St. Louis Cardinals Trade for Ty Kelly, Add Him to 40-Man Roster


The St. Louis Cardinals concluded a rather strange month of 40-man roster moves on Thursday night, announcing the acquisition of infielder Ty Kelly from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for minor-league pitcher Sam Gaviglio. Kelly was promptly added to the Cards’ 40-man roster, increasing the total of players occupying the roster to 37, which budgets three spots for any other big-leaguers that the Cardinals sign or trade for during the remainder of this offseason.

Kelly, a 26-year-old who was originally selected in the 13th round of the 2009 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, has displayed solid skills as a minor-leaguer but has yet to receive a chance in the majors. Kelly, an adept utility man who has played every position except catcher and shortstop during his six-year professional career, has spent the majority of his time at second and third base. He played in 64 games at second for Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, in 2014.

Kelly’s offensive production has never really been off the charts, but he has been above average for the past two seasons in Triple-A. In 2013, Kelly hit .320/.456/.406 over 54 games. He was able to seriously improve his power skills in 2014, collecting a career-high 15 homers and 80 RBI, though his slash line dropped to .263/.381/.412. Considering that this was Kelly’s second go-round in Triple-A, his average and OBP should have been better, but they’re workable numbers, especially if he can contribute all around the diamond defensively.

Usually, as the the Rule 5 Draft approaches, teams add some of their more highly-regarded prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from being snatched as Rule 5 picks. Ultimately, though, the Cardinals only found one player worthy of the honor: catcher Cody Stanley, who was added to the 40-man on Tuesday evening.

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Instead, the Cardinals have spent the offseason thus far stacking up on experienced minor-leaguers who have already passed through the Rule 5 unselected in past years. Soon-to-be 29-year-old catcher Ed Easley, who has yet to make his big-league debut, was added to the 40-man earlier this month after spending all of the 2014 season at Triple-A Memphis. Infielder Dean Anna, who turns 28 on Monday, was signed to a major-league deal last week. Anna, who had a brief stint with the New York Yankees (good for 0.026 years of big-league service time) in April of 2014, ended the year in the Pirates’ minor-league system. Kelly is the latest career minor-leaguer to receive the honor of being added to the big-league roster.

The Cardinals were under no obligation to add any of these guys to the 40-man, but obviously they feel that these players were capable of contributing to the major-league team in 2015 and deserved to have the comfort of being among the most viable candidates for the Opening Day roster.

If the Cardinals decide to add more than three players from outside the organization to the 40-man roster this offseason, they shouldn’t have too many issues. There’s a strong belief that the additions of both Kelly and Anna to the 40-man mean that veteran infielder Daniel Descalso will be non-tendered, while the presence of Stanley and Easley also puts the status of backup catcher Tony Cruz in question.