It’s time to get caught up on the rest of the transactions the Cardinals have made since during the deadline through today:
8/1/22: Traded RHP Johan Oviedo and AA 1B Malcolm Nunez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for LHP Jose Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton. To make room on the 40-man roster, designated C Austin Romine for assignment. 40-man roster still full.
8/2/22: Traded CF Harrison Bader to the New York Yankees for LHP Jordan Montgomery. 40-man roster still full. Traded C Austin Romine to the Cincinnati Reds for cash considerations. Traded A RHP Carlos Guarate to the Oakland Athletics for AAA C Austin Allen. Optioned RHP Junior Fernandez to AAA Memphis. Activated LHP Jose Quintana and RHP Chris Stratton onto the 26-man roster. Activated C Yadier Molina from the 10-day IL.
8/4/22: Added RHP James Naile as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader and returned him to AAA Memphis after Game 2. After Game 1, optioned LHP Zack Thompson to AAA Memphis. Activated LHP Jordan Montgomery onto the 26-man roster.
8/5/22: Claimed IF Kramer Robertson on outright assignment waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to AAA Memphis. To make room on the 40-man roster, transferred RHP Drew VerHagen from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL. 40-man roster still full.
8/10/22: Designated LHP T.J. McFarland for assignment. Recalled RHP Jake Woodford from AAA Memphis. 40-man roster at 39.
I’m not going to say much about the trades because we’ve already had multiple articles on them, many comment threads and we covered it on the podcast. I’ll just point out that the most surprising trade out of all, to me, at least was the Bader trade. Discussions about Bader have been polarizing for years. He was platooned, benched and optioned in 2019, and got injured frequently during his Cardinal tenure, all while mashing lefties and providing elite defense. He generated numerous discussions about the true value of defense, and a large part of the time he was the most valuable Cardinal outfielder while some of us were trying to find a replacement for him. Regardless of how one might have felt about Bader, no one expected that he would be traded at this deadline. Now that he has been traded, I appreciate that moving him improved the club this year by providing a key rotation piece. Bader most likely wouldn’t have been able to contribute this year due to his injuries. At the same time, I am concerned about the long term future of the center field position because I think Dylan Carlson is best suited for a corner. And there’s no one in the system who is anywhere close to the majors that profiles as a legitimate center field option. If Carlson got hurt, the Cards would have to add someone like Scott Hurst or Ben Deluzio from AAA. The club seems committed to Carlson in center, but I am not convinced.
*The loss of Romine was expected, and he’s now going to start a lot of games the rest of the year for the Reds. The club had to option a pitcher on August 2nd because the addition of Quintana and Stratton left the club with 14 pitchers. Fernandez had done a fine job in his last stint, and he would not have been my choice for the demotion.
*When the club optioned Zack Thompson to make room for Jordan Montgomery, it was supposedly done to get Thompson more regular work. I had interpreted that to mean that he would return to the Memphis rotation, but that has not happened. He’s been used in relief in both of his appearances since his option. And not long relief, either. Thompson went two-thirds of an inning in what looked like a bullpen game on August 6th, and pitched just one inning in relief of Tommy Parsons last night.
*Kramer Robertson returns to the 40-man roster. Again. After his June 3rd DFA, he was claimed by the Atlanta Braves and optioned, then claimed by the Mets and optioned on June 27th. The Mets recalled him for one game on August 2nd, but he didn’t play. The Mets DFAd him the next day, and now he’s back on the Cards’ 40-man. It’s a curious move, but if you squint, you can see a purpose to it. With DeJong’s resurgence, the Cards are starting DeJong at short and Edman at second every day. That has limited Nolan Gorman to a platoon at DH with Albert Pujols. If something happened to Dejong or Edman, you’d think that Gorman would just fill the vacancy and play second. But in that case, Brendan Donovan would be the only backup in the infield, and the club would probably have to add someone like Corey Spangenberg to the active roster. Robertson is almost certainly the better infield defender, so you can think of the move as infield insurance.
*The first year of Drew VerHagen’s 2-year, $5.5 million deal is officially a bust, as he’s now out of the year with season-ending hip surgery.
*The club finally pulled the trigger and ditched McFarland. While he did a fine job for us last year, his Cinderella act ran out, as all of his peripherals trended in the wrong direction. He started leaving his sinker up, resulting in fewer groundballs, more line drives and homers, and his just getting clobbered.
*Oli Marmol’s usage of Jake Woodford this season has been confounding to me. Although he never was a world beater, he performed just fine as the 5th starter down the stretch last season. Instead of being named the 5th starter out of camp this year, the Cards farted around with Jordan Hicks in the rotation, and used inferior arms out of the bullpen all year supposedly because Woodford needs to work on his slider. Although his walk rate could stand to be lower, he keeps the ball in the yard and should slide nicely into the long relief role if Marmol doesn’t keep him under glass
*Marmol has recently stated to the press that Juan Yepez playing defense is important and that the club would like to see him be the right-handed complement to Lars Nootbaar in right field. If Marmol means it, that could spell trouble for either Brendan Donovan or Corey Dickerson when Yepez returns from his rehab assignment. Donovan and Dickerson are both strictly bench players already, and if right field becomes a Nootbaar/Yepez platoon, one of them is going to have to go. Will the Cards pull the trigger and release Dickerson and his $5 million contract or is an option for Donovan in the cards?
Wainwright, Mikolas, Quintana (L), Hudson, Montgomery (L)
Cabrera (L), Gallegos, Helsley, Hicks, Naughton (L), Pallante, Stratton, Woodford
Knizner, Donovan, Dickerson, Pujols/Gorman