With just one St. Louis Cardinals spring training game left, the team announced the final cuts for the 26-man roster ahead of Opening Day.
The St. Louis Cardinals finished up their second-to-last spring training game in an 11-3 loss to the Washington Nationals on Sunday.
Following the game, the team announced another round of cuts, revealing which players made the MLB bench in the process.
The team’s last round of cuts came Friday when they cut the players in camp down to 36. Now, they have cut camp down further to the final 26.
With Thomas and Whitley out, the final bench players include Austin Dean, Edmundo Sosa, and John Nogowski. These three will join Andrew Knizner and Matt Carpenter.
Thomas’s exclusion from the roster is perhaps the most surprising, however he cooled off mightly after his hot start. His final spring line featured a .216 batting average and just a .520 OPS. Dean, an underdog for the roster from the beginning of spring, put up much better numbers with a .306 average and .794 OPS.
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The choice of Sosa over Jose Rondon was surely a difficult one. Rondon had a much better spring, but Sosa’s defensive acumen and lack of minor league options was likely enough to win him the utility spot. If Sosa struggles in his early opportunities, a move to bring up Rondon can happen later on.
Kodi Whitley was the talk of the town last spring before COVID-19 hurt his 2020 sample. This spring, Whitley didn’t let up a single run over 7.1 innings, striking out 10. He did enough to earn a bullpen spot, but Woodford likely got the nod as long relief insurance for the early season.
The Cardinals will be starting John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon in their rotation, so having another starter like Woodford in the bullpen as protection makes a lot of sense until injuries in the rotation subside.
With just four days to go until Opening Day and the roster now set, it is starting to get real that the season is about to start.
Lane Thomas will surely find his way back to St. Louis soon enough, but it shouldn’t have been as big of a surprise as it was that he was optioned. From the beginning, John Mozeliak has said that if you hit, you play. For a player with minor league options, Thomas didn’t hit enough to make the cut whereas Nogowski and Dean did.