Saying Goodbyes to 48 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Players

photo: Jose Martinez (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

With St. Louis Cardinals major league camp open, it is time once again to focus on the promise of the new season. Before 2019 is officially forgotten, however, it seems appropriate to say goodbye one last time to a group of 48 players who became ex-Cardinals since the close of last season. (Only two later returned for 2020.) This total is significantly higher than the 36 departures the winter before and just 28 from two years ago.

The largest group to leave the organization is typically releases and this year was no different. The largest segment of the 29 players cut loose (28 minor leaguers plus MLB pitcher Dominic Leone) were 10 short-season pitchers, an area in which the Cardinals as an organization was weak in 2019.

St. Louis had 11 players become free agents following the 2019 season, one fewer than in each of the prior two years. Five were off the major league roster with the other six minor league free agents. This year, two major leaguers re-signed with the Cardinals for 2020, leaving a net of nine losses in this area.

The Cardinals lost four additional players via trade, all outfielders – three off the 40-man roster. Two others were claimed off waivers as the club removed them from the 40-man roster. Two minor leaguers were also lost in December’s Rule 5 draft.

All 48 are outlined in the following.

Major league free agents (5-2)

Of the five major league free agents, three are pitchers.

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
MLB FA (5-2) A. Wainwright (resign) RH StL Matt Wieters (resign) C StL
Michael Wacha RH StL Marcell Ozuna OF StL
Tony Cingrani LH StL

Starter Michael Wacha has a new home for 20202, joining the New York Mets. Lefty Tony Cingrani, who joined St. Louis while rehabbing from shoulder surgery last summer to give the Dodgers salary cap relief, remains unsigned. The Cardinals receive a draft pick for not signing outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who joined Atlanta.

Michael Wacha

For the second consecutive year, Adam Wainwright signed a relatively low-dollar, incentive-laden deal to return to St. Louis for what will be his 13th season. Veteran catcher Matt Wieters also returned, but this time was given a big-league contract from the start.

Trades (4)

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
MLB trade (3) none Jose Martinez OF StL
Randy Arozarena OF StL
Adolis Garcia OF StL
Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
Minors trade (1) none Diowill Burgos OF GCL

This area was rather busy this winter – in one area – as the Cardinals reworked the outfield part of the roster with trades. Departing were three members of the 40-man roster – Jose Martinez, Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia – along with minor leaguer Diowill Burgos.

Jose Martinez

Major league waivers (2)

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
MLB waivers (2) Mike Mayers RH StL Ramon Urias 2B Mem

Other teams were interested in two players for whom the Cardinals no longer had room. Mike Mayers was snapped up by the Angels when St. Louis moved to take the reliever off the 40-man roster. Infielder Ramon Urias joined the Orioles in the same way just this week.

Ramon Urias

Major league releases (1)

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
MLB release/ Dominic Leone RH StL none
non-tender (1)

Arbitration-eligible reliever Dominic Leone was released in November, clearing a 40-man roster spot prior to the Rule 5 draft.

Dominic Leone

Minor League Rule 5 Draft (2)

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
Minors Rule 5 (2) none Brian O’Keefe C Spr
Dariel Gomez 1B SC

Though the Cardinals were inactive in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December, the organization lost two players in the minor league phase. Both Springfield catcher Brian O’Keefe and State College first baseman Dariel Gomez were selected by Seattle. Neither are required to be returned to St. Louis.

Minor league free agents (6)

With the Cardinals having released a number of minor leaguers during the season, only six remained who were eligible to declare free agency for 2020.

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
Minors FA (6) Merandy Gonzalez RH Spr Joe Hudson C Mem
Zac Rosscup LH Mem Johan Mieses OF Spr
Chasen Shreve LH Mem
Williams Perez RH PB

Interestingly, five of the six were former 40-man roster players, though only three there were on the Cardinals’ roster – reliever Chasen Shreve, catcher Joe Hudson and pitcher Merandy Gonzalez. Of the trio, only the latter did not appear with St. Louis.

Chasen Shreve

Williams Perez had previously pitched with the Atlanta Braves, but was nowhere near able to help St. Louis in 2019. Same with lefty journeyman reliever Zac Rosscup, who had been with the Dodgers most recently.

None of the six were homegrown. The last one, Springfield outfielder Johan Mieses, had joined the Cardinals from the Dodgers in trade two years ago when Breyvic Valera lost his 40-man spot.

Minor League releases (28)

A whopping 28 2019 Cardinals left the organization via release, up from 16 during the same period a year earlier. Then again, with two Dominican Summer League teams feeding the same number of US teams as before, more releases will become the norm.

(And this is ignoring for now the 70 player jobs that would be eliminated if State College and Johnson City lose their affiliation in 2021, as proposed by MLB.)

Pitchers  Thr Tm Position Players  Pos Tm
Minors release (28) Andrew Morales RH Mem Cole Kreuter OF PB
John Fasola RH Spr Zack Gahagan 3B PB
Sam Tewes RH PB Josh Shaw 2B Peo
Ben Yokley RH PB Luis Flores IF SC
Franyel Casadilla RH Peo Brandon Purcell C SC
Dionis Zamora RH Peo Cameron Knight C SC
Junior Gonzalez RH SC Raffy Ozuna 3B JC
Hector Villalobos LH SC William Jimenez OF JC
Alex Gallegos RH JC Kevin Vargas IF JC
Wilberto Rivera RH JC Diomedes Del Rio OF JC
Enrique Perez RH JC Jean Selmo OF GCL
Anthony Trompiz RH GCL Alexander Samuel OF DSL
Wilman Madera RH GCL
Francis Ventura RH GCL
Allinson Benitez RH DSL
Hector De Los Santos RH DSL

16 are pitchers, with 10 having been pared from the short-season ranks. Nine of the 12 position players never reached full-season ball.

Andrew Morales

The biggest surprise may be former second-rounder Andrew Morales, who had received a major league spring training camp invitation as recently as last spring. However, the right-hander has struggled with injury in recent seasons.

In conclusion

A net of 46 players left the Cardinals organization since the end of last season – nine from the 40-man roster and 37 minor leaguers. 24 are pitchers, with the other 22 being position players.

In Part 2 of this annual series, I will take on a similar analysis of all the new Cardinals who have arrived for 2020.

For more

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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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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