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Transaction Analysis 9/22: Whitley Activated, Fernandez Optioned

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals-Media Day Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals announced the following transaction this afternoon in advance of tonight’s game with the Royals:

9/22/20: Optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to the ATS. Activated Kodi Whitley from the COVID-19 Related IL. To make room for Whitley on the 40-man roster, transferred RHP Dakota Hudson from the 15-day IL to the 45-day IL.

Kodi Whitley was one of the first Cardinals to catch the COVID-19 virus when the outbreak swept through the Cardinal clubhouse. He was placed on the COVID-19 Related IL back on August 4th, 11 days before the club returned to action. Whitley had recovered from the effects of the virus long ago, but while he was on the injured list, he developed elbow inflammation and there were concerns that he would not return to action this season. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said the other day that Whitley was close to returning and the club has decided to activate him now. A surprise addition to the opening day roster, Whitley’s star has been on the rise as he started last season with Class-A Advanced Palm Beach and ended it with AAA Memphis. Before going on the injured list, Whitley pitched 2 games out of the bullpen for the Cards in late July and allowed no hits or walks over 2.2 IP with 3 strikeouts. It seems clear that he has surpassed Fernandez on the depth chart. Fernandez had already spent 18 days on option before being optioned today, and this move guarantees that Fernandez will burn the first of three option years.

If there was ever any doubt, Hudson’s season is now done for sure. Players are not eligible for the postseason until they have served the minimum time on the injured list they are placed on, and Hudson’s placement on the 45-day IL would put him out of action until even the World Series is over. This move also means that Nabil Crismatt and Seth Elledge will avoid the DFA axe, at least for now. There are no more players on the COVID-19 Related IL, and thus the Cards do not need to clear any more room on the 40-man roster. If you recall my earlier work, you might remember that the Cards were going to have to clear up to 7 40-man roster spots if all the players on the COVID-19 Related IL came back. Alvaro Seijas, Jesus Cruz, Ryan Meisinger, Rob Kaminsky and Roel Ramirez were all designated for assignment. All but Ramirez have cleared outright assignment waivers and were outrighted to the minor leagues. Ramirez is certain to clear as well, but the wavier period to claim him will not expire until tomorrow afternoon. The other 2 spots were cleared by moving both Ricardo Sanchez and Dakota Hudson to the 45-day IL. Because our own J.P. Hill and user Plowboy were the only ones to list Seijas as DFA candidates in our “Who you wanna DFA?” competition, they are the winners. There should be no more 40-man roster moves until the offseason when free agents are declared and prospects are protected from the Rule 5 draft.

I will keep you apprised of all of the offseason moves, but for now, with the possible exception of Johan Oviedo or Daniel Ponce de Leon as the 29th man for a doubleheader, the roster you see now is the one you’re likely to see going forward.