Major league transactions and roster construction are weird things. You have The 25 man roster. The 40 man roster. Minor League free agents. Minor league transactions. Promotions. Demotions. Designation for assignment. Waivers. The 10 day DL. The 60 day DL. September Call Ups.
It can get pretty dizzying.
Then, every year on September 1st each MLB organization gets to expand their roster from the standard 25 players that they’ve carrier for the first five months of the season (expect for when there is a double header and they get to carry a 26th player for just that day) all the way to a potential of 40 players.
The rules are what they are(go ahead. Read the MLB rule book. Punish yourself.), but the important thing to know about the September roster expansions is that a player has to be in the organization by midnight on September 1st to be playoff eligible and has to be on the 40 man roster to be called up. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote about it earlier in the week and he does a better job of explaining that either I or the MLB rule book is capable of doing. Give it a read.
So, with that in mind, let’s get to the players who we might see playing for the Cardinals in September.
*One quick, final note first: Memphis has already locked up a post season berth and Springfield is currently having a second half surge that has them on pace for the playoffs. Some of the players I mention will be up in September, but only when their current teams playoff runs are completed.
The Players Already On The 40 Man: The Certain
This is the easiest place to start. The first group of reinforcements will certainly come from the current group that is already on the 40 man. The first one is easy:
Magneuris Sierra, OF
Sierra has been on the I-44 shuttle between St. Louis and Springfield since being promoted to Double-A after his first stint in the majors. Prior to that, he was shuttled between whatever the highway system is that takes you from Jupiter, FL to St. Louis. I don’t know. I vacation westward…
Sierra offers speed and defense that the parent affiliate lacks. He’s a perfect late inning substitute and the Cardinals manager has already demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to use Sierra.
Another note about Sierra that makes his call up on the first of September almost a guarantee; he’s one of four acclaimed outfield prospects at Springfield, along with Jose Adolis Garcia, Oscar Mercado, and the recently struggling Randy Arozarena. That means that bringing Sierra up to the majors won’t hinder Springfield chances at a title all that much which, and you might find this hard to believe, is actually a small factor in deciding who gets the add on September 1st.
Aledmys Diaz, Former SS, Now Utility IF
Entering Sunday, Diaz had played 6 of his last 12 games at 3rd and 2 of his last 12 games at 2nd. He’s been terrible at the plate in those games, slashing 220/283/293 but all indications are that he’s played his new positions well.
I think there’s a good chance that we see Diaz on September 1st much like Sierra, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks around for Memphis’ playoff run. His performance at the plate has left his stock in the dumps.
Harrison Bader. OF
Bader made quite the impression on both the big league club and Cardinals Nation when he was called up in late July. His mad-dash from 3rd to home against Colorado and the hand-canon of Carlos Gonzalez to win his major league debut is one of the finest moment of the Cardinals season so far in 2017. We won’t see Bader until after the Pacific Coast League playoffs, but he will certainly be with the major league club by the end of September
John Gant, RHP
Gant has had a bit of an up and down season in the organization for the Cardinals. In the minors, he’s held hitters to a batting average against that’s a little high at .272 with an ERA of 3.82, although he’s been pretty good as of late. He’s only been called upon by the major league club once this season and he surrendered 2 runs in 3.1 IP. If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that Gant would have only pitched 3.1 innings for the Cardinals this season I would have assumed that he was going to be injured or that the major league staff and bullpen was going to be lights outs. Gant has had a few nagging injuries, but neither of the qualifiers that I just mentioned have turned out to be true for the Cardinals.
Still, it’s a certainty that the center piece of the Jaime Garcia trade will be a September call up after Memphis’ playoff run.
Josh Lucas, Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
The tall, 3/4 to side-armed throwing righty made a solid, but unspectacular, debut for the Cardinals against Pittsburgh and San Diego. He throws a nasty slider and if there is one thing that carrying, what seems like, 16 pitchers on the 25 roster all season has taught us, it’s that the Cardinals manager loves him some bullpen relief.
Ryan Sherriff, Left-Handed Relief Pitcher
I’m making a huge leap as I write this that Mr. Sherriff has already been sent down to the minors and that Kevin Siegrist, who is currently on a minor league rehab assignment, has been recalled to the majors. Sherriff mega-impressed on Friday night vs Tampa while pitching 3 innings of 2 hit, 4 strikeout baseball. It had been 97 appearances out of the bullpen since the last time he threw 3 innings. And, again, Mr. Matheny and his bullpen…
Alex Mejia, Utility Infielder
Cardinals fans were left scratching their collective head after Mejia was added to the 40 man roster in late June. It was as big of a shocker as any 40 man addition in recent years.
