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A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of January 18-24, 2016.

The Cardinals add an outfielder on a minor league contract, non-roster Spring Training invitations are announced, a minor league hurler is named a top prospect, and a long time Cardinals broadcaster reduces his role.

Outfielder Peguero signed

The Cardinals added some outfield depth this past week, signing Carlos Peguero to a minor league contract with a Spring Training invitation.  The 28-year-old native of the Dominican Republic originally signed with the Seattle Mariners in 2005 as an amateur free agent.  Peguero spent five seasons in the Mariners minor league system before making his debut with the big league club in 2011.  In his first big league season, Peguero slashed .196/.252/.371 in 155 plate appearances for the Mariners.

Peguero remained in the Mariners system until 2014, when the Royals acquired him from for cash considerations.  Peguero did not survive Royals Spring Training, designated for assignment in March of 2014, and released the following winter.

Peguero spent the 2015 season first with the Texas Rangers, and subsequently the Boston Red Sox, mostly at Triple-A.  He has a career slash line of .194/.263/.384 in five partial big league seasons with his previous three clubs.

Spring Training invites announced

The Cardinals announced on Wednesday, Jan. 20 that they have invited 61 players to major league camp in February.  With the addition of Peguero, the total becomes 62. 39 are 40-man roster players, and the remaining 23 are non-roster invitees.

The 23 NRIs: Steve Bean, Luis Cruz, Eric Fryer, Silfredo Garcia, Austin Gomber, Juan Gonzalez, Jeremy Hazelbaker, Jeremy Hefner, Carson Kelly, Corey Littrell, Deck McGuire, Trey Nielsen, Carlos Peguero, Daniel Poncedeleon, Jonathan Rodriguez, Alberto Rosario, Robby Rowland, J.C. Sulbaran, Tyler Waldron, David Washington, Luke Weaver, Jacob Wilson, and Patrick Wisdom.

Not invited to spring camp is top prospect Alex Reyes, who is serving a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.  Reyes will instead be participating in the Cardinals STEP (Spring Training Early Program) camp for minor league prospects.

Major league pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 18 and the full squad workout begins on Feb. 23.  STEP pitchers and catchers report on March 7 and position players on March 9.

Reyes named to MLB Pipeline Top 10

While Alex Reyes will not be displaying his talents at big league Spring Training, he has been named the No. 3 right-handed pitching prospect in the game according to MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list.  The Top 50 from the list will be unveiled on MLB Network on Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. CST.

Reyes follows No. 1 RHP prospect Luis Giolito of the Nationals and No. 2 Tyler Glasnow of the Pirates among right-handed pitchers.

Shannon to cut back on radio duties

The long time voice of the Cardinals on KMOX Radio, Mike Shannon, has decided to broadcast home games only in the 2016 season, his 45th year in the broadcast booth.

Shannon, 76, has been reducing his time in the booth over the last several seasons, but 2016 will be the first season he will not travel with the team.  He began his broadcasting career with the Cardinals in 1972, two years after his playing career was cut short by illness.  Shannon joined Cardinals legend Jack Buck in the radio booth, where he remained partnered with Buck until Buck’s death in 2002.  For the last decade, Shannon has shared radio duties with John Rooney.

Shannon is set to broadcast all 81 home Cardinals games in 2016.  His announcement follows a decision to close his downtown restaurant, Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood. The popular stopping-off place for Cardinals fans at its location near Busch Stadium will close its doors for the final time at the end of the month.

Correa hearing transcript released

The transcript of the plea hearing of former Cardinals Scouting Director Chris Correa was released and published by the Houston Chronicle.

In the transcript, Correa states that he told unnamed Cardinals colleagues about team information he found in the Astros’ database.  Cardinals’ officials have denied Correa’s claims.

Correa’s attorney David Adler stated the password Correa used to access the database was based on the name of a former player of the Cardinals.  Based on the description given by Adler, it is being speculated that the password was the name of former Cardinals infielder David Eckstein, followed by the numbers 123.

Correa pleaded guilty to five counts of unauthorized intrusion into a protected computer pursuant to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  Correa is set to be sentenced on April 11 and could face up to five years in prison plus financial restitution.

Short-season Johnson City has new management

The Cardinals Appalachian League affiliate, the Johnson City Cardinals, are under new management.  The rookie club had previously been operated since 2004 by a non-profit group, the Johnson City Sports Foundation.  Financial constraints and the need for improvements have led to the Johnson City Commission awarding a 10-year lease to Boyd Sports, LLC.  The organization’s head, Randy Boyd, also owns the Tennessee Smokies, a former Cardinal affiliate now with the Chicago Cubs.

The company has pledged more than $350,000 for improvements to Cardinal Park, including artificial turf, improved training room, expanded concessions and more.  The group plans to book more events at the facility to increase revenue and has already set up a naming agreement for the park. The city has agreed to update the facility’s lighting.

The Cardinals have fielded teams in Johnson City from 1975 to the present, and before that during the period from 1938-1955 and in 1961.

More details about this change of management can be found here at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Enhanced fan experience at Busch Stadium

On the final day of 2016 Winter Warm-Up, Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III, discussed some new and coming features in and around Busch Stadium.

DeWitt stated the Cardinals are planning a second phase of the Ballpark Village development, expected to take about a decade to plan and build.  That phase includes residential apartments, office space, and possibly a hotel.  More retail options and additional parking are also being considered.

Two new videoboards have been installed at the stadium for the 2016 season.  The videoboards are larger than the previous versions and will display HD (high definition) content.

The 2016 schedule features some earlier start times for some home games.  Approximately 15 home games in the 2016 season will have a start time of 6:15 pm. CT, an hour earlier than the traditional 7:15 pm start.

The Cardinals will be enhancing security in an around the stadium starting in 2016.  In addition to the MLB mandated metal detectors, the Cardinals will be adding additional lighting and security cameras throughout the perimeter of the stadium as well as the newest technology in the control room.  The Cardinals are working with the City to enhance the stadium surroundings with lighting and additional security staffing.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • Cardinals sign outfielder Carlos Peguero to a minor league contract.
  • Cardinals invite 23 non-roster players to Spring Training.

Injury Report

Pitcher Carlos Martinez (right shoulder strain) reports he is at 90% health with his shoulder, and is expected to report to major league camp with no limitations.

Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to the Spring Training facility in Jupiter, FL on Feb. 18, with position players to follow on Feb. 23.

The first Spring Training game against Florida Atlantic University is scheduled to be played on March 2, and will be streamed at MLB.com and on the MLB At Bat app.  There will be 27 more games to follow beginning on March 3 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The full Spring Training Schedule can be found here.

As the Hot Stove season winds down, and with the exception of a possibility of added catcher depth, the 2016 roster may be set.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2016 Top Cardinals Prospects by Level

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