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Transaction Analysis 9/14: Dean to IL, Kim Activated, Ponce is 29th Man

Cards also fill CPP with 2 more minor leaguers

MLB: Game One-Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cards announced the following transactions in advance of today’s doubleheader with the Brewers:

9/14/20: Placed OF Austin Dean on the 10-day IL (right elbow strain). Activated LHP Kwang Hyun Kim from the 10-day IL. Added RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader. Also added RHP Tommy Parsons and LHP Austin Warner to the CPP and assigned them to the ATS. CPP at a full 60.

Dean got his first two Cardinal starts in left field on Saturday and Sunday, as manager Mike Shildt said he was trying to find some offense from the outfield. In yesterday’s game against the Reds, he lost a fly ball in the sun with runners at the corners and two outs. The ball ended up dropping in front of him for a “double,” a run scored and the inning was extended for Carlos Martinez. Tyler O’Neill came out to play left field to replace Dean in the top of the 5th, and at the time, the FSMW broadcast crew mentioned that they earlier saw Dean shaking his hand as if he were in pain. After the game, Mike Shildt said that he had an issue with the flexor muscle. Dean was on the opening day 30-man active roster after a strong summer camp, but did not get into any of the Cards’ first 5 games before the 16-day quarantine stalled the Cards season. He then caught the COVID-19 virus, and between that and this IL stint, his 2020 Cards season was basically wiped out. In 7 PA and 2 starts in left field, Dean went 1 for 4 with 1 double, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts. He’s technically eligible to come off of the injured list for the last 4 days of the regular season. Dean did not burn an option year this year, and will still have 2 minor league options left after the season.

Kim was a surprise addition to the injured list on September 5th, when we learned that he had to be rushed to the emergency room with abdominal pain. He was later diagnosed with a renal infarction. The treatment for that was blood thinners, which means it would have been a serious problem for him to be cut or bruised. The club was able to backdate his IL stay by a full 3 days because Kim last pitched on September 1st. He only ended up missing one start, and is being activated to start Game 1 of the doubleheader today against the Brewers. Here’s hoping he can continue to defy his peripherals (13.3% K rate, 7.2% BB rate) and keep his sub-1.00 ERA. The most important thing is his health, and he did get medical clearance to come back.

Daniel Ponce de Leon is being added as the 29th man for the doubleheader. He has spent enough days on option by now that the Cards could keep him after the game and option someone else to get back down to 28 players. My guess is that the club does not do that. With him starting today, he will be unavailable for at least 3 days, most likely 4. With Gant unavailable, I don’t see the club optioning another reliever to keep Ponce, especially with this daunting schedule and no days off. What will most likely happen is that Ponce is returned to the ATS in a paperwork transaction, but will stick around on the traveling taxi squad. If Ponce spends 5 more days on option this season, he will burn his final option year.

As for the additions to the CPP, I have not seen an official Cardinal announcement, or any mention of this in the Twitterverse by the beat writers. I just caught that in the Cardinal transaction pages, it says that Austin Warner and Tommy Parsons have been “invited to spring training.” In this season, that nomenclature has been shorthand for “Added this player to the Club Player Pool and assigned him to the Alternate Training Site.” Unless these are invites to 2021 spring training made about 3-4 months in advance, these transactions must mean they’re being added to the CPP. This language tracks with earlier Cardinal additions to the CPP that either the club or a beat writer confirmed later.

Tommy Parsons, 25, was signed as an undrafted free agent out of a tiny Division III college, and rocketed up the Cardinal system with his command, not his overpowering stuff. He started the 2019 season with Class A Peoria and ended up starting a game for AAA Memphis. He spent most of the season (14 starts) with AA Springfield, where he only walked 3.8% of batters, but got crushed for 26 homers in 82.1 IP. For a more detailed article about Parsons’ background, check this out. Austin Warner, 26, is another minor league starter. He was also an undrafted free agent that the Cards plucked out of the independent Frontier League in June 2017. He split the season almost equally last season between AA Springfield and AAA Memphis. The numbers were what you might expect: good numbers at Springfield, and he got crushed at Memphis pretty much just like most pitchers who spent a lot of time in the Pacific Coast League.

With these moves, does that mean that Tyler O’Neill and Lane Thomas now have locks on the left and right field jobs? Of course not. With Carpenter now able to hit high fastballs, he’s a lock for third base, which means that Edman now has to play in the outfield to keep his bat in the lineup. So today, we will be treated to an outfield of Rangel Ravelo in left field and Tommy Edman in right field. The club now has a 3-man bench and 16 pitchers on a non-doubleheader day.

As for the Club Player Pool, it is now full. There are still 3 Cardinal player on the COVID-19 Related IL. Kodi Whitley might just be done for the year, but the Cardinals hope to get both Dexter Fowler and Johan Oviedo back. The Cards will have to trim two players off of the 40-man roster to accommodate them, and if they are DFAd and clear waivers, they will have to be outrighted and removed from the CPP completely, unless the Cards want to release other players to make room.