pad their farm depth.

    It’s worth mentioning that while Ozuna was certainly a high-profile addition who should prove a marked improvement over Piscotty or Grichuk, he’s somewhat of a consolation prize in the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes. The birds made a strong run at Stanton over the offseason, and indeed seemed to have made an offer the Marlins liked. Unfortunately for both clubs, the reigning NL MVP and MLB homer champ had no interest in going to St. Louis; he chose not to approve a deal to the Cardinals and ultimately found his way to the Yankees instead.

    As the now-infamous free agent freeze continued through December, the most daunting task for St. Louis was to find stability for the back end of a bullpen that had lost Trevor Rosenthal midseason to Tommy John surgery, and saw three more relievers depart in free agency. Part of this was addressed relatively early on with the Gregerson signing, and with the acquisition of Leone from the Blue Jays for Grichuk in mid-January. When Bud Norris’ price tag had fallen far enough, the team seized yet another opportunity by nabbing him on the cheap.

    But even at this point, the club’s job of patching up its relief corps could only be given a B grade at best. The Birds still lacked a truly reliable shutdown presence; this only became more glaring when Gregerson began to deal with injuries during spring training. Leone didn’t exactly have an extensive MLB resume, and it would be fair to describe Norris’ 2017 season as up-and-down.

    Greg Holland | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsThe result of these circumstances was a game of free-agent chicken with free agent closer Greg Holland. Though the two seemed to be an obvious match throughout the majority of the offseason (which I briefly mentioned in both Holland’s Free Agent Profile and our Offseason Outlook for the club), the Cardinals went on record multiple times saying that they weren’t interested in a lengthy commitment to a reliever. Holland’s market failed to develop as he and agent Scott Boras had hoped after he declined both a $15MM player option and a $17.4MM qualifying offer, and subsequently turned up his nose at a Rockies offer reportedly in the range of the three-year, $52MM deal Wade Davis ended up signing. Ultimately the Cardinals won the stare-down, as they ended up locking Holland into a one-year, $14MM deal that was less than all three of the pacts he’d rejected across the previous months.

    The Cardinals didn’t just need relievers, though. With the subtraction of Lance Lynn (and reported lack of interest in bringing him back), they needed to fill at least one hole in the rotation, or else rely heavily on both the oft-injured Adam Wainwright and unproven prospect Jack Flaherty. They opted for the former, and did so creatively by signing Mikolas, who was fresh off another impressive performance in Japan in 2017.

    Though they didn’t need to tinker with their infield much, the Cardinals addressed a long-term need by inking shortstop Paul DeJong to a six-year, $26MM extension. He certainly earned that deal after leading the club in homers last season despite not getting a promotion until mid-May. It didn’t come as much of a surprise; as I mentioned in the offseason outlook for the Cards, they’ve got a track record of extending players before they hit free agency, and DeJong seemed a prime target for one of those pacts.

    Questions Remaining

    It would be a stretch to claim that the Cardinals have any glaring weakness remaining. But at the same time, it would be tough to make the case that any one area of their roster stands out as a strength. Their outfield, infield and bullpen could all be described as above average, while the rotation seems stable enough. But outside of the Reds, the NL Central is unlikely to be a pushover. The Cardinals have neither the offense to out-slug the Brewers, nor the pitching to out-duel the Cubs.

    If they do have a strength, it’s offensive depth. St. Louis has a strong pair of outfield prospects (Bader, O’Neill) and a group of infielders that can play multiple positions, which has already proved useful this season during Jedd Gyorko’s temporary absence. Luke Voit and Yairo Munoz aren’t top-end talent but could certainly step in and perform at least passably if called upon.

    Jack Flaherty | Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsPerhaps the most concerning issue facing the Cardinals right now is the club’s starting pitching depth, or lack thereof. With Adam Wainwright back on the shelf, the Cardinals are already being forced to use their most viable depth option in Jack Flaherty. Top prospect Alex Reyes could return from Tommy John surgery in late May or early June, but the Cardinals reportedly plan to use him out of the ’pen for at least part of his first season since going under the knife.

    Outside of swingman John Gant, none of their other decent pitching prospects have more than a handful of innings’ worth of experience beyond the Double-A level. If the Cards end up in a position where they’re forced to turn to Gant or Gomber for more than a spot start, there’s likely to be some white-knuckling on the part of the front office and in the club’s dugout.


    In essence, the Cardinals were able to check off every item on their to-do list over the course of the offseason. While Ozuna was probably the only acquisition that could be considered splashy, each individual move they made served to solve a problem with a reasonable solution. An outgoing pitcher was replaced with one who projects to do just as well. Four strong bullpen arms were added to replace three free agent relievers and one lost to injury. They began with a surplus of outfielders, which they essentially consolidated to add a more talented one. And while one could argue that they only marginally improved the team this winter, they’re certainly likely to see improvements from a number of talented young players.

    How would you grade the Cardinals’ offseason? (Poll link for app users)

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Wainwright, Mikolas, Martinez]]> 2018-04-24T15:15:56Z 2018-04-24T15:10:17Z The Cardinals are off to a solid start to the year, though the NL Central is shaping up to be quite the battleground in 2018. Maintaining health throughout the season could end up being a major factor in deciding the division race. The long view is what motivated Cards righty Adam Wainwright to go on the DL at this point, as’s Joe Trezza reports. His elbow has flared up a bit, though the 36-year-old suggested he’s confident that he’ll be able to return in relatively short order. The hope is that some rest and minor mechanical tweaks will allow Wainwright to take most of his scheduled starts in the final season of his contract. Of course, even if the veteran hurler is down longer than expected, the team has plenty of options, as Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explores.

