Packy Naughton and James Naile
Packy Naughton being waived over James Naile and others on the 40-man roster caught me off guard. He's working his way back from an injury that sidelined him for most of the 2023 season, but he seemed to be catching the eyes of the Cardinals in 2023, so I assumed he'd be in play during Spring Training for a bullpen spot.
Maybe the Cardinals saw Zack Thompson, JoJo Romero, and John King as those main left-handed options for 2024, and since they plan on adding more arms to that mix, Naughton's role was less clear. Still, there are at least six other names I would have removed from the roster before him.
So yes, Naughton has already been taken off the 40-man roster, but at the moment, he's now a technical member of the Memphis Redbirds. He very well could be non-tendered in the coming weeks, or elect free agency and be able to find a spot with another club.
In the case of James Naile, he does remain on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, but I don't see that lasting much longer. He had a 5.00 ERA in 7 games in 2022 and an 8.80 ERA in 10 games in 2023, never really showing anything that proves to me he belongs in St. Louis, even as a depth piece. I honestly don't understand why he would have any role with the Cardinals in 2024. It was fine to have him fill innings when games did not matter down the stretch, but he should not be pitching for a contender, even in a pinch.
We'll cover this in the coming weeks, but the Cardinals have a lot of interesting prospects in the system who could factor in as bullpen pieces in 2024, and I would much rather see one of the young guys get that 40-man spot over Naile.
Again, the Cardinals will have to remove some names to add starting pitchers, so I assume Naile is one of the next names on the chopping block when they sign or trade for pitching. That remains to be seen though.