Restocking the Minors

The Cardinals have quietly added 20 minor leaguers over the winter so far, mostly as reinforcements for Memphis (AAA). Some 2005 players have also found new homes.

The first place anyone should go to get the latest on Cardinals' signings is the area on our message board descriptively entitled "2006 Rosters/Transactions/DL/Draft Thread". There you will find a chronological listing of the Redbirds' comings and goings.

As a result of this article, we'll be making some new additions to that thread, as well. Here, we'll recap all transactions since November, starting with new minor league additions, then players released, as well as identifying 2005 Cardinals organization players who have signed on elsewhere.

Finally, we'll provide some additional background on those new names which have surfaced since our last report.

Players added (20)

Date signed Name Position B/T Birthdate 2005 Roster 2006 Club
12/27/05 Kit Pellow Outfield R/R 08/28/73 Seattle - AAA Memphis
12/23/05 Dave Berg Shortstop R/R 09/03/70 Boston - AAA Memphis
12/23/05 Matt Smith RH Reliever R/R 08/14/78 White Sox - AAA Memphis
12/16/05 Blaine Neal RH Reliever L/R 04/06/78 Colorado - AAA Memphis
12/15/05 Talley Haines RH Starter R/R 11/16/76 Cubs - AAA Memphis
12/08/05 Vince Harrison Third Base R/R 11/29/79 Boston - AA Memphis (Rule 5)
12/08/05 Iker Franco Catcher R/R 05/05/81 Braves - AA Memphis (Rule 5)
12/05/05 Dennis Tankersley RH Starter R/R 02/24/79 Royals - AAA Memphis (ST invite)
11/29/05 Carlos Artiles LH Starter L/L 01/21/81 Yankees - AAA Springfield
11/18/05 Ramon Nivar Outfielder R/R 02/22/80 Baltimore - AA Memphis
11/18/05 Brad Voyles RH Starter R/R 12/30/76 Yankees - AAA Memphis
11/18/05 Brian Esposito Catcher R/R 02/24/79 Texas - AAA Springfield
11/14/05 Drew Costanzo Outfield L/R 10/13/82 East Carolina - NCAA New Jersey
11/10/05 Rich Rundles LH Reliever L/L 06/03/81 Washington - AA Memphis
11/08/05 Prentice Redman Outfield R/R 08/23/79 Mets - AAA Memphis
11/02/05 Jaime Landin Second Base R/R 04/19/83 Texas A&M - Corpus Christi - NCAA New Jersey
11/02/05 Sam Walton LH Starter L/L 12/01/78 Tampa Bay - AA Springfield
10/28/05 John Webb RH Starter R/R 05/23/79 Tampa Bay - AAA Memphis
10/20/05 Brent Cordell Catcher S/R 05/22/80 Tampa Bay - AA Springfield
10/17/05 Henry Guerrero Catcher  R/R 04/04/82 Baltimore - R New Jersey

Players released (6)

Date released Name Position 2005 roster
11/17/05 Ricky Stone RH Reliever Memphis
11/03/05 Rich Cormier Catcher New Jersey
11/03/05 Sean Dobson Outfield New Jersey
11/03/05 Alberto Guerrero RH Starter Johnson City
11/03/05 Tony McQuade Outfield Palm Beach
11/03/05 Eric Verbryke Outfield Quad Cities

Players re-signed elsewhere (14)

Date signed Name Position 2005 roster 2006 club
01/04/06 Gabe White LH Reliever Memphis Minnesota - AAA
01/04/06 Mike Mahoney Catcher St. Louis Toronto - AAA
12/23/05 Einar Diaz Catcher St. Louis Cleveland - AAA
12/21/05 Nerio Rodriguez RH Starter Memphis Pittsburgh - AAA
12/15/05 Oscar Alvarez LH S/R Palm Beach Washington - AA
12/13/05 Kevin Jarvis RH Starter Memphis Arizona - AAA
12/13/05 Brad Cresse Catcher Memphis Dodgers - AAA
12/08/05 Tim Hummel Third Base Springfield White Sox - AAA (Rule 5)
11/23/05 Jim Journell RH Reliever Memphis Cincinnati - AAA
11/15/05 Joe Nelson RH Reliever Springfield Kansas City - AAA
11/15/05 Tyler Minges Outfield Springfield Boston - AAA
11/08/05 Aaron Herr Second Base Springfield Cincinnati - AAA
11/04/05 Brandon DeJaynes RH Reliever Quad Cities Pittsburgh - AA
11/04/05 Jeremy Cummings RH Starter Memphis Philadelphia - AAA

Selected player profiles


Kit Pellow – Drafted in the 22nd round in 1996 by the Kansas City Royals and reached Triple-A by 1998. Plateaued there, spending almost four productive seasons in Omaha before making MLB debut in 2002. The 32-year-old can catch, play corner infield and corner outfield positions and hit with some power. In 2004, Pellow made the Colorado Rockies as a non-roster invitee and was the opening day starter in left field. Was an NRI to spring training with the Seattle Mariners in 2005 before playing in Korea.


Dave Berg – The 35-year-old originally signed with the Florida Marlins way back in 1993. Between 1998 and 2004, the middle infielder appeared in 582 games for the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays, hitting .269. His career minor league batting mark is .289. Berg should provide a veteran presence if he makes the Redbirds, but hopefully will not take at-bats away from prospects in the process.


Matt Smith – The Alton, IL native was the Mets' 18th-rounder in 1999. The reliever joined the White Sox organization as a free agent in 2001 and is usually near his team's lead in appearances. Smith, 27, pitched in the Arizona Fall League in 2004 and in 2005 spring training for the White Sox before spending the season in Triple-A. He has a career ERA just under four, with some closing experience. Smith's career strikeout to walk ratio is just 1.5:1.


Blaine Neal – Neal, 27, is already well-traveled, as the Cardinals are his fifth organization in the last three seasons. The right-handed reliever was originally drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fourth round of the 1996 draft. Neal was a closer in the minors prior to 2004 and has been an effective minor leaguer. However, in 113 games in the majors with the Marlins, Padres, Red Sox and Rockies, his ERA is over five.


Talley Haines – Another regional product, from Cape Girardeau, MO. Haines, 29, was selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 25th round of the 1998 draft. Over his career, the reliever has struck out over eight batters per nine innings, while posting a winning record and 3.31 ERA. Haines joins his fourth organization in the last four seasons, having gone to spring training with the Devil Rays in 2003, Blue Jays in 2004 and the Red Sox last season.


Carlos Artiles – The lefty hurler, who turns 25 in two weeks, was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1997, but never advanced beyond A-ball until 2005. Artiles spent most of last season in Double-A, where he struck out 37, but walked 29 in 45-2/3 innings. He was assigned to Springfield.


Henry Guerrero – The 23-year-old Venezuelan native was signed by the Baltimore Orioles as an 18-year-old in 2000. Guerrero, a catcher, hit just .176 while still playing at the rookie level in 2004. As far as I can tell, Guerrero did not play in the USA last season and appeared in just three games back home in Venezuela this winter. Guerrero was added to New Jersey's roster for 2006.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at


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