    Here’s more from St. Louis:

    • Another key hurler for the Cardinals, recent signee Miles Mikolas, has thrown well upon his return to the majors. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch documents some of the ways in which Mikolas has thrived. In particular, he has been one of the most efficient starters in all of baseball, due in no small part to the fact that he has issued just a pair of walks in 26 innings. Goold traces this element of Mikolas’s game back to his successful stint in Japan, during which he gained mental and physical control of his pitching. It’s early, to be sure, but the two-year, $15.5MM pact Mikolas signed over the winter has looked like a bargain.
    • Cardinals fans will also want to check out two other recent pieces from the Post-Dispatch on the team’s pitching staff. Jose de Jesus Ortiz offers a look at staff ace Carlos Martinez, who says he believes he is pitching better than ever. That the 26-year-old has found another gear is certainly a scary thought for the rest of the league. And Goold examines the intriguing case of Bud Norris, who is now closing out games and sporting a career-high 15.3% swinging-strike rate. It’s a worthwhile read that goes well beyond the field of play.
    • On the position-player side, the Cards appear to have unearthed another hidden gem in first baseman Jose Martinez. The late-blooming 29-year-old has done nothing but hit in the majors and is off to a .329/.409/.526 start to the current campaign. Trezza penned an interesting look at Martinez’s unlikely path to the majors. The St. Louis scouting department and front office aptly identified and targeted the burly slugger, eventually snagging him from the cross-state rival Royals. Of course, the results have outstripped even the most optimistic expectations. “We were confident he could be a good right-handed hitter off the bench,” says Cardinals GM Mike Girsch. “That’s what we thought we were getting. Since then, he’s been raking.” While he’s currently performing like a mid-prime star, Martinez won’t even reach arbitration eligibility until 2020.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Send Evaluator To Watch Rays]]> 2018-04-23T00:48:43Z 2018-04-23T00:48:43Z
  • Evaluators from the Cubs and Cardinals were recently on hand to watch the Rays last week, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.  The Rays’ limited payroll capability could make them sellers regardless of their record, though the team is also off to a slow 8-13 start overall (though Tampa has won five of its last six games).  It isn’t known what players were being watched, though the Cubs have been heavily linked to Chris Archer in the past while the Cardinals had strong interest in Alex Colome this offseason.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Adam Wainwright On DL]]> 2018-04-22T17:55:48Z 2018-04-22T16:26:41Z
  • The Cardinals have placed right-hander Adam Wainwright on the 10-day disabled list with elbow inflammation, Joe Trezza of tweets. The move is retroactive to April 20, and it’s already the second DL placement of the season for the 36-year-old Wainwright, who missed the start of 2018 with a hamstring injury. The arm issue is certainly more alarming in this case, especially considering Wainwright missed significant time last year with elbow problems and then underwent arthroscopic surgery early in the offseason. Wainwright has tossed 15 2/3 innings over three starts this year and managed a 3.45 ERA, despite subpar strikeout and walk rates (6.89 K/9, 4.6 BB/9). His roster spot will go to reliever John Brebbia, whom the Cardinals recalled from Triple-A, though the Redbirds figure to bring righty Jack Flaherty back from the minors next time they need a starter.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Quick Hits: Farquhar, Machado, Cardinals, Duffy]]> 2018-04-21T21:38:05Z 2018-04-21T21:35:29Z White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar has been placed on the 10-day disabled list after passing out in the club’s dugout. According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the sudden collapse was caused by a brain aneurysm. He was immediately hospitalized following the incident, and is currently in stable but critical condition. We at MLBTR will be keeping Farquhar in our thoughts during what is certainly a scary situation.

    More notes from around MLB…

    • Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports suggests that the White Sox could be a team to watch in the upcoming Manny Machado sweepstakes this offseason. A rival GM tells Heyman that the Sox could be a “dark horse” to sign the superstar shortstop. Concurrent with this rumor, via Heyman, is the pattern of owner Jerry Reinsdorf being occasionally willing to make a big splash in the free agent market (though I’d like to point out that they’ve never made a splash of anything close to this size).
    • A pair of Cardinals relievers are making progress in their returns from injury, which would provide a welcome cavalry to the club’s bullpen. Left-hander Ryan Sherriff is scheduled to throw a live bullpen session on Wednesday at Triple-A Memphis, according to Joe Trezza of He’s currently still wearing a metal shank in his shoe under the fractured toe in order to protect it. Meanwhile, Trezza adds, righty Sam Tuivailala threw two bullpen sessions this week, and will throw a third one tomorrow. The downside of these imminent returns is that the Cardinals will be facing a difficult roster decision when they decide to activate these two relievers.
    • Bill Chastain of tweets that Rays third baseman Matt Duffy is “cautiously optimistic” that he’ll be able to be activated from the 10-day disabled list when he’s first eligible on April 27th. He did some soft-toss hitting yesterday along with a few throwing drills, and is progressing nicely in an attempt to return quickly from a hamstring injury suffered in Monday’s game.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Paul DeJong Showing Swing And Miss Early]]> 2018-04-21T02:31:33Z 2018-04-21T01:48:47Z
  • Fresh off an offseason extensionCardinals shortstop Paul DeJong has continued to carry above-average overall offensive numbers in his sophomore campaign, due mostly to a healthy .477 slugging percentage. But as Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch observes, DeJong is also exhibiting a worrying rise in strikeouts. Indeed, a league-leading thirty of his seventy plate appearances have ended with a K thus far. And DeJong has drawn only four walks, leaving him with a .286 OBP on the young season. As Frederickson notes, the 24-year-od is showing much greater selectivity thus far in 2018 than he did last year, but he’s also swinging and missing at rates typically procured only by elite relief pitchers. Much like young Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, DeJong still needs to show he can get on base consistently enough to be a compelling offensive player.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Promote Tyler O’Neill]]> 2018-04-19T14:39:24Z 2018-04-19T14:20:11Z April 19: The Cardinals have formally announced the promotion. Right-hander John Brebbia was optioned to Memphis in place of O’Neill.

