The Cardinals just announced a flurry of transactions. As usual, the announcement was not complete in one space. But never fear, because your resident transaction guy Skyric is here to break it all down and tell you where the Cardinals are exactly.
8/27/20: Placed LHP Andrew Miller on the 10-day IL, retroactive to August 24th (left shoulder fatigue). Activated RHP Junior Fernandez from the COVID-19 Related IL. Activated IF Edmundo Sosa from the COVID-19 Related IL and optioned him to the ATS. Added RHP Seth Elledge as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader. 40-man roster is full. CPP at 55.
First, let’s briefly treat the situation of Andrew Miller, who until today, was 2nd on the club in appearances with seven. He hadn’t pitched since August 23rd. I know nothing about his medical situation at this time and have seen no reporting at this early stage. The Cards backdated his IL stay the maximum 3 days. Just like with any other Cardinal we analyze, the sample size is still small. In 5.2 IP, his peripherals have been good with a 3:1 SO/BB ratio, but he’s gotten BABIPd around the yard a bit at a .444 clip and has allowed 8 hits over that span. Miller has a $12 million option that’s guaranteed for next season if he pitches 110 games across the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He already pitched 73 games last season, leaving just 37 required this season for the option to vest. But that 37 number is actually 14, because MLB and the MLBPA agreeed to prorate figures of that type for this shortened season. Using the formula 37/162 = x/60, you get 13.7, which means he only needs to pitch 14 games this season to get a guaranteed deal for next year for $12 million. He’s already pitched 7 games, and it is unknown if this injury threatens his ability to get the other 7.
Junior Fernandez is going to replace Miller on the active roster. He was only able to throw 1 inning before being struck with the virus. I had to cobble together the information about Sosa. The Cardinals’ tweet announcing today’s moves didn’t mention Sosa at all. Derrick Goold tweeted that Sosa was going to be activated from the IL and sent to Springfield. The Cardinals’ transaction page just mentioned that Sosa was optioned without mentioning that he was activated from the IL. But we know that Sosa was placed on the COVID-Related IL on August 4th. There would be no reason to option him if he wasn’t activated from the list. If the club was just going to send him to the ATS to get some work, it would not have bothered to announce an option. And since Sosa was on a major-league injured list, I don’t believe it’s even possible to option him if he’s still on that list anyway. Sosa has not yet burned any days towards his final 4th option year. While he was optioned in March before the transaction freeze, none of that time counted because he was recalled on Opening Day. If he spends at least 20 days on option for the rest of this year, he will be finally out of options. If he does not, then we will have another conversation later on about whether he will be eligible for a 4th option next year, as well.
Seth Elledge is being added as the 29th man for this doubleheader only. He was optioned to the ATS on August 23rd. Because he has not yet spent 10 days on option, he will have to be sent back to the ATS immediately following the 2nd game of today’s doubleheader, unless the Cards can come up with another player to put on the injured list.
To me, the most interesting part about today’s series of moves is that the Cards’ 40-man roster is now full. Now, you will see a 40-man roster trim every time one of the six remaining COVID-19 Related IL returns. Maybe the club can sneak all 6 through waivers.