Cards Add a Manning, Cut Mr. Phelps

The St. Louis Cardinals claimed left-handed reliever Charlie Manning from the Washington Nationals, dropping first baseman Josh Phelps to make roster space.

It wasn't Archie, Peyton or little brother Eli, but now the St. Louis Cardinals have acquired a Manning of their very own.


Looking to fortify their left-handed relief, the Cardinals announced Wednesday that they have claimed lefty reliever Charlie Manning off outright waivers from the Washington Nationals and added him to their 40-man Major League roster. 


Manning, 29, made his Major League debut this past season with the Nationals, appearing in 57 games while fanning 37 batters in 42.0 innings pitched.  Manning was 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA on the year, holding opposing batters to a .224 BA. The 6-2, 185-pound native of Winter Haven, Fla. held opposing left-handed batters to a .203 BA.


Manning was drafted by the New York Yankees in the ninth round of the 2001 draft out of the University of Tampa.  He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds at the 2003 deadline along with Brandon Claussen in exchange for Aaron Boone. Manning was reacquired by the Yankees in June, 2004 for ex-Cardinals reliever Gabe White before signing a minor league free-agent contract with the Nationals last December.


Before signing in 2001, Manning was previously drafted in four consecutive years, but did not come to terms. The Milwaukee Brewers (1997-22nd round), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998-30th), Boston Red Sox (1999-16th) and Seattle Mariners (2000-9th) each took a shot, but Manning instead finished out his college years at the University of Tampa.


Manning fanned 8.4 batters per nine innings pitched and posted a .237 opponents BA over the course of his professional career prior to this season, spending seven seasons in the minors.  He was named to the Eastern League (AA) All-Star team in 2006 while pitching for the Yankees' Trenton affiliate.


To make room for Manning on their roster, the Cardinals designated first baseman Josh Phelps for assignment.


The 30-year-old, a veteran of eight partial major league seasons, had just been added to the 40-man roster in late August and saw limited action for the Cardinals in the final month, hitting .265 with one RBI in 34 at-bats.


During a solid season with Triple-A Memphis, the right-handed hitter batted 291 with 31 home runs and 97 RBI. At the time of his promotion, Phelps' home run total was tied for third-most in the Pacific Coast League and his 64 extra-base hits were tied for second in the league.


Yet, with a set first baseman in Albert Pujols and an abundance of outfielders both at the major league level and at the highest rungs of the minor league system, there was no place for Phelps.


Unless the unlikely occurs and Phelps is claimed by another organization off waivers, his major league service time enables him to become a free agent.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at


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