    April 18: The Cardinals plan to promote outfield prospect Tyler O’Neill, according to’s Joe Trezza. A corresponding move is not yet known, but will occur before tomorrow’s scheduled contest.

    Tyler O'Neill | Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    O’Neill, who was acquired last summer in a swap that sent young pitcher Marco Gonzales to the Mariners, will receive his first shot in the majors. The former third-round pick was widely rated as one of the game’s hundred best prospects entering each of the past two seasons.

    Though O’Neill only received a dozen plate appearances this spring owing to injury, he has certainly earned the chance after going on a tear to open the season at Triple-A. Over his 52 plate appearances, the right-handed hitter carries a .388/.385/.837 slash with six home runs. He carried .800+ OPS marks in the upper minors in 2016 and 2017, so there’s little left for him to show at the plate.

    Of course, whether he’ll carry that productivity into the majors is the big question — as it is for any prospect. O’Neill draws walks at a decent rate but has shown some swing and miss. If he can make enough contact, O’Neill is viewed as having a chance at becoming an everyday right fielder at the game’s highest level.

    It’s also not yet clear whether O’Neill is slated to receive a full opportunity to prove he belongs. He may just provide some depth while the club evaluates Tommy Pham’s status after he experienced groin tightness in last night’s game. The Cards’ outfield mix currently includes three right-handed hitters (Pham, Marcell Ozuna, and Harrison Bader) and the switch-hitting Dexter Fowler, so there isn’t a clear opportunity in the near-term.

    Regardless of how long he stays in the Majors this time around, be it for one day or for the remainder of the season, enough time has already passed that the Cardinals will be able to control O’Neill through at least the 2024 season.

    *An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified O’Neill as a left-handed hitter.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[NL Notes: Blackmon, Gyorko, Gregerson, Glasnow, Hellickson]]> 2018-04-16T00:28:16Z 2018-04-16T00:28:16Z Though recently-extended Rockies slugger Charlie Blackmon is a star outfielder, he spent his early career trying to make it as a pitcher. Kyle Newman of the Denver Post details Blackmon’s story, beginning with his high school tenure in Atlanta. After struggling to gain any significant attention early on, Blackmon began experiencing arm troubles in his junior year at Georgia Tech. The following season, however, saw him excel as a hitter en route to being drafted by the Rockies. He’s now set to earn nine figures throughout the course of his MLB career. There are some insightful quotes and tidbits in Newman’s article, including this quote from manager Walt Weiss: “I didn’t foresee the power — he’s made some adjustments, and there’s lightning in the bat now because his power numbers are pretty amazing considering the type of player he was when he broke in.”

    More from around the National League…

    • The Cardinals have a pair of players set to return soon in Jedd Gyorko and Luke Gregerson, as Joe Trezza of reminds us. In fact, both could come off the DL as early as this coming week. Trezza adds that Gyorko’s situation will complicate the infield alignment in St. Louis, as he could sap some playing time from either Kolten Wong or Matt Carpenter (both of whom are currently ice cold at the plate). Gregerson has thrown four scoreless rehab appearances; he began the season on the DL with a hamstring strain.
    • Tyler Glasnow’s first season in relief has yielded good results so far for the Pirates, writes Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The fireballing righty has allowed just a run across six innings in his first three appearances, in part due to an increase in his spin rate. Brink notes that he’s averaged 2,859 revolutions per minute on his curveball, a mark that’s presently 12th in all of MLB. Glasnow’s also increased his average fastball velocity to 96 MPH. “He’s a little bit more free at ease out there on the mound and being himself,” said Ray Searage, renowned pitching coach for the Pirates. “When you have confidence in yourself and try to execute at the best of your ability, you’re going to be more free and easy.”
    • Jeremy Hellickson will officially start for the Nationals tomorrow, Dan Kolko of MASN reports on Twitter. That falls in line with earlier reports that suggested the possibility. Nats fans are surely glad to see anyone but A.J. Cole, who sports a 12.00 ERA through two starts so far this season. There’s a $2MM salary to gain for Hellickson if he sticks in the rotation, as the terms of his minors pact with the club dictate.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Sam Tuivailala On 10-Day DL, Recall Mike Mayers]]> 2018-04-13T04:12:31Z 2018-04-13T03:46:15Z
  • The Cardinals announced that they’ve placed right-hander Sam Tuivailala on the 10-day disabled list with a strain in his left knee and recalled right-hander Mike Mayers from Triple- A Memphis. Mayers isn’t required to spend the 10-day minimum in the minors following an optional assignment because he’s directly replacing a player who was placed on the big league DL. Tuivailala, 25, quietly stepped up with a nice season in St. Louis last year, pitching to a 2.55 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 and a 48.8 percent ground-ball rate. The Cards didn’t give a timeline on Tuivailala’s return, though the DL placement is backdated to April 10, so he can return in just over a week.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jose Martinez Suffers Achilles Injury]]> 2018-04-10T19:02:47Z 2018-04-10T16:29:51Z
  • The Rangers announced that second baseman Rougned Odor left his club’s game today with a left hamstring strain. We’re still awaiting word on a full assessment, but it certainly seems as if the organization is anticipating a DL stint. Likewise, Blue Jays DH Kendrys Morales has received a diagnosis of a grade 1 hammy strain, per a club announcement. That said, skipper John Gibbons struck an optimistic tone after the game, as Gregor Chisholm of reports (Twitter link). Cardinals first baseman Jose Martinez also had to depart after a collision with Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain. While it seems the latter will be just fine, the former has been diagnosed with a right Achilles tendon contusion, per the club. Hopefully, that ends up representing the extent of the injury.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Activate Greg Holland]]> 2018-04-09T19:29:46Z 2018-04-09T19:29:49Z 2:29pm: Holland has indeed been activated, with Mayers being optioned out to Memphis to clear a spot on the 25-man roster, tweets’s Joe Trezza.

