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Cards and NL Central Clubs Finalize 2022 Opening Day Rosters

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the opening day rosters of the Cards and the rest of the NL Central clubs the Cards will have to contend with and how they got there this past week:

CARDINALS

4/2/22: Agreed to a 2-year, $10.4 million contract extension with OF Harrison Bader, avoiding arbitration.

Bader initially filed for $4.8 million, with the club offering $3.8 million. He will now get a $1 million signing bonus, $4.7 million salaries for both 2022 and 2023 (his final arbitration years), and his 2023 salary could increase to up to $6.95 million if various plate appearance or games started thresholds are met. It will be $250,000 for each of 350, 400 and 450 plate appearances OR 85, 98 and 111 games started. He will get an additional $500,000 for each of 500, 550 and 600 plate appearances OR 124, 137 and 150 games started.

4/3/22: Optioned UT Brendan Donovan to AAA Memphis. 33 players in camp (29 40-man roster players + 4 NRIs).

4/4/22: Optioned RHP Jake Walsh to AAA Memphis. Placed RHP Jack Flaherty on the 10-day IL (right shoulder discomfort). Re-assigned LHP Connor Thomas, C Julio Rodriguez and UT Corey Spangenberg to minor league camp. 28 players left in camp (27 40-man roster players + 1 NRI).

4/6/22: Outrighted LHP Brandon Waddell to AAA Memphis. 40-man roster at 39.

Once it was announced that Pallante would make the opening day roster, a 40-man move was required and fans breathed a sigh of relief when Jack Flaherty was not moved to the 60-day IL. Waddell pitched 9 total major league games last year with 3 different teams, and 4 of those games were for the Cards. For us, he walked 5 against 6 strikeouts. He pitched much better in AAA, but lost much of the season with COVID. Packy Naughton is the only remaining lefty pitcher the Cards have on the 40-man roster.

4/7/22: Selected the contract of RHP Andre Pallante from AAA Memphis. 40-man roster full.

Pallante’s announcement was a surprise. Walsh had a theoretical edge by being on the 40-man roster and Connor Thomas was more advanced in terms of experience at AAA. But Walsh got roughed up in his brief spring outing and was hurt for a lot of last season. Pallante’s high velocity and superior stuff carried the day.

OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS (15)

Starters (5): Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz (L), Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks

Relievers (10): Aaron Brooks, Genesis Cabrera (L), Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, T.J. McFarland (L), Andre Pallante, Drew VerHagen, Kodi Whitley, Nick Wittgren, Jake Woodford

POSITION PLAYERS (13)

C Andrew Knizner, C Yadier Molina, 3B Nolan Arenado, SS Paul DeJong, 2B Tommy Edman (S), 1B Paul Goldschmidt, DH/1B Albert Pujols, IF Edmundo Sosa, CF Harrison Bader, RF Dylan Carlson (S), DH/OF Corey Dickerson (L), OF Lars Nootbaar (L), LF Tyler O’Neill

*In a stunning development, at least to me, the club announced that Jordan Hicks will be the 5th starter. And before one says “Cool, the Cards are going to be like the Rays and use an opener,” the club is denying that Hicks will be used this way. It is true that he is set for a 2-inning, 40-pitch limit for his first start, but the club insists that it wants to stretch him out for 5 innings and more going forward. Hicks blew out his elbow in late June of 2019. He missed the rest of that season, had Tommy John surgery, opted out of the 2020 season, and then only pitched 10 games last season because of a setback in his recovery.

The official explanation seems to be that making him a starter and putting him on a set schedule is best for his development and/or recovery. The question I have is, what happens when Jack Flaherty comes back. Let’s say Flaherty comes back in early May. Is the club going to use Hicks as a 6th starter? It would be odd to have him do all that work, and then shift him back to the bullpen so quickly, where it is much more difficult to have him on a clear schedule. If the club really believes that this is the best option, it says a lot about their belief in VerHagen and Woodford, the other candidates for the starting role.

BREWERS

4/4/22: Optioned RHP J.C. Mejia, RHP Miguel Sanchez and UT Pablo Reyes to AAA Nashville. Re-assigned RHP Luis Perdomo to minor league camp. 31 players in camp (30 40-man roster players + 1 NRI).

4/5/22: Placed C Pedro Severino on the Restricted List. 40-man roster at 38.

