All posts by Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.

Dakota Hudson’s Tommy John Surgery Confirmed

photo: Dakota Hudson (David Dermer/Imagn)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dakota Hudson will undergo Tommy John surgery, disclosed President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak on Sunday.

Hudson was placed on the 10-day injured list on September 18 with what was characterized as a forearm strain. At the time, the right-hander neither heard a pop nor felt burning in his elbow, causing some initial optimism. However, further testing drove his move to the 45-man IL on Tuesday and a second opinion confirmed the need for the surgery, to be conducted by Dr. George Paletta on Monday in St. Louis.

Dakota Hudson

Hudson’s recovery time was placed in the nine to 15 months window, per Mozeliak, depending on the pitcher’s recovery. Given this, he could miss all of 2021.

The 26-year-old placed fifth in the 2019 National League Rookie of the Year voting after leading the league in ground ball percentage, coupled with a 16-7 record and a 3.35 ERA. Hudson further cut down on his walks in 2020, and posted a sparkling 2.77 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in eight starts.

Immediate replacements (for Hudson and rotation-mate Carlos Martinez, who is also out for the remainder of the season) are Daniel Ponce de Leon and Austin Gomber, essentially functioning as the team’s no. 4 and 5 starters.

Next season, even without Hudson, the Cardinals have numerous experienced rotation candidates, including Jack Flaherty, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Miles Mikolas, Martinez, Adam Wainwright (if the free agent returns), Gomber and Ponce de Leon. Alex Reyes and Genesis Cabrera are among starting wild cards.


Sunday roster moves

Because a day cannot pass in the 2020 season without at least one roster change…

In all seriousness, this returns the Cardinals to a 14-14 pitcher-position player roster balance, which I expect will continue into the post-season.

My Wild Card Series roster predictions follow.


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Walton’s Cardinals Wild Card Roster Predictions – “Dance With Who Brung You!”


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, those in reserve, those from alternate camp sent home, as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Gant’s Injured Groin Finally Requires an Injured List Move

photo: John Gant via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement


Brian Walton’s take

In this between-games move on Friday, the Cardinals essentially announced their seventh pitcher is done for 2020 and the third this week alone – following Miles Mikolas, Jordan Hicks, John Brebbia and Ricardo Sanchez earlier, plus most recently, Dakota Hudson and Carlos Martinez.

Gant, 28, had previously been held out a week – from September 13 until the 20th – with groin soreness, but was not placed on the injured list. The right-hander returned to toss a scoreless inning on Sunday in Pittsburgh, but again did not pitch for an extended period afterward.

In his fifth day, Friday, he took the mound in the sixth inning of Friday’s doubleheader against Milwaukee. Gant threw five pitches, allowing one hit, before reinjuring his groin.

His season ends with a 2.40 ERA, having allowed nine hits and seven walks to go with 18 strikeouts in 15 innings. While Gant’s record was 0-3, he logged seven holds and received no save opportunities.

In Gant’s recent absence, right-hander Alex Reyes has moved into a more prominent late-inning role.

John Gant

Crismatt had been optioned to the alternate site most recently this past Monday the 21st, when Giovanny Gallegos was activated. Crismatt could be recalled inside of the normally-required 10 days because he is replacing an injured teammate.

The 25-year-old rookie has pitched his way into a semi-regular role with good results in low-leverage situations. The right-hander has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over six appearances. Crismatt fanned eight against just one walk, but also yielded two long balls.

Nabil Crismatt


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, those in reserve, those from alternate camp sent home, as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – 21st-50th Rounds


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Yadier Molina Ranks Fourth in Hits by an MLB Catcher as a Catcher

photo: Yadier Molina (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

With his single in the seventh inning of the St. Louis Cardinals’ 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday evening at Busch Stadium, Yadier Molina became the 12th catcher in history to join Major League Baseball’s 2000-hit club – and the sixth Cardinal ever.

It is another highly-celebrated milestone in what is shaping up to be a Hall of Fame career for the 38-year old, who first came up with the Cardinals in 2004.

As I see it, it is not only important because of the number, 2000, but also for the fact it was accomplished by a catcher – while playing for the same team.

Yet, what may be most notable was glossed over by many. Because of his durability, Molina has continued to catch almost every day when others eventually moved to less demanding positions.

As a result, his hits accrued while playing as his team’s catcher improve his ranking from 12th to fourth all-time.

Let’s look at each of the key elements of Molina’s accomplishment.

2000 hits

This is considered by some to be a gateway to Cooperstown, yet it alone is not and should not be enough.

After all, Molina is the 288th player in MLB history with 2000 hits. Alongside sure-fire Hall of Famers are players who were consistently good and remained healthy and productive for a long time. Random examples include Raul Ibanez (19 seasons), Tony Phillips (18) and Tony Taylor (19).

Personally, I get less excited about longevity records, thinking of them more like Lifetime Achievement Awards than winning the Oscar. But for Molina, there is much more.

2000 hits as a Cardinal

Especially in today’s world of free agency, a player achieving 2000 hits with the same team is quite a feat. To do it exclusively with one club is even more extraordinary and even more so with a franchise as storied as the Cardinals.

Molina became just the sixth to accrue 2000 hits as a Cardinal, following Stan Musial, Lou Brock, Rogers Hornsby, Enos Slaughter and Albert Pujols. Of them, only Stan the Man played his entire career with St. Louis.

Yadier Molina

Yet, this remains an open question for Molina, who intends to keep playing beyond the conclusion of his current contract, which expires this fall.

“It was in my mind to get it this year, wearing this uniform, because you never know what’s going to happen next year,” Molina said Thursday evening. “It was a great moment I’ll always remember.”

2000 hits by a catcher

According to MLB, Molina is recognized as the 12th catcher in history to reach 2000 hits.

Rank MLB catchers Total hits Years played
1 Ivan Rodriguez 2,844 1991-2011
2 Ted Simmons 2,472 1968-88
3 Carlton Fisk 2,356 1969-93
4 Joe Torre 2,342 1960-77
5 Jason Kendall 2,195 1996-2010
6 Yogi Berra 2,150 1946-65
7 Mike Piazza 2,127 1992-2007
8 Joe Mauer 2,123 2004-18
9 Gary Carter 2,092 1974-92
10 Johnny Bench 2,048 1967-83
11 A.J. Pierzynski 2,043 1998-2016
12 Yadier Molina 2,000 2004-20

However, these list-makers cut corners (or at least shave off the edges) by including hits accrued while playing other positions on the field.

As the above list reinforces, MLB history includes a number of great catchers, however many migrated to less-physically demanding positions later in their careers. With the likely permanence of the designated hitter in the National League, this should become even more common in the future.

However, this shift away from the plate never occurred for Molina, who has remained defensively-strong while having improved his offensive production as his career progressed.

In fact, it is it is important to recognize that Molina is sixth on the all-time list of games caught at 1986. This longevity and results achieved while carrying a daily load behind the plate for 17 seasons and counting sets Molina apart.

Yadier Molina (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

It did not happen without a lot of hard work.

“He wasn’t an offensive player when he came into the league,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “What is more impressive is that he got better on offense as he went along – without sacrificing his defense. I don’t see the Hall of Fame as an evaluation (meaning he believes there should be no debate about Molina’s credentials).

The catcher used the early-career doubts by others as incentive to improve – and he did.

“When I came up, I focused on my defense,” Molina said. ““A lot of people in the media – they just gave up on me and my offense. Obviously, I was a poor hitter, but I worked hard to prove them wrong. Right now, I’m in this moment – and thank you to them for giving me the motivation.”

2000 hits by a catcher as a catcher

Trying to sort out numbers of hits while in the game as a catcher is a bit challenging, but doable with the help of career splits at Baseball-Reference.com. I took the same list of 12 catchers recognized with 2000 hits and broke out their catching-only hit totals.

The list is reordered substantially, with Molina moving up from 12th to fourth.