    9:40am: Monday marks the day that Greg Holland is eligible to be activated and added to the Cardinals roster, and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Cards intend to do just that in advance of tonight’s game against the Brewers.

    Holland signed a one-year, $14MM contract with the Cardinals on Opening Day and figures to slide into the team’s closer role, where he’ll supplant the struggling Dominic Leone. Goold notes that a roster move will need to be made and suggests that right-hander Mike Mayers, who has pitched sparingly thus far in 2018, could be optioned out to open a spot for the new St. Louis closer. The Cardinals would prefer Mayers to log regular innings, per Goold, as opposed to receive sporadic work as a long man. One reliever who, unsurprisingly, isn’t presently in danger of being optioned for Holland or for the eventual return of Luke Gregerson is flamethrowing young righty Jordan Hicks, whom manager Mike Matheny praises in Goold’s piece.

    The Cardinals punted their second-round pick in order to add Holland on his one-year deal, taking advantage of a collapsed market for the 2017 NL saves leader. In doing so, they’re banking on the belief that Holland’s disastrous August — 14 runs and four homers in 9 2/3 frames — was attributable to some arm fatigue in his first season back from Tommy John surgery and is not a portent for similar struggles down the line.

    Holland will likely be eased into things with the Cardinals, as he’s still made just two appearances for the Cardinals’ Class-A Advanced affiliate, during which he was tagged for a solo homer but also recorded a pair of strikeouts without issuing a walk. For the time being, though, it’s easy to imagine that the Cardinals could be reluctant to pitch him on back-to-back days — and certainly not on three consecutive days.

    [Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]

    With Holland now on board, he’ll front a relief corps also featuring Leone, Hicks, Tyler Lyons, Bud Norris, Matt Bowman, John Brebbia and Sam Tuivailala. That group is hardly set in stone, as Gregerson’s return will push one of the less-experienced arms off the active roster. (Brebbia was only just recalled over the weekend and could potentially be optioned back to Memphis down the line.) St. Louis is also light on left-handed relief at the moment due to the fact that both Brett Cecil and Ryan Sherriff are also on the disabled list. There’s no hard timeline on the return of either southpaw, though Sherriff’s outlook is less troubling, as he’s on the shelf with a fractured toe. Cecil, meanwhile, hit the DL with a shoulder strain in late March and, as Goold notes, felt pain in his ankle yesterday and was prescribed at least a day in a walking boot.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Healy, Sheriff, Rizzo, J.C. Ramirez]]> 2018-04-08T18:49:06Z 2018-04-08T18:49:06Z Mariners first baseman Ryon Healy showed up to the team’s clubhouse today in a walking boot; he twisted his ankle in a postgame workout, says Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s been described as a “pretty bad sprain”, and Healy will have an MRI soon. The expectation seems to be that he will require a DL stint, though the severity of the injury is unclear at this time. Healy provided the heroics in last night’s win; it seems likely that Dan Vogelbach will receive everyday at-bats in his absence.

