There comes a time in most professional baseball players’ careers when they hit a wall that they cannot seem to climb.
So it has been for Zach Petrick of the St. Louis Cardinals. After four years of trying to reach the Major Leagues, the 26-year-old has decided to alter the course of his baseball dreams by playing in Japan in 2016.
The Cardinals announced on Thursday that they have transferred Petrick’s rights to the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the Nippon Professional Baseball for cash considerations. While not stated explicitly by the club, it is highly likely the player initiated the move. Though the immediate pressure to perform is greater overseas, NPB pay is superior to typical minor league salaries.
Signed by St. Louis as a non-drafted free agent in June 2012, the Morris, Illinois native quickly made his way through the Cardinals system. His career highlight was being named the organization’s Pitcher of the Year for the 2013 season after posting a 7-3 record with a 1.19 ERA over 113 1/3 innings with Peoria, Palm Beach and Springfield.
The durable right-hander pitched most of 2014 and all of 2015 with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, where his results were similar from year to year – 7-6 with a 4.62 ERA last year and 7-7, 4.52 this past season. His stuff is not dominating, with a fastball in the 88-90 range, along with a cutter and changeup in his arsenal.
Not on the 40-man roster and apparently behind Memphis starters Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales in the pecking order for a shot at starting with St. Louis means Petrick would likely have continued with the Triple-A club in 2016.
Though Petrick was Rule 5 eligible this winter, he was not taken by another organization. Perhaps having to return to the Pacific Coast League for a third season with seemingly little chance to reach St. Louis was a factor in his decision to change course in his career.
For more roster detail
Remember that to see the entire Cardinals system from the Dominican Summer League to St. Louis in one graphical view with all transactions, free agents and more, check out the Roster Matrix, kept updated at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
© 2015 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.