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Transaction Catch-Up 8/2/21: How Did We Get Here?

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MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When I last posted, it was May 23rd. The Cards, at 26-19, were in first place in the National League Central and had the 4th best record in the National League, behind only the Padres, Giants and Dodgers. Only RHPs Jordan Hicks and Dakota Hudson were on the 60-day IL. LHP Andrew Miller, SS Paul DeJong and LF Tyler O’Neill were on the 10-day IL. The club had just started a stretch of 17 straight games without a day off, and had a planned 6-man starting rotation of Jack Flaherty, Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Adam Wainwright, Kwang Hyun Kim and John Gant.

With regular players DeJong and O’Neill injured, Justin Williams was the regular starter in left field and Edmundo Sosa took over at shortstop. The bench at the time consisted of Andrew Knizner, Matt Carpenter, Max Moroff and Lane Thomas. Mikolas, who had opened the season on the shelf with right shoulder soreness, was activated from the injured list on May 22nd to make his first start of the season. It only lasted for four innings, as Mikolas had to leave the game with right forearm tightness while warming up before the top of the 5th inning. Mikolas went on the injured list on May 23rd and Junior Fernandez was recalled to join Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Alex Reyes, Tyler Webb, Kodi Whitley and Jake Woodford in a 9-man bullpen.

The current Cardinal roster looks very different than the one that took the field on May 23rd, and that’s not even considering the two trades the club made at the July 30th deadline. In this article, I’m going to get you caught up and try to explain how the Cards arrived at the current 40-man and active rosters.

TRANSACTIONS

5/25/21: Placed CF Harrison Bader on the 10-day IL (right hairline rib fracture). Recalled 1B John Nogowski from AAA Memphis

Bader had broken a rib the night before when he rolled over a ball in the outfield. This would be Bader’s 2nd injured list stint of the season, and up through that date, he had started only 22 out of the club’s 47 games. With Austin Dean and Scott Hurst both on the AAA Memphis 7-day IL, Nogowski was the only non-catching position player on the 40-man roster available for recall.

5/27/21: Activated LF Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day IL. Optioned 1B John Nogowski to AAA Memphis.

With Carlson starting at center in Bader’s absence, it was believed that this move would result in a Justin Williams/Lane Thomas platoon in right field.

5/28/21: Optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to AAA Memphis. Recalled Johan Oviedo from AAA Memphis.

Oviedo was recalled to take the Mikolas spot in the 6-man rotation, and this put the club back at an 8-man pen.

5/29/21: Optioned RHP Johan Oviedo to AAA Memphis. Recalled RHP Junior Fernandez from AAA Memphis. Placed IF Max Moroff on the 10-day IL (left shoulder subluxation). Selected the contract of IF Jose Rondon from AAA Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, transferred RHP Miles Mikolas from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

Moroff injured himself on a follow-through with his bat while hitting in the indoor cage in Arizona. While he started off like a house of fire in AAA Memphis, he struck out in 10 of his 16 trips to the plate in the majors with no walks and 1 hit, which was a single. Jose Rondon, the other non-roster invitee to major league camp, was added to the 40-man and active rosters to take his place. Rondon had been in organized baseball since 2012, and had BABIPd his way to some decent seasons offensively in the minors without power or walks. Until 2018, he was basically known as a sure-handed infield glove man who had a good enough arm to play short. In 2018, Rondon had an unexpected power surge when he hit 18 homers in AAA and another 6 for the White Sox, a spurt that amounted to a homer every 18.4 trips to the plate. After 290 career trips to the plate over the 2016, 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Padres, White Sox and Orioles, Rondon couldn’t crack the 2020 Orioles major league roster. He is still on the Cards bench now, and is out of options.

5/30/21: Placed RHP Kodi Whitley on the 10-day IL (mid back spasms), retroactive to May 27th.

5/31/21: Recalled RHP Seth Elledge from AAA Memphis.

Whitley had actually been out of action since May 24th, but the club could only make the room retroactive for a maximum of three days. The Cards ended up playing short on May 30th because it delayed in pulling the trigger on putting Whitley on the shelf. Whitley’s peripherals were atrocious (15.2% walk rate compared to an 18.7% K rate), and he would have deserved an option even if he wasn’t injured.

