9/21/20: Optioned RHP Nabil Crismatt and OF Justin Williams to the ATS. Activated RHP Giovanny Gallegos from the 10-day IL. Activated OF Dexter Fowler from the COVID-19 Related IL. To make room for Fowler on the 40-man roster, designated RHP Roel Ramirez for assignment
Dexter Fowler last played on September 1st. The Cards put him on the COVID-19 Related IL the next day because medication he was taking for a stomach ailment compromised his immune system. Fowler was out best outfielder from an offensive standpoint, and since then, right field has been manned by Tommy Edman, Lane Thomas, Dylan Carlson and Rangel Ravelo and Justin Williams. Mike Shildt has put Fowler in the lineup tonight in right field with Dylan Carlson in center field, and it looks like Harrison Bader will mostly be benched to get Carlson playing time. Justin Williams didn’t get much of a shot at all. On the roster for just 5 days total, he got 2 starts in right field and 6 trips to the plate, with 1 single, 1 walk and 2 strikeouts. Now that the club has decided to bring Carlson back, there’s no room for Williams. The lineup issues to watch now are whether Bader will continue to be benched and whether Carpenter will be benched on a more regular basis to make sure that Edman plays third base. Williams has burned his final option year this season, and he might be a DFA candidate in the offseason.
Giovanny Gallegos went on the injured list with a strained groin on September 11th, after being removed from the 2nd game of a doubleheader the day before. Thankfully, he is being activated in the minimum time, as there was a real concern that he might not be available for the rest of the season. I am a little surprised that the club optioned Crismatt to make room for Gallegos. Crismatt hasn’t pitched in a major league game since he pitched 3 innings to close the game on September 15th, and he’s pitched well. Junior Fernandez has not looked sharp this year after his COVID diagnosis and has only pitched in 3 games. And Seth Elledge has a neat looking slider, but he’s walked 16.3% of the batters he’s faced. John Mozeliak says the club actually might activate Kodi Whitley before the regular season is over. If that happens, I would expect Elledge or Fernandez to be the pitcher optioned to make room. It will be interesting to see who ultimately gets Dakota Hudson’s rotation spot if the Cards make it far enough in the playoffs to need a 5th starter, and how that impacts who the club keeps around in the bullpen.
As for the DFA sweepstakes, so far the tally includes Alvaro Seijas, Jesus Cruz, Ryan Meisinger, Rob Kaminsky and now Roel Ramirez. Placing Ricardo Sanchez on the 45-day IL took care of one spot, and there will still be one more spot to clear if the club activates Whitley. Ramirez, as most remember, only got to pitch one game, and allowed 4 homers in a row. He will certainly clear outright assignment waivers, and although he doesn’t have enough service time to elect free agency in lieu of the assignment and hasn’t been outrighted before, he will be eligible for automatic Rule 55 free agency. He actually would have been declared a Rule 55 minor league free agent last offseason had the Cards not signed him to a succesor minor league contract for this season. This may be the last you see of him.
The players being optioned are not actually going anywhere, because the ATS is either in the process of closing or closed already, thus the option is merely a paperwork transaction at this point. The Cardinals are spending the last week in quarantine, and there has been talk of allowing the 40-man roster plus an undetermined amount of non-roster invitees into the bubble. If I can track down more information on who exactly is in the bubble, I will share it, but everyone on the 40-man roster is supposed to be in.