The St. Louis Cardinals made a move to shake up their roster Tuesday and there are likely more to come. General Manager John Mozeliak called up left-hander Sam Freeman and right-hander Jorge Rondon to the big club after putting lefty Tyler Lyons on the 15-day disabled list and sending down right-hander Eric Fornataro.
The moves come with an acknowledgement from Mozeliak that the play of the Cardinals was “concerning” and just a day after manager Mike Matheny publicly urged his team to do better. The Cardinals need pitching re-enforcements during this stretch of 16 games in 17 days but the move also hints at shaking things up. It is the second time in a week Matheny has tinkered with the roster, as last week Greg Garcia and Joey Butler were called up. Plus it is likely second basemen Kolten Wong will be back with the Cardinals shortly in addition to starter Jaime Garcia and reliever Jason Motte.
Mozeliak is trying to find the right mix, while prompting the core of the Cardinals’ roster that seemed a lock before the season to run away with the National League Central division. Sooner or later the Cards general manager may be forced to do something more drastic. This Cardinal team is woefully underachieving, and most of the blame can be heaped on the offense.
If Wong’s inevitable promotion and the equally inevitable insertion of Garcia and Motte to the roster do not achieve results, some of the core players on the St. Louis roster had better be ready for change. Mozeliak is not the type to sit on his hands and watch a season of promise go down the drain. Moving players back and forth between Memphis is Mozeliak’s initial attempt to shake up the St. Louis Cardinal roster. If things do not improve it will not be the last.
The Revolving Door to Memphis – Fornataro was sent down after the Chicago Cubs blasted the Cardinals 17-5 Monday Night at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals are in the midst of a stretch of playing nine straight days and Fornatoro would not be of much use to manager Mike Matheny for a couple of days, after throwing 39 pitches in two innings Monday.
Lyons’ stint on the disabled list means a spot in the rotation has opened up this Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. There are a few scenarios in play here for Mozeliak, one of which would involve calling up left-hander Tim Cooney from Memphis, or taking Jaime Garcia off of the disabled list after he pitched effectively in a rehab appearance at AAA Memphis Monday. The Cardinals are hoping for Garcia, but they will not know his status until he throws a side session Wednesday.
Garcia Takes One For The Team – It is hard to tell what can turn a season around but the Cardinals extra inning victory over the Cubs Tuesday had that kind of feel. St. Louis was desperate for a win after being shellacked the prior evening, especially when they took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning and a victory looked secure. Trevor Rosenthal, however, blew that lead and hearts were pounding in the Cardinals dugout. A second straight loss to a team as poor as the Cubs would have been demoralizing. Thankfully for Cardinal fans the Cubs are still the Cubs and walked in the game winning run in the 12th inning when reserve infielder Greg Garcia was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It was not exactly heroic stuff, but the Cardinals will take it, pushing their record back to .500 at 20-20.
Whether it was the shake up of the St. Louis Cardinals’ roster or a reserve infielder getting hit by a pitch to walk in the winning run, Mozeliak hopes his team has been ignited. If not, other moves are coming. Count on it.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the St. Louis Cardinals
St Louis Cardinals