6/1/21: Placed RHP Jack Flaherty on the 10-day IL (left oblique strain). Recalled RHP Johan Oviedo from AAA Memphis.

This was a huge blow for the Cards and it was a tough pill to swallow to learn that not only did he officially hurt himself swinging the bat in the top of the 6th of the previous night’s game, but that he had felt the tightness in his side when he was pitching in the bottom of the 5th. The club ditched the 6-man rotation for the time being.

6/3/21: Designated LHP Tyler Webb for assignment. Activated LHP Andrew Miller from the 10-day IL. 40-man roster at 39.

The pixie dust on Webb finally disappeared, as he just couldn’t find the plate. Even if he did have bad luck with a .362 BABIP allowed, he walked over 20% of the batters he faced to just a 15.2% strikeout rate. Out of his 19 walks, 12 of them were to lefties, compared to only 5 strikeouts. Miller’s peripherals weren’t so hot before he went on the shelf, but they were better than Webb’s, aside from the homers.

6/5/21: Placed LHP Kwang Hyun Kim on the 10-day IL (right back stiffness). Placed OF Justin Williams on the 10-day IL (neck stiffness), retroactive to June 3rd. Recalled RHP Angel Rondon and 1B John Nogowski from AAA Memphis.

Kim opened the season on the injured list, and in 9 starts had averaged fewer than 5 innings per start. As it turned out, the club did not technically need a 5th starter until June 15th, and Kim would return to make that start after spending the minimum amount of time on the IL. Williams had basically been a starter in the outfield due to the various injuries to Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader. Despite hitting the ball hard, he was only slashing .160/.270/.261 in 137 trips to the plate, and struck out over one-third of the time. He spent too much time either chasing high fastballs or pounding the ball into the ground. Because the club had resorted to farting around with Jose Rondon in right field to avoid starting Lane Thomas, this move would result in Carpenter playing 2nd base and Edman playing right field most days.

The Cards have almost run out of pitchers at this point. Angel Rondon was in the Memphis starting rotation to open the season, but hadn’t been impressive to this point with a strikeout rate hovering around only 15% and had already allowed 6 homers in 23.2 IP. But the only other 40-man roster choice for recall was Bernardo Flores, Jr. because Johan Quezada had opened the minor league season on the injured list and was still on it at this time. This move gave the Cards a 10-man bullpen (!), as moving Kim to the IL gave the club just 4 starters, and after the Nogowski recall, the club had no 40-man roster players to add that weren’t catchers. The club would have a 10-man pen for the next 10 days.

6/6/21: Claimed LHP Brandon Waddell on outright assignment waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and optioned him to AAA Memphis. 40-man roster full. Outrighted LHP Tyler Webb to AAA Memphis.

Waddell was a 5th round draft choice by the Pirates in 2015, and cracked both the 40-man and active rosters of that club on August 9th of 2020 when the Pirates were wracked with pitching injuries last season. This is his 3rd club since, after brief stints with the Twins and Orioles. Waddell, who just turned 27, was a starter in the minors, until he was shifted to the bullpen by the Pirates into the 2019 AAA season. A sinker/slider/changeup guy, his peripherals stalled in AA, and it took 3 spins at that level to get them back on track. When he went to AAA for the second time in 2019, his walk and strikeout rates went in the wrong direction again. He’s got 7 major league games pitched out of the bullpen across the 3 major league clubs, 4 of which were in mop-up duty.

6/10/21: Optioned 1B John Nogowski to AAA Memphis.

6/11/21: Activated SS Paul DeJong from the 10-day IL.

Since opening day, Sosa had slashed .270/.369/.360, with his OBP inflated by his being hit by 8 pitches. Of the 24 games that the club played since DeJong was injured, Sosa started 22 of them and slashed .286/.375/.390 over 88 plate appearances with a .350 BABIP. In 141 trips to the plate as a starter, DeJong slashed .177/.277/.371 with 7 homers and a .176 BABIP. The bench at this point is Knizner, Sosa, Rondon and Thomas, but Sosa would play some second base against left-handed pitching.

6/15/21: Optioned RHP Angel Rondon to AAA Memphis. Activated LHP Kwang Hyun Kim from the 10-day IL.

The 10-man pen ends with Rondon pitching only 2 games over 2 IP in 10 days, and he allowed 1 hit and 1 walk with 1 strikeout out of the 7 batters he faced.

