St. Louis Cardinals Lose RHP Eric Fornataro on Waivers to Washington Nationals


It was announced on Monday afternoon that the Washington Nationals claimed St. Louis Cardinals righthanded pitcher Eric Fornataro off of waivers. Apparently the Cardinals had been trying to move the 26-year-old off the 40-man roster, likely in an attempt to free up space for young players who will be added to the 40-man this offseason as the Cardinals protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Fornataro made his major league debut in late April of 2014 and made eight big-league appearances on the year over two separate stints. He had three straight one-inning perfect appearances to start his big-league career, but after that he was much more inconsistent, putting up a 4.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and .282 opponent batting average over 9.2 innings.

For what it’s worth, Fornataro did see greater success at Triple-A Memphis this year. He spent time as the Redbirds’ closer, collecting 15 saves in 19 opportunities, and he posted a 2.57 ERA with a .225 opponent batting average in 44 appearances spanning 56 innings.

Fornataro’s future didn’t look too promising with the Cardinals, considering that he was not brought back when September call-ups came around, instead being passed up on the depth chart by flame-throwing righty Sam Tuivailala. Even if they lose veterans such as Jason Motte, Pat Neshek, and Justin Masterson to free agency, the Cardinals will have a wealth of big-league tested pitching entering the spring. There’s only five rotation spots to go around for Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Carlos Martinez, and Marco Gonzales, all of whom the Cardinals have publicly expressed confidence in as starters.

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Unless one of those players is traded, that means that three bullpen spots are basically locked in, and when you factor in closer Trevor Rosenthal and guys like Seth Maness, Sam Freeman, and Kevin Siegrist who have shown the ability to be very effective at the big-league level, there probably wasn’t going to be much opportunity for someone like Fornataro to become a significant contributor with the Cardinals, at least until a wave of injuries came through.

With the loss of Fornataro, the Cardinals have five dedicated righthanded relievers remaining under contract: Rosenthal, Maness, Tuivailala, Keith Butler, and Jorge Rondon.