Cards claim lefty Mejia off waivers from Angels

Club optimistic more will be done before Wednesday Trade Deadline

July 31st, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals made it clear they were looking for left-handed help with the addition of reliever , whom the Cardinals claimed off waivers from the Angels on Tuesday afternoon.

Mejía will travel to St. Louis from the Dominican Republic over the next day or two. Once he reports -- which the Cardinals hope to be Wednesday, barring any delays -- there will be another transaction to make room for him on the 25-man roster.

Mejía has a 7.32 ERA in 17 games (19 2/3 innings) this season with the Twins and Angels, who designated him for assignment on Friday. The Angels claimed him off waivers on July 20, and in four games (4 1/3 innings), he allowed one run on four hits. The 26-year-old has been in the Majors since 2016 and has a career 4.55 ERA.

“He’s got a pretty big arm,” Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said. “As a bullpen guy, he’s been touching 95 [mph] pretty consistently. He’s got a slider, a curveball, a changeup. We think he can simplify that a little bit in the bullpen, maybe lean more heavily on the curveball. It’s an opportunity to add depth to the left-hand side of our bullpen for now, as we continue to see if we can do something else.”

To make room for Mejía on the 40-man roster, Jedd Gyorko (right wrist/calf strain) was transferred to the 60-day injured list. He was planning on starting his rehab assignment Tuesday night, but instead, Girsch said Gyorko would go to Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday.

Girsch was optimistic Tuesday afternoon that the Cardinals were not done making moves ahead of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. CT Trade Deadline.

“I would be disappointed if we weren’t able to find something to help this team by 3 o’clock [Wednesday],” Girsch said. “We’re not going to force it just to make something happen.

“I’m somewhat optimistic that the market hasn’t opened up yet. The industry hasn’t found the right sales price for all these names out there. Hopefully at some point, we can find that right price and make the moves we’re trying to make.”

Adding Mejía to the big league roster and acquiring Zac Rosscup on Monday from the Dodgers for the Triple-A bullpen are two acquisitions that don’t affect possible future moves, Girsch said.

“These are two moves that we know we can make now, they don’t in any way affect if we make a move in the next 24 hours,” Girsch said. “If we can make a move to land someone we’re excited about, we will, regardless of what we’ve done with these two players. But at the same time, we didn’t want to pass up on these opportunities and then get to the Trade Deadline and have done nothing. It’s just a way to add some depth to the left side.”

The challenge over the next day, Girsch said, is to find acquisitions that could help the Cardinals -- tied atop the National League Central with the Cubs heading into Tuesday's series opener -- improve this season, while keeping prospects intact to help the Cardinals win over the next several years.

“What we’re trying to do, and what every contender is trying to do, is weigh the value of wins in 2019 vs. wins in 2021, ‘22, ’23,” Girsch said. “We’re in a good spot that we’re fighting for a division, not just the Wild Card. There’s no magic formula ... it’s somewhat feel.

"Our mission is to field a playoff-caliber team every year. That means you can’t give away 2021, 2022, 2023 blindly in pursuit of 2019. There has to be a rational approach to this. That’s what we’re trying to do. We want to help this team. We want to make a move. We can’t force it to happen.”