Cards Make Four July 2nd Deals and Other News

According to various reports, the St. Louis Cardinals have signed four young Dominicans, plus other news from Wednesday, July 2nd.

Gonzales and Kelly Linked

In an interview on KMOX radio Wednesday, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak commented on his club's starting rotation. Now with Memphis, rehabbing Joe Kelly needs two more starts in minors to get his pitch count built up. Marco Gonzales will be given "serious consideration" to continue to fill in during the interim. To that end, later in the day, the club announced that Gonzales will start on Sunday in the Marlins series finale at Busch Stadium.

Diaz Officially Out

Not surprisingly, Springfield shortstop Aledmys Diaz was returned to the disabled list on Wednesday. The Cardinals signaled the move by promoting Alex Mejia from Palm Beach on Tuesday. At this point, it is unclear how seriously Diaz' shoulder is injured and how much more time he will miss.

Ortega Passes Final Test

The Double-A Cardinals activated Rafael Ortega (pictured above) off the seven-day disabled list on Wednesday after the outfielder played in rehab games in the Gulf Coast League on Monday and Tuesday. In four GCL plate appearances, the left-handed hitter went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, a walk and a stolen base. The 23-year-old Venezuelan had been out since June 1 with an ankle injury.

Cards Reportedly Make Four July 2 Signings

Though the Cardinals had the least amount of the 30 MLB teams to spend for international signings this year without penalty, $1,866,300, they were very active on signing day. Four players, all from the Dominican Republic, have agreed to sign for a total of $875,000 to $900,000. That would leave the organization with just under $1 million still in the bank.

Right-handed pitcher Junior Fernandez will receive $400,000, according to Baseball America, or $425,000 says ESPN Deportes. reports the Cardinals have agreed to a $300,000 deal with infielder Starlin Balbuena. BA adds that the Cards have a commitment from infielder Esequiel Delgado for a signing bonus of $125,000. ESPN Deportes notes right-handed pitcher Sebastian Nunez agreed to terms for $50,000.

Fernandez followed a path similar to Alex Reyes prior to signing. According to Baseball America, the 17-year-old moved from his Florida home to the Dominican in April 2013 to train and to bypass the draft. Fernandez, who is 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, throws a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 93, a 72-74 mph curveball and a 79-81 mph changeup.

Delgado is a 16-year-old who stands 6-feet-0 and weighs 175 pounds. BA sees him as more of second base-type whose bat is more advanced than his defense. ESPN Deportes lists him as a third baseman. The International Prospect League indicates Delgado is a right-handed hitter while BA says he switch-hits.

Also 16, Balbuena is 6-foot-0, 180 pounds. BA sees the right-handed hitter as a shortstop.

The club has not yet made any official July 2nd announcements. Deals are always contingent on the players passing background and physical examinations.

Update: On Thursday, July 3, the Cardinals announced the signing of all four players. Fernandez will suit up right away, making his first start for the DSL Cardinals on Saturday. The other three players signed 2015 contracts. Balbuena is listed as a shortstop and Delgado at second base.

More News on the Way

Please remember to check back here. If additional transaction news comes to light on Wednesday, it will be added to this article!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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