Severino was signed for $1.9 million to back up Omar Narvaez at catcher. Now he has been suspended for 80 games without pay due to a positive test for Clomiphene, which is a banned substance under MLB’s PED Prevention Program. Clomiphene is principally designed to induce ovulation in women that desire to become pregnant. But it is also used to treat male infertility and the drug works by blocking estrogen’s interaction with the pituitary gland, which increases testosterone production. To his credit, Severino issued a statement acknowledging that he and his wife were trying to start a family and that a doctor he saw gave him a fertility medication which turned out to have contained the banned substance at issue. He will not be challenging the suspension.

4/6/22: Traded C Brett Sullivan and minor league OF Korry Howell to the San Diego Padres for C Victor Caratini and cash considerations. Traded minor league RHP Alexis Ramirez and minor league IF Hayden Cantrelle for C Alex Jackson. Jackson’s option was transferred from AAA Jacksonville to AAA Nashville. Re-assigned C Jakson Reetz to AAA Nashville. 40-man roster at 39.

4/7/22: Placed RHP Justin Topa (right elbow injury) and IF Luis Urias (left quad injury) on the 10-day IL, retroactive to April 4th.

OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS (15)

Starters (5): Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer (L)

Relievers (10): Aaron Ashby (L), Brad Boxberger, Jake Cousins, Trevor Gott, Jandel Gustave, Josh Hader (L), Hoby Milner (L), Brent Suter (L), Jose Urena, Devin Williams

POSITION PLAYERS (13)

C Victor Caratini (S), C Omar Narvaez (L), SS Willy Adames, IF Mike Brosseau, 1B/DH Keston Hiura, UT Jace Peterson (L), 1B Rowdy Tellez (L), 2B Kolten Wong (L), CF Lorenzo Cain, DH/OF Andrew McCutchen, RF Hunter Renfroe, OF Tyrone Taylor, LF Christian Yelich (L)

CUBS

4/2/22: Selected the contract of RHP Jesse Chavez from AAA Iowa. 40-man roster now full. 43 players still in camp (32 40-man roster players + 11 NRIs).

4/3/22: Optioned RHP Manuel Rodriguez to AAA Iowa. Re-assigned RHP Mark Leiter, Jr., RHP Adrian Sampson, RHP Cayne Ueckert, RHP Eric Yardley, C John Hicks and C P.J. Higgins to minor league camp. 36 players in camp (31 40-man roster players + 5 NRIs).

4/4/22: Re-assigned LHP Steven Brault, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, RHP Robert Gselmann, RHP Jonathan Holder and IF Ildemaro Vargas to minor league camp. 31 players in camp (31 40-man roster players).

4/7/22: Placed RHP Alec Mills (lower back strain), LHP Wade Miley (left elbow inflammation) and SS Andrelton Simmons (right shoulder inflammation) on the 10-day IL, retroactive to April 4th.

OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS (14)

Starters (5): Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele (L), Marcus Stroman, Drew Smyly (L), Keegan Thompson

Relievers (10): Jesse Chavez, Scott Efross, Mychal Givens, Chris Martin, Daniel Norris (L), Ethan Roberts, David Robertson, Michael Rucker, Rowan Wick

POSITION PLAYERS (14)

C Willson Contreras, C Yan Gomes, SS Nico Hoerner, 2B Nick Madrigal, IF Alfonso Rivas (L), 1B Frank Schwindel, IF Jonathan Villar (S), 3B Patrick Wisdom, OF Clint Frazier, LF Ian Happ (S), OF Michael Hermosillo, CF Jason Heyward (L), OF Rafael Ortega (L), RF Seiya Suzuki

REDS

4/3/22: Re-assigned RHP Trey Wingenter and C Andrew Knapp to minor league camp. 40 players in camp (33 40-man roster players + 7 NRIs).

4/5/22: Placed OF Shogo Akiyama on unconditional release waivers. 40-man roster at 39. 39 players in camp (32 40-man roster players + 7 NRIs).

Akiyama had a tough time in his major league stint, with the COVID pandemic, being away from his family and then his wife having a serious injury. He had some injuries last season, but refused an option to the minor leagues to get back on track. He also wasn’t interested in a minor league assignment this year, so the Reds decided to cut bait because the club felt it had better options in the outfield. Akiyama showed some flashes, but he mostly didn’t hit, and the signing can be chalked up to one that just didn’t work out.

