Cards Make Trade Deadline Deal with Atlanta

It certainly isn't the big deal Cardinal fans were hoping for as the trading deadline passed. The Cards send minor leaguer Rich Scalamandre to Atlanta for righthanded pitcher Jorge Sosa.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced a trading-deadline deal in which they have obtained right-handed pitcher Jorge Sosa from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for minor league pitcher Rich Scalamandre. Sosa is expected to join the Cardinals tomorrow when the team begins a six-game home stand vs. Philadelphia. A corresponding roster move will be announced on Tuesday.

Sosa, 28, was designated for assignment on Sunday with the Braves after a 3-10 record and 5.46 ERA in 26 games (13 starts) this season. During his time with the Braves he has served in a variety of roles including starter, middle relief and closer. The right-hander had an outstanding season with Atlanta in 2005, going 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 44 games with his .813 winning percentage leading the National League. In his 20 starts in '05 was 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA. In his four-plus years in the Majors, Sosa has a career mark of 27-39 with a 4.58 ERA and is 20-33 in 74 starts.

The scouting report on Sosa is he isn't afraid to challenge hitters with his four-seam fastball the he throws in the upper 90s.

He had a good season in 2005 because he began to utilize a hard slider and a splitter effectively. His success lies in mixing his pitching and throwing his splitter for strikes.

He is an average fielder at best, his unorthodox delivery leaves him off balanced to field his position effectively. In addition, he needs to learn to hold batters on first, there is a tendency to steal on Sosa, almost at will.

Sosa's role in St. Louis has yet to be defined. He can be a middle reliever with the ability to make a start if necessary. Just don't expect him to go deep in the game. The slightly-build Sosa has yet to show the stamina at the major league level to expect him pitch deep into a game in the midwest summer heat.

Scalamandre, 25, was a 23rd round selection of the Cardinals in the June 2002 First-Year Player Draft. He began the 2006 season at Double-A Springfield and went 4-0 with a 4.55 ERA in 29 relief appearances, striking out 39 in 29.2 IP, before a promotion to Triple-A Memphis on June 21. He went 3-0 with a 4.26 ERA (19.0IP/9ER) in 15 apps. for Memphis and has allowed one run in his last eight outings (11.1 IP).

In 2005, Scalamandre spent most of the season at high Class A Palm Beach where he appeared in 47 games, posting a 3.15 ERA, striking out 45 and walking 22 in 54-1/3 innings. He pitched for the Surprise Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League following the regular season. He posted a 1.76 ERA in nine games, while walking five and striking out 12.

Going into this season, Scalamandre had appeared in 154 career minor league games since being drafted in 2002, posting a 3.25 ERA, allowing 170 hits, striking out 166 and walking 81 in 182-2/3 innings. Not a bad start to a professional career, but not good enough to be ranked among the Cardinals Top 40 Prospects by the Birdhouse at wwww.stlcardinals.scout.com.

It's the first trade between the two teams since December 13, 2003 when the Cardinals acquired pitchers Jason Marquis, Ray King and Adam Wainwright from the Braves for outfielders J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero.


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