Michael McKenry‘s time in St. Louis was so short that we never got a picture of him in a Cardinals uniform.
After being designated for assignment by the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, catcher Michael McKenry didn’t wait long to move on to greener pastures.
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McKenry, who cleared waivers and had the freedom to elect free agency since he’s previously been outrighted to the minor leagues, chose to become a free agent on Friday. Just minutes after
that McKenry was becoming a free agent,
that McKenry was joining the Atlanta Braves on a minor-league deal.
The 31-year-old McKenry, a .238/.318/.406 hitter over 953 big-league plate appearances, went 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly while spending just 13 days (including the All-Star break) on the Cardinals’ 25-man roster. With Atlanta, McKenry will have the opportunity to push for playing time on the big-league roster as their backup, Tyler Flowers, misses extended time with a fractured left hand. While Anthony Recker is holding it down as the current backup to A.J. Pierzynski, McKenry could become an option if Atlanta ends up moving Pierzynski before next week’s trade deadline.
McKenry likely saw the writing on the wall for his future with the Cardinals organization when highly-touted prospect Carson Kelly was moved up to Triple-A at the conclusion of the All-Star break. The 22-year-old Kelly will get the large majority of the playing time behind the plate at Memphis, and the Cardinals obviously are still intrigued enough by his backup there, Mike Ohlman, that they’ve left him on the 40-man roster for the past two years.
McKenry is the second veteran catcher that the Cardinals have designated for assignment and subsequently lost this year. In a move that infuriated many Cardinals fans, the team designated Eric Fryer–who hit .368 in St. Louis–on June 28, then put Brayan Pena, who replaced him on the active roster, back on the disabled list just eight days later. That move resulted in the recall of Rosario and later McKenry.