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Cardinal season preview: Players gained for 2014

Jhonny Peralta turns 2 in the ALCS.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

MLB Free Agents:

Angel Castro, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: Castro is kind of a surprising signing by the Cardinals. He’s never made a pitch at the Major League level and spent a couple of years pitching in the Mexican League. He’s a low risk option; if he helps the big league club, he’ll be worth the MLB minimum. If not, he’ll be outrighted off the 40-man roster. Contract: 1 yr, $500k.

Mark Ellis, 2B, Los Angeles Dodgers: Ellis has been a starter for his full career, and a pretty underrated one at that. He knows coming in that he’s going to be the backup and he’ll be ready to take the starting role if Kolten Wong proves he’s not ready. It’s probably easy for Ellis to accept this since he’s at the end of this career and is getting starter money. Contract: 1 yr, $5.25M.

Jhonny Peralta (SS, Detroit Tigers): Peralta is a polarizing figure this off-season. He’s received one of the largest contracts handed to someone who failed a PED suspension. There’s no doubt he’s an upgrade, and people aren’t really looking at that fact that any production from Peralta will be an upgrade. Plus he was suspended for a diet pill, not a steroid. Contract: 4 yr, $53M.

MiLB Free Agents:

Oscar Cotes (SS, TBD); Steven de la Cruz (C, Non-Drafted Free Agent), Ed Easley (C, Arizona Diamondbacks); Dariel Gomez (1B, TBD); Carlos Luis (OF, TBD); Scott Moore (3B, San Diego Padres); Pat Neshek (RHP, Oakland Athletics).

Players of note: I couldn’t find any information about Cotes, Gomez, and Luis…de la Cruz last played at the New Mexico Military Institute JC; he’ll start out in rookie ball and attempt to work his way up…Easley was signed as catching depth…Moore has decent minor league power, but is only system filler; don’t expect him to make his way to the 40-man roster…Neshek is an interesting case, as he’s had a lot of success at the Major League level but struggles to stay there; he’s got a real chance to make the team out of spring training…

Trades:

Peter Bourjos (OF) and Randal Grichuk (OF) from the Los Angeles Angels for David Freese and Fernando Salas: Bourjos lost his centerfield job to Mike Trout and was too much of an asset to move to a corner; add in his health concerns and rising salary, the Angels felt it was best to move him. The Cardinals are hoping they get keep Bourjos on the field for a full season and get production like the Angels saw in 2011. If he can field like he did, he’s worth more than Jon Jay. Grichuk was going to be tied to Trout also; he was taken the pick before the slugger. That tie would make it hard to live up to any potential with the Angels; with the Cardinals, he’s just a guy that could make the team. That low pressure should help him mature into a better player.

Waiver Claims:

Joey Butler, OF, Texas Rangers: Butler is minor league depth with little potential. He’s low risk, as they just have to use a 40-man roster spot and give him the MLB minimum.

Rafael Ortega, OF, Texas Rangers: Ortega has more upside than Butler; he can play a solid centerfield and he’s younger. The Rangers felt they should take a chance on him, as they claimed Ortega off waivers from the Rockies earlier in the off-season. I ranked Ortega the 14th best prospect in the Rockies system before last season.

Rule V Draft:

Greg Miclat (SS, Texas Rangers); Jesus Ustariz (1B, Detroit Tigers).

Players of note: Both players were taken in the Triple A phase of the Rule V draft and are not considered prospects, rather system depth; neither ranked in the Top 20 of their former organizations prior to last season…