Cardinals Sign Infielder Max Moroff to a Minor League Deal

photo: Max Moroff (Brad Penner/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed infielder Max Moroff to a minor league contract with an invitation to their major league spring training camp as a non-roster player. This was first reported by MLB Trade Rumors Tuesday afternoon and confirmed by the team that evening.

Moroff, 27, was Pittsburgh’s 16th-round selection as a Florida high schooler in the 2012 draft. After posting a .783 OPS at Double-A in 2015, he was added to the Bucs’ 40-man roster that November.

Moroff made his very brief MLB debut (of two plate appearances) during the 2016 season and scattered 207 more MLB PAs with the 2017 and 2018 Pirates before being part of a multi-player trade with the Cleveland Indians in November 2018.

With the Tribe in 2019, Moroff made 35 plate appearances before being outrighted in early May. From there, he completed the year in Triple-A, his fourth season at the level. He left the Indians as a minor league free agent that fall.

Across his 104 big league games with the Pirates and Indians, Moroff slashed .183/.277/.319/.596 over 244 career plate appearances. There is no significant advantage in his splits, either. His career fWAR is 0.3.

Max Moroff

At Triple-A, the switch-hitter has logged a slightly more impressive line of .231/.364/.394/.759. The only standout is OBP, driven by a walk rate that is consistently above 10%. However, his strikeout rate is usually in the mid-20’s.

Originally a shortstop, Moroff can also play second base and third base. He also has very limited action as a corner outfielder in the minors.

Moroff signed a minor league deal with the Mets in December 2019 and was included in New York’s 60-man player pool this past summer. However, he struggled in training camp, making two errors in his first game before slashing .192/.323/.269/.592 while striking out 10 times in 31 plate appearances.

Not surprisingly, Moroff was never added to the 40-man roster and therefore, did not play in a regular season game for the Mets at any level. He departed as a minor league free agent following the 2020 season.

With the Cardinals down several infielders from 2020 – specifically Kolten Wong, Brad Miller and Max Schrock, the organization made this signing to add veteran depth. In spring camp 2021, Moroff is expected to compete with prospect Edmundo Sosa for a reserve infield spot with St. Louis.

As a switch-hitter, Moroff might be considered a much poorer-man’s replacement for the lefty-hitting Miller, but in reality, he is more likely to take the place of the departed Max, as in Schrock. As such, Moroff is probably again headed back to Triple-A as depth insurance for the 2021 Cardinals.

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