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Cardinals Offseason in Review

The Cardinals are getting ready to start the season. Let's see how we got here.

Craig Edwards

The Cardinals season ended last year on October 13, losing in the National League Division Series to the Chicago Cubs. A bit has happened since then, and barring a major surprise, it is safe to close the book on acquisitions and departures for the Cardinals this offseason.

Let's review (all transactions from the departures first:


November 2, 2015

  • John Lackey, Jason Heyward, Jonathan Broxton, Mark Reynolds, Matt Belisle, Randy Choate, and Carlos Villanueva filed for free agency.
  • Outrighted Ed Easley, Pete Kozma, and Travis Tartamella to Triple-A Memphis, removing them from the 40-man roster

December 2, 2015

  • Traded Tony Cruz to the Royals for shortstop Jose Martinez.
  • Cody Stanley and Steve Cishek elected free agency.
  • Peter Bourjos was claimed on waivers by the Philadelphia Phillies.

December 8, 2015

The major losses were off course Jason Heyward and John Lackey, both of whom headed to the Cubs. While there are many fond memories of Jon Jay and many fond or not-so-fond arguments about the talent and worth of Peter Bourjos, none of the players outside of Heyward or Lackey would really project as contributors on the current roster. That is probably why they were let go.

Below is a visual look at the Cardinals 40-man as it relates to the departures:
cards oct roster

You will notice 43 players on the above chart as Carlos Martinez and Jordan Walden were on the 60-day disabled list and thus did not need to count towards the 40-man. Cody Stanley, due to an 80-game PED suspension, also did not count for a spot on the 40-man, hence the 43 players in the chart above.


November 2, 2015

  • Activated Carlos Martinez and Jordan Walden from the 60-day disabled list.

November 5, 2015

  • Selected the contract of Anthony Garcia, adding him to the 40-man roster

November 19, 2015

  • Selected the contracts of Aledmys Diaz, Dean Kiekhefer, and Charlie Tilson from Memphis, adding them to the 40-man roster

November 30, 2015

  • Signed free agent Brayan Pena for two years and five million dollars.

December 8, 2015

  • Traded for Jedd Gyorko of the San Diego Padres for Jon Jay.

December 9, 2015

  • Claimed Jayson Aquino off waivers from the Cleveland Indians, adding him to the 40-man roster.

December 10, 2015

  • Claimed Matt Bowman off waivers from the New York Mets (Rule 5 Draft), adding him to the 40-man roster.
  • Signed Jonathan Broxton to a two-year deal worth $7.5 million.

December 22, 2015

  • Signed free agent Mike Leake for five years and $80 million.

January 11, 2016

  • Signed free agent Seung Hwan Oh.
As far as the 40-man roster goes, that was it. I think most expected more than bringing in an average starter, a backup catcher, a reliever, bringing back an average reliever, protecting a few players in the Rule 5 draft, and making a few waiver claims. Whether you loved it or hated it, that was the offseason the Cardinals had, and now they are fielding a good team that should once again contend for the postseason.

This is how the roster looks with it's additions:

cards roster adds

One of the themes of the offseason was on the Cardinals improving from within. Better seasons from Brandon Moss and Kolten Wong along with full seasons from Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, and Stephen Piscotty are to bolster the offense. On the pitching side, a full season from Adam Wainwright is to make up for the loss of Lance Lynn with the major outside addition of Mike Leake stepping in for Lackey. All teams have considerable turnover, but for the Cardinals this past offseason, the team decided to reinforce from within.