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The infielder and reliever are both out of options after debuting during the 2012 season. Should they not make the Major League club’s Opening Day roster, they would have to be able to clear waivers before being reassigned to the minor leagues. In the same way that the acquisitions of Dean Anna and Ty Kelly made Daniel Descalso expendable, the same can be applied for Kozma. The 2007 first round draft pick ran out of options following the 2014 season.
“I’m not going to assume anything,” Kozma said according to MLB.com. “I’m going to go in and try to work my butt off and try to make the team in St. Louis first. If something else happens, so be it. We’ll have to see what happens.”
Sep 26, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Sam Freeman (71) throws in the seventh against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Image Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Over the past three seasons, Freeman appeared in 81 games. Most of these games came during the 2014 season when Freeman pitched 38 innings with 35 strikeouts and 19 walks while posting a 2.61 ERA. He’s amongst a number of left-handed pitchers that are looking to find a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. The competition includes Randy Choate, Marco Gonzales, and Kevin Siegrist. Choate is signed with the club through the end of the 2015 season and it seems doubtful that he would go anywhere.
The question of Gonzales is whether he comes out of the bullpen as a long reliever or as a one-inning or a few batters type a guy. He came up through the system as a starter and made a few starts during the 2014 season.
With what is at stake, both players already know that they are going to have to work hard to make the Opening Day roster. The reality is that it won’t be easy. In addition to the aforementioned Anna and Kelly, utility infielder Greg Garcia will be a part of the discussion when it comes to having an player able to come off the bench as a pinch hitter or make spot starts.