6/17/21: Optioned RHP Seth Elledge to AAA Memphis. Signed LHP Wade LeBlanc to a 1-year major league contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, transferred IF Max Moroff from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

In 9 games pitched to this point, Elledge had 7 walks to 8 strikeouts. LeBlanc, who will turn 37 on August 7th, was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2006 draft by the Padres, and made his major league debut as a September callup in 2008. After spending a couple of years in that club’s starting rotation, he was traded to the Marlins after the 2011 season. That would be the first of what is now 10 clubs that LeBlanc has toiled for, and that does not include his 2015 stint in Japan. He had multiple stints with some of those clubs. After years as a soft-tossing change-up specialist that was durable, if not very good, he resurfaced in 2018 and had one good season in the Mariners rotation. Since that season, it has been more of the same as before. Most recently, LeBlanc started the 2021 season on a minor league deal with the Orioles and cracked the opening day roster, but was DFAd after 6 games and signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in May after electing free agency in lieu of an outright assignment. LeBlanc was released after 4 starts and joined the Rangers on a minor league deal. He made 3 decent starts for the Rangers’ AAA club (19 strikeouts to only 3 walks in 18 innings pitched, but with 3 homers) before he was released to take this opportunity. LeBlanc is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, who tops out at about 88 mph with his four-seamer and sinker. He used to be known as a changeup specialist, but he now throws the cutter the most, which is a couple of ticks slower than his fastball. He throws an occasional curve, doesn’t get grounders and doesn’t have a good strikeout rate, but survives on limiting the walks. If his control isn’t spot-on, he can get rocked for homers. LeBlanc’s salary in the majors will be a reported pro-rated $800,000.

Moroff would have surgery to correct his shoulder problem, a procedure from which it takes about 7 months to recover, so he is out for the season.

6/18/21: Activated OF Justin Williams from the 10-day IL and optioned him to AAA Memphis.

6/22/21: Optioned OF Lane Thomas to AAA Memphis. Selected the contract of OF Lars Nootbaar from AAA Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, designated LHP Bernardo Flores, Jr. for assignment.

Thomas was the three true outcomes player without the homers. In 58 trips to the plate, he struck out 17 times (29.3%) and was unintentionally walked 9 times (15.5%), but that was about it. He had 5 hits, only one of which was for extra bases and no homers. He had a .161 BABIP and a .104/.259/.125 slash line. The club didn’t trust him enough to start him very much, and he didn’t handle pinch-hitting duties well at all. He had a lone single in 39 trips to the plate against righties with 12 strikeouts. Scott Hurst had just been activated from the Memphis injured list about a week before this move, Justin Williams was trying to get back on track in Memphis, and Austin Dean was still hurt. The next man up was Lars Nootbaar, the club’s 8th round pick in 2018. It was a small sample size, but Nootbaar was slashing .329/.430/.557 with a 14% walk rate and 18.3% strikeout rate for AAA Memphis in 22 games and 93 trips to the plate. He had 5 homers, a double and a triple. He had played mostly right field, with a smattering of time at the other 2 outfield positions, and spent close to 3 weeks on the Memphis injured list with an unknown ailment. The Cards would have to have added Nootbaar to the 40-man roster this upcoming November for Rule 5 draft protection.

The Cards tried to make Flores a starter, but his peripherals were poor, allowing 6 homers in 31.1 IP over 8 games and 5 starts, with a 12.2% walk rate to go along with a 17.6% K rate. His FIP was almost 6.

6/23/21: Placed RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon on the 10-day IL (right shoulder discomfort). Recalled RHP Seth Elledge from AAA Memphis.

After a brief spin in the rotation at the start of the year and going on the injured list for the first time, Ponce spent about a month in a new role for him, which was short relief stints with only a couple of days of rest in between. He wasn’t a stud in the role, but had a much better walk rate than most of the other bullpen members and did a serviceable job.

6/23/21: Noted the loss of LHP Bernardo Flores, Jr. to the Colorado Rockies on an outright assignment waiver claim.

6/28/21: Optioned RHP Seth Elledge and RHP Jake Woodford to AAA Memphis. Recalled LHP Brandon Waddell from AAA Memphis. Selected the contract of RHP Roel Ramirez from AAA Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, designated 1B John Nogowski for assignment.