Rank MLB catchers Hits as C Total hits Years played
1 Ivan Rodriguez 2,749 2,844 1991-2011
2 Jason Kendall 2,160 2,195 1996-2010
3 Carlton Fisk 2,145 2,356 1969-93
4 Yadier Molina 1,978 2,000 2004-20
5 A.J. Pierzynski 1,971 2,043 1998-2016
6 Ted Simmons 1,908 2,472 1968-88
7 Gary Carter 1,907 2,092 1974-92
8 Mike Piazza 1,906 2,127 1992-2007
9 Yogi Berra 1,765 2,150 1946-65
10 Johnny Bench 1,646 2,048 1967-83
11 Joe Mauer 1,118 2,123 2004-18
12 Joe Torre 933 2,342 1960-77

As noted, only three have collected 2000 hits while in the catching spot in their team’s lineup. With 22 more hits, Molina will become the fourth. He also has 11 hits as a first baseman, three as a designated hitter and eight as a pinch-hitter.

There seems no doubt Molina will get those last 22 – and many more!


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – 21st-50th Rounds


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Martinez’ Injury Worse than Expected; Season May be Over

photo: Carlos Martinez via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinals managed to go just one day without a pitcher on either the 10-day injured list or the COVID-related IL after Kodi Whitley briefly cleared the slate with his Tuesday activation. (However, it is hardly a good situation with St. Louis also having five other hurlers on the 45-day IL, done for the year. They are Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks, John Brebbia and Ricardo Sanchez.

What was called a left mid-back strain after Martinez left Wednesday’s game in the sixth ining became a potentially more serious oblique strain on Thursday. Manager Mike Shildt confirmed this puts Martinez’ availability for the playoffs at low odds.

“It’s not favorable, for sure,” Shildt said prior to Thursday’s opener vs. Milwaukee. “Even if we make that deep run (in the postseason), it (Martinez’ return) is not likely.”

The 29-year old right-hander finishes his disappointing COVID-infected 2020 season with a record of 0-3 and a 9.90 ERA. The Cardinals went 1-4 in his starts.

Carlos Martinez

Oviedo, 22, was optioned to the alternate site one week ago, on Thursday, September 17 after starting in Game 2 of the doubleheader at Milwaukee the prior night. The outing, during which the rookie allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings, was his poorest of his five career starts, all of which his team lost.

For the season, Oviedo is 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA. The right-hander has thrown 24 2/3 innings, yielding 24 hits and 10 walks along with 16 strikeouts.

Johan Oviedo

The Cardinals have set their starters for the five-game Brewers series this weekend. They may prefer to keep Oviedo for a potential start in one of the expected make-up games in Detroit on Monday, but he could be needed in long relief prior to that.

With Hudson also declared out for the year this week, the top five in the St. Louis rotation currently seem to be Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Byung-Hyun Kim, Austin Gomber and Daniel Ponce de Leon.


Related article

How the Cardinals Can Avoid Monday Games 59 and 60 in Detroit


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, those in reserve, those from alternate camp sent home, as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – 21st-50th Rounds


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

How the Cardinals Can Avoid Monday Games 59 and 60 in Detroit

The St. Louis Cardinals – from the head of baseball operations to the manager to the players – have all noted countless times this week that the team controls its post-season destiny. The remains the case even after a disappointing series loss to the Kansas City Royals.

However, the hill has gotten much steeper. Certainly, the goal remains to reach the playoffs any way possible, but the Cardinals greatly prefer to not have to travel to Detroit for a make-up doubleheader on Monday to play Games 59 and 60. The contests were originally scheduled for August 3-4 at Comerica Park.

Here are the conditions for those two games to be played (or not):

“The games will be played only if a postseason position is to be determined or home field for a Wild Card Round matchup.”

(A reminder that eight teams in each league make the playoffs – the top two teams in each division plus the best two remaining teams. The bottom four seeds visit the top four seeds for the best-of-three Wild Card Series.)

The only way for the Cardinals to ensure themselves a much-needed day off on Monday would be to sweep the Milwaukee Brewers five straight. However, even if they don’t go 5-0, the Cards could still avoid Monday play via help from the Minnesota Twins, which host the Cincinnati Reds for their final three games.

Winning the Central unlikely

With 32 wins against the Cardinals’ 27, the Chicago Cubs would have to lose all four remaining games and the Cards would have to sweep Milwaukee just to get a chance to play the two make-up games, both of which St. Louis would need to win to take the division on the second tiebreaker, intradivision record.

For more likely is that St. Louis’ hopes of repeating as National League Central Division Champions will be dashed this weekend. Chicago would also secure a spot among the top four seeds in the League, assuring the Cubs of playing their entire Wild Card round at home.

With (at least) five games remaining, a much more realistic target for the Cardinals is the second-place spot in the division, which comes with an automatic playoff berth. The Cardinals would finish no better than somewhere in the five through eight seeds, making them a road warrior in the Wild Card games.

But first things first. We should not forget that with Milwaukee just one game behind St. Louis, the Brew Crew could stake their own claim for second place with a big weekend at Busch. More on that later.

Securing second place without playing Games 59/60

As noted, St. Louis’ key rival for the second spot in the division (against whom they do not play again) is Cincinnati. The results of the Reds at Twins series will affect the Cardinals’ destiny almost as much as their own contests.

The good news for Cardinals fans is that Minnesota should be motivated to play its best. Though the Twins have clinched a playoff spot, they are in a battle with the White Sox to win the AL Central Division.

The Twins are third seed and the Sox fourth seed right now, so both would host their Wild Card Series, but the Indians and Yankees could pass one or both this weekend. On the other side of the coin, Minnesota could still grab the AL’s second seed.

As the grid below denotes, to achieve the closest-in goal of avoiding the trip to Detroit, the Cardinals must win at least three games over the Brewers this weekend.

Because St. Louis took the head-to-head series with Cincinnati, six games to four, they hold the first tiebreaker advantage. For example, if St. Louis wins three and Cincinnati wins one this weekend, both teams would have 30 wins. Since St. Louis would have two fewer losses, playing Monday would not change the two clubs’ relative position in the division standings.

Cincinnati wins
0 1 2 3
St. Louis wins 0
1
2 ???
3 ND ND
4 ND ND ND
5 ND ND ND ND

ND = No Detroit

The problem in losing three of five (???)

However, there is a problem if the Brewers take three of five at Busch, even if the Reds are swept and remain stuck at 29 wins. In that case, Milwaukee would finish with 30 wins and St. Louis would have just 29 – through 58 games. The Brewers would (at least temporarily) be the second-place team in the division.

If all that was at stake is which team (Milwaukee or St. Louis) is awarded second place and which team picks up the number seven or eight seed, the Cardinals would not need to play on Monday.

However, the playoff picture is bigger than the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds. The Giants, Marlins and Phillies all currently have 28 wins and are in the thick of the race as well. And of these six teams, only four will make the post-season field. (As second-place contenders in the East, one of Miami and Philadelphia will get in, but both have a shot.)

(See the full standings here.)

So depending on how Cincinnati, San Francisco, Miami and Philadelphia fare this weekend, St. Louis’ Games 59 and 60 will need to be played – if it means the difference for one of these teams getting into the field of eight.

Continuing this weekend three-loss scenario for both the Cardinals and Reds, Monday’s results could swing St. Louis’ record anywhere from 31-29 to 29-31. 31 wins would give them second in the division. 30 wins could secure them a seventh or eighth seed (but not second in the division, because Milwaukee would hold the head-to-head tiebreaker), but the Cardinals could also miss out entirely, depending on the other contenders. Finally, just 29 wins in 60 games could send the Cardinals (and the Reds both) home for the winter.

In other words, the Cardinals control their own destiny – sort of. Taking the Brewers series would surely go a long way.

Update

Proving nothing is as simple (!) as it seems, reader so_cal_cards_fan on The Cardinal Nation’s message board came up with a couple of exception case scenarios.

The first is a case in which the Cardinals could have to play Monday even if they sweep Milwaukee. It would require San Diego to be swept.

The second went beyond the scope of the this article to illustrate how the Cardinals could still take second place in the NL Central after winning just two games this weekend. It would also require the Reds to go 1-2 at Minnesota and for the Cards to then split in Detroit on Monday .

Stop by The Cardinal Nation’s free forum to join the discussion!


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

St. Louis Cardinals Draft Recap 2009-2019 – 21st-50th Rounds


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Activate Whitley, Officially End Hudson’s Season

photo: Kodi Whitley via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement


Brian Walton’s take

After making his first Opening Day roster and his first two MLB appearances, Whitley has been on the COVID-related injured list since August 4. The rookie right-hander began to throw weeks ago, but suffered elbow soreness and traveled back and forth between St. Louis and Springfield as he ramped back up. The 22-year old has thrown 2 2/3 perfect innings to date.

