News: Cardinals designate Kevin Siegrist for assignment

What happened. The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have activated LHP Kevin Siegrist from the 10 day disabled list and designated him for assignment. They have also recalled RHP John Gant from Memphis to fill Mike Leake‘s spot on the 25 man roster.

The story. The Cardinals had 24 hours to fill Leake’s spot per the collective bargaining agreement, so that is what led to Gant’s return to the club. His 40 man roster spot is being kept warm for Jack Flaherty, who was announced as Friday’s starter against the Giants.

Meanwhile, Kevin Siegrist has been on the disabled list since August 6th with left forearm tendinitis and was designated for assignment which will remove him from the 40 man roster immediately and open up a spot for a September call up tomorrow.

The numbers. John Gant, who was one of three players the Cardinals acquired in exchange for Jaime Garcia over the winter, has a 3.83 ERA in 18 starts for Memphis this season, including a 2.97 ERA over his last five. This will be his second stint in the big leagues this season. He made one relief appearance during his stint in June where he allowed two earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. He has a career 4.89 ERA over 53.1 MLB innings over the past two seasons between Atlanta and St. Louis.

Kevin Siegrist was once upon a time one of the best relievers in baseball, but problems staying healthy had turned 2017 into a tough year for the left hander. In 2015 and 2016, Siegrist combined to post a 2.44 ERA in 136.1 innings, but he struggled this year to a 4.98 ERA over 34.1 innings. He had an earlier DL stint this season for a neck issue and now for an arm problem and the club elected to designate him for assignment.

The impact. 2/10. Today was mostly procedural for the Cardinals, but I do find it surprising that they elected to designate Kevin Siegrist for assignment considering how good he has been when healthy the past few years. I suppose he was too much of an injury risk to invest in for next season. And with Tyler Lyons, Brett Cecil, and perhaps Ryan Sherriff out there, it was getting crowded in the bullpen for left handers.

Cardinals activate Adam Wainwright

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today this morning that they have activated RHP Adam Wainwright from the disabled list for today’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. In a corresponding move, the Cardinals placed LHP Kevin Siegrist on the 10 day disabled list with left forearm tendinitis.

Wainwright, who went on the disabled list on June 25th for mid-back tightness, has been one of the Cardinals’ most troubled starters this season and is the only one of their primary five who has posted a below league average ERA+. Despite all of that, he leads the Cardinals with 11 wins and the team is 12-8 in games he starts.

Over his previous five starts, Wainwright is 4-0 with a 3.73 ERA. He missed two starts while on the disabled list.

He will make his second start of the season in Great American Ballpark against Cincinnati today. In that start on June 6th, he went 3.2 innings and allowed 9 earned runs.

This is Siegrist’s second stint on the disabled list this season, spending three and a half weeks in late June and early July on the DL for a cervical spine strain. This time it is a left forearm strain.

Siegrist has struggled this season with a 4.98 ERA in 39 appearances. Since he returned from his previous DL stint, he has a 5.14 ERA in 7 appearances, but all four runs he allowed came in the same appearance. He last pitched on Thursday, throwing a perfect 7th inning with two strikeouts.

Siegrist gets activated

To complete the roster moves made the other day, the Cardinals will activate left handed pitcher Kevin Siegrist from the 10 day disabled list. The reliever had been on the DL since June 23rd for a cervical spine sprain.

Siegrist had a 4.50 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in 27.1 innings for the Cardinals this season before his disabled list trip this season, including a 4.15 ERA and 1.27 WHIP over his last 10 appearances.

He made a pair of rehab appearances at Double-A Springfield where he pitched 2 innings and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk.

It had been speculated that left handed reliever Zach Duke would get the call to return today. He had Tommy John surgery last fall and has thrown 5 scoreless outings across three levels of the minors during his rehab stint.