This is a bit of a pitching shakeup. Woodford cracked the opening day roster as a long man, but pitched in only 2 out of the first 8 games before he was optioned in favor of Johan Oviedo. Recalled on April 30, he was still used sparingly, but pitched 9 games in the month of June, often on shorter rest than before. He never had been used for 3 innings or more, despite the fact that that has been indicated numerous times. His last two outings did not go well, and he had allowed 5 homers in 25.1 IP. His FIP was 6.55 and it also wasn’t very good that he had a 17.9% strikeout rate against a 12% walk rate are not good. Woodford had those poor peripherals despite a BABIP allowed of .257 and a strand rate of almost 84%, which indicates that his overall numbers could be much worse. Elledge’s peripherals were not super strong either over 11 games and 11.2 IP (21.2% K rate, 13.5% walk rate), but he has kept the ball in the yard, allowing just the one homer. His strand rate is high, and he’s been a bit BABIP unlucky (.375). The club was looking for some fresh arms, but it’s not like those guys have been substantially worse than the other relievers on hand.

After being claimed on waivers, Waddell had thrown 7 innings for AAA Memphis over 5 games, with 2 of those outings lasting 2 innings. He’s allowed 7 hits to the 30 batters he’s faced with 3 walks, 8 strikeouts and 1 homer. Ramirez cracked last year’s roster in August when the Cards got hit with the COVID outbreak, then allowed 4 straight homers to White Sox batters in his major league debut. He was DFAd towards the end of the season to make room for returning players, but the Cards re-signed him to a successor minor league deal for 2021. He’s done a solid job for AAA Memphis this season, often putting in multiple-inning outings. Over 18 games pitched and 27 innings, he’s got 27 strikeouts to only 7 unintentional walks and just 2 homers allowed.

Although Nogowski had a lot of fanfare going into the season with his strong spring training offensively and especially his patience at the plate, the Cards need 14 pitchers with all of their pitching woes, and there’s just no room for him on a 4-man bench. If he could play the outfield a bit and weren’t positionally limited to first base, it might be a different story. He didn’t capitalize on the limited opportunities he had, and especially didn’t do anything after he hurt his hand. While he was known as an on-base machine for the past couple of seasons, he slashed .197/.304/.297 in AAA, struck out a lot more and didn’t show any power. In 20 trips to the plate in the majors, he only got the one single.

In other news, it was announced at this point that John Gant lost his rotation job to Wade LeBlanc. Over 14 starts, his strikeout rates and walk rates were almost identical, hovering between 16 and 17%. LeBlanc gave up 2 homers in his last appearance (his 4th with the club), but he’s walked just 1 batter in 6.2 IP to this point.

7/1/21: Optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to AAA Memphis. Activated OF Harrison Bader from the 10-day IL.

Although it is certainly more important for Nootbaar to start every day in Memphis, a case could have been made that he was the victim of the roster. Nootbaar was basically the starting right fielder for about 10 games or so, but now that Bader is back, he’s being optioned because Knizner has to stay as the backup catcher, and none of Carpenter, Sosa and Rondon can be optioned. Edman is the only real backup outfielder on the active roster.

7/3/21: Optioned RHP Roel Ramirez to AAA Memphis. Claimed RHP Justin Miller on outright assignment waivers from the Washington Nationals. To make room on the 40-man roster, transferred RHP Jack Flaherty from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL. Traded 1B John Nogowski to the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.

Ramirez was added to the 40-man on June 28th, and only got into the 1 game on June 30th, where he didn’t perform well. Justin Miller is 34 years old and was a 16th round draft choice by the Rangers in 2008. He was added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster after the 2011 season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, but he missed the whole 2012 season with Tommy John surgery. After being promoted to AAA in late 2013, performing poorly and suffering another injury, the Rangers released him that September. The Tigers signed him to a minor league deal, and added him to their 40-man roster in November of 2013. He pitched ok in AAA, but was a bust with the major league club, and he elected Rule 55 minor league free agency in November 2014 after being outrighted.

