Cardinals adjust 40-man roster

Cardinals adjust 40-man roster

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals revealed adjustments to their 40-man roster as well as their Minor League coaching staffs in a pair of announcements on Friday afternoon.

Arizona Fall League participants Tony Cruz and Blake King were added to the 40-man in advance of next month's Rule 5 Draft, but more striking is who was removed from the roster. Adam Ottavino, Nick Stavinoha, Daryl Jones and Steven Hill were all outrighted off the roster, sending them to Triple-A Memphis.

All four are thus eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 Draft. However, in the process of being outrighted, they were passed through waivers. At that time, any of the other 29 clubs could have claimed them before they were assigned to the Memphis roster -- without the Rule 5's stipulation that a player must be kept on the Major League roster all year. Thus the club is confident that it is not in any significant danger of losing any of the four in December.

King, 23, is a right-handed reliever who enjoyed a solid season in relief for Double-A Springfield in 2010, striking out 84 batters in 68 innings. He did issue 48 walks, but still managed a 2.91 ERA over his 53 appearances. He allowed seven runs in 10 innings in the AFL, striking out 10 with eight walks.

Cruz, 24, had a big Fall League campaign. The right-handed-hitting catcher batted .342 with a .393 on-base percentage, a .500 slugging percentage, three homers and 17 RBIs in 19 games. He played at Class A, Double-A and Triple-A in 2010, and put up a combined line of .282/.352/.433 across the three levels.

Stavinoha and Ottavino spent considerable time on the Cardinals' 25-man active roster this season. However, Stavinoha's success at the plate in the Minor Leagues never translated to the big leagues, and Ottavino was slowed by a shoulder injury. Both could appeal to other clubs in the Rule 5 Draft, though Ottavino's health questions may protect the Cardinals.

Jones, 23, was a third-round Draft pick in 2005 and was at one point one of the organization's top prospects, but he has regressed since a breakout 2008 season. He hit for a .244/.335/.361 line in his third season at Double-A in 2010. Hill, 25, homered in his only Major League game, but his bat is considered to outpace his catching skills.

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, Fla.

The Cardinals had previously added Eduardo Sanchez, Adam Reifer, David Kopp, Pete Kozma and Adron Chambers to the 40-man.

Additionally on Friday, St. Louis announced that it has all but finalized its Minor League field staffs for the 2011 season. All seven managers will return to their same posts, and the entire staff at Triple-A Memphis will remain the same as it was in 2010. Pitching coaches Bryan Eversgerd and Dennis Martinez are switching affiliates, with Eversgerd going to Double-A Springfield and Martinez to Class A Palm Beach.

Other changes include Mark DeJohn moving from senior roving field instructor to field coordinator and Derrick May moving from Springfield's hitting coach to hitting coordinator for the organization. A new Springfield hitting coach was not announced.

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.