Cardinals prune 40-man roster down to 36

The St. Louis Cardinals outrighted three players on Tuesday. All declared free agency. 10 minor leaguers join them on the open market.

As they prepare to make room for the potential additions of free agents and farm system players to be protected from the Rule 5 draft, the St. Louis Cardinals pruned three players from the 40-man roster on Tuesday.

The Cardinals have outrighted catcher Rob Johnson, outfielder Adron Chambers and first baseman Brock Peterson. All three players have declared free agency.

The moves were not unexpected. Johnson was arbitration eligible as a third catcher, Chambers was out of minor league options and Peterson, while successful at Triple-A, did not impress in several trials with the big league club.

All were with St. Louis in September, but none of the three were active for the World Series. Chambers, the only home-grown player of the three, was active for the first two rounds of the post-season, replaced by Allen Craig against Boston.

Johnson, 31, spent most of the season with Memphis, but was added to the 40-man and brought to St. Louis when Yadier Molina's knee began acting up. The Major League veteran of 829 plate appearances with four clubs has a career line of just .200/.275/.295/.570. For September, the Cards added prospect catcher Audry Perez to the 40-man and called him up.

In 2013, Chambers had a Memphis line of .252/.338/.387/.725 with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases. The left-handed batter also made 29 plate appearances in his third fractional season with St. Louis. With the 27-year-old having no minor league options remaining, however, and no clear spot in St. Louis, the handwriting was on the wall for the organization's 38th round pick in the 2007 draft. Last month, the Cardinals claimed another veteran Triple-A outfielder off waivers from Texas, Joey Butler.

Peterson, 29, was the feel-good story of 2013 by making his Major League debut after toiling in the minors and independent ball for over 11 years. The right-handed hitter collected just two hits in 26 at-bats with St. Louis but was a key cog in the Memphis offense. His line there was .296/.364/.531/.895 with 25 home runs in 508 plate appearances. Peterson was a mid- and post-season Pacific Coast League All-Star.

Earlier in the week, five 2013 Cardinals declared free agency - pitchers Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook and Edward Mujica, shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Carlos Beltran.

As there is no 60-day disabled list during the off-season, all injured players count against the 40-man limit.

After all the moves, the Cardinals currently have 36 players on their roster.

Update: As first disclosed to The Cardinal Nation subscribers back on September 13, the St. Louis Cardinals system had 10 minor leaguers eligible for free agency following the World Series. None of them were re-signed by the organization, so all now join the others noted above on the open market.

Here are the 10. Three have prior MLB experience.

Free agent  Pos Team Acquire MLB
Nick Additon LHS Memphis 47th round, 2006  
Richard Castillo RHS Memphis Int'l free agent, 12/07  
Justin Christian OF Memphis Free agent, 11/12 yes
Ramon Delgado RHR Memphis 41st round, 2007  
Ruben Gotay 3B Springfield Free agent, 3/13 yes
Deryk Hooker RHR Memphis 7th round, 2007  
Chad Huffman OF Memphis Free agent, 2/13 yes
Jamie Romak OF Memphis Free agent, 11/12  
Zack Russell RHR Springfield 49th round, 2007  
Jay Voss LHR Peoria Rule 5 (AAA), 12/12  

There's more! To see the 40-man roster along with every player in the entire Cardinals system, currently at 265 players, by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, free and kept up-to-date year-round at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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