St. Louis Cardinals Add OF Anthony Garcia to 40-Man Roster


The St. Louis Cardinals continued their offseason roster reconstruction on Thursday morning, announcing that the contract of outfielder Anthony Garcia has been purchased from Triple-A Memphis, meaning that he has been added to the 40-man roster. The 23-year-old Garcia, who was originally a catcher, has played in the Cardinals’ system since being selected in the 18th round of the 2009 draft, and he’s a career .260/.350/.451 minor-league hitter.

Garcia spent most of 2015 with Double-A Springfield, where he hit .285/.400/.476 with 11 homers and 54 RBI in 288 at-bats. He got a cup of coffee at Triple-A Memphis near the end of the season, hitting .276/.344/.483 with two homers and 10 RBI over 58 at-bats. Garcia’s value showed most, however, when he hit .393 with five homers, 17 RBI, and a .964 slugging percentage in 30 at-bats for Team Puerto Rico in the 2015 Pan-Am Games this summer.

Over the past year, the Cardinals have adopted an interesting philosophy of adding veteran minor-leaguers who have already been eligible for the Rule 5 Draft and not been selected (Ed Easley, Dean Anna, and Ty Kelly) to the 40-man roster during the offseason. Garcia, who has been in the Cardinals’ system for the past seven seasons and was eligible for the Rule 5 Draft last winter, continues this trend.

This strategy bucks the traditional philosophy in Major League Baseball, which has been to add highly-regarded prospects coming up on their first Rule 5 Draft to the 40-man during the offseason to avoid them being poached, then to add older players like Garcia whenever they’re actually needed on the 25-man major-league roster. The evolution of player development, where legitimate prospects rarely play the four or five minor-league seasons that would be needed for them to be Rule 5 eligible, as well as the Cardinals’ lack of reliance on outside free agents, are factors that may be contributing to this new development in 40-man roster management.

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While teams add new players to the 40-man all the time during the offseason, this move is interesting, especially because Garcia’s already gone through a Rule 5 Draft unpicked. Perhaps his Pan-Am Games performance made him more attractive to teams across baseball, but even so, the Cardinals already have Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Jon Jay, and Peter Bourjos as outfield options on their 40-man roster, with Jason Heyward also a possibility to return despite his pending free agency. The possibility of losing Heyward in free agency is almost certainly not a factor in the decision, but perhaps it’s a sign that the Cardinals could be trying to develop a trade market for a player like Jay, who hit a career-worst .210/.306/.257 in 2015 after a strong .303/.372/.378 season in 2014.

Following the removal 10 players from the 40-man this week (four who the Cardinals willingly removed, six who elected free agency) and the addition of Garcia, the Cards now have 33 players on their 40-man roster.

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