Miller had a very nice 2015 season at the back end of the Rockies bullpen, but was outrighted after the 2016 season when his walk rate spiked. The Angels signed him to a minor league deal for 2017, but released him after his strikeout rate cratered. He started the 2018 season with the Nationals on a minor league deal, made the club on May 25th, 2018, and stayed there until he was DFAd on July 29th, 2019. He signed a minor league deal with the Blue Jays for 2020, but didn’t crack the major league roster. The Blue Jays traded him to the Reds for international signing bonus pool money with about 2 weeks to go in the season, and he declared Rule 55 free agency once again.

Miller started the 2021 season on a minor league deal with the Nationals for a second stint, and the Nats added him to the active roster on June 15th after he struck out 29 to only 3 unintentional walks over 13 games and 16.1 IP for the AAA club. But he was DFAd after just 5 games when he surrendered 3 homers in 3 IP. Miller is out of minor league options. He’s basically a four-seamer/slider guy with mid 90s heat and a sinker thrown in.

7/7/21: Placed RHP Carlos Martinez on the 10-day IL (right thumb ligament sprain), retroactive to July 5th. Recalled OF Lars Nootbaar from AAA Memphis.

Martinez was essentially pitching for his rotation spot in his June 29th start against Arizona, when he turned in a 6-inning, 4-hit, 1-run performance. Manager Mike Shildt and Yadier Molina had asked him in a meeting if he was going to be able to find his focus. Then in his July 4th start, he had to leave in the 4th inning, after he hurt his thumb ligament swinging the bat in the 3rd inning. The club picked up an extra bench player because of the day off the next day and the upcoming All-Star Break.

7/8/21: Optioned RHP Johan Oviedo to AAA Memphis.

7/9/21: Signed RHP Luis Garcia to a 1-year major league contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, transferred RHP Carlos Martinez from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.

Garcia, while only 34 years old, has been in organized baseball seemingly forever, having been originally signed with the Dodgers out of the Dominican Republic back in 2004 and was actually traded to the Nationals with a player to be named later for Ronnie Belliard in 2009. After not advancing past the High-A level by the age of 23, Garcia bounced around in independent ball for a couple of years before resurfacing with the Phillies organization in 2013, and made his major league debut with that club that July. Garcia hung around in the Phillies bullpen for parts of 6 seasons, and for several of those years had a hard time finding the plate. After decent seasons in 2017 and 2018, he was flipped to the Angels before the 2019 season, and it has gone downhill since. He signed a minor league deal with the Rangers for 2020, cracked the roster in August, only to find himself released in September after walking over 20% of the batters he faced. The Cards were able to get sign him this season after he walked only 3 batters to 19 strikeouts and 11 saves in 18 games pitched for the Yankees’ AAA team. Garcia continues to get chances because he throws a 97 mph sinker and keeps the ball on the ground. He is not only out of options, but has more than 5 years of major league service, which means he may not be sent to the minor leagues without his consent. He’s supposed to be making the pro-rated major league minimum.

Martinez has torn his thumb, and is likely done for the year. He may have thrown his last pitch as a Cardinal, because it is unlikely that his options will be exercised with his health issues and all the uncertainty surrounding the expiration of the CBA this offseason.

Oviedo was optioned because he pitched the night before, the club won’t need his rotation spot until after the All-Star break. The Cards had 3 starters, 10 relievers, and 5 bench players on the active roster at this point. This 10-man would be in place for the two game series against the Chicago Cubs before the All-Star Break (the final game was postponed by rain), and would remain for the first four games after the break. The 10-man pen is Cabrera, Fernandez, Gant, Garcia, Gallegos, Helsley, A. Miller, J. Miller, Reyes and Waddell.

7/12/21: Activated RHP Kodi Whitley from the 10-day IL and optioned him to AAA Memphis.

7/15/21: Optioned LHP Brandon Waddell to AAA Memphis.

7/16/21: Selected the contract of LHP T.J. McFarland from AAA Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, placed LHP Brandon Waddell on the COVID-19 Related IL.

The Cards signed McFarland to a minor league deal on July 1st. Originally drafted by the Indians in the 4th round of the 2007 draft, he didn’t surface in the majors until 2013 after he was taken by the Orioles in the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft. McFarland spent 4 seasons with the Orioles, 3 seasons with the Diamondbacks and the 2020 season with the Athletics. His sinker tops out at 89 mph, and his strikeout rates have always been atrocious, but he has survived by keeping the ball on the ground with extreme prejudice, keeping the ball in the yard and limiting the walks. When he allows hard contact, he gets smoked, and the magic has worn off since a BABIP-induced minor breakout in 2018.

