Cardinals Trade Jedd Gyorko for Apparent Roster and Salary Relief

photo: Jedd Gyorko (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon (Wednesday, July 31) that they have completed a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers, acquiring left-handed pitcher Tony Cingrani and minor league right-handed pitcher Jeffry Abreu in exchange for infielder Jedd Gyorko, 2019/2020 International Cap Space and cash considerations.

Jedd Gyorko (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Cingrani, 30, is a veteran of seven-plus seasons in the majors with Cincinnati and the Dodgers.   He is currently on the 60-day Injured List (left shoulder surgery) and has not pitched this season.   The 6-4, 215-pound Cingrani owns a 12-22 career mark with a 4.01 ERA in 164 games pitched (61 starts), winning a career-high seven games for the Reds in 2013.

Abreu, 19, is a native of the Dominican Republic.   He’s 2-0 with a 4.66 ERA in six games pitched this season for the Arizona Rookie League Dodgers.  The 6-4, 200-pound Abreu was an International free-agent signing by the Dodgers in July of 2017.

Gyorko, 30, who joined the Cardinals in 2016, has been on the Injured List (back/right wrist) since June 8.   He appeared in 38 games for the Cardinals this season, batting .196 with 2 HR’s and 7 RBI.

Brian Walton’s take

By all indications, the Cardinals did not make the necessary moves to shore up their pitching staff before Wednesday’s trade deadline.

Mozeliak’s full remarks are here:

Further, unless you subscribe to the view that Yairo Muñoz and/or Tommy Edman will be more valuable to the Cardinals than Gyorko for the remainder of this season, the trade appears to be a cost-saving and 40-man roster-saving move only.

Instead of heading out on a minor league rehab, Gyorko was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday with his 40-man roster spot used on reliever Adalberto Mejia, who was claimed off waivers. However, adding also-injured Cingrani in return is a roster wash.

While the exact dollar amounts moving from the Cardinals to the Dodgers are unknown, we do know that Gyorko makes over $10 million more in salary this season than does Cingrani. (Of course, what remains are pro-rated amounts, roughly one-third by my estimation.)

Cingrani’s 2019 salary is $2.65 million, in his final arbitration year prior to free agency. He will miss the rest of season with a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder, so seems unlikely to ever appear in a game with St. Louis.

In the final guaranteed year of his six-year contract signed with San Diego in 2014, Gyorko is being paid $13 million this season, part of which is paid by the Padres. His contract also includes a $13 million club option for next season or a $1 million buyout. The latter will almost certainly be exercised.

Likely the international cap money and the cash going with Gyorko is intended to offset some or all of the remaining salary difference between the two traded major leaguers. There may also be salary cap/luxury tax benefits to the Dodgers in the deal, though frankly, that is not of interest to me.

The Cards were allocated $6.4812 million (a hard cap) to spend internationally in the 2019-2020 period and have already signed 23 players. Apparently they still had excess pool space to trade.

The bottom line is that the Dodgers have a chance to get better in 2019 by adding Gyorko, while the Cardinals appear to have saved a bit of cash – and acquired an injured prospect who is years away from St. Louis – if he ever makes it.


Fangraphs prospect analyst Eric Longenhagen reports on Abreu.

“New Cardinals prospect Jeffry Abreu (Gyorko deal) sits 89-92 with angle and cut, has an average slider. Big, 6-foot-4 19-year-old righty, likely reliever.”

Though no announcement has been made, the Gulf Coast League seems the most likely destination for Abreu. The GCL is the lowest rung of the seven US-based stops in the Cardinals minor league system. (Update: This assignment is confirmed.)

In closing, with no new addition to St. Louis’ rotation, it seems any depth help will have to come from within. As the calendar is flipped to the final month of the minor league season, neither Alex Reyes nor Austin Gomber is yet able to pitch in games, leaving Genesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley as the only active 40-man roster hopes currently. The latter is working back from his own injury problem (shoulder) and seems slated to remain in a long relief role – “starting” games, but only throwing about 50 pitches per outing.

Additional roster move

For more

To track the 25- and 40-man rosters 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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