Grichuk and Voit up as Cardinals make flurry of moves

The St. Louis Cardinals had an active Sunday afternoon as they recalled outfielder Randal Grichuk and right handed pitcher Mike Mayers, as well as purchased the contract of first baseman Luke Voit from Memphis. The corresponding moves were Chad Huffman being optioned while outfielder Dexter Fowler and left handed pitcher Kevin Siegrist went to the disabled list.

Fowler suffered a quad injury on June 21st against the Phillies during “Star Wars Night” in Philadelphia and there was fear that it might result in him hitting the disabled list. He played in just one game since, but officially he is being placed on the DL for a right heel spur. The loss of Fowler is a blow to a stagnant offense as he has been one of the Cardinals’ hottest hitters over the past two weeks, batting .324/.405/.676 with 4 home runs.

Siegrist has been diagnosed with a cervical spine strain as the reason for his disabled list stint. He has struggled this season, posting a 4.28 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over 27.1 innings, but has had a mostly successful June. His last appearance was on Thursday where he allowed two unearned runs on a walk and a hit in an inning of work.

Huffman returns to the minors more because he happens to have options rather than being performance related. In 12 games for the Cardinals he has hit .286/.333/.429 with a triple, including 3-for-10 as a pinch hitter. He has a 100 OPS+ which is good for league average on a team that doesn’t have a ton of league average bench pieces.

Leading the return is Randal Grichuk, who is in the lineup and batting cleanup tonight. Grichuk was demoted earlier in the month in an effort to get his bat back on track. His homework was to get a better handle on the strike zone, but that doesn’t seem to have happened.

In the first two months of the season in the Majors he had a 29.8% strikeout rate and 6.6% walk rate. During his stint in the minors, he had a 29.9% strikeout rate and 4.5% walk rate. He did mash though, batting .270/.313/.603 with 6 home runs in 14 games with Memphis.

It’s possible that his return to the Majors has more to do with Fowler’s DL trip and needing another outfielder than anything else.

The Cardinals also purchased the contract of Luke Voit who is now set to make his MLB debut. Voit has hit .322/.406/.561 with 23 doubles and 12 home runs this season with Memphis.

The downside for Voit is that, like Matt Adams, he is a first baseman only. So to get him into the lineup on a regular basis means moving Matt Carpenter back across the diamond to third base. That’s something I’m okay with as I think he’s better than most make him out to be, but I wrote a week ago that they should call Voit up.

And finally, Mike Mayers will return to the Majors for a second chance after a disastrous cup of coffee last season. In his debut for the Cardinals, he started the game and didn’t make it through two innings before he had allowed nine runs. He made three relief appearances following that start, but only kept the opponents off the board in one of them.

He has, however, once again pitched well for Memphis, posting a 5-6 record with a 3.74 ERA. Over his last five starts, Mayers has a 0.87 ERA. It’s not entirely clear what role Mayers will have for the Cardinals. He was called up to replace a reliever, but there has been rumblings that the team is considering pulling Michael Wacha from the rotation, at least temporarily. Having Mayers up would give them that option.

Rosenthal and Siegrist avoid arbitration too

The Cardinals have officially avoided arbitration with Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist as well as Matt Adams as all three agreed to terms on one-year deals today. Today was the deadline for teams and players to exchange salary numbers for arbitration.

Siegrist will earn about $1.6 million in his first year of arbitration. The 27 year old former 41st round pick posted a 2.77 ERA over 62 innings of work for the Cardinals last season. He has proven himself to be a reliable setup man for Mike Matheny as he has a 2.44 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over the past two seasons. In 2015 he led the league in appearances with 81.

Rosenthal will make $6.4 million in his second year of arbitration, a raise from the $5.6 million he made last season. The 26 year old Rosenthal is coming off a disastrous season that saw him post a 4.46 ERA and a 1.91 WHIP over 40 innings of work. When you factor in the importance of the innings he pitched early in the season, Rosenthal was arguably the worst pitcher in baseball last season. Those struggles were carried by a 6.5 BB/9 rate.