Kodi Whitley

Fernandez, 23, had rejoined the team on September 16, his second 2020 stint with the club after time on the COVID IL himself. This time up, the right-hander pitched a scoreless inning in Pittsburgh on the 17th.

Junior Fernandez

Prior to the game, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak explained that based on his initial MRI, it seems clear that Hudson will not pitch again in 2020. However, his meeting in St. Louis with Dr. George Paletta was moved to Wednesday, so until then, his actions to remedy the problem are not known.

As such, Hudson was moved from the 10-day IL to the 45-day version.

Dakota Hudson


Roster ramifications

By placing Hudson on the 45-day injured list, it clears room for Whitley to rejoin the active 28 players without the Cardinals having to remove anyone from the 40-man roster. Hudson becomes the fifth Cardinals pitcher on the 45-day IL and done for the season, joining Miles Mikolas, Ricardo Sanchez, John Brebbia, and Jordan Hicks.

These transactions reduce the Cardinals 40-man roster to 40, for the first time since August 4-5.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Acquire Minor League Left-Hander from Bucs


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cardinals Activate Two Key Players for the Final Week

photo: Giovanny Gallegos via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement


Brian Walton’s take

The Fowler and Gallegos activations were expected as progress reports from John Mozeliak and Mike Shildt pointed to the third and final stop on this road trip, Kansas City, as their joint return.

In doing so, the club welcomes back two valuable performers – its best-hitting outfielder in 2020 and its closer.

Fowler is one of only three Cardinals with an OPS+ over 100, with his 124 mark trailing Paul Goldschmidt (151) and Brad Miller (128). On September 2, when the 34-year old went onto the injured list, he was slashing .279/.349/.485/.834 with four home runs and 14 RBI. The switch-hitting outfielder reached base safely in 19 of his 23 games while co-leading the Cardinals in home runs and ranking second in RBI at the time.

Dexter Fowler

Fowler had been trying to play through from a stomach ailment for several weeks, a recurrence of a problem he had in the past, prior to his St. Louis years. He had been trying different medications but did not get hoped for relief, so had to switch to a medication that would weaken his immune system. So, as a precaution, he was placed on the COVID-related IL

Giovanny Gallegos

Gallegos has a 3.97 ERA and four saves. The right-hander has fanned 14 against just three walks in 11 1/3 innings in 2020. Exactly 10 days ago, on September 11, the 29-year old was placed on the 10-day injured list with a groin injury. The Cardinals played 13 games without their closer, with Andrew Miller the primary replacement.

Justin Williams

Williams, 25, received his first-ever promotion to St. Louis on September 17 after two years of trying. The left-handed hitting outfielder went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts plus a walk.

Nabil Crismatt

Crismatt, 25, has pitched his way into a semi-regular role with good results in low-leverage situations, but is a victim of numbers. The right-hander has a 3.24 ERA in 8 1/3 innings over six appearances. Crismatt fanned eight against just one walk, but also yielded two long balls.

Roel Ramirez

Like Williams and Genesis Cabrera, Ramirez joined the Cardinals from Tampa Bay in the Tommy Pham trade in July 2018. Like a number of other Cardinals pitchers in this compressed season, the 25-year old was rushed to St. Louis before he was ready. In his lone outing with St. Louis, on August 16, Ramirez was bombed for six earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. He was returned to the alternate camp and was not recalled since.

Roster ramifications

Ramirez was the obvious choice to be removed from the 40-man roster to make room for Fowler, who had temporarily been exempted from the roster due to his COVID risk.

Ramirez’ next move will be decided in the next seven days – whether traded, claimed off waivers by another organization, outrighted to the minor leagues or released. Likely Ramirez will clear outright waivers and remain in the organization – following the path of fellow hurlers Alvaro Seijas, Ryan Meisinger, Jesus Cruz and Rob Kaminsky before him this summer.

The Cardinals have just one remaining player on the COVID IL, relief pitcher Kodi Whitley, who has since been dealing with an elbow issue. The 40-man roster is at 41 players as a result, not including four 45-day IL pitcher done for the season – Miles Mikolas, Jordan Hicks, John Brebbia and Ricardo Sanchez.

Playing time ramifications

With Fowler’s return, he will likely reclaim his starting job in right field. As Tyler O’Neill continues to be the regular in left, the only place for top prospect Dylan Carlson is center field. After a recent hot spell, Harrison Bader has cooled off over the last week and seems most likely to lose playing time in the final week.

As soon as Gallegos shows he is ready, he should be back covering the ninth inning. The set up corps is strong with Cabrera, Miller and Tyler Webb from the left and Alex Reyes and John Gant from the right.

Mozeliak remarks

Prior to Monday’s game, the president of baseball ops answered our questions.

Taxi squad – Williams and Crismatt join the carryovers from Pittsburgh, who are Andrew Knizner, Johan Oviedo, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Max Schrock. Obviously, that is six when only five are allowed. It is not clear which one is excluded and is in St. Louis instead of KC. My guess is Ponce.

Kodi Whitley – The right-hander threw Saturday and recovered well Sunday, so he might be activated in the next few days.

Dakota Hudson – The injured right-hander has returned to St. Louis. Next step is to be evaluated by Dr. George Paletta to decide his treatment plan.

Austin Dean – Is working in secondary camp in St. Louis, but will run into a roster crunch. About out of time for this season.

Secondary camp – The group of seven or eight players includes those who have already seen time with St. Louis this season. (Therefore, it would exclude Edmundo Sosa and Elehuris Montero.) Leading the camp are coaches Chris Swauger and Joey Hawkins. Jose Oquendo has returned home to Florida.

Games 59 and 60 – The two makeup contests on Monday, September 28, if required, will be held in Detroit. Mozeliak said he does not know if Game 2 would be played if the result of Game 1 determines it does not have post-season impact.

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Shildt comments

The manager followed the PBO before Monday’s game.

Gallegos – His return as closer is being thought about. Fortunately, they also have other options so will evaluate daily.

Fowler – He is ready to go. Expect he will be an every-day fixture in the lineup.

Austin Gomber – His choice as Game 2 starter was based on him being the most stretched out, capable of throwing 80 pitchers. Did not want to bring back Daniel Ponce de Leon again on short rest. Johan Oviedo not yet eligible to return from minors (inside of 10 days).


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Acquire Minor League Left-Hander from Bucs


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals to Quarantine – Except for those Excluded

A little-understood ramification of the recent agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players Association to prepare for the 2020 post-season has closed alternate camps. In the process, dozens of players across the game are being sent home for the off-season, including a group of St. Louis Cardinals prospects.

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A Second Reason Why Albert Pujols Made the Best Decision

photo: Albert Pujols (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Albert Pujols was in the news this past week. On Friday evening, the 40-year old hit his 661st career home run, passing the great Willie Mays and moving him into sole possession of fifth place on the all-time MLB leaderboard. Only Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez (next ahead with 696) have more.

Of those home runs, the future Hall of Famer swatted 445 in his 11 seasons starring for the St. Louis Cardinals. The 217 remaining have come since he joined the Los Angeles Angels starting in 2012, and in my estimation, that long ball total is higher than it would have been had he remained a Cardinal.

Arte Moreno and Albert Pujols, Feb. 1, 2012 (Getty Images)

Pujols’ Angels contract drew wide attention at the time due to its high monetary value and long duration, especially for a player already in his 30’s. The 10-year deal delivers him $240 million plus incentives and runs through 2021. From there, a since-abolished-for-others 10-year personal services contract of $1 million per year will kick in.

Many Cardinals fans were angry at the time, but given Pujols’ drop in production as he aged, few if any would do it differently today. The common understanding is that his $24 million annual salary would have continually hamstrung the Cardinals attempts to improve the team in other areas.

On Twitter, a poster wondered how Pujols’ career path would have changed had he remained with St. Louis.

My answer is that it seems likely his career totals would have been lower. Here is why.

Despite them being managed carefully, Pujols’ chronic foot problems have continued to limit his ability to play in the field. Fortunately, the Angels being an American League team enabled Pujols to remain in the lineup at a less physically-demanding position – designated hitter – something he has done often over the years.

