The Cardinals brought back a former prospect, a Twitter sensation, and three others on minor league deals on Friday.
The St. Louis Cardinals added some depth to their organization on Friday, bringing back outfielder Oscar Mercado on a minor league deal, along with infielders Taylor Motter and Juniel Querecuto, LHP Kenny Hernandez, and right-hander Logan Sawyer.
Mercado was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2013 MLB draft by the Cardinals, and was the club’s number 10 prospect before being shipped to Cleveland for minor league outfielders Conner Capel and Jhon Torres. In Mercado’s rookie season during 2019, he slashed .269/.318/.443 with 15 HR, 54 RBI, and 15 SB in 115 games while playing elite defense in centerfield.
Since posting a 96 OPS+ that season, he has been around a 75 OPS+ and just not regained that success he once had. Mercado is an excellent flier for the club on a minor league deal, as if he can get back on track, he would be a great fourth outfielder for St. Louis during the 2023 season.
If you are on Twitter much, Logan Sawyer name has popped up recently as he has posted video for MLB scouts to find a role in a big league organization. His fastball sits between 94MPH-98MPH with good off-speed stuff, and put up a 0.00 ERA in 30 innings with 22 saves. It will be interesting to see how Sawyer pitches in their Cardinals system and if he can find a role in St. Louis in the near future.
Taylor Motter is a 33-year old utility journeyman who has played in 159 major league games between 2016-2022 for six different big league clubs, most recently appearing in two games for the Reds this last season. He has a career .572 OPS in at the major league level, but has a career .834 OPS at the Triple-A level. Motter will at least provide depth in Memphis this year and could even find some time in St. Louis if there are injuries this season.
Juniel Querecuto is 30-years old and most recently played 108 games for the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, posting a .725 OPS with his only big league stint being 4 games in 2016. Kenny Hernandez is just 24-years old and has made it as high as Triple-A before, but split time between Double-A and High-A for Arizona this past season.
With the non-tender deadline today, club’s around baseball are making moves on the edges of their 40-man roster and minor league systems. We should expect to see moves related to the big league roster start happening more and more of over the coming weeks.