Luke Gregerson’s time with the Cardinals has reached its logical conclusion.
In a series of roster moves that included the anticipated activation of Carlos Martinez and the call-up of Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals designated Gregerson for assignment Friday, likely ending his stint with the organization that was over before it ever really got off the ground. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal with St. Louis before the 2018 season, Gregerson spent the majority of last year on the disabled list, logging just 12.2 innings for a 7.11 ERA. He then opened this season on the injured list, finally rejoining the active roster in early May.
From his first appearance of this season, it was pretty clear Gregerson had lost his touch. Though the Cardinals had hoped Gregerson could re-discover the nasty slider that made him an attractive free-agent relief target in the first place, it was evident that his lack of effectiveness had forced manager Mike Shildt to relegate him strictly to mop-up duty; all six games Gregerson pitched in this season ended up as blowouts. As the Cardinals finally realized with regard to Gregerson, a pitcher you can’t trust in close games is not an asset. Plain and simple.
Because of the standing expectation that Martinez would join the team during the weekend series against the Rangers, it was no secret that someone from the major-league bullpen would have to depart to make room. The final nail in the coffin was Gregerson’s brutal outing Thursday night, when he allowed two runs on four hits in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-2 loss to the Braves.
Dominic Leone's recent issues also made him a candidate for a demotion, as St. Louis will go with the flame-throwing prospect Helsley in his stead. Helsley logged 6.1 innings in relief for the Cardinals earlier this season, compiling a sturdy 2.84 ERA in that stretch.
Though Tyler Webb, who has an option remaining, has also struggled out of the MLB bullpen of late, the team elected to cut ties with Gregerson instead of demoting the lefty at this time. Gregerson’s poor performance was enough to convince the front office that his presence on the roster was no longer warranted, regardless of the surrounding roster implications or dead money remaining on his contract.
The Cardinals hope the addition of fresh arms to the mix can provide a spark for the club, which has lost seven of its last nine games.
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