Albert Pujols (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Prior to 2020, Albert appeared in that role in a whopping 546 games for the Halos. Had he remained a Cardinal, those opportunities would not have been available to him.

Could he have played in the field in part of those designated hitter games? Perhaps, but at what cost physically and how many of his future games could have been lost as a result?

I feel quite confident in suggesting that Pujols’ career results are greater because he has played in the American League the last nine years.

So, not only for the Cardinals payroll and their overall competitiveness, but also for Albert’s legacy, his move to the Angels has likely worked out for the best.


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Cardinals PBO John Mozeliak Outlines Staff Reductions

photo: John Mozeliak via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Prior to Friday’s doubleheader in Pittsburgh, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak addressed the media via Zoom.

His initial objective was to outline staff reductions that “started a few days ago” in both the team business and baseball operations functions.

Mozeliak called out three contributing factors “under the umbrella of 2021 uncertainty”:

  • The pandemic
  • Minor league changes – starting with two less teams in 2021 means 12 full-time positions eliminated
  • Amateur scouting calendar changed – don’t know when high school and college play will begin – looking to better use amateur and professional scouts by “cross-pollinating” them

Though Mozeliak would not comment on the number of employees affected, he did offer some general perspective on which functions were targeted and why.

The focus was on those employees not fully “engaged”, and in areas that had grown over time. Examples he shared:

  • Only one area scout was not renewed for 2021 (out of 15 by my count)
  • They did not have a Performance Department in 2011
  • Analytics grew from four to 17 employees
  • Mental strength coaches were added
  • The Cardinal Core program has been “put on pause” (This department, focusing on off-field development of targeted prospects, includes five individuals, including former players Braden Looper, Ryan Ludwick and Orlando Palmeiro)

Mozeliak said the MLB staff, another area of recent expansion, will be reviewed after the season. However, he “hopes” there will be no headcount reductions there.  Mozeliak reaffirmed the need for two big league hitting coaches, noting “every player hears a different voice.”

Specifics (to be added)

Dann Bilardello (Palm Beach Cardinals)

With 217 career saves, Isringhausen is the team’s all-time leader in the category. In recent years, he was a roving pitching instructor in the minor leagues. Ludwick, a former outfielder with the club, served as a roving hitting instructor along with his Cardinal Core advisory duties.

Bilardello, a former MLB catcher, was once the organization’s catching coordinator. 2020 would have been his 11th season managing in the system and 16th overall, including time in the Red Sox and Dodgers organizations. His 2017 Palm Beach team was named co-champions of the high-A Florida State League. Bilardello also managed Cardinals farm clubs in the New York-Penn, Midwest and Texas Leagues.

Update

Team President Bill DeWitt III told the St. Louis Business Journal that over two dozen employees were let go. In addition to Mozeliak’s baseball operations, sales and servicing on the business operations side were affected.


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Dylan Carlson Returns to Cardinals, Lineup

photo: Dylan Carlson via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

The comma in the title to this article is important. Just as when Dylan Carlson was initially promoted to the St. Louis Cardinals back on August 15, his return on Friday is under similar conditions – with regular playing time attached.

“We will try to get him a lot of at-bats,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said before Friday’s doubleheader in Pittsburgh. He advised Carlson to “Take a deep breath, don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders and go have some fun.”

The organization’s top prospect struggled to consistently hit breaking pitches and was optioned to the Cardinals alternate camp 10 days ago, on September 8.

Following Mozeliak, Mike Shildt disclosed that the 21-year old will be in the team’s Game 2 lineup on Friday. From there, playing time decisions will be day-to-day, the manager said.

Dylan Carlson

Mozeliak on other players

On Dakota Hudson – He went to have an MRI today. Want to see level of inflammation to see if he can pitch the rest of the year (just 10 days left).

On Dexter Fowler – Hopes he can return early next week. Will know more on Sunday.

Shildt comments

On Carlson – A pause has been positive for a lot of guys. Time will tell (for Carlson). Needed a mental break. Told him to get back to what anchored him at this level. He will embrace that and be fine.

On Ponce – Very resilient guy. Throws a high number of pitches in his between starts pen (50-55). He likes to throw a lot. (He is pitching Friday on just three days rest.)

On Kolten Wong – He checked all the boxes on Thursday. Back in there ready to go.

On John Gant – Will talk to him after this Zoom call.

On Tyler O’Neill – He leads all left fielders in ground covered. Has a range factor like a center fielder. A big man who can really run. Told him after last season to focus on defense to become a complete player.

Update

Within an hour of Shildt’s closing remarks, the following news was released. It effectively ends Hudson’s season with a 3-2 record and a 2.77 ERA over eight starts.

Crismatt was just sent down on Wednesday, but can be recalled inside the normal 10 days since he is replacing an injured player.

Ponce de Leon, Austin Gomber and Johan Oviedo should be asked to pick up the rotation slack.

The Cardinals have six other pitchers on the injured list with only Kodi Whitley and Giovanny Gallegos not out for the season.

“It’s definitely more impactful than we first thought,” Shildt said Friday evening.

Roster implications

With these moves, the Cardinals are carrying 16 pitchers and 13 position players on Friday.

As noted, Ponce de Leon is designated as the 29th man for Friday’s twin bill and is starting Game 2. This is his third such designation since he was sent down on August 29th  As 10 days have passed since he was last optioned out, the right-hander could remain on the active roster with another player sent out for Saturday.

Others currently on the taxi squad are pitchers Nabil Crismatt and Johan Oviedo, catcher Andrew Knizner and Schrock.

Post-doubleheader updates

Note that Kaminsky will be eligible to return to minor league free agency this fall, though if both sides are agreeable, he could return to the Cardinals for 2021.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


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Cardinals Wins in Pittsburgh Could Matter More than in Kansas City

photo: Kolten Wong and Jacob Stallings (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals have played 45 games to date in 2020 and have just three (or four) series remaining. Immediately ahead is an eight-game, two-city road trip to Pittsburgh and Kansas City to be played over the next seven days.

In the following, I will explain why each win against the Pirates may become even more important that each victory over the Royals.

The Cliffs Notes version of the answer is that it has to do with the tiebreakers for playoff seeding. More on that below.

Even so, as many as seven games remain after St. Louis’ current road trip concludes. Most likely, the playoff picture will still be undecided heading into that final stretch.

Next Thursday, the Cardinals return home for a five-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers that could decide the post-season fate for both clubs. If needed for playoff seedings, St. Louis would need to play two rescheduled games with Detroit as the home team on Monday, September 28.

That final doubleheader would get St. Louis to 60 games, eliminating percentages deciding playoff berths due to unequal numbers of games played.

This final point is especially relevant today, Thursday, September 17, as the Cardinals fell percentage points behind Cincinnati for the final playoff berth after splitting their Wednesday twin-bill in Milwaukee.

Even after 60 games, the possibility of a tie in the combined view of the league standings used for seedings is probable. That led me to look up the tiebreaker rules. The relevant section follows.

The first tiebreaker is head-to-head record (if applicable). If that’s also a tie, the next tiebreaker is intradivision record. If that’s still a tie, the next is record in the final 20 division games (plus one until the tie is broken).

Let’s break down the first two (as the third is still too wide open to evaluate).

First tiebreaker – Head-to-head record

Reviewing the Cardinals’ records against teams they might tie in the standings provides a generally positive picture:

Chicago 5-5
Cincinnati 6-4
Milwaukee 2-3 (plus five games remaining)

So, if the Cardinals tie a division rival, they would edge the Reds or remain deadlocked with the Cubs (and move to the second tiebreaker), with the Brewers outcome to be determined.

This tiebreaker could either be used to decide first and/or second place in the division as well as for one of the two wild cards, the seventh and eighth seeds in the National League.

However, if first or second place in the Central Division is not in the offing for St. Louis, other NL teams are also in competition for those same two wild cards.

Second tiebreaker – Intradivision record

This is still too close to call.

Cubs 21-15 (four games remaining)
Cincinnati 19-18 (three to go)
Milwaukee 16-16 (eight ahead)
St. Louis 15-15 (10 to be played)

Other wild card contenders:

Miami 17-14 (nine remaining)
Philadelphia 20-15 (five to go)
San Francisco 15-17 (eight left)

This tells the story why I asserted above that upcoming wins over Pittsburgh (and Milwaukee) may be more valuable than victories over interleague opponent(s) Kansas City (and Detroit).

