Learning from Cardinals 2010 spring transaction dates

On Saturday, I noticed the first major cuts of the spring by a Major League Baseball club. They were the non-descript reassignments to minor league camp of four players, two catchers and two pitchers, made by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It got me thinking about the sequence of these moves by the St. Louis Cardinals in a typical spring. While last year’s transactions are not a guarantee of this year’s, it seems an interesting effort to take a look back.

Since game dates are different each spring, I will list the Cardinals 2010 spring moves both by the game number they occurred as well as the calendar date.

With minor League pitchers and catchers reporting this year tomorrow, Monday, March 7, one might anticipate the first round of 2011 cuts as soon as later today, Sunday. Last year, the Cardinals had played only three official games prior to that date, but with an earlier start this year, heading into Sunday, St. Louis has already completed seven of its 32 scheduled spring training games.

Note the predominance of 2010 cuts that occurred on Sundays and Mondays. In three consecutive weeks, first catching and pitching NRIs were sent to minor league camp, then around the middle of the month, a group of youngsters were optioned out and by the 20th or thereabouts, the third major trim occurred.

Also note that even after players are officially assigned to minor league camp, they can and will be called back to the major league club to help out in games as needed.

The following table lists the day/date, spring game number of 30, number of 40-man players still in camp, number non-roster invitees in camp and the detailed transactions themselves from last spring as the Cardinals went from 58 players down to their opening day 25.

St. Louis Cardinals major league spring training transactions – 2010

In camp Game 40-man NRI Cardinals major league transactions

(of 30)

Open 38 19
Fri 2/26 39 19 IF Felipe Lopez signed
Sun 3/7 #4 39 9 Minor league camp opens 3/8 – 10 NRIs reassigned
Cs Charles Cutler, Tony Cruz, Steven Hill, Robert Stock
IFs Daniel Descalso, Donovan Solano, Pete Kozma
OF Tyler Henley, Ps Charlie Zink, Sam Freeman
Mon 3/15 #12 33 9 Optioned C Bryan Anderson, 1B Mark Hamilton, OF Daryl Jones,
OF Shane Robinson, P Tyler Norrick, P Francisco Samuel
Thu 3/18 #14 32 9 First minor league games
R5 P Ben Jukich returned to Reds
Sun 3/21 #18 31 6 Optioned P Josh Kinney, reassigned NRI Ps Lance Lynn,
Evan MacLane, early invite P Shelby Miller
Mon 3/22 #19 30 1 Optioned C Matt Pagnozzi, reassigned NRIs IF Ruben Gotay,
Ps Eduardo Sanchez, Oneli Perez, Fernando Salas, Pete Parise
Fri 3/26 #22 28 1 Optioned IF Tyler Greene, OF Jon Jay
Sat 3/27 #23 27 1 Optioned P Adam Ottavino
Tue 3/30 #26 27 0 NRI P Rich Hill reassigned
Thu 4/1 #28 26 0 Traded SS Julio Lugo to Baltimore
Fri 4/2 #29 25 0 Optioned P P.J. Walters

40-man roster players are optioned out while non-roster invitees are assigned to the minor leagues. Note that in 2010, an unusual situation occurred in that no NRIs made the team out of camp. That may not be the case in 2011 as non-roster players including veterans Miguel Batista and Ramon Vazquez and youngsters Lance Lynn and Brandon Dickson are among those making their bids to come north with the Cardinals.

The Cardinal Nation subscribers should be sure to check out my recent four-part series looking at the NRI situation in depth.

”Cardinals Veteran NRI Spring History: 2005-10”
”Handicapping the 2011 Cards NRIs: Veterans”
”Handicapping the 2011 Cards NRIs: Prospects”
“Making Room for the Cards NRIs: Outrighting”

Reminder: To track all the 2011 signings, releases and other major roster moves across the entire Cardinals system, check out the Roster Matrix right here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

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