The deadline for clubs to tender contracts to their arbitration and pre-arbitration eligible players passed Friday afternoon with the Cardinals making two moves. The club, as expected, declined to offer a contract to former All-Star closer and top pitching prospect, Alex Reyes and outfielder Ben Deluzio.
Cardinals have non-tendered Alex Reyes, as anticipated. Also Ben DeLuzio, who was pre-arb. 40-man at 37.— Jeff Jones (@jmjones) November 18, 2022
Reyes missed all of the 2022 season with an injury and, according to recent reports, his rehabilitation is expected to carry into the 2023 season. The club needed both the roster space and the budget room that Reyes occupied heading into an offseason where they are expected to be active in both free agency and the trade market.
Persistent injury problems have derailed Reyes’ once bright future. Reyes was at one point rated as the top pitching prospect in the minors. He was known for incredible movement on his pitches and excellent velocity. Unfortunately, that came with an inability to control and command his pitches.
Reyes’ non-tender is reminiscent of the non-tender of another elite former Cardinals closer, Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal was also let go while rehabbing from injury and, although he has pitched some since leaving the Cardinals, he has never regained his once-dominant form.
The arbitration-eligible Reyes was projected to earn a $2.85M contract next season through arbitration. Cutting that contract free more than pays for the deal the Cardinals arranged with right-handed reliever Chris Stratton ahead of the deadline. Stratton, himself a non-tender candidate, re-signed with the Cards before the deadline on a team-friendly deal worth around $2M.
The Cardinals also let outfielder Ben DeLuzio go from their 40-man roster. DeLuzio earned playing time as a defensive-oriented center fielder this season after the trade of Harrison Bader, but likely has no future place on a contending-caliber major league roster.
The Cardinals' 40-man roster now sits at 37.
I will have more on the Cardinals payroll and roster situation later this week.