The St. Louis Cardinals reduced the number of players in major-league camp by five over the weekend. On Saturday, the Cardinals traded lefthanded reliever Sam Freeman to the Texas Rangers, which reduced the number of players in camp and on the 40-man roster by one. On Sunday, St. Louis announced the following unsurprising moves:
- The Cards optioned infielder Dean Anna, catcher Ed Easley, and first baseman Xavier Scruggs to Triple-A.
- St. Louis reassigned infielder Jacob Wilson to minor-league camp.
Not one of these moves is surprising.
Easley is presumably the No. 3 catcher on the organizational depth chart and was kept in camp in case Yadier Molina or Tony Cruz sustained an injury. With springtime games wrapping up, the Cards likely want to get Easley some work in minor-league games before the Triple-A season starts.
Xavier Scruggs was never going to make the opening-day MLB roster. Neither was Dean Anna. Both have been relegated to Memphis, with the competition for the St. Louis bench boiling down to Randal Grichuk, Pete Kozma, and Ty Kelly. With Kozma out of options and Grichuk hitting for power (.309 ISO) and a decent average (.262 BA), it seems like friend of the VEB Podcast Kelly has the longest odds of making the Cardinals bench of those three.
Wilson, who is not yet on the St. Louis 40-man roster and has never taken an at-bat in Triple-A, was also never going to make the St. Louis roster out of spring training. Nonetheless, he will go the Memphis in all likelihood and slot in as the starter at the keystone for the Redbirds. We'll likely see him face off against the Cardinals in the forthcoming exhibition.
All four players will likely see playing time against the Cardinals on Friday when St. Louis travels to Memphis to take on the Redbirds in a scrimmage. On Sunday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted that manager Mike Matheny indicated Marco Gonzales would start for the major-league Cardinals in that game. Gonzales filled in for Jaime Garcia as the starter in Sunday's spring-training exhibition. Garcia had been slated to start the Cardinals-Redbirds exhibition for St. Louis before experiencing fatigue between the biceps and shoulder of his pitching arm.
Here is how the color-coding works for the spring-training roster matrix:
- Name in white font: Righty.
- Name in yellow font: Lefty.
- Name in orange font: Switch-hitter.
- Red: Player likely to make the 25-man roster at that position.
- Navy: Player involved in a spring-training competition of some sort. For example, 40-man roster members Martinez and Gonzales are both in navy because they're competing for the fifth starter job. So is non-roster invitee Villanueva because he is after a bullpen job. (If he is still in St. Louis camp come tomorrow morning, I suspect general manager John Mozeliak or manager Mike Matheny communicated to Villanueva or his agent that the righty has a bullpen job.)
- Royal Blue: Member of the 40-man roster unlikely to make the opening-day MLB 25-man roster.
- Light Blue: Non-roster invitee (NRI).
- Light Gray: Member of the 40-man roster who has been optioned to Triple-A already this spring.
- Dark Gray: NRI who has been reassigned to minor-league camp already this spring.
- Green: Injured. There is not a disabled list in spring training, but there are injuries. I don't know why I didn't implement the green coloration for Tommy Pham, who sustained a quad injury on March 13 and hasn't played an inning since. At any rate, Garcia's fatigue issue caused me to use the coloration for him and Pham to indicate injury that is keeping them out of action.