    More injury items from around the league…

    • Cardinals left-hander Ryan Sheriff has been placed on the DL with a toe injury; the team has recalled right-hander John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis in a related move. Sheriff was added to the roster with the news that Brett Cecil would be out for an extended period of time; he allowed one earned run in his 2 2/3 innings of work this season. Sheriff also managed a 3.14 ERA last season in 14 1/3 innings of work for the Cardinals.
    • Anthony Rizzo has missed a couple of games for the Cubs due to back tightness, says Carrie Muskat of The first baseman’s back has evidently been bothering him ever since the club’s trip to Cincinnati. Rizzo has just three hits (including one home run) in 32 plate appearances to begin the season.
    • J.C. Ramirez is officially headed to the DL with forearm issues, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times tweets. We noted earlier that the righty had been experiencing forearm tightness; he now joins fellow Angels starters Matt Shoemaker and Andrew Heaney on the disabled list, leaving the club incredibly thin in the rotation beyond Garrett Richards, Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Skaggs. Parker Bridwell and Nick Tropeano seem to be the likeliest candidates to get rotation attention, but for the time being the club has recalled relievers Felix Pena and Eduardo Paredes (righty reliever Akeel Morris was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Wainwright, Holland, Pham]]> 2018-04-05T00:45:56Z 2018-04-05T00:45:56Z
  • Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch spoke with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM about the team’s late signing of closer Greg Holland (Twitter link, with audio). While the Cards were in touch with agent Scott Boras about Holland as far back as the GM Meetings, nothing between the two sides became serious until late in camp. “It really wasn’t until the last week or 10 days of Spring Training when it became more apparent that there might actually be a possibility of finding some common ground,” said Girsch. “…His expectations were changing, and our willingness to find someplace that we could make something happen made it so we could actually get something done.” Notably, Girsch said that Luke Gregerson’s injuries didn’t play much of a role in the decision to add Holland, as he’s not dealing with arm troubles and is only expected to be out for a few weeks. More important, it seems, was the length of the contract. Girsch notes that the Cards have some younger arms “who are future back-of-the-bullpen arms” that aren’t far from big league readiness.
    • The Cardinals announced that Adam Wainwright will be activated from the 10-day disabled list on Thursday and start the team’s game against the Diamondbacks. In a corresponding move, top prospect Jack Flaherty has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Wainwright opened the season on the shelf due to a strained left hamstring. He’ll be looking to bounce back from an uncharacteristic season in which he struggled to a 5.11 ERA in 123 2/3 innings.
    • Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch spoke with Mike Ferrin of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM about the team’s late signing of closer Greg Holland (Twitter link, with audio). While the Cards were in touch with agent Scott Boras about Holland as far back as the GM Meetings, nothing between the two sides became serious until late in camp. “It really wasn’t until the last week or 10 days of Spring Training when it became more apparent that there might actually be a possibility of finding some common ground,” said Girsch. “…His expectations were changing, and our willingness to find someplace that we could make something happen made it so we could actually get something done.” Notably, Girsch said that Luke Gregerson’s injuries didn’t play much of a role in the decision to add Holland, as he’s not dealing with arm troubles and is only expected to be out for a few weeks. More important, it seems, was the length of the contract. Girsch notes that the Cards have some younger arms “who are future back-of-the-bullpen arms” that aren’t far from big league readiness.
    • Tommy Pham chatted with’s Bill Ladson about his rise to prominence and his ongoing battle with keratoconus — an eye disorder characterized by the progressive thinning of the cornea. Interestingly, Pham said he gives a huge amount of credit to current Astros GM Jeff Luhnow, who, during his days in the Cardinals front office, was the first to set up the initial test that diagnosed Pham with his condition. “He just always believed I was too good of an athlete to struggle in this game,” said Pham. “…I hit a lot of home runs, but I struck out a lot, and Jeff thought it was my vision rather than my actual swing. … sure enough, he was right.”
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Jedd Gyorko On Disabled List]]> 2018-04-03T23:49:02Z 2018-04-03T23:47:04Z
  • Also heading to the DL is Cardinals infielder Jedd Gyorko, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. His hamstring issue is not believed to be a serious one, but the team may need to make the move to bolster the bench in the meantime. For now, then, it seems likely just to be a temporary blip for a player who’ll likely take the lion’s share of the time at third this year in St. Louis. Outfielder Harrison Bader has been recalled to take the open roster spot.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dodgers Acquire Breyvic Valera]]> 2018-04-09T20:27:56Z 2018-04-01T16:11:17Z The Dodgers have acquired infielder Breyvic Valera from the Cardinals for minor league outfielder Johan Mieses, according to an announcement from St. Louis.

    The 26-year-old Valera spent a bit of time in limbo after the Cardinals designated him for assignment on Wednesday. He’s now set to join his second major league organization since signing with the Redbirds as a Venezuelan prospect in 2010. Valera saw minimal time in St. Louis (11 plate appearances, all of which came last season), but he climbed to the Triple-A level in 2016 and impressed there through last season. The switch-hitting Valera owns a .323/.386/.438 line in 727 PAs at the minors’ highest level, and with a pair of options remaining, he should serve as Triple-A depth with the Dodgers.

    Mieses, 22, signed with the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic prior to the 2013 campaign. He then had some success at the minors’ lowest levels through last season, when he batted .353/.411/.707 in 129 PAs in high-A ball. But Mieses struggled mightily in his first Double-A action – .160/.246/.347 in 329 plate trips – and did not rank among the Dodgers’ top 30 prospects at Mieses will begin his Cards tenure at the Single-A level, they announced.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Athletics Acquire Josh Lucas From Cardinals]]> 2018-03-31T16:24:01Z 2018-03-31T16:09:19Z The Cardinals and Athletics have swapped a pair of right-handers. Mark Feinsand of reports that reliever Josh Lucas is headed to the A’s, with the Cardinals receiving minor-league starter Casey Meisner in exchange.

    The 27-year-old Lucas made his majors debut last season with St. Louis, tossing 7 1/3 relief innings across five appearances. He struck out seven hitters and walked four while allowing three earned runs. Across the past two seasons in the Cardinals’ farm system, the righty posted a K/9 north of 10 and a ground ball rate of nearly 50%. He has 49 career MiLB saves, but was designated for assignment by the Cards earlier this week, a move that came as something of a surprise considering that Lucas seems to carry some upside.