4/7/22: Selected the contracts of RHP Buck Farmer, IF Jonathan Drury and C Aramis Garcia from AAA Louisville. To make room on the 40-man roster, placed RHP Justin Dunn (right subscapularis muscle injury) and IF Max Schrock (left calf strain) on the 60-day IL. Placed RHP Luis Castillo (right shoulder soreness), LHP Mike Minor (left shoulder soreness), RHP Lucas Sims (back spasms), IF Jose Barrero (recovery from left wrist surgery) and IF Donovan Solano (left hamstring strain) on the 10-day IL, retroactive to April 4th. Re-assigned LHP Nick Lodolo, IF Allen Cordoba, IF Leonardo Rivas and IF Leonardo Seminati to the minor leagues.

Lodolo will travel with the club on the taxi squad for its first road trip and will likely start the club’s game on April 13th. The Reds will have to make a corresponding 40-man roster move at that time. With all the injuries the club has, it will be exciting for fans to watch the franchise’s #1 and #2 prospects on the mound together.

OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS (15)

Starters (4): Tyler Mahle, Reiver Sanmartin (L), Vladimir Gutierrez, Hunter Greene

Relievers (11): Luis Cessa, Alexis Diaz, Daniel Duarte, Buck Farmer, Ryan Hendrix, Jeff Hoffman, Dauri Moreta, Tony Santillan, Hunter Strickland, Art Warren, Justin Wilson (L)

POSITION PLAYERS (13)

C Aramis Garcia, C Tyler Stephenson, IF Brandon Drury, SS Kyle Farmer, 2B Jonathan India, 1B/DH Colin Moran, 3B/DH Mike Moustakas, 1B Joey Votto, OF Aristides Aquino, OF Jake Fraley, OF Tyler Naquin, LF Tommy Pham, CF Nick Senzel

PIRATES

4/5/22: Re-assigned RHP Jerad Eickhoff, C Taylor Davis, C Michael Perez, C James Ritchie, OF Bligh Madris and IF/OF Hunter Owen to AAA Indianapolis. Placed OF LHP Sam Howard (mid back muscle sprain), RHP Max Kranick (right forearm strain), RHP Luis Oviedo (right ankle sprain) and OF Anthony Alford (right wrist sprain) on the 10-day IL.

It’s interesting that the club just re-assigned all of their NRI catchers to the minor leagues. Taylor Davis could not have been added, as the Pirates released him this past November, and the rules don’t permit the club to add him back to the 40-man roster until May 15th. Still, it seems odd that the club decided not to go with any of their remaining guys.

4/7/22: Signed C Andrew Knapp to a 1-year major league contract. Signed OF Jake Marisnick to a 1-year major league contract. To make room on the 40-man roster, placed OF Greg Allen on the 60-day IL (left hamstring injury) and designated RHP Aaron Medina for assignment. 40-man roster still full. Re-assigned RHP Chase De Jong to AAA Indianapolis.

Pittsburgh signed Knapp and Marisnick after they couldn’t make the clubs of the Reds and Rangers, respectively.

OPENING DAY ROSTER

PITCHERS (14)

Starters (5): JT Brubaker, Mitch Keller, Bryse Wilson, Zach Thompson, Jose Quintana (L)

Relievers (9): Anthony Banda (L), David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Aaron Fletcher (L), Heath Hembree, Dillon Peters (L), Chris Stratton, Duane Underwood, Jr., Miguel Yajure

POSITION PLAYERS (14)

C Andrew Knapp, C Roberto Perez, IF Diego Castillo, IF Michael Chavis, 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, SS Kevin Newman, IF Hoy Park, 1B/DH Yoshi Tsutsugo, IF/OF Cole Tucker, IF Josh VanMeter, 1B/DH Daniel Vogelbach, LF Ben Gamel, CF Bryan Reynolds, OF Jake Marisnick

*Note that Duane Underwood, Jr. had to be removed from his relief appearance with a hamstring injury on opening day. The Pirates are expected to put Underwood on the IL and recall Roansy Contreras—who was supposed to start today for AAA Indianapolis—from the minors. Contreras, 22, is the club’s only remaining healthy pitcher on the 40-man roster.