ORLANDO -- The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that they are adding five players to the 40-man roster, thus protecting those players from being exposed to other clubs in next month's Rule 5 Draft.
Pitchers Eduardo Sanchez, Adam Reifer and David Kopp, infielder Pete Kozma and outfielder Adron Chambers all had their contracts purchased on Wednesday. All spent the bulk of the 2010 season at Double-A Springfield, and all except Sanchez were selected in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
Kozma, 22, is likely the best known of the bunch among Cardinals fans. He was the team's first-round pick in 2007. Kozma batted .243 with a .318 on-base percentage and a .384 slugging percentage at Double-A Springfield in 2010, his second full season at Double-A. Chambers, 24, enjoyed a solid year split between Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. On the year, he put up a combined .283/.379/.405 line, with 14 steals in 19 attempts. Chambers was a 38th-round pick.
Reifer, 24, was an 11th-rounder. He went a combined 4-1 between Springfield and Memphis, recording 17 saves with a 2.95 ERA and struck out 52 against 15 walks in 55 innings. Kopp struggled upon promotion from Springfield to Memphis, but still went a combined 12-9 with a 3.97 ERA, 90 strikeouts and 50 walks in 145 innings. He was a second-round pick out of Clemson.
Sanchez, considered to have one of the most exciting arms in the organization, posted a 2.38 ERA with a 1-1 record in 50 appearances split between Springfield and Memphis. The 21-year-old right-hander struck out 58 in 53 innings, walked 20 and totaled 14 saves.
The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to select players from other organizations if those players are not added to the 40-man roster for a certain period of time after they are first signed. Players signed at age 19 or older are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they are not added to the 40-man within four years after signing. Players who sign at age 18 or younger must be added to the 40-man roster within five years after signing, or be exposed to the Draft.
When a team selects a player in the Rule 5 Draft, it pays $50,000 to the team from which it is taking the player. The player must then stay on the 25-man active Major League roster all season, or else be offered back to the original team at a cost of $25,000. Teams also sometimes work out trades to circumvent this requirement.
The Draft will take place at next month's Winter Meetings in Orlando.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.