Cardinals players Carson Kelly and Jack Flaherty.

(Scott Rovak, Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kelly, Flaherty Sent To Memphis, No Room For Prospects To Mature With Cardinals

John Mozeliak talked about Sunday's moves with our Tom Ackerman.

March 19, 2018 - 11:31 am
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JUPITER, Fla (KMOX) - The St. Louis Cardinals have optioned two of it's top-three prospects to triple-A Memphis, with just more than a week of spring training games on the schedule. The assumed future battery in St. Louis, pitcher Jack Flaherty (No. 3 prospect) and catcher Carson Kelly (No. 2 prospect), will not be included on St. Louis' opening day roster – but president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told our Tom Ackerman they will very likely be in a Cardinals uniform this season. 

Flaherty has a 4.85 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 13 innings and Kelly hit .100 with just two strikeouts in 30 at bats this spring. 

"Starting with Jack, he had a tremendous camp and he really opened up a lot of eyes in terms of the impact he made in this camp," Mozeliak says. "But reality is, we have five strong starters and he is someone that's going to give us that depth, should we need a starter any time along the way, he's there. We definitely want him to bank some innings, but would not rule out even at some point later in the season he comes back in as a key part of the bullpen as well. So, just have to remain open-minded, but he needs to go down and pitch.

"And you brought up Carson Kelly, which this has been something I've been just torn with on what the right answer is. And in the end I just feel like, as an organization, he needs to be playing. And you know there's there's a lot to