Wins against division opponents elevate the Cardinals in both the first and second tiebreakers, opposed to results against American League Central squads, which do not factor into either of these two tiebreakers.

Of course, the Cardinals prefer to win every game and will try equally hard to do so, but this clearly illustrates why some wins down the stretch may be even more important that the others.

This final phase begins Thursday night in Pittsburgh against a team that is only playing for its pride, a situation that could prove to be dangerous to the Cardinals’ playoff hopes.

Despite the Bucs’ MLB-worst 14-34 record, they have won three of five over St. Louis to date in 2020, their best record against any opponent.


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Cardinals Activate Oviedo to Start in Flurry of Wednesday Moves

photo: Johan Oviedo (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals release

Prior to their double-header today (Wednesday, March 16) in Milwaukee, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the following roster moves:

  • Right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo activated from the Injured List;
  • Infielder Max Schrock recalled from the Alternate Training Site;
  • Right-handed pitcher Junior Fernandez recalled from the Alternate Training Site.
  • Optioned right-handed pitcher Nabil Crismatt to the Alternate Training Site;
  • Optioned outfielder Lane Thomas to the Alternate Training Site;
  • Left-handed pitcher Rob Kaminsky designated for assignment;
  • Outfielder Justin Williams named 29th man for today’s double-header.

Oviedo has appeared in four games (all starts) this season, going 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched.

Fernandez, who appeared in 13 games for the Cardinals last season, has worked in two games out of the bullpen this season.

Schrock, who made his Major League debut earlier this season, has made appearances at 2nd base (5 games) and 3rd base (2 games) – making a total of four starts between the two positions.  Schrock, who bats left, hit his first M.L. homer on Aug. 17 in the 2nd game of double-header against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The left-handed hitting Williams, acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in 2018, will be making his Cardinals debut with his first game appearance.  He did take one at-bat with Tampa Bay during his lone Major League game played on July 21, 2018.


Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinals moved to strengthen their rotation, bench and bullpen, heading into five games in the next three days. Seven players are on the move, with four joining the active roster.

As expected, Oviedo returns from his time on the COVID-related injured list due to his exposure to an individual who tested positive for the virus. The right-hander was tested daily and remained asymptomatic. As such, Oviedo was able to continue his normal between-start throwing routine, but has gone nine days since his last game action. The 22-year old last pitched in Chicago on September 7, when he yielded three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Overall, the rookie is 0-2 with a 4.66 ERA and the Cardinals lost all four of his starts.

Oviedo is starting in Game 2 of Wednesday’s double-header and is needed to provide innings to a stretched St. Louis pitching staff. More starts could be in his future if he can impress.

Johan Oviedo

With starting second baseman Kolten Wong unable to swing a bat without pain in his side, the Cardinals added another infielder in Schrock. The 25-year old can play second and third base as well as pitch in an emergency. At the plate, the left-handed hitter is batting just .176 (3-for-17, including one home run). He will likely serve as a reserve.

Max Schrock

Fernandez was on the COVID IL from August 4 to 27, prior to which he tossed one scoreless inning. The right-hander pitched in just one game upon his return, allowing six earned runs in one plus inning and was optioned out on August 29. Going forward, Fernandez will have to earn meaningful innings out of the back of the pen.

Junior Fernandez

Crismatt, 25, has improved his stock since his debut on August 17. The right-handed has pitched 8 1/3 innings over six games, finishing all six. He has been charged with three earned runs for a 3.24 ERA.

Crismatt’s most recent outing was three out-eating innings to close out Tuesday’s 18-3 rout at the hands of Milwaukee. He received kudos from his manager both after Tuesday’s game and again on Wednesday.

Staff leader Adam Wainwright has taken a shine to the Colombian native. Wainwright recently said, “He has similar stuff to me – except his change-up is better. It is nasty. He knows who he is as a pitcher and does not try to do too much.”

Crismatt should be back in 10 days or sooner as a 29th man in upcoming doubleheaders.

Nabil Crismatt

As noted, Williams made his MLB debut on July 21, 2018 for Tampa Bay. He played three innings, going 0-for-1, and was sent down afterward. He was dealt to the Cardinals in the Tommy Pham trade 10 days later, along with Genesis Cabrera and Roel Ramirez, both of whom made their St. Louis debuts earlier. The 25-year old outfielder has been working to get back to the majors in the 26 months since.

Williams is making his first start in the majors in right field and batting seventh for St. Louis in Wednesday’s Game 1. A good game could keep him in the lineup, as the outfield production has been lacking.

Justin Williams

In the competition for a starting role this spring and again in Summer Camp, Thomas did not beat out Tyler O’Neill, opening the season as the fourth outfielder. He came down with COVID-19 in the team’s second wave and was on the IL from August 15 to 31.

Upon his activation, Thomas has played uncharacteristically poorly in the field and at the plate. The 24-year old has just four hits and four walks in 40 plate appearances for a slash line of .111/.200/.250/.450. With the alternate camp closing this weekend, it may take injuries to others for Thomas to get another shot in 2020.

Lane Thomas

Kaminsky, 25, drew the short straw, losing his 40-man roster spot so Oviedo could be activated off the COVID-related IL. The lefty had been used in low-leverage situations, pitching five times overall since his August 16 debut. Kaminsky yielded three runs in 4 2/3 innings for a 3.86 ERA.

Rob Kaminsky

It is unclear the current makeup of the taxi squad, as Fernandez, Schrock and Williams had been assigned there prior to their activation Wednesday.


Roster implications

With these moves, the Cardinals are carrying 16 pitchers and 13 position players on Wednesday.

Though Williams is designated as the 29th man for the twin bill, he could remain after the double-header to replace the sent-down Thomas as a reserve infielder. On the other hand, infielder Tommy Edman has already been playing in the outfield, a fact that Mike Shildt noted prior to the game.

So whether or not Wong is out longer, Schrock could remain as infield insurance. While Wong was optimistic before Wednesday’s games that he could run and play defense if needed, his inability to swing the bat without pain has to be concerning. The regular second baseman experiences pain in his ribcage when twisting to his left.

Kolten Wong via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Kaminsky is immediately off the 40-man roster. His next move will be decided in the next seven days – whether traded, claimed off waivers by another organization, outrighted to the minor leagues or released. I would not be surprised if he clears waivers and is outrighted, remaining a Cardinal, as happened recently with Alvaro Seijas, Jesus Cruz and Ryan Meisinger. Then again, another organization might want to add the lefty reliever for the final two weeks.

The 40-man roster is now down to 42. Two remaining COVID IL players are still working their way back and have yet to return to the active roster – Kodi Whitley and Dexter Fowler (the latter who did not test positive). Accordingly, two current 40-man players will need to follow Kaminsky off the roster if/when the COVID duo are ready to be activated. Fowler appears to be closest, with details just below. Whitley has an undetermined elbow injury and has been in Springfield.

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Shildt’s pre-game updates

Among other comments by manager Mike Shildt prior to Saturday’s game were the following.

On Molina: “He is in there. Nothing broken.” He wants to catch his brother Wainwright tonight.

On Wainwright: “It is good to have his steady hand.”

On Oviedo: “His rapid test (today) was negative. He will pitch in Game 2 (as the starter).”

On Tuesday night’s fracas: “I had a conversation with the commissioner’s office (Chris Young) and talked through my version. (Shildt was later suspended one game.)

On Molina’s concern Tuesday as Crismatt warmed up: “Yadi felt he was rushed (by the umpires).”

On sidelined John Gant: “He is supposed to throw on flat ground (today).” Will get feedback after.

On Fowler: “He is doing baseball activities (in St. Louis).” Better every day. On good path. Have a target return date, but not sharing it at this time. There is optimism.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


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Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt Suspended One Game

photo: Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Major League Baseball release

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt has received a one-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for actions that contributed to inciting the benches-clearing incident in the bottom of the fifth inning of his Club’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on Tuesday night. Chris Young, Major League Baseball’s Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, made the announcement.

Shildt’s suspension will be served during the second game of today’s doubleheader as these two Clubs continue their series in Milwaukee.

Brian Walton’s take

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The incident began between Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun and Yadier Molina. The outfielder awarded first base when his swing hit Molina’s left wrist in what was ruled catcher’s interference. While Molina was being attended to the medical staff, both benches and bullpens cleared, leading to ejections of managers Shildt and Craig Counsell.

