Wednesday Morning Notebook
By Jeff Jones
Twitter – @jmjones
LAS VEGAS – The Cardinals made two trades on Tuesday afternoon from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Conference Center in Las Vegas, though only one involved roster players. That trade will be discussed below, but the other involved swapping out President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak for General Manager Michael Girsch. It was Girsch who addressed the assembled media from the team’s suite on Tuesday and Girsch who brought some tidbits of news.
n Utility player Drew Robinson was acquired from the Texas Rangers in exchange for infielder Patrick Wisdom. Robinson, 26, has a .204 batting average and 9 HR in 246 career major league plate appearances. He also 99 strikeouts in those plate appearances but has a .867 OPS across five seasons at Triple-A
n Wisdom, though popular with teammates and throughout the organization, lacked a clear role with the Cardinals moving forward. Robinson was attractive due to his lefty bat and his ability to play center field, a position at which the Cardinals felt they could use more depth.
n The acquisition of Robinson, according to Girsch, does not close the book on the Cardinals search for an established major league player who bats left handed. Though Robinson will come to spring training with a chance to win a roster spot, he’s viewed as a depth acquisition.
n Much of Tuesday afternoon’s conversation focused on the Cardinals attempts to reshape their bullpen. When asked if OF José Martínez could “become” a lefty reliever, Girsch joked that he’d be bad at that role before he conceded that a trade of Martínez to fill that hole would be a possibility.
n Girsch also indicated that he would be willing to consider attaching a troublesome contract to a quality prospect in order to entice a team into a trade. The Cardinals are considering any and all avenues for adding the reliever they seek in both trades and free agency.
n Mark Saxon of The Athletic and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Tuesday morning that Giants left-handers Will Smith and Tony Watson were pitchers of interest for the Cardinals. Martínez would have appeal for the Giants as a bat, but may be challenged in a tricky right field in San Francisco. Girsch said Tuesday that NL teams, as well as AL teams, have expressed interest in Martínez.
n Relievers Luke Gregerson and Brett Cecil, hampered by injuries and ineffectiveness last season, have been checked up on by team staff this winter as the club seeks clarity on their availability moving forward. Girsch said both players are “fine” and the team is waiting on more detailed medical checkups.
n John Brebbia, who has been shuttled back and forth between the St. Louis and Memphis bullpens the last two seasons, has “earned more stability in his life than he’s received so far,” said Girsch. He’ll enter spring training with incumbency in his favor as the team assembles its bullpen.
n Girsch indicated that both the trade and free agent markets are moving relatively slowly, especially in regard to relief pitching. It’s far from a certainty that the Cardinals will make a major move before the week is out.
n Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a target of the Cardinals in years past, was released by the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday. Girsch declined to comment on whether the team would be interested in his services now, though it’s hard to see a fit for an oft-injured player who bats right handed and has limited positional flexibility.