    The towering 6’7″ Meisner had a solid showing with the A’s High-A affiliate last season, posting a 3.98 ERA with 9.64 K/9. However, he struggled a bit upon a midseason promotion to Double-A; after that point, the 22-year-old averaged fewer than five innings per start while seeing his walk rate nearly double and his strikeout rate plummet to 5.64 K/9. Meisner was selected by the Mets in the third round of the 2013 draft, and subsequently traded to the A’s in exchange for reliever Tyler Clippard.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Cardinals Place Brett Cecil on DL, Recall Ryan Sherriff; Alex Reyes Moved To 60-Day DL]]> 2018-03-31T14:25:10Z 2018-03-31T13:49:50Z Minutes after the Greg Holland signing became official, the Cardinals placed left-hander Brett Cecil on the 10-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, and recalled left-hander Ryan Sherriff from Triple-A in a corresponding move. The club also transferred right-hander Alex Reyes from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL in order to make room for Holland.

    The news of Cecil’s injury comes as something of a surprise, and is upsetting news to a Cardinals club that’s currently without Luke Gregerson and will need to wait for Holland to work his way back into game shape. The lefty’s 2017 performance was middling, as he pitched to a 3.88 ERA and 3.65 xFIP with just 8.82 K/9 after exceeding 11 K/9 in each of his previous three seasons. Hope for a another strikeout-heavy campaign isn’t off to a good start with news of a shoulder injury about which we don’t yet know the severity.

    The 31-year-old Cecil has been a reliable setup man since his first full season as a starter-turned-reliever in 2013. In the past five seasons with the Blue Jays and Cardinals, the southpaw owns a 3.14 ERA with 327 strikeouts in 272 2/3 innings to go with 12 saves and 66 holds. Cecil also sports an impressive 48.2% ground ball rate during that time.

    For Reyes, being transferred to the 60-day DL means the Redbirds’ top prospect won’t be eligible to pitch for the team until at least May 28th. It’s a quick change of heart for a team that only recently said that the fireballer, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, wouldn’t be moved to the 60-day DL. The club doesn’t have much rotation depth beyond Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty, particularly following an offseason trade of Sandy Alcantara to the Marlins as part of a package for Marcell Ozuna.

    Sherriff, 27, has just 13 major league appearances to his name, all coming in the latter half of 2017. The lefty showed well in a small sample, striking out 15 hitters while allowing just five earned runs. For his MiLB career, Sherriff has proved something of a ground ball phenom, topping 56% in three of his past four seasons. He’s spent his entire career in the Cardinals organization after being selected in the 28th round of the 2011 draft.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cardinals Sign Greg Holland]]> 2018-03-31T13:38:43Z 2018-03-31T13:38:21Z March 31: The Cardinals have made the signing official.

    March 30: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that Holland’s salary is not pro-rated. He will earn the full $14MM sum regardless of when he is added to the big league roster. Beyond that, his contract comes with the standard awards bonus package ($50K for All-Star or a playoff MVP Award, $250K for Rivera/Hoffman Relief Award, etc.).

    It does not, however, sound like anything will be finalized today. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the Cards are still reviewing his physical and still need to lay out a preparation plan for Holland to get into game shape.

    March 29, 10:35am: Heyman tweets that Holland will earn $14MM on a one-year deal with the Cardinals.

    10:25am: Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports that the two sides have agreed to terms on a deal (Twitter link). The contract is still pending a physical.

    10:16am: The Cardinals and free-agent closer Greg Holland are moving close to a deal, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). The 32-year-old Holland, a client of the Boras Corporation, is the lone remaining top-tier free agent that has yet to sign.

    Greg Holland | Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    Holland paced the NL with 41 saves and 58 games finished as the Rockies’ closer last season but stands alone as the last remaining top-tier free agent on the open market. Reports have indicated that the righty received an offer to return to the Rockies earlier this winter, but Colorado pivoted and signed Wade Davis after Holland didn’t bite on their initial proposal.

    St. Louis will stand to benefit from a collapsed market, as they’ll now land one of the better available relievers of the winter for a value that falls shy of the $17.2MM qualifying offer and $15MM player option that Holland rejected back in November. The Cards had previously been set to enter the season with Luke Gregerson handling ninth-inning duties, but the veteran Gregerson has been slowed by an oblique injury in camp and, more recently, a hamstring issue that will shelve him to open the year. Dominic Leone figures to open the season in the ninth, though he could very well give way to Holland once the former All-Star works his way into game shape.

    The Cardinals, clearly, will be hoping for the dominant form that Holland displayed through the season’s first three months before wilting in the second half of the year. August proved to be a particularly dreadful month for the former Rockies stopper, as he surrendered 14 runs on the strength of four homers in just 9 1/3 innings.

    While he rebounded with a solid finish in September, Holland’s fastball velocity and location were off for much of the summer — even when his ERA wasn’t reflecting it — and his struggles returned against the Diamondbacks in the NL Wild Card game. Of course, given that the 2017 season was Holland’s first back from September 2015 Tommy John surgery, it’s perhaps not surprising that he faded down the stretch. Certainly, it’s plausible that fatigue played a significant role in those difficulties.

    In order to sign Holland, the Cardinals will forfeit their second-highest pick (their second-round selection) in the 2018 draft as well as $500K of international money. Because he signed a contract for less than $50MM in total guarantees, Holland will net the Rockies a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B — in the 75 to 80 range of the draft.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Designate Josh Lucas, Breyvic Valera]]> 2018-03-28T20:20:53Z 2018-03-28T20:07:41Z The Cardinals have designated righty Josh Lucas and infielder Breyvic Valera, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). That’ll open space on the 40-man for the team to select the contracts of reliever Jordan Hicks and catcher Francisco Pena.

