Cardinals add former supplemental 1st rounder

With a need for Triple-A catching depth, the St. Louis Cardinals dipped into the free agent market.

Needing Triple-A catching depth with the injury to Steven Hill, the St. Louis Cardinals have ventured into the free agent market once again, signing Mitch Canham to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old has been assigned to the Memphis Redbirds.

The former Oregon State player was a supplemental first round selection (57th overall) by San Diego in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Canham had been on the Cardinals radar for some time, as he had been taken by the organization in the 41st round in June 2006, but he did not sign.

Canham was a top prospect with the Padres, especially after he posted an .816 OPS at A-Advanced in 2008. He did not continue to progress offensively since, however.

The Washington State native is very familiar to Texas League followers as he played in the Double-A circuit for most of the last three seasons. The catcher was with San Antonio in 2009-2010 and moved to Midland last year. He also has a total of 17 games of Triple-A experience.

The left-handed hitter had been released by the Padres at the end of 2011 spring training and immediately signed with Oakland. He became a free agent following last season.

Canham was signed to a minor league deal by the Colorado Rockies in late January of 2012 but didn't stick. He was released from their minor league camp on April 5.

The Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League immediately announced the addition of Canham. So technically, he wasn't a free agent just prior to joining the Cardinals. St. Louis purchased the catcher's contract before he played in an indy league game.

In 392 games over five seasons, Canham has an aggregate line of .258/.343/.367. He has just 20 career home runs but 198 RBI. Behind the plate, Canham has thrown out roughly 20 percent of opposing basestealers.

In the corresponding transaction, catcher Luis De La Cruz was returned to Palm Beach from Memphis. He appeared in just one game in his fill-in duty with the Redbirds, going 0-for-4.

With injuries cutting into the Cardinals' depth, Canham is the third minor leaguer added to the system's top two minor league clubs in the last two weeks. Free agent outfielder Jake Shaffer was added to Double-A Springfield and outfielder Cedric Hunter was acquired from Oakland and assigned to Memphis last week.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his minor league features during the season at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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