After the game, Shildt was vehement in his defense of his catcher, defending his toughness. The manager was careful not to make allegations against Braun, but noted that “it just didn’t look good” because there had been “a little conversation prior to it” between the two principals.

Shildt also acknowledged that he had stared into the Brewers dugout in response to comments being uttered.

Molina is sore but imaging did not indicate a break. He did not require placement on the injured list and is in the lineup for Wednesday’s Game 1.

Bench coach Oliver Marmol will manage the offense Game 2 as he did during the closing innings Tuesday night following Shildt’s ejection. Pitching coach Mike Maddux will run the mound staff.

Shildt update

Between games, the manager provided more detail.

“I understand it and I accept it,” he said in reference to his suspension. “I guess taking the mask off got me.”


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Cardinals Announce 2021 Spring Training Schedule

St. Louis Cardinals release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced their 2021 Spring Training schedule today in conjunction with Major League Baseball’s league-wide release.  The team’s 30-game Grapefruit League slate is set to begin on Saturday, February 27 at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium when the Cardinals face the Miami Marlins and will conclude on Sunday, March 28 at the Washington Nationals.

The Cardinals 2021 Spring Training schedule features 15 home dates and 15 road games, including four games as the visiting team against stadium co-tenants Miami Marlins (Feb. 27, March 13, 17, & 22), giving them 19 total games at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.  The Cardinals and Marlins will play a total of seven games next spring.

The Cardinals will host six different Grapefruit League opponents in 2021, including home games against the Minnesota Twins (Tuesday, March 2) and Atlanta Braves (Tuesday, March 9).  The club will also host the Marlins (three games), Nationals (four games), Houston Astros (three games), and New York Mets (three games).

The Redbirds will travel to the state’s Gulf Coast to face the Atlanta Braves at CoolToday Park in Venice (Wednesday, March 3) and the Minnesota Twins at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers (Thursday, March 4).

The Cardinals will play at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on all five Saturday spring dates, three as the home team (March 6, 20, & 27) and two as the visiting team (Feb. 27 & March 13).  Additionally, the team’s 2021 spring slate will feature two split-squad dates featuring home-and-away games on Sunday, February 28, (at Mets & vs. Nationals) and Sunday, March 21 (at Astros & vs. Nationals).

The Cardinals will break camp on Sunday, March 28, following their game against the Nationals and will open their regular season schedule on Thursday, April 1, at Cincinnati.  The 2021 spring schedule will mark the 24th year that the Cardinals will train at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

The Cardinals will make future announcements regarding 2021 Spring Training game times, ticket availability and player report dates and a later time.  The complete 2021 Cardinals Spring Training schedule can be viewed at cardinals.com and follows.

Brian Walton’s take

Wouldn’t it be great if these games can be played under normal conditions?

This schedule is closer to a traditional spring schedule, with the opener a week later than in 2020, for example. Yet, the 30 games in total is comparable to recent seasons.

One difference is the shortage of distant opposition. With the exception of the aforementioned home games with Minnesota and Atlanta and one contest at the Braves’ stadium, 27 of the 30 contests will be held with the familiar nearby Marlins, Mets, Astros and Nationals.

The television and radio schedules may not be released until after the first of the year.


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Cardinals Add Monday’s Starting Pitching Duo

photo: Kwang-Hyun Kim (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement


Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinals add both of their Monday doubleheader starting pitchers to the active roster. Kim will start Game 1 in Milwaukee, with Ponce de Leon covering the nightcap.

Kwang-Hyun Kim

Kim, 32, had been on the injured list since September 2 with a kidney ailment. He was diagnosed with a blockage in his kidney that caused an infection, requiring an overnight hospital stay. Kim’s treatment was blood thinners, which made him vulnerable to cuts and bruises.  To date in his first season pitching in the US, Kim has made four starts with an 0.83 ERA and one save over 21 2/3 innings.

Daniel Ponce de Leon

Ponce de Leon, 28, has been on and off the active roster since losing his starting berth due to abbreviated outings. Before his move to the injured list, Johan Oviedo made four starts in Ponce’s turn. In six appearances, including five starts this season, Ponce has a 7.47 ERA and a 0-3 record in 15 2/3 innings.

Austin Dean

In just his second start of 2020, Dean, 26, had to leave Sunday’s contest in the fifth inning. The outfielder had joined St. Louis last Thursday after a long stay on the COVID-related IL and a rehab at the Springfield alternate camp.

A move not made was with relief pitcher John Gant, who remains active. The right-hander suffered a groin injury that caused him to be removed from Sunday’s game, however it is considered to be of low enough severity that an IL move is not necessary.


Roster implications

With these transactions, the Cardinals are carrying 17 pitchers and just 12 position players on Monday.

No changes were required to either the 40-man roster or the 60-man player pool.

This article will be updated later in the day with the up-to-five members of the taxi squad for this road trip. (It will likely be no more than four players so there is room for a return of today’s 29th man (or his alternate).)


Mozeliak and Shildt updates

Prior to Monday’s Game 1, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt met with the media and shared updates on several players.

John Mozeliak via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Austin Dean – Mo called his forearm flexor injury a “stinger.” Might have gotten by without an IL move in a normal yeas, but it is “hard to play a man short right now.”  The outfielder remains in St. Louis for therapy and then could return to Springfield for some at-bats.

Taxi squad – catcher Andrew Knizner, infielder Max Schrock, outfielder Justin Williams and relief pitcher Junior Fernandez comprise the initial taxi squad for the road trip. Daniel Ponce de Leon or another pitcher would likely become the fifth member following Monday’s twin bill.

Johan Oviedo continues to take COVID tests and they remain negative. He has been able to play catch and threw a side session the other day, everything he would normally do between starts. If he continues to test negative, his return for Wednesday’s doubleheader is possible.

John Gant had a similar groin injury earlier in the season. The team did not make it public and gave him two to three days off. Shildt hopes the reliever can return in a day or two.

Mozeliak would not comment if the current 12 position player roster mix would continue, but noted they do not want to run the position players into the ground. He repeated his common answer that the roster is managed from day to day.  Mo did say that if the starters go deep on Monday, they might manipulate the roster another way tomorrow.

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Alternate camp news

On Sunday, the organization added two pitchers to their player pool and alternate camp from the Double-A Springfield roster. They are left-hander Austin Warner and right-hander Tommy Parsons, both of whom are normally starters.

Austin Warner

Tommy Parsons

The two increase the total of pool players to 63 minus three unknown players to have been exempted or removed from the pool.


Post game update


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

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St. Louis Cardinals Mourn the Loss of Charles Peterson

photo: Charles Peterson (Spring Valley (SC) Athletics)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Charles Peterson (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals organization was deeply saddened this evening (Sunday, September 13) to learn of the passing of amateur scout Charles Peterson. The entire organization extends its condolences to the Peterson family and Charles’ many friends.

Subsequent to the conclusion of his playing career, Charles began his scouting career by working for the MLB Scouting Bureau. Hired by the Cardinals in 2012, Charlies scouted in the Upper Midwest before returning to his home state of South Carolina, and serving as Special Assistant to the Scouting Director. He was the signing scout of 2020 First Round Daft Selection Jordan Walker.

“Charles had an incredible impact on our scouting department. He brought a tremendous work ethic, keen eye, and booming laugh with him every day.  My prayers are with his wife Karen and family as anyone who ever talked to CP knew how proud he was of them.”  – Randy Flores, Assistant G.M./Scouting Director

“Charles always would light up the draft room. His smile, his voice, his energy…you knew it was Charles. He was a special man that made others better. He will be missed.” – John Mozeliak, President of Baseball Operations


Brian Walton’s take

COVID-19 has prematurely claimed another precious human life. The 46-year old passed after a lengthy battle with the respiratory virus, after having been hospitalized since August 17.

While Peterson was a celebrated baseball scout, he accomplished so much more, including giving back to his community.

In the off-season, Peterson was in his fourth year as a volunteer assistant football coach with Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. His peers offered tributes.

His son Trey, who will be a 2021 graduate, is a defensive lineman on the Vikings squad.

As a high schooler himself, Peterson had been a standout in multiple sports at Laurens District 55 High School in South Carolina. In football, he was a Shrine Bowl selection and Parade All-American quarterback, named the state’s Player of the Year in both baseball and football in 1993.