    It’s a bit of a surprise to see Lucas, who generates whiffs and grounders at solid rates, bounced from the 40-man. He is coming off of a spring showing in which he recorded 11 1/3 scoreless innings with a dozen strikeouts while permitting only four base hits and a pair of walks. Lucas briefly reached the majors last year after throwing sixty frames of 3.15 ERA ball, with 10.2 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9, at the Triple-A level.

    As for the 26-year-old Valera, who is mostly a second baseman but has played a variety of other positions as well, he too briefly cracked the bigs last year. Playing at Triple-A for most of the season, he carried a .314/.368/.450 batting line — his best full-season effort as a pro — through 470 plate appearances. Valera showed a big leap in power with eight long balls, topping his career tally to that point. He also walked as much or more than he struck out for the sixth time in eight professional campaigns.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals To Add Jordan Hicks To Opening Day Roster]]> 2018-03-27T22:09:14Z 2018-03-27T22:09:14Z The Cardinals will include right-hander Jordan Hicks on their 25-man roster, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports, with the move becoming official on Wednesday or Thursday morning.  Righty John Brebbia will be optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding transactions once Hicks’ contract has been selected.

    A third-round pick for St. Louis in the 2015 draft, Hicks has looked good in Spring Training, posting a 2.35 ERA and recording eight strikeouts against just one walk over 7 2/3 innings.  Despite this strong performance, this is quite an aggressive promotion for the Cards, as Hicks will be entirely skipping both Double-A and Triple-A en route to the majors.  He posted good but not dominant numbers (2.82 ERA, 7.4 K/9, 1.85 K/BB rate) over 165 2/3 innings in the minors and was a well-regarded but not elite prospect, ranked as the sixth-best minor leaguer in the Cardinals’ farm system by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.

    [Updated Cardinals depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Despite this lack of a standout pedigree, Hicks obviously impressed Cardinals officials during the spring and offers even more potential as a bullpen weapon.  Just three of Hicks’ 34 career appearances in the minors have come as a reliever, though the 2018 Baseball America Prospect Handbook predicted that relief pitching could be Hicks’ ultimate future due to some issues with his control and command.  Hicks offers an arsenal of two excellent pitches that would seem to lend itself to bullpen work, including a power curveball “that draws plus-plus grades from evaluators,” according to BA.  He is best known, however, for a fastball that routinely averages in the mid-90’s, and he has touched the 102-mph threshold this spring.

    This type of velocity could be even more dangerous in short bursts as a reliever, and Hicks’ inclusion on the roster adds another fascinating wrinkle to the Cardinals’ closing situation.  Luke Gregerson was signed this winter to ostensibly work as the St. Louis closer, though it seems as if the team will take something of a situational approach to the ninth inning, especially since Gregerson will start the season on the DL.  Tyler Lyons and Dominic Leone look like the top choices for saves right now, though there have been rumors that the Cards are still interested in free agent Greg Holland.  Should Hicks impress early in the season, however, his power arm could quickly move him up the depth chart and potentially get him into the closer mix as well.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Adam Wainwright To Start Season On DL]]> 2018-03-25T16:34:08Z 2018-03-25T16:14:16Z
  • The Cardinals scratched Adam Wainwright from his start Sunday, and president John Mozeliak told reporters (including Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that the right-hander is dealing with a hamstring injury. Consequently, Wainwright will start the season on the disabled list, and righty Jack Flaherty will replace him, Joe Trezza of reports. The 36-year-old Wainwright was on the shelf for a large portion of last season because of elbow problems, and he managed some of the worst run prevention numbers of his stellar career during the abbreviated campaign. Across 123 1/3 innings, the former ace pitched to a personal-high 5.11 ERA, though he did post a 4.29 FIP with 7.01 K/9, 3.28 BB/9 and a 47.2 percent groundball rate.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Cardinals Have Checked In On Greg Holland]]> 2018-03-24T22:28:33Z 2018-03-24T22:28:56Z
  • Jim Bowden of The Athletic confirms in a tweet that the Braves, Diamondbacks and Cardinals have all checked in on free agent reliever Greg Holland. However, none of them feel as though they can be competitive financially based on the right-hander’s current asking price. Bowden suggests that Holland should take the best offer on the table. With less than a week left until opening day, it’s hard to argue that point.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Sale, Pomeranz, Rodriguez, Gregerson, Lincecum, Hughes]]> 2018-03-24T21:05:22Z 2018-03-24T21:03:27Z Red Sox starter Chris Sale left today’s start after being struck by a comebacker off the bat of J.D. Davis. Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald was first to tweet that the club called it a hip contusion. Thankfully for fans in Boston, the X-rays on his hip came back negative (according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe). For his part, Sale himself has said that he feels fine and that it “looked a lot worse than it actually is.” The lack of serious injury to their prized left-hander brings a sigh of relief to the Red Sox, as they need him now more than ever; Alex Cora announced today that both Eduardo Rodriguez and Drew Pomeranz will begin the season on the DL (h/t Sean McAdams of the Boston Sports Journal). With Steven Wright set to face a 15-game suspension, that leaves Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez at the back end of the club’s rotation. With David Price no sure bet to stay healthy, any questions surrounding Sale would have been wildly unsettling for a club hoping to compete with a tough Yankees ballclub for the AL East crown.

