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Cardinals trade Tuivailala, DFA Holland and Lyons, place Cecil on DL in flurry of bullpen moves

Weaver, Poncedeleon, Webb, and Hudson added to active roster

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

John Mozeliak promised changes involving “a lot of moving parts” to occur in the near future. With just days before the July 31 trade deadline, the President of Baseball Operations proved to be a man of his word.

Reliever Sam Tuivailala was dealt to the Seattle Mariners for minor league right-hander Seth Elledge, who has been assigned to Double-A Springfield. Tuivailala followed up his 2.55 ERA and 3.70 FIP in 2017 with respective figures of 3.69 and 3.98 over 31.2 innings this season. The ZiPS projections system pegs Tuivailala for a 3.64 ERA going forward, although Steamer is less confident at a 4.11 ERA projection.

In Elledge, the Cardinals are acquiring the Mariner’s tenth best prospect according to MLB Pipeline, who offered the following scouting report:

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45

After having five right-handers selected in the top five rounds of the last four Drafts, Dallas Baptist produced two more viable candidates for the 2017 Draft in relievers Elledge and Dalton Higgins. The Patriots’ career saves leader with 27, Elledge was the first of the pair to be selected, going to the Mariners in the fourth round and then signing for $400,000. After reaching full-season ball in his professional debut, Elledge advanced to Class A Advanced Modesto in 2018 and garnered midseason All-Star honors in the California League.

Elledge has a strong, durable frame and three pitches. He has a quick arm that consistently produces 93-95 mph fastballs with heavy sink that he can command to either side of the plate. He usually throws his low-80s slider for strikes and at times it can play like a cutter, with short, glove-slide slice. He shows some feel for a changeup but doesn’t need it much in a relief role.

Elledge’s size and arsenal suggest he might profile as a starter, and while he doesn’t have a classic starter’s delivery, he does repeat it well. He stands to move much faster in a bullpen role, where, with a more refined slider, he could develop into a seventh- or eighth-inning option.

Elledge has yet to start a professional game, earning the promotion to Springfield after dominating at High-A Modesto with a 1.17 ERA and 2.56 FIP.

Meanwhile, lefty reliever Tyler Lyons was designated for assignment alongside fellow relief pitcher Greg Holland. Lyons has struggled to repeat his 2.83 ERA and 2.86 FIP from 2017 as his strikeout rate dropped from 30.9% to 22.9% this season en route to a 8.64 ERA and 5.02 FIP. Lyons’ groundball rate has also plummeted from 41.9% to 28.3% in 2018.

Holland was inked to a one year, $14 million contract on Opening Day. He has both struck out and walked 22 batters in 25 innings of 7.92/4.56/6.01 ERA/FIP/xFIP work.

Brett Cecil is heading to the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, July 23, with right foot inflammation. Cecil’s 5.70/5.36/6.48 ERA/FIP/xFIP was paired with a career low 90.2 mph average fastball velocity, down a full 2 mph 2017.

These now vacant spots on the 25-man roster will be filled by Luke Weaver, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Tyler Webb, each of whom was recalled from the minor leagues. The Cardinals claimed Webb off waivers from the Padres’ organization earlier this season, logging a 2.10 ERA and 3.19 FIP between the two club’s Triple-A affiliates. His brief stint in San Diego ended with five major league innings and a 12.60 ERA and 8.56 FIP.

Dakota Hudson, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Cardinals’ fourth best prospect, is also on his way to St. Louis. In 19 starts for the Memphis Redbirds, Hudson tallied 111.2 frames with a 2.50/3.57/4.41 ERA/FIP/xFIP.

In summary:

  • Sam Tuivailala was traded to the Mariners for minor league reliever Seth Elledge.
  • Tyler Lyons and Greg Holland have been designated for assignment.
  • Brett Cecil was placed on the 10-day DL with right foot inflammation.
  • Pitchers Luke Weaver, Daniel Poncedeleon, Tyler Webb, and Dakota Hudson have all been promoted to the active MLB roster.

We will have more coverage of this whirlwind of transactions and other trade deadline news as the week unfolds.