With Two to DL, Cards Promote Memphis Trio

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced a series of roster moves today, prior to their Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Cardinals recalled outfielder Randal Grichuk and right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers and purchased the contract of rookie first baseman Luke Voit from Memphis (AAA).  The team also announced that centerfielder Dexter Fowler (right heel spur) and left-handed pitcher Kevin Siegrist (cervical spine sprain) have been placed on the 10-day disabled list (Siegrist is retroactive to June 23), and that outfielder Chad Huffman has been optioned to Memphis.


Grichuk, who was optioned to Palm Beach (A) on May 29, was batting .273 (18-for-66) with six home runs and 10 RBI in 15 games between Palm Beach and Memphis.  Grichuk has hit five home runs in his last six games for the triple-A Redbirds and hit safely in eight-straight games.  He was batting .222 with a then team-high 14 doubles, 4 HR’s and 19 RBI in 46 games with the Cardinals at the time of his option to the minors.


Mayers, 25, who debuted in four games (one start) for the Cardinals last season, has compiled a 5-6 mark with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts for Memphis this season, allowing one run or fewer in each of his last five starts (0.87 ERA; 31.0 IP/3 ER) with 36 strikeouts.  Mayers (pronounced MY-ers) ranks 9th among Pacific Coast League pitching leaders in both innings pitched (77.0) and strikeouts (68).   The 6-3, 215-pound Mayers was the Cardinals 3rd round draft selection (93rd player overall) in 2013 out of the University of Mississippi.


Voit, 26, drafted by the Cardinals in the 22nd round (665th player overall) in 2013 out of Missouri State University, is a St. Louis area native who graduated from Lafayette High School – the same local high school that produced Major Leaguers David Freese and Ryan Howard.

The right-handed hitting Voit has enjoyed an All-Star caliber season in his first year at Memphis, ranking among PCL leaders in batting (.322-10th), hits (82-10th), RBI (48-10th), doubles (23-T1st), on-base pct. (.406-4th), slugging (.561-9th) and OPS (.967-4th).  Voit led the Texas League (AA) in batting (.297) last season while playing for Springfield and he tied the Palm Beach Cardinals single-season RBI record (77) in 2015.

The 6-3, 225-pound Voit was named the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Month in April when he batted .360 and swatted five of his 12 home runs on the season.  He is batting .327 vs. right-handed pitching this season and .304 vs. lefties and has provided a .333 (23-for-69) mark with 32 RBI while batting with runners in scoring position.

Voit, who will be making his Major League debut, has been assigned uniform no. 40.  Mayers wears no. 59 and Grichuk wears no. 15.


Brian Walton’s take

There is nothing wrong with these additions, but other than the return of Grichuk and banishment and Huffman, I am a bit surprised.

Mayers has not been the most dominating starter for Memphis this season. In fact, he would be my number four behind Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzales and Jack Flaherty. Only the latter is not on the 40-man roster, making the others equally available. On the other hand, if the Cards plan to use Mayers in long relief, they may be keeping the others as ready candidates to step into the faltering rotation.

Voit has enjoyed a standout season offensively, but in effect, he is a slightly younger Matt Adams – a player that was a poor fit on the Cardinals roster. Like Adams, Voit is unable to play any position defensively other than first base on a team whose best player is the first baseman. By definition, it would seem to limit his opportunity to rare starts relieving Matt Carpenter and pinch-hitting duties only, with the latter a potentially challenging role for a rookie.

Though Huffman can also play in the outfield, giving the manager more flexibility, it is not like he will be a significant loss, though, so the logic may go that they may as well give Voit a chance. To be honest, if the real need was just a bat off the bench, one is left to wonder why Hoffman was called up ahead of Voit in the first place.

With the addition of Voit, the Cardinals’ 40-man roster is now full. An additional space could be easily cleared by moving injured pitcher Alex Reyes to the 60-day disabled list.

Memphis, in first place with a 10-game division lead, was already short one player by my count. After these moves, the Redbirds are obviously down two more on their 25-man active roster. At least some of those backfills are likely to be announced on Monday. The Triple-A club also needs a starting pitcher to take Mayers’ turn, which was scheduled for Monday night.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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