The Cards announced the following transaction in advance of tonight’s game:
8/14/21: Designated OF Scott Hurst for assignment. Activated LHP Brandon Waddell from the COVID-19 Related IL.
Hurst was the Cards’ 3rd round draft choice in 2017, and the highest pick the Cards had in that draft. Before this season, he had never played in AAA at all, and only had 161 plate appearances at the AA level. He didn’t hit at all in 2019 at either A-Advanced (.233/.292/.314 in 244 PA with a .302 BABIP) or AA (.191/.278/.277). He only had 273 plate appearances total in 2018 because of injuries. Hurst struck out a lot in 2019 for a player with so little power, and was not part of the Cards’ Alternate Training Site last season.
But on April 15th of this year, the Cards had Justin Williams playing in left field and Dylan Carlson playing in center field because both Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill were on the shelf. After the Cards lost confidence in Lane Thomas, they were out of 40-man roster outfielders, and Hurst was thought to be the next man up, primarily because of his ability to play center field. Hurst got only 5 trips to the plate without a hit, never started a game and played 10 innings in center field as a defensive replacement with one fielding chance. He was optioned to AAA Memphis on April 28th in advance of the AAA season so the Cards could add a 6th starter to the rotation. He only lasted a couple of weeks before going on the IL with an injury, and wasn’t activated until June 14th. In total this year he started 51 games in the outfield for Memphis, with 41 of those in center. He’s been hopeless at the plate, slashing .186/.289/.270 with a 29% strikeout rate. His numbers would look even worse if it wasn’t for his 12% walk rate.
The Cards claimed Waddell, who was originally drafted by the Pirates in 2015, on outright assignment waivers from the Baltimore Orioles on June 6th. He took Tyler Webb’s 40-man roster spot. Initially optioned to AAA Memphis, he pitched 4 games out of the bullpen for that club before being recalled to the majors on June 28th in a bullpen shakeup that saw Seth Elledge and Jake Woodford optioned. When Waddell debuted for the Cards that day, that marked the third major league club for whom Waddell toiled this year. He pitched 4 games for he Cards, striking out 6 batters in 4.1 IP, but walking 5. On the last day of the All-Star Break, Waddell was optioned to AAA Memphis. After his option had been filed, the Cards learned he had contracted COVID-19, so the club put him on the COVID-19 Related IL to make room for T.J. McFarland on the 40-man roster. Because the diagnosis came after the option was filed, he did not get major league pay or service time. Waddell will remain in Memphis, and this move does not affect the Cards’ active roster.
Like with the Quezada situation which I discussed yesterday, the transaction reporting on this has been all jacked up by the official sources. Waddell’s personal transaction page says he has been activated from the AAA Memphis 7-day IL. The Cards announced on their Twitter page that they activated Waddell from the Memphis 60-day IL and reinstated him to the 40-man roster. The problem with this is that he was placed on the COVID-19 Related IL to clear space for McFarland. Once on a list, the player has to be activated from that list. If he was really on the Memphis 60-day IL, that wouldn’t affect the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, and there would be no need to reinstate him to the Cards’ 40-man roster to take him off of that list. So what actually happened was that he was just activated from the COVID-19 Related IL. And because that would put him back on a Cards’ 40-man roster that was full, the Cards had to make a trim and chose Hurst.