Mejia hit a magical little HR against Washington on July 1st that propelled the Cards to a victory, but failed to do enough to stick, as he hit .214 over his 10 game audition. Since the demotion, Mejia has slashed 348/389/510 at Memphis over 41 games entering Sunday. He’ll provide late inning defensive certainty on the infield the way that Magneuris Sierra will be able to in the outfield. Again, I’m pretty sure his promotion will come after Memphis’ playoff push, but I do think that either he or Diaz will get the call on September 1st.
The Players Already On The 40 Man: The Questions
There are some players on the 40 man that may or may not be deserving of a call to the show, but I don’t know if it’ll happen. Teams rarely take their rosters into the mid to upper 30’s after September 1st. These are the guys that have a smaller chance of being brought up.
Mike Mayers, Walking-Disaster, Right-Handed Relief Pitcher…. ish
I’m kidding with my above characterization of Mayers, but the major league portion of his career so far has been nothing short of a disaster. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals decide to keep him on the 40 man roster and bring him up as part of one final attempt for this poor young man to find major league success. Personally, I’d DFA him to make roster space for one of the players that the Cardinals will need to add to the 40 man as Rule 5 Draft protection after the season, but that just isn’t a Cardinals Front Office-type move.
Breyvic Valera, Utility Infielder
Valera’s season is a tale of two halves. Or, rather, two hitting coaches.
Mark Budaska was named Memphis’ hitting coach on June 10th, and up to that point in the season Valera was slashing an abysmal 261/314/341 with 4 doubles and 0 HR in 176 AB and he was in danger of losing his spot on the 40 man. But in 60 games since Budaska took over Valera has slashed 369/423/545/968 with 18 doubles and 7 HR. Valera plays a very solid second base and I think that the fact that he was never removed from the 40 man roster is a good sign that he’ll join the major league club after the Memphis playoff run. Still, he has yet to be called upon and I think that’s enough of a reason to think that he is on the bubble for a September promotion.
Eliezer Alvarez, 2B & Edmundo Sosa, SS
Both of these players had to be added to the 40 man roster last off season to be protected from the Rule 5 draft. Both of these players have lost significant time this season to injury. Both of these players possess tools that could potentially help the major league club if called upon.
Alvarez is in Springfield and Sosa is in Palm Beach, and while I’d love to see Alvarez’ bat and Sosa’s glove in the major leagues for a small sample, I just can’t imagine it happening. Still, It’s worth bringing up that both are on the 40 man and have skill that could benefit the major league.
The 40 Man Roster And Sandy Alcantara
There are a few players that the Cardinals will have to add to the 40 man roster before the start of next season to protect from the Rule 5 draft. Those names included Matt Pearce and Oscar Mercado, but also fringe-potential 40 men Andrew Morales and Daniel Poncedeleon. More importantly, they’ll have to add Sandy Alcantara and Austin Gomber to the 40 man.
The Cardinals 40 man roster currently has 39 eligible members on it, meaning that one of those two players can be added without having to remove another player from the 40 man That player will almost certainly be Alcantara who just so happened to be moved to the bullpen on the same day that The Cardinals announced that Trevor Rosenthal‘s season was over because of the Dread Pirate Tommy John. I believe that roster move will come as early as Friday when the roster’s expand.
Now, if the Cardinals wanted to add Gomber for the stretch run after the Springfield playoff run or one of the other names that I mentioned above, there are a couple of options for 40 man-removal.
First is Sean Gilmartin. The Cardinals claimed Gilmartin off of waivers from the Mets earlier in the season and he almost immediately was placed on the DL. He’s back to pitching now, but he would be the 6th left handed-option out of the bullpen in the pecking order and the Cardinals could easily afford to to try and pass him through waivers.
Another option for 40 man-removal is Rowan Wick. The former power-hitting-outfielder-turned-hard-throwing-relief-pitcher was added to the 40 man last season because he had to be Rule 5 protected. At the time, the Cardinals lacked a true bullpen-burner in the organization that could bring the heat and Wick was still developing as a pitcher.
But 2017 has been less than ideal for Wick. He pitched terribly at Memphis, dealt with some arm issues, and has seen his stock plummet. He’s been pretty good at Springfield since finding his way into that bullpen, but his fastball is flat and his off speed offering is terribly inconsistent. His fastball no longer reaches the high 90’s like it used to. He’s a diminishing talent that was a gambit in the first place and it would make sense to add more promise to the 40 man in Wick’s place.
And, again, there’s always Mike Mayers spot.
What do you think? Who will be added when rosters expand? Who should be taken off of the 40 man? Sound off in the comments section and let us know!!!
Thanks For Reading!