Seven COVID-Positive Cardinals Are Identified

photo: TOPPS, Inc.

Tuesday afternoon updates

The Cardinals made a series of player and staff announcements later in the day on Tuesday. Major League Baseball also made two roster-related decisions, that as usual, were leaked through the media before an official announcement.

Brian Walton’s take

The addition of starter Carlos Martinez would seem to complete the list of Cardinals COVID-positive players. I am not sure why Rangel Ravelo has not joined the others on the injured list, however, he will likely be added in the next day or two when the replacement players are named.

The Rosenthal news confirms that all MLB teams need to get down to 28 players on Thursday, or in the case of St. Louis, get up four spots.

The addition of Steinhorn to the St. Louis staff would suggest that one of the staffers who tested positive is a hitting coach. While that is a logical assumption, it has not been confirmed.

Check back with The Cardinal Nation for more updates.

On Tuesday morning, the St. Louis Cardinals released the following on social media, shortly after catcher Yadier Molina made his own announcement via Instagram.

Via its contract tracing, the team suspects that one individual carried the virus on the charter flight to Minneapolis and a total of 12 other positive cases followed in the ensuing days.

The 13 (seven players and six staffers) have returned to St. Louis while the remainder of the team remain in quarantine in their second road trip location, Milwaukee. After just one new positive test on Monday, and no new positives on Tuesday, then with one additional clear day ahead, the team can fly home as hoped on Wednesday morning.

Along with Molina, shortstop Paul DeJong is the other member of the regular lineup to test positive. Whitley and Fernandez are relatively inexperienced, but promising members of the bullpen. Sosa and Ravelo are reserves, with Sosa primarily a middle infielder and Ravelo a corner infielder/outfielder.

Among the members of The Cardinal Nation’s top prospect list, Fernandez is ranked 11th, Sosa is 20th, Whitley 22nd and Ravelo 38th.

When the Cardinals resume their season on Friday, the six will be among the seven players inactive. MLB protocols indicate those who tested positive twice cannot be tested again for seven days. They must pass additional testing before being allowed to return, with expected ramp-up time extending their injured list stint accordingly. It is assumed all will be placed on the indefinite-in-length special IL created in 2020 specifically for COVID cases.

Molina impact

Yadier Molina

As detailed in a subscriber-only article identifying my roster addition predictions, the Cardinals had been carrying three catchers among their active 30. The prevailing expectation was that Andrew Knizner would be optioned out (but probably carried on the taxi squad) as rosters were cut to 28 then 26.

Unless Knizner or Matt Wieters is also infected, I would not be surprised to see the team run with the pair. Veteran Jose Godoy, a non-40-man roster backstop, would be my choice to join the taxi squad.

While Molina’s leadership will be missed, especially with a pitching staff that is expected to be thinner than usual, the Cardinals are fortunate to have a reserve as accomplished as the former two-time American League All-Star Wieters.

DeJong/Sosa impact

The major challenge offensively may be to replace their cleanup hitter in DeJong. There is no one in Springfield who can do that and help power a Cardinals offense that was sputtering in its three consecutive losses prior to the shutdown.

Paul DeJong

Even with Sosa also out, the Cardinals have decent depth at short. The club should be welcoming Brad Miller off the 10-day injured list and have versatile Tommy Edman available as well. If the club chooses to start Edman at short, they could return Matt Carpenter to third base and use the designated hitter position to provide at-bats to Miller and outfielders such as Lane Thomas and Austin Dean.

Edmundo Sosa

If the Cardinals want to add another infield reserve, Max Schrock, currently with the taxi squad, could be placed on the 40-man roster, which currently has two openings.

Ravelo impact

At Ravelo’s primary positions, first base and corner outfield, Dean is a good replacement. If the Cardinals want to add another outfielder to the reserve mix, the obvious pick would be 40-man outfielder Justin Williams, who also offers a left-handed bat.

Rangel Ravelo

For those anxious for the arrival of Dylan Carlson, the lack of a starting outfield berth remains his primary obstacle. That has not changed.

Whitley/Fernandez impact

Kodi Whitley

The most obvious choices if the Cardinals choose to replace two pitchers (which they should) would be Alex Reyes and Genesis Cabrera. The two experienced MLB hurlers would have been serious contenders to make the team out of Summer Camp, but reported late.

Junior Fernandez

The overall schedule

If the Cardinals are able to stay on their plan, the team will have a light workout after arrival in St. Louis on Wednesday and a full workout on Thursday. The team will likely want the replacement players at Busch Stadium as soon as possible to become accustomed to their new surroundings. The first-place Chicago Cubs await on Friday.

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For more

Check out our COVID-19 Timeline here at The Cardinal Nation, with summaries and links to key virus-related news affecting the St. Louis Cardinals and Major League Baseball back to March.

St. Louis Cardinals COVID-19 Time Line

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