The big news may be that the Cardinals did not come to terms with their two other arbitration eligible players, Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha. It’s believed that the club could be working on an extension for Martinez, but Wacha will likely soon come to terms with the club.

Cardinals non-tender Seth Maness; bring back Adams and others

Today was Major League Baseball’s non-tender deadline. In case you’re not sure what that means, basically there are two classes of players under team control. There are players in their first three years of service who have their salaries set by the team, usually around the league minimum. Then there are players in their next three years of service who have their salaries set by arbitration. Now, there are more nuances than that, but that’s the basics. For those arbitration eligible players, today was the deadline to offer them their one-year contract for next season or to “non-tender” them and make them a free agent.

There were six Cardinals eligible for salary arbitration for 2017, first baseman Matt Adams and pitchers Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Seth Maness.

The Cardinals have confirmed that they have tendered contracts to Adams, Martinez, Wacha, Rosenthal, and Siegrist. So those five players are now under contract with the Cardinals for 2017. Those players and the team have until the arbitration hearing in February to agree on the player’s salary for 2017. If they can’t come to an agreement before the hearing, both sides submit a figure to the arbiter of what they believe the player should be paid and the arbiter decides who is right. The Cardinals haven’t had a case go to arbitration since the 1990s.

But there is one player that wasn’t tendered a contract, that was Seth Maness.

Maness, 28, has a career 3.19 ERA over 4 seasons with the Cardinals. He struggled this past season, but managed to put together a strong stretch through the summer, even while pitching injured. His season came to an end in August with what was said to have been Tommy John surgery. But he ended up only needing a UCL reconstruction, which gave the hope that he’d be back on the mound in 6–8 months instead of the 12–18 month recovery for Tommy John.

If you followed me on Twitter this afternoon, you know how surprised I was that Maness was let go. I figured Adams was on the fence, but argued that Maness was likely safe.

I argued that the quicker recovery time plus his relatively low salary, and him still having multiple seasons of team control ahead of him — even if he didn’t pitching 2017 — worked in his favor that they would hold onto him. I guess I was wrong.

In fact, I’m even more surprised that they let Maness go and did not perform a hard core culling of the roster that included Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal is projected to make $6.3 million — four times more than Maness — and was arguably the worst pitcher in the Majors last year. His 1.91 WHIP was just 0.002 from being the worst in the Majors among relievers who threw at least 40 innings, only former Cardinal Michael Blazek saving him from that honor. But Blazek would not have pitched the same high leverage situations that Rosenthal did.

For the guys who were kept, the roles of Siegrist and Martinez are pretty set and while the roles for Rosenthal and Wacha aren’t public, the team has discussed that they are bouncing around some ideas for what their roles would be. The question that today brings up is what the future holds for Matt Adams.

Adams, 28, hit .249/.309/.371 with 16 home runs last season for the Cardinals. Long considered a platoon candidate, Adams had his best season ever against left handed pitching, batting .283 with 3 home runs against them. There was even a point in May where Adams was the team’s leading offensive threat.

But the Cardinals recently committed to Matt Carpenter as their everyday first baseman for 2017, which means that Adams doesn’t have a pathway to a starting role for the team next year, something he’s always been given in St. Louis.

Some have suggested that he could be used off of the bench, and it does make sense as he’s hit .330 with 7 home runs as a pinch hitter in his career. However, he’s only ever played first base. Carpenter has played 154+ games three times in the past four years, so that leaves, at most, 10 starts for Adams. Even if he made 60 pinch hit appearances, that’s not even 100 plate appearances.

Adams’ best value to this team should be by trade. Either in a package to acquire something the team needs or prospects. But unlike with Jaime Garcia, where he wanted to unload a $12.5 million hot potato, I don’t think Mozeliak has a problem being left with Adams in the spring because carrying an extra first baseman is a lot easier than an extra starting pitcher.