LATEST MLB GOSSIP: Cardinals’ Pattern of Errors, Excitement over Dodgers-Red Sox, Yankees’ Role in Angels Agreement

The St. Louis Cardinals claimed Alfonso Rivas from waivers on Monday. The 27-year-old first baseman split last season between the Pirates and Padres. The Angels waived him, clearing the way for Rivas to join St. Louis’ spring training roster. He slashed .229/.303/.422 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 109 AB at the major league level. His contract contains a minor league option, so the Cardinals maintain some flexibility.

In a corresponding move, the Cardinals designated 25-year-old Moises Gomez for minor league assignment. St. Louis has a week to trade Gomez or pass him through outright waivers. Essentially, the Cards are cutting ties with Gomez and his powerful right-handed bat in favor of a more established weapon.

This has all the hallmarks of a classic St. Louis misstep. Gomez is one of the most enticing power hitters at the minor league level. He struggles with strikeouts (180 K in 514 AB with Triple-A Memphis), but Gomez can absolutely rope extra-base hits (20 doubles, 30 home runs, 79 RBI). He has multiple minor league options left on his contract and there is natural upside tied to a bat with such prominent power numbers. Even if he’s less polished, there’s a strong chance the Cardinals regret letting him off the hook.

Gomez should find a new home in short order. Defense was a concern with Gomez too, but he has utility in every outfield spot. Rivas has experience in left field, in addition to first base, but he’s not expected to earn a significant role for the Cards next season. Frustration with a high strikeout rate and fielding errors is natural, but it could backfire down the line. Gomez is plenty young. Players get better. The natural talent is what counts, and there’s no denying Gomez has plenty of that.

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