    Other injury-related news from around the league…

    • Luke Gregerson, who was projected to be the Cardinals’ closer on opening day, will instead begin the season on the DL. Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch outlines the news, which comes as a result of a hamstring strain. The usually-durable Gregerson had also dealt with an oblique injury earlier in the spring, and it’s unclear when he’ll be able to return to major-league action. According to Jon Morosi of, the club has said that Dominic Leone or Tyler Lyons will receive closing opportunities. They do not appear close to any sort of deal with free agent closer Greg Holland at this time, Morosi adds.
    • Speaking of right-handers who’ll begin the season on the DL, Tim Lincecum’s blister issues will put him in that company as well. Lincecum joined the Rangers on a one-year deal with a $1MM base salary just weeks ago and didn’t pitch competitively in 2017; by his own words, he was unlikely to be ready for opening day anyway. Still, the blister issue will delay The Freak’s comeback bid, which will be an interesting story to watch as the season progresses considering how much he impressed scouts in a February showcase. Lincecum’s last MLB stint was with the Angels in 2016, when he posted a 9.16 ERA across 38 1/3 innings (nine starts).
    • Twins right-hander Phil Hughes has a mild oblique strain, according to a tweet from Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Berardino adds that a DL stint would give him more time to build up arm strength following surgery, though I’d add that Hughes might simply be utilized in a long relief role anyway. For the time being, the Twins will continue to evaluate Hughes.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cardinals Notes: Gregerson, Munoz, Molina, Kelly]]> 2018-03-23T18:06:09Z 2018-03-23T18:06:09Z Some items out of the Cardinals’ camp…

    • Righty Luke Gregerson is dealing with a minor hamstring problem and didn’t travel with the team for today’s Spring Training road game, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports (Twitter link).  Gregerson has been limited to just three outings this spring due to a minor oblique injury, and while the severity this new issue isn’t known, it can’t be a good sign with less than a week before Opening Day.  John Mozeliak’s recent comments about the Cardinals’ plans for a flexible approach to the ninth inning has brought further lack of clarity to Gregerson’s role, as he was initially slated to be the team’s closer when signed to a two-year, $11MM deal in December.  Dominic Leone, another offseason acquisition, has recently been mentioned as a potential candidate for saves, plus the Cardinals have been reportedly interested in Greg Holland, who still remains unsigned as we approach the end of March.
    • Yairo Munoz has made the 25-man roster,’s Joe Trezza and others reported.  Munoz was acquired from Oakland as part of the Stephen Piscotty trade and wasn’t expected to contend for a big league job this spring, but Munoz forced the issue by hitting .375/.423/.625 over 52 plate appearances.  This red-hot bat and Munoz’s capability of playing virtually every spot on the diamond gave him the edge for a bench job over Harrison Bader and Luke Voit, who were optioned to Triple-A.  Munoz will be one of several multi-position players on the St. Louis roster as the Cards plan to regularly juggle their lineups to keep everyone fresh and regularly receiving playing time.
    • As part of a piece about Yadier Molina’s durability for The Athletic (subscription required), Bernie Miklasz observed that the Cardinals’ recent assignment of top catching prospect Carson Kelly to Triple-A means that Kelly won’t accumulate the MLB service time he would’ve received had he won the job as Molina’s backup.  This could make Kelly more attractive to potential trade suitors, as Kelly has just 102 days of service time accumulated and is controllable through the 2023 season.  Of course, the Cards’ primary reason for the assignment is also valid, as they want Kelly to get regular playing time rather than see him sit on the big league bench, as the durable Molina is showing no signs of cutting back on his workload even as he enters his age-35 season.  Molina is signed through the 2020 season, so there will inevitably continue to be speculation about Kelly as a possible trade chip.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cardinals Release Jason Motte; Reunion Still Possible]]> 2018-03-22T16:08:13Z 2018-03-22T16:08:13Z The Cardinals have released veteran righty Jason Motte but remain open to bringing him back into the organization, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. If he is unable to find a MLB opportunity elsewhere, Motte is expected to return on a new deal.

    It seems the hope, if not the expectation, is for Motte to ink a new minors pact that will allow him to work at the Cards’ top affiliate to open the season. The 35-year-old, once the team’s closer, fell short in his bid to crack the Opening Day roster but showed enough to earn a place on the depth chart. First, though, he’ll see if there’s interest from another team.

    Motte managed to carry a 3.54 ERA in 40 2/3 MLB frames last year in spite of an uninspiring mix of 6.0 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9. He surely benefited from a .200 batting average on balls in play, as Statcast suggested a .337 xwOBA that lands significantly higher than the .305 wOBA mark that actually resulted.

    That said, Motte did continue to work near 94 mph with his average heater and maintained a 7.6% swinging-strike rate that — while well below league average and his own peak rates — fell in line with his output in recent seasons. This spring, Motte surrendered six earned runs on 13 hits in 5 1/3 innings, but did  record six strikeouts.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cardinals "To Maximize The Flexbility" Of Their Relievers]]> 2018-03-22T01:42:23Z 2018-03-22T01:42:07Z
  • Although Cardinals president John Mozeliak suggested over the winter the team would deploy offseason pickup Luke Gregerson as its closer, it now appears the Redbirds will take a communal approach to the ninth inning to open 2018, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains. “We don’t have a closer,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Ideally, would we like to have that title on somebody? Ideally, yeah. But right now we’ve got a bunch of guys who can do that. Over time we’ll figure it out. We have a bunch of guys who can pitch any inning.” The Cardinals’ general bullpen plan is “to maximize the flexibility,” Matheny revealed, meaning they’re likely to shuttle optionable relievers between the majors and minors throughout the season.
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