Cardinals Non-Tender Alex Reyes, Ben DeLuzio

photo: Alex Reyes with Randy Niemann (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals announcement

Brian Walton’s take

With no 2023 contract offers made (or at least accepted), both players are now free agents.

Alex Reyes

In the case of Reyes, the move was expected, as the oft-injured reliever was in line to potentially make $2.8 million in 2023 salary via arbitration.

The Cardinals have chosen to deploy their cash and roster resources elsewhere.

Reyes, 28, signed with St. Louis in December 2012 for a bonus of $950,000 and made this way through the minor league system. Drawing top 10 national attention with 100-mph velocity and a devastating curve, Reyes was The Cardinal Nation’s no. 1 Cardinals prospect for an unprecedented four consecutive years, 2016-2019.

The then-21-year-old debuted with St. Louis in 2016 and excelled. From there, the injuries took over. 2017 was wiped out by Tommy John surgery (elbow) and a torn tendon (shoulder) in his lat ended his 2018 almost before it began.

More injuries followed in 2019, as a frustrated Reyes broke a finger punching a dugout wall while banished to Triple-A Memphis.

Moved to relief in the COVID season of 2020, Reyes began to find traction before seizing the closer’s job in the first half of 2021. He earned a National League All-Star berth before losing his ninth-inning role in the second half due to ineffectiveness.

Reyes reported to 2022 camp with an injured shoulder that due to the lockout over the off-season, precluded him from discussing the matter with team medical personnel. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum and missed another entire season.

His dominance when healthy will almost certainly open the door for Reyes to find a new home, though he may not be able to throw until May.

Risk is no stranger to all-things Reyes, but so is his tremendous upside.

Ben DeLuzio

DeLuzio was a minor league signee from Arizona one year ago, and after a nice season with Memphis, the 28-year-old joined St. Louis as an outfield reserve. He appeared in 22 games mostly as a late inning replacement in the field. In his 25 plate appearances, DeLuzio slashed just .150/.292/.200/.492.

This move was not to save cash, as DeLuzio would be paid the MLB minimum salary if he even made the team. Instead, it was likely done to create a roster opening that can be used this off-season on a trade, free agent signing or Rule 5 draft acquisition.

Friday’s minor league signing of Oscar Mercado gives the Cardinals another center field option for Memphis in 2023 without taking up a 40-man roster spot.

As noted above, the Cardinals currently have 37 players on their 40-man roster.

Chris Stratton

In a related move announced on Thursday, reliever Chris Stratton and the Cardinals came to terms on a one-year contract for $2.8 million. This was done to avoid arbitration or a potential non-tender situation instead. By settling now, the Cardinals have cost certainty for the right-hander’s 2023 services.

For more

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