Earlier this month, Josh Zeid pitched for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic. He’s now headed to St. Louis Cardinals minor league Spring Training after signing a contract with the organization.
Josh Zeid‘s performance in the World Baseball Classic this year caught the attention of at least one major league club: the St. Louis Cardinals. The terms of the contract have yet to be publicized, but it’s likely a simple one-year minor league deal.
The right-hander appeared in four games for Team Israel in this year’s Classic, three coming in relief. He also recorded two saves.
In total, Zeid hurled ten scoreless innings, allowed five hits and six walks, and struck out ten. He was by far the most dominant pitcher on the mound for Israel and one of the reasons the team advanced to the second round of pool play in the tournament.
The 29-year old has seen major-league action before, in 2013 and 2014. During those two seasons, he made forty-eight appearances out of the bullpen for the Houston Astros and recorded a 5.21 ERA. He struck out forty-two in 48 1/3 innings.
He was drafted in the tenth round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies and most recently spent time in the New York Mets organization last summer. Between double-A and triple-A, he made fifteen starts in 2016 and went 7-6 with a 4.61 ERA.
Zeid’s been both a starter and reliever in his minor-league career. He was a free agent all winter and spring until the Cardinals took note of his performance in the World Baseball Classic.
He hinted at his new deal with St. Louis on his twitter account Tuesday morning:
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo confirmed the signing a few hours later:
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The Cardinals have a swath of starting pitching talent in their organization at the moment, from guys who will begin the year in low-A to pitchers who have already debuted with St. Louis but will begin the year in triple-A (Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzales).
For now, it appears Zeid offers depth as a relief option. It’s unclear what level he’ll be assigned to when Spring Training comes to a close, but given his prior major-league experience and success in the Classic, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him begin the year in the bullpen at double-A Springfield or even triple-A Memphis.
If the organization wants to stretch him out to start in the minor leagues, they have less than two weeks to do so. In that case then, I’d expect him to begin the year as a reliever with either Springfield or Memphis.
Pitching in the World Baseball Classic appears to have paid off for Zeid. He’ll look to continue his exciting beginning to the season by climbing the ranks in the Cardinals’ system and eventually getting back to the major leagues.