Did the St. Louis Cardinals just clear a 40-man roster spot for Jordan Walker?
While the player who was removed may cause controversy, it may have created space for Jordan Walker to make the Opening Day Roster
The St. Louis Cardinals came into Spring Training with a lot of players on the edges of their 40-man roster, as well as non-roster invites, competing for a spot on the Opening Day roster and opportunities with the big league club later this season. The Cardinals just made a pretty significant move to their 40-man roster, which may also impact Jordan Walker's chances of making the Opening Day roster for the better.
The Cardinals just announced that RHP Freddy Pacheco has been claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers, something that fans who have been following the bullpen situation closely may be frustrated by.
Pacheco, 24, was signed as a 19-year-old by the Cardinals and has been coming up through the system as a relief pitcher. Ranked the club's #24 prospect by MLB.com, there were many who thought Pacheco could break out for St. Louis during the 2023 season and become a critical part of their bullpen. Pacheco never saw any game action for the club during Spring Training, and now will get a chance to prove himself with Detroit.
The Cardinals now have an open 40-man roster spot for Jordan Walker
One of the trickier parts of roster construction in Major League Baseball is the 40-man roster. Only players on the 40-man can be called up to the big league club, so in order for Walker to make the Opening Day Roster, the club was going to need to create space for him. With the Pacheco move, there is now a spot wide open for the taking.
Does this guarantee that Walker will make the Opening Day roster? No. But that is now one less hurdle and excuse that the club has, and may have been a reason they were willing to part with Pacheco. Based on the way the 20-year-old, top-5 prospect in all of baseball has been playing, the Cardinals would be foolish not to let him run with an outfield job when they kick off the MLB season against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Walker had a bit of an injury scare over the weekend, but it turned out to be minor, and was able to rejoin the Cardinals lineup, as originally scheduled, today. At this point, I would be shocked if Walker is not in the Cardinals' starting lineup moving forward. It's show time for the phenom.