photo: Austin Dean (St. Louis Cardinals)
St. Louis Cardinals Twitter announcement
The following players have been optioned to the Memphis (AAA) roster:
▫️ OF Austin Dean
▫️ INF Edmundo Sosa
▫️ OF Justin Williams
▫️ RHP Jake Woodford pic.twitter.com/uE0MbTNnJc
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) March 19, 2020
Brian Walton’s take
On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals made their second major roster cuts of the spring, a week after spring training was halted. It is not clear if these were moves planned just before the shutdown or are new decisions. Either way, St. Louis is not alone in optioning out players during the current coronavirus standstill.
The four, all members of St. Louis’ 40-man roster, had performed relatively well this spring, but did not seem in serious contention of making the 26-man active roster out of camp.
Dean was acquired from Miami in January to serve as outfield depth following the trades of Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena. The 26-year old slashed a respectable .250/.368/.563/.931 across 38 spring plate appearances. Dean struck out six times, same as his walk count, while playing both corner outfield and first base in camp. Likely he was in competition with Rangel Ravelo and others for the 13th hitter roster spot and should be in the outfield/designated hitter mix for the Memphis Redbirds.
Williams, who holds extra value being a left-handed swinger, was also in the scrum for an outfield reserve spot. The 24-year-old was not smooth in the outfield on occasions this spring and at the plate, slashed just .143/.226/.393/.619 in 31 Grapefruit League plate appearances. Williams, The Cardinal Nation’s no. 15 prospect for 2020, should again be a starting corner outfielder for Memphis.
Sosa, a slick-fielding shortstop, drew most of his spring attention in the field. The 24-year-old performed less admirably with the bat, with a line of .231/.279/.436/.715 over 41 spring plate appearances. Sosa’s primary chance to make the team was quashed with the February signing of infielder Brad Miller, with the veteran and Tommy Edman in line to take over for departed Yairo Muñoz as the reserve shortstop to open 2020. Sosa, TCN’s no. 17 prospect, should be Memphis’ regular shortstop to open the Triple-A schedule.
Woodword, 23, remains a solid starting pitching prospect, but is stuck behind at least eight others who are more experienced vying for that role with St. Louis to open the season. In camp, the right-hander tossed six innings across four games, yielding three earned runs for a 4.50 ERA. Woodford allowed six hits, walked two and fanned five, holding opposing batters to a collective .261 average. Woodford will return to the Memphis rotation, from where he made 26 starts in 2019 and was the starter for the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star Game. The Florida native is The Cardinal Nation’s eighth-ranked prospect.
These four cuts reduce the number of players in major league camp (when it resumes) to 53 – 33 members of the 40-man roster and 20 non-roster invitees.
On Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced its plan to compensate minor league players during the layoff. It essentially standardizes across the 30 organizations a plan the Cardinals had already announced for their own players on Wednesday.
A league-wide initiative has been announced for Minor League players to receive compensation between now and the scheduled start of the Minor League season. @MLB will continue to work with all 30 Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for compensation beyond 4/8. pic.twitter.com/Ck8Lv9uuzp
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 19, 2020
To track the status of the Cardinals’ 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.
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