Last Update: February 7, 2014
The following players have been signed to 2014 minor league contracts or acquired via trade or waivers by the St. Louis Cardinals and could be members of the Redbirds roster this season:
OF - Joey Butler - Butler joins the Cardinals organization and 40-man roster after being claimed from the Texas Rangers in October. The 27-year-old made his Major League debut with Texas in 2013, batting .333 (4-for-12) with two doubles and one RBI. Butler also batted .291 (124-for-426) with 12 home runs and 51 RBIs in 119 games with Triple-A Round Rock, with whom he has spent the last three seasons. He was recognized as a 2011 Pacific Coast League Post-Season All-Star and two-time PCL Mid-Season All-Star. The Moss Point, Mississippi native was originally selected by the Rangers in the 15th round of the June, 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of New Orleans.
To make room for Butler on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals designated former Redbirds right-handed pitcher Victor Marte for assignment.
RHP - Angel Castro - Castro was signed by the Cardinals to a one-year contract and added to the 40-man roster in December. The right-hander has spent seven seasons in the minors since being drafted by Detroit in the 13th round of the 2006 draft out of Western Oklahoma State Community College. He also played in the Mexican League in 2010-11 and Japanese Pacific League in 2012. Last season, the 5-foot-11, 200-pound Castro was 8-5 with a 3.48 ERA (45er/116.1ip) and 91 strikeouts in 25 games (19 starts) for Triple-A Albuquerque. He also pitched for the Dominican Republic in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
C - Ed Easley - Memphis native Ed Easley signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals in November and received an invite to Major League spring training in 2014. The catcher spent the previous seven seasons in the Diamondbacks organization, most notably hitting .334 (98-for-293) with six home runs and 49 RBIs in 87 games for Triple-A Reno last season. Defensively, Easley led Pacific Coast League catchers throwing out 35.7% of attempted base stealers (25 of 70) and posted a .993 fielding percentage in 562 total chances. In his seven-year minor league career, he has thrown out 138 of 470 attempted base stealers (29.4%). The 27-year-old is a graduate of Olive Branch High School, where he was recognized as Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year and Louisville Slugger High School All-American as a senior in 2004. The former Mississippi State Bulldog was the recipient of the 2007 Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher and Mississippi Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year. He was originally selected in the supplemental 1st round (61st overall) of the June, 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
OF - Randal Grichuk - Grichuk (pronounced gri-chick) was traded to the Cardinals along with outfielder Peter Bourjos in exchange for former Redbirds third baseman David Freese and right-hander Fernando Salas in late November. The 22-year-old outfielder spent the 2013 season playing for Double-A Arkansas, picking up 57 extra-base hits including 27 doubles and 22 home runs in 128 games. His 22 homers led the team and ranked 6th in the Texas League. He batted from the leadoff position in the majority of his games at Double-A, and committed just two errors playing both center and right field. He owns a career .284 batting average with 61 home runs and 259 RBIs in 433 games in the minors. The Rosenberg, Tex. native was originally selected by the Angels in the 1st round (24th overall) of the June, 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Lamar Consolidated High School, one pick ahead of Mike Trout.
INF - Greg Miclat - Miclat (pronounced Muh-KLATT) was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals off the Double-A Frisco roster of the Texas Rangers in the first round of the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft in December. The switch-hitting infielder spent the majority of the 2013 season with Triple-A Round Rock, hitting .238 (74-for-303) with 11 doubles, 26 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 79 games. The Chesapeake, Virginia native was originally selected by the Orioles in the 5th round of the June, 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Virginia. He was traded to the Rangers along with pitcher Randy Henry from the Orioles in exchange for catcher Taylor Teagarden in 2011.
INF/OF - Scott Moore - Moore signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals in November and received an invite to Major League spring training. The 30-year-old has spent 11 years in professional baseball and parts of five seasons with three different Major League organizations. Last season, Moore batted a combined .271 (115-for-424) with 14 home runs, 33 doubles and 66 RBIs in 120 games between Triple-A Tucson (Padres and Sacramento (Athletics) in the Pacific Coast League. The left-handed hitting infielder made his Major League debut with the Chicago Cubs in 2006 and has played in 152 games in the majors posting a career .242 batting average with 16 home runs and 53 RBIs. Moore was originally selected by the Tigers in the 1st round (8th overall) of the June, 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Cypress High School (Calif.).
RHP - Pat Neshek - Neshek signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals in February and received an invite to Major League spring training. After being drafted out of Butler University in the sixth round of the 2002 draft by the Twins, the 34-year-old has played seven Major League seasons with three different teams. The right hander, who developed his side-arm motion in high school after an injury, has a career 16-9 Major League record with a 3.07 ERA (73er/214.1ip) and 216 strikeouts. His best year statistically came in 2007 with the Twins when Neshek was 7-2 with a 2.94 ERA (23er/70.1ip) in a career-high 74 appearances. A former victim of Tommy John surgery in 2008, his one season with a National League team came in 2011 when he walked 22 and struck out 20 on his way to a 4.01 ERA (11er/24.2ip) in 25 outings. He holds records at his alma mater for single-game, single-season, and career strikeouts totals. The Madison, Wisconsin native is an avid collector of autographed baseball cards and operates a website about it and other helpful information about players' autograph tendencies.
OF - Rafael Ortega - Ortega was claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers in January and added to the Cardinals' 40-man roster. The 22-year-old outfielder spent his first six seasons in the Rockies organization after signing as an ameteur free agent in 2008. The Rangers claimed him off waivers from the Rockies in late November before Texas later decided to remove Ortega from its roster. The left-handed-hitting outfielder batted .228 (36-for-158) with 10 RBIs and nine stolen bases in 42 games for Double-A Tulsa in 2013. He was the Drillers' leadoff hitter and center fielder before sustaining a hairline fracture of his shin June 20 and missing the remainder of the season. Ortega made a jump from Advance-A to the Majors for the Rockies at the end of 2012, starting one game and appearing in another as a pinch-hitter.
INF - Jesus Ustariz - Ustariz was claimed off waivers by the Cardinals from the Detroit Tigers in the first round of the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft in December. The 20-year-old Venezuelan was signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2009 as a teenager and spent his first four seasons in the Tigers organization. Last season, Ustariz hit a combined .280 (47-for-168) with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 53 games between Rookie-level Gulf Coast and Single-A Connecticut.