The St. Louis Cardinals added four pitchers to their 40-man roster by Tuesday’s deadline, protecting each from next month’s Rule 5 Draft. The four are Michael Blazek, Keith Butler, Eric Fornataro, and Kevin Siegrist.
As expected, on Monday the organization released pitcher Brandon Dickson so he could sign to play in Japan. That temporarily lowered the Cardinals’ 40-man roster total to 35. With Tuesday’s four additions, the Cards still have one spot remaining which they could potentially use to select another organization’s unprotected player in the Rule 5 Draft, to be held on Thursday, December 6 at Baseball’s Winter Meetings.
Blazek, 23, the Cardinals’ 35th round selection in the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft, fanned 83 batters in 80 innings for Texas League champion Springfield this season. In 40 games (including seven starts), the right-hander was 5-8 with a 4.16 ERA and he ranked among league leaders with eight holds. Blazek stumbled in his brief Triple-A introduction with Memphis, allowing four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings.
Butler, 23, was the Cardinals’ 24th round selection in the June 2009 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander led Springfield and the Cardinals system with 25 saves, second-most in the Texas League. Butler was 5-1 with a 2.76 ERA in 53 relief appearances. He is currently pitching in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Fornataro, 24, was the sixth round pick by the Cardinals in the 2008 draft. The hard-throwing right-hander led the Texas League with 16 holds in 2012 while posting a 3-3 mark with a 2.39 ERA and five saves in his 57 appearances for Springfield.
Siegrist, 23, was slowed by injury in 2012, splitting time between Palm Beach (A-Advanced) and Springfield after receiving a non-roster invite to the Cardinals major league spring training camp. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound lefty was the Cardinals’ 41st round selection in the 2007. Siegrist was a perfect 6-0 with a 2.28 ERA in 10 starts for Palm Beach. He went 1-2, 3.62 ERA in eight games (five starts) for Springfield before posting a 2.37 ERA and a strikeout to walk ratio of 27 to 6 in 19 innings in the Arizona Fall League.
Among the unprotected players, Springfield teammates catcher Audry Perez and pitchers Richard Castillo and Scott Gorgen may be among those most appealing to other organizations. More details coming for The Cardinal Nation subscribers.
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