The speedster, timed at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash, was a center fielder and pitcher in baseball. In two seasons on the mound, Peterson logged a 10-1 record with an ERA of 0.73 and tossed two no-hitters.

He was recruited by the Universities of Miami, Alabama and Florida, but at the age of 19, turned them all down.

Peterson selected baseball as his professional vocation, and became the first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1993, taken 22nd overall. He was an all-star in two of his first three seasons, swiping 33 bags in a season twice, but his hoped-for power to become a true five-tool player never fully developed.

In his first full year at Double-A, Peterson led the 1996 Carolina Mudcats in hits, RBI and stolen bases while contributing 16 outfield assists. The outfielder-first baseman progressed to Triple-A before the affiliated ball segment of his career ended in 1998.

He continued to play the game he loved, however, as Peterson competed eight more seasons, primarily in independent ball in the US and Canada. He also spent parts of two seasons in Mexico and a portion of another in China.

Family friends have organized a GoFundMe campaign to help Peterson’s survivors with their expenses.

May CP rest in peace!


Related article

St. Louis Cardinals COVID-19 Time Line


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Cardinals Closer Gallegos to Miss Much of Remaining Action

photo: Giovanny Gallegos via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement


Brian Walton’s take

It is a possibility that Gallegos’ 2020 season will be bookended by disappointment.

The 29-year old opened the schedule on the injured list due to COVID-19. His season may end on the IL due to a groin injury.

Giovanny Gallegos

Gallegos was hurt during Thursday’s seventh and final inning of Game 2 against Detroit, which became his worst outing of the season – a very difficult loss both for the right-hander and his team.

Prior to Friday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds at Busch Stadium, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt hesitated to put a timetable on the closer’s return.

“Clearly, it’s going to be every bit of ten days, and some of those things can take two weeks,” Shildt said.

Remember that only 16 calendar days remain in the 2020 regular season.

Shildt also offered a view of his upcoming starting pitchers.

As previously disclosed, Dakota Hudson will pitch Saturday, followed by Carlos Martínez on Sunday to close the homestand. Daniel Ponce de Leon will rejoin the club to take the ball in one of the doubleheader games on Monday. Kwang-Hyun Kim is a possibility to come off the injured list to make the other Monday start, depending on his recovery. Johan Oviedo, having been exposed to a positive COVID case, remains in isolation, but could be back during the upcoming road trip.

Nabil Crismatt

We reported the Meisinger news on Friday morning. Crismatt may have been returned to Springfield on paper, but in reality, the right-hander likely never left St. Louis.


Roster ramifications

No changes were made to the 40-man roster and the 60-man player pool. The Cardinals active mix of pitchers and position players remains at 15 and 13, respectively.

St. Louis has five players in the active player pool on the injured list currently. Gallegos joins Kim on the regular 10-day IL. The trio on the COVID-related IL is Oviedo, Kodi Whitley and Dexter Fowler.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Next Turn in Carlos Martinez’ Winding 2020 Road is Just Ahead


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Cardinals Place Starting Pitcher Johan Oviedo on the Injured List

photo: Johan Oviedo via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

The Cardinals take another hit to their rotation at a time they can ill afford to lose another starter. The club has 23 games remaining to be played in the next 18 days.

Johan Oviedo

The rookie Oviedo had recently settled into the rotation, taking the spot previously held by Daniel Ponce de Leon. Not a finished product, Oviedo has still been able to give St. Louis innings, averaging just under five frames in his four starts. The 22-year old has a 0-2 record with a 4.66 ERA with his most recent start having been Monday in Chicago.

Others with a starting background who may be asked to step in include Austin Gomber, Jake Woodford and Ponce de Leon, who started Game 2 of Tuesday’s twin bill before being returned to the Cardinals alternate camp.

Austin Dean

Dean, 26, was part of the second wave of Cardinals COVID cases, going onto the injured list on August 15. The outfielder-first baseman was acquired in trade from Miami in the off-season as a depth player. Dean has yet to appear in a regular season game for St. Louis after performing well in spring training.

Roster implications

Dean is the second-to-last of the Cardinals 10 positively-tested players to return. Only Kodi Whitley, who subsequently developed an arm problem, is still out. However, Dexter Fowler is also on the COVID IL due to his high risk status while taking medication for a stomach ailment.

With Oviedo joining Whitley and Fowler on the special 2020-only IL, the Cardinals are continuing to carry 43 players on their 40-man roster.


Mozeilak remarks

John Mozeliak via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak briefed the media prior to Thursday’s Game 1. He explained that after Tuesday’s twin bill, Oviedo came into contact with a non-team employee who later tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Oviedo has yet to show any signs or test positive, but has been placed in self-isolation. He will be tested daily. Mozeliak said that it is unlikely that the right-hander could pitch Sunday, but he could start Monday if his tests remain negative.

Because Oviedo did not come into contact with teammates after being around the positive individual, Mozeliak has “zero concerns about the rest of the club.” As such, they will remain on a normal every-other-day testing regimen. The PBO also said that Oviedo did not break protocol in any way.

Other players

Mozeliak provided updates on several other players as well.

Kwang-Hyun Kim – Doing really well. Still trying to understand risk proposition of him pitching in an MLB game (while taking blood thinners). No target return date was offered.

Dexter Fowler – Feeling better, but not close to return. However, he and team are optimistic that he can return in 2020.

Austin Gomber – No decision yet on the lefty starting after Thursday’s Game 2, but the need for starting pitching ahead is clear.

Shildt remarks

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Manager Mike Shildt followed Mozeliak.

Carlos Martinez – He could start Sunday. Was thinking about him going Sunday or Monday before (Oviedo went on the IL).

Kim – Threw today to a catcher. Getting used to medication. Comebacker risk in games. Possibly could return during next road trip, but not even written in pencil yet.

Jake Woodford – Improvement has been with pitch efficiency. Able to throw strikes with breaking ball and let his defense play. Tough for young players to trust stuff in zone, but he is learning that.


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Exclusively for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Next Turn in Carlos Martinez’ Winding 2020 Road is Just Ahead


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Carlson is Not Pujols or Maybe Even Taveras, but that is OK

photo: Dylan Carlson (Sam Navarro/Imagn)

Dylan Carlson (Sam Navarro/Imagn)

The top prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the game’s brightest prospects, Dylan Carlson, did not stick in his initial trial in the majors. This is not unusual and in no way damaging to the 21-year old’s significant career potential.

It seems clear that the switch-hitting outfielder has more work to do in recognition and approach at the plate, especially against breaking pitches. That will come with more repetition and experience.

St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said the following on Tuesday.

“Dylan Carlson will be just fine.” Shildt further noted, “He will be able to get a lot of live at-bats in Springfield.”

That is something that wasn’t going to be in the cards with St. Louis over the final three weeks of the compressed regular season.

Dylan Carlson

Yes, Carlson was fed a heavy diet of breaking pitches and was pitched backward. Yes, he had some bad luck early on. Welcome to the big leagues, rookie. Until a hitter proves he can adjust, pitchers will keep working in the manner that they can most effectively get him out. That’s Baseball 101.

Granted, the quality of pitching in the alternate camp is not the same as it would be if he was continuing to face experienced MLB pitchers. But at this point, a return to Springfield is deemed better for Carlson than being a bench player for the near-term in St. Louis.

Expectations

Carlson is rightfully considered a special talent, but I believe the expectations of some have been overly inflated. It starts from the top. The following is from December 2019.

19 years later, Carlson was even assigned the same number 68 that Pujols wore in his first spring training camp. In his MLB debut, Dylan was issued the number “3,” which by definition signaled very high expectations.

Albert Pujols, spring 2001 (Getty Images)

Yet with the benefit of some early hindsight, we know Carlson is not on a Pujolsian track. Albert never played a game at Double-A and only a handful of Triple-A contests to conclude the 2000 season before the virtual unknown and decided underdog hit his way onto the 2001 Cardinals out of spring training. In his St. Louis debut, Pujols was 21 years of age – same as Carlson today.

This is the last time I will reference the future first-ballot Hall of Famer in this article. Albert is simply in another class, arguably the best player of his generation.