Waddell tested positive for COVID, but the Cards got his diagnosis back after the club had already filed his option, so he will not get MLB service time credit for his time on the injured list. McFarland replaces Waddell in the pen that is still at 10 pitchers.

7/19/21: Optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to AAA Memphis. Recalled RHP Jake Woodford from AAA Memphis.

Woodford came up to take the spot of Carlos Martinez in the starting rotation. He made 3 starts for AAA Memphis since his last option, and while he wasn’t great, the club hoped he could potentially eat 5 innings at a time. In 12 IP over 3 starts, he gave up 12 hits, 6 ER, 6 walks and struck out 8. The club still has a 10-man pen, but only a 4-man bench, consisting of Kninzer, Carpenter, Sosa and Jose Rondon.

7/20/21: Optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to AAA Memphis. Recalled RHP Johan Oviedo from AAA Memphis.

The Cards recalled Oviedo to make the start, a move which gave the club a 5-man rotation of Wainwright, Kim, LeBlanc, Woodford and Oviedo. Fernandez was optioned to put the Cards at 5 starters and 9 relievers. Fernandez was the only player the club could have realistically optioned because the only bullpen pitchers with options available were Cabrera, Gallegos, Helsley and Reyes. Oviedo had a nice AAA start on July 14th, where he pitched 6 innings and struck out 8 to only 2 walks.

7/21/21: Noted the loss of RHP Roel Ramirez to the New York Mets on an outright assignment waiver claim.

Ramirez was not DFAd, but instead simply placed on outright assignment waivers, because the club did not need an instant 40-man roster spot.

7/25/21: Traded cash considerations to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP T.J. Zeuch. 40-man roster full.

Zeuch has 2 minor league options remaining. Stlcardsfan4 covered his waiver claim here

7/26/21: Optioned RHP Johan Oviedo to AAA Memphis. Recalled OF Lane Thomas from AAA Memphis.

Although Oviedo pitched poorly the night before (4.1 IP, 6 walks to 6 strikeouts), this wasn’t so much a demotion as much a recognition that the club didn’t need a 5th starter until August 5th with all the upcoming off-days in the schedule, and Oviedo could be recalled to make that start. Thinking a 9-man pen should be sufficient, the club decided to grab another bench bat. Nootbaar wasn’t eligible for recall because he had not spent 10 days on option since his July 19th option. Austin Dean was still on the Memphis injured list. Justin Williams hadn’t played in a game since July 2nd for some reason, although he had not been put on an injured list. Since Scott Hurst was activated from the Memphis 7-day IL on June 14th, he hadn’t hit at all in 132 PA, slashing only .171/.295/.234. His walk rate was good at 14.4%, but he was striking out 27.3% of the time, and couldn’t otherwise hit. Thomas was thus the only non-catcher choice.

7/30/21: Traded RHP John Gant and minor league LHP Evan Sisk to the Minnesota Twins for LHP J.A. Happ and cash considerations. Activated Happ onto the active roster. Traded OF Lane Thomas to the Washington Nationals for LHP Jon Lester. 40-man roster still full. Recalled OF Lars Nootbaar from AAA Memphis.

Since this article is already overlength, I won’t add any specific thoughts on the merits of the trades. The Cardinals happened to be playing the Twins on the date of the trades, which meant that Happ was in town and could be activated immediately. Lester would not join the club until August 1st because he asked John Mozeliak if he could delay his report date to be with his son on his son’s July 31st birthday. Nootbaar took Thomas’s active roster spot on the 5-man bench.

8/1/21: Optioned RHP Jake Woodford to AAA Memphis. Activated LHP Jon Lester on to the active roster.

At last we come to the current configuration of the Cards. The starting rotation is now Wainwright, Lester, Happ, LeBlanc and Kim. The bullpen is now only at 8 pitchers, and consists of Cabrera, Garcia, Gallegos, Helsley, McFarland, Andrew Miller, Justin Miller and Reyes. The bench is Knizner, Carpenter, Sosa, Jose Rondon and Nootbaar. Daniel Ponce de Leon is on the 10-day IL.