Remembering Recent Non-Roster Invitees Who Have Made the St. Louis Cardinals’ Opening Day Roster

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Carlos Villanueva St. Louis Cardinals
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Carlos Villanueva, RP, 2015

Villanueva, the Cardinals’ most recent non-roster success story, made the club last spring after a late injury to Jaime Garcia opened up a rotation spot for projected reliever Carlos Martinez, therefore freeing an extra bullpen spot for the veteran Villanueva. He responded by having the best season of his major-league career and posting his first sub-4.00 ERA since 2006. Over 35 appearances that spanned 61 innings, Villanueva put up a 2.95 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and ,223 opponent batting average.

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Most importantly, he saved the bullpen when the starters failed to stay in the game. Rightfully so, Villanueva earned a $1.5 million-dollar major-league contract from the San Diego Padres this offseason, so the Cardinals are searching for an in-house option to replace him as the long reliever this spring.