Compared to Pujols, Taveras was signed younger and with less experience and therefore, it was not surprising he had a more measured, traditional rise through the system. While doing so, he was recognized for several years as one of the game’s brightest future lights. In fact, Taveras was among the consensus top five prospects nationally for two years running, 2013 and 2014.

Carlson just scraped the bottom of the top 10 on one top 100 prospect list this year, averaging a rank of no. 20 across seven major national raters – still a significant recognition in its own right.

Taveras’ introduction

Let’s rewind to 2014. Note the initial similarity to 2020.

As May ended, Matt Adams went onto the disabled list, opening the door for Taveras to make his MLB debut, also at the age of 21. Though it was hoped the top prospect outfielder would catch fire immediately and ignite the listless Cardinals offense, it would not be the case.

Oscar Taveras (Getty Images)

Taveras was initially given the chance to start, and homered in his MLB debut. But he could not replicate that success, batting just .189 in his first 11 games. When Adams rejoined the lineup in mid-June, the Cardinals returned Taveras to Memphis.

Oscar was recalled on July 1, apparently for good, but he only started semi-regularly and did not take off. Taveras finished his debut season with a line of .239/.278/.312/.590 over 248 plate appearances. He had three home runs and 22 RBI in 80 games, including 61 starts. His 66 OPS+ mark was not good, but compare that to Carlson at 25, where 100 is league-average.

By the playoffs, Taveras was not in manager Mike Matheny’s regular lineups. In fact, he was not given a single start in either the 2014 Division or Championship Series. In his seven post-season at-bats, all as a pinch-hitter, the left-handed batter performed well, collecting three hits, including a home run.

Less than two weeks later, he died in an automobile accident, leading us all to forever wonder, “What if?”

However, one further aspect of Taveras’ background should be noted.

Oscar had taken 448 plate appearances over 108 Triple-A games. All but two weeks of that occurred in late 2013 and in April and May of 2014, prior to his St. Louis debut. This was valuable experience that due to the unique circumstances which 2020 presented, Carlson was unable to achieve.

Carlson’s Triple-A resume to date lists just 17 games, logged at the end of last season. He passed up an opportunity to participate in the Arizona Fall League prospect showcase afterward.

In contrast, Taveras built upon his initial 46 games at the highest minor league level accumulated in 2013 with two more months at Memphis to open 2014 – all before his first call up to St. Louis.

A recent case

This reminds me of a more recent example, Tommy Edman.

Tommy Edman

The infielder put together a strong 2019 spring training with St. Louis, but his experience with Memphis at the time was limited to only 18 games plus the playoffs in 2018. Even though there was no available job with St. Louis coming into the 2019 season, some fans wanted Edman on the big-league roster and blasted the team when it did not occur.

Instead, Edman logged 218 additional Pacific Coast League plate appearances that April and May, batting over .300 and generating a career-best .869 OPS in the process. And when he did get the call up, there was a greater opportunity to play. Edman seized it and never looked back.

Those who had wanted Edman on the Opening Day roster hopped on his initial MLB success as validation that he should have been on the team day one. Instead, I considered it to be evidence that his additional Triple-A seasoning was the crucial final step in his big-league preparation.

What about others?

I shared the Edman example on Twitter Wednesday morning and received this reply from a disappointed Carlson fan.

“It’s just a bummer when a lot of other top prospects are doing so much better,” he wrote.

In response, I checked on the backgrounds of the projected leaders for the two league Rookie of the Year Awards. Notice the differences with Carlson in both age and experience.

  • American League: Luis Robert, age 23, 202 Triple-A plate appearances
  • National League: Jake Cronenworth, age 26, 432 Triple-A plate appearances

In closing

It is no one’s fault that Carlson isn’t Pujols and that he did not get the opportunity to play more extensively in Triple-A in 2020 as did others like Taveras and Edman before him.

He is not a failure in any way, but we all need to be more realistic and patient in our expectations.

Repeating what I wrote back in December, “Let’s just let Carlson be Carlson.” That should be plenty good enough, whenever it comes.


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Cardinals Activate Carlos Martinez, Option Out Dylan Carlson

photo: Carlos Martinez via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

The big news in St. Louis Cardinals land on Tuesday is “Carlos and Carlson.”

Though the Martinez move will have the most immediate impact on the team, the Carlson transaction is drawing the most fan attention.

After playing almost every day since his August 15 arrival, Carlson’s situation changed in September. Sabermetric measures suggest significant bad luck at the plate, but his modest results have been declining. As a result, his playing time diminished.

Dylan Carlson

Specifically, the 21-year old only started two of seven games this month, going 0-for-6 and extending his current stretch to 1-for-19 (.053) with no walks.  That was coming off his career-best six-game hitting streak.

Bad luck or not, in any other year, a prospect with a slash line of .162/.215/.243/.458 in his first 79 MLB plate appearances would be sent down to the minor leagues for more seasoning. His OPS+ of 25 is on a scale on which 100 is league-average. Further, Carlson’s strikeout rate of 29.1% is only exceeded among team regulars by another struggler, veteran Matt Carpenter at 29.4%.

But 2020 is not like any other year, with no Triple-A baseball.

For the system’s top prospect, this is a two-edged sword. Back in Springfield, Carlson will not see the MLB-quality breaking pitches against which he needs to improve and perhaps in the situations as presented, with experienced big-league pitchers working him backward at times (throwing breaking balls in traditional fastball counts and vice-versa).

In his Tuesday pre-game remarks, Shildt noted that it would not be human to not get frustrated if not making left turns consistently (passing first base following a base hit), observing that Carlson “started to expand (the zone) a bit.” He also said that the league adjusted to him, pitching him “like a 15-year all-star”. The result was at-bats that were not as consistent as the player and his coaches would have liked.

Mike Shildt via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The manager feels both were factors, while stating at least twice that he is not worried about Carlson, and that he “will be just fine.” Shildt highlighted his many attributes demonstrated, including switch-hitting, his ability to run, play good defense in all three outfield positions and making good and accurate throws.

But here and now, the clock is ticking. The Cardinals have 25 games remaining in 20 days and seem committed to playing those who are delivering better results. This does not change Carlson’s bright future.

Shildt reminded writers that Carlson’s situation is “not a silo,” noting that other outfielders have been taking better at-bats recently (hence their increased playing time). Even though Dexter Fowler is out indefinitely, the more experienced, yet not firm MLB starters in Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader and Lane Thomas are getting an extended trial.

President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has stated repeatedly the team’s desire to use 2020 to sort out which of the current outfielders are going to step up and become MLB starters. Carlson was not originally a part of that mix – until the team’s rash of COVID-19 cases thinned the outfield. Once up, however, he was given a fair chance with daily playing time.

This past week, Mozeliak went further, noting that the club needs to use the final three weeks to make an assessment as to whether they need to go “external” (trade or free agency) in the off-season to improve the outfield, the team’s weakest-performing position grouping in 2020.

No matter what, Carlson will be part of the Cardinals outfield plans in 2021. But right now, as the 2020 season reaches its deciding point, they have decided the time is not right.


Roster implications

Though Ponce de Leon is the 29th man on Tuesday, he could remain after the double-header because his 10-day option period has expired. It may depend on how much other pitchers are needed to get through the 14 innings on Tuesday, as well as his own performance, of course.

Daniel Ponce de Leon

Meisinger is immediately off the 40-man roster. His next move will be decided in the next seven days – whether traded, claimed off waivers by another organization, outrighted to the minor leagues or released. I would not be surprised if he clears waivers and is outrighted, remaining a Cardinal.

However, because the 26-year old has been outrighted previously, he could instead choose immediate free agency. Given the short time remaining in the season to secure another job, this seems a less likely path for Meisinger to take, but the choice will also be available to him this fall.

Ryan Meisinger

The 40-man roster is now down to 43. Three remaining COVID IL players are still working their way back and have yet to return to the active roster – Kodi Whitley, Austin Dean and Dexter Fowler (the latter who did not test positive). Accordingly, three current 40-man players will need to follow Meisinger off the roster if/when the COVID trio are ready to be activated.


Wednesday update


Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation

I go much deeper into Martinez’ ups and downs in 2020 and why his time to return to the rotation is now.

The Next Turn in Carlos Martinez’ Winding 2020 Road is Just Ahead


Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation

To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.

Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com or for fastest turnaround, pose your questions on The Cardinal Nation’s members-only forum. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2020 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.