ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals reorganized their roster ahead of free agency opening on Friday afternoon, and in the process parted ways with infielder Greg Garcia, reliever Matt Bowman and catcher Francisco Pena.
Garcia and Bowman were claimed off waivers by the Padres and Reds, respectively. Pena elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A. Earlier this week, Matt Adams, Tyson Ross and Bud Norris also became free agents.
Those subtractions helped make room for the Cardinals to transfer William Fowler, Alex Reyes, Luke Gregerson and Michael Wacha from the 60-day disabled list to the 40-man roster. The moves leave the Cardinals with two openings on their 40-man roster. That gives the Cards flexibility to make acquisitions and add players who they want to protect from the December Rule 5 Draft. The deadline for the latter is Nov. 20.
Garcia, a Southern California native, gets the opportunity to play in his hometown after spending his first nine professional seasons in the Cardinals organization. He made his Major League debut in 2014 and hit .248/.356/.339 in 409 games over five seasons. He made at least 40 starts at three infield positions and departs with the sixth-highest number of pinch-hits in franchise history with 37.
Garcia's spot on the roster became vulnerable with the emergence of other utility players. Yairo Munoz showed last season that he can fill the same role, as can emerging prospects Edmundo Sosa and Tommy Edman. Infielder Jedd Gyorko remains under contract, as well. Garcia is also arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason.
Bowman joined the organization as a Rule 5 pick in 2015 and emerged as a reliable ground-ball specialist out of the 'pen for the next two seasons. Things didn't go so smoothly in '18, however, as Bowman dealt with finger blisters and circulation issues. He required surgery to address the ailment and appeared in just two games for the Cardinals after the All-Star break.
Over three seasons, Bowman posted a 4.10 ERA and 1.266 WHIP.
With Pena gone, the Cardinals are left with two catchers -- Yadier Molina and Carson Kelly -- on their roster. The club will add to that depth this winter, though most likely through Minor League signings. Pena started 30 games for the Cardinals last season.