St. Louis Cardinals Add Ed Easley to 40-Man Roster, Lose Jorge Rondon to Colorado Rockies


The St. Louis Cardinals made a series of roster moves Monday, following up the earlier loss of righthanded reliever Eric Fornataro on waivers to the Washington Nationals by also losing righty Jorge Rondon to the Colorado Rockies. Catcher Ed Easley was placed on the 40-man roster, bringing the amount of players on the roster to 35.

In a rather odd move, the Cardinals chose to put Easley, who will be 29 next month, on their major-league roster. A sandwich pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007, Easley is a veteran of eight minor-league seasons and has never seen any action in the majors. This past season, his first in the Cardinals organization, Easley hit .296 with 10 homers and 43 RBI at Triple-A Memphis, splitting time behind the plate with Audry Perez.

With the addition of Easley to the 40-man, it’s all but a certainty that veteran A.J. Pierzynski (or any other outside veteran, for that matter) will not be part of the Cardinals’ plans in 2015. Easley will likely go into spring training competing with Tony Cruz for the backup job behind Yadier Molina. While Cruz finished off the season well and had a clutch homer in the NLCS, he’ll need to improve over the .200/.270/.259 slash line he put together over 135 at-bats in 2014 if he wants to cement his status on the big-league roster next season.

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The 26-year-old Rondon is capable of hitting triple digits on the radar gun and had created some buzz for himself over the past couple years, but he was never able to separate himself from the more highly-touted prospects in the organization, such as Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, and Carlos Martinez. Though he had three stints in the big leagues last year, he only got into one game, throwing a hitless, scoreless inning with one walk against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 29. At Triple-A Memphis, he had a 3.03 ERA, a 1.27 WHIP, and a .250 opponent batting average over 51 appearances spanning 62.1 innings.

With the loss of Rondon and Fornataro on Monday, the Cardinals only have Keith Butler, Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, and Sam Tuivailala remaining as righthanders who will definitely be relievers in 2015. The Cards will have to choose a five-man rotation, so someone among Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, and Carlos Martinez could end up in the ‘pen, with Adam Wainwright locked into a rotation spot and lefties Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales also expected to be part of the starting competition. Regardless, righthanded relief will likely be one of the foremost areas that the Cardinals aim to improve either through free agency or a trade this offseason.