St. Louis Cardinals: Tim Cooney Departs Leaving Few Lefties

Feb 18, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak (right) talks with St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Tim Cooney (left) prior to warm ups at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak (right) talks with St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Tim Cooney (left) prior to warm ups at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

In the wake of the rule 5 protection deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals opted to not protect Tim Cooney and he was snatched immediately by the Cleveland Indians.

Friday marked the deadline for protecting prospects by adding them to the 40-man roster and the St. Louis Cardinals decided to roll the dice with a few of their prospects.  Tim Cooney was just such a risk and one that was immediately grabbed by the Cleveland Indians.

Cooney was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2012 amateur draft.  He came to the organization from Wake Forest University.  This 25-year old was under team control until 2023 and his first arbitration year was set for 2020.  This was all before yesterday when he was snatched by the Indians.

Most recently, Cooney missed the 2016 season with injury.  Cooney had been set to serve as a starter for AAA Memphis through 2016 on a path to rise to St. Louis in 2017.  The organization had thought well of Cooney but also thought well of his pen-mate, Marco Gonzales.  The organization was faced this offseason with a decision between the two and decided on Friday to risk Cooney.

Regarding Cooney’s injury, Tim felt discomfort during the 2016 spring training and was shut down before opening day in the minors.  In July of 2016, Cooney underwent exploratory surgery to scope the problematic left shoulder.  Surgery uncovered a calcium buildup which was addressed and he was expected to be completely ready for spring training 2017.  This will occur now with Cleveland rather than St. Louis.

Here’s a look at his career minor league stats:

1 Yr103.16631.12811310291.213
162 Game Avg.603.16341771596217571641.213

For comparison, and to highlight the decision the organization needed to make this offseason, these are Gonzales’ minor league stats:

2 Yrs424.821137.13920522321.634
162 Game Avg.1684.82441491568020881281.634

Notice the similarities?  In AAA play, Gonzales has ranked a greater number of strike outs but Cooney fared better in MLB play (limited sample admitted).  Both Cooney and Gonzales were under team control for the same length of time and both were removed from 2016 with injury.  Now the difference stands in the fact that Gonzales remains with St. Louis while Cooney does not.

In Cooney’s departure, the St. Louis Cardinals organization is left with the following lefties: Gonzales, Jaime Garcia, Tyler Lyons, Zach Phillips, Kevin Siegrist, and the injured-and-to-miss-2017 Zach Duke.  Gonzales was reviewed above, but what of the others?

Garcia, Lyons, and Siegrist (and Duke had he remained healthy) were and are slated for the St. Louis Cardinals MLB roster in 2017.  Their respective career ERAs are 3.57, 4.05, and 2.70 (and Duke’s 4.31).

Anticipated minor leaguer, Zach Phillips who was added to the Cardinals roster on Friday and assigned to Memphis, comes from the Pirates organization and had been outrighted in their organization on November 2nd of this year.  Phillips, to his credit, has four years of MLB experience from the pen where he has pitched 22.1 innings for an ERA of 3.22.

These are Phillips’ minor league and Japan stats for his career:

2005182 Teams2 LgsRk-ATEX134.141611054.15925313771.325
2009222 Teams2 LgsA+-AATEX231.39363477.24612230750.979
2010232 Teams2 LgsAAA-AATEX322.69451567.05920134631.388
201023Oklahoma CityPCLAAATEX323.22331150.15018129401.570
2011242 Teams2 LgsAAATEX-BAL244.01470458.16226328451.543
201124Round RockPCLAAATEX134.43330344.25022321381.590
201326New OrleansPCLAAAMIA422.44500159.04916324741.237
2016292 TeamsILAAABAL-PIT934.35510262.06030333851.500
Minors (11 seasons)Minors48483.884169835925.1916399383869281.407
Foreign (2 seasons)Foreign204.08170017.21481881.245
A (3 seasons)Minors16194.4157550297.2324146111092871.455
A+ (2 seasons)Minors10124.5344312188.21809511841631.399
AA (2 seasons)Minors001.43320650.1368124521.192
AAA (6 seasons)Minors21143.40269127338.1324128121563531.419

Is he the solution to the departed Cooney?  While older than Cooney, he does bring a greater amount of MLB and overall experience.  Perhaps Phillips simply needs the new start with the Cardinals.

More from St Louis Cardinals News

A quick note: other players are being gambled in the rule-five-40-man-roster game.  These include Mitch Harris, Alberto Rosario, and Mike Ohlman.  The St. Louis Cardinals had gambled with Dean Kiekhefer (another lefty nonetheless) and Jeremy Hazelbaker— both of which were snatched by other teams.  An important piece of note too is that Cooney, claimed through rule 5, must make the 25-man roster for the entire 2017 season or he will be returned to the Cardinals.

As an interesting side note, has anyone else noticed that Mozeliak is willing to let left-handed players depart?  Is he planning something big for the left side of the Cardinals?  Could this mean that someone like Chris Sale or a left-handed bat like Kevin Kiermaier be on their way to the Cardinals?

Next: Five Most Recent MVPs

The Cardinals have their 40-man roster full at present but this should not prevent them from adding anyone through trade.  As the days continue and as the winter meetings approach, the St. Louis Cardinals are set to become busy.  The question remains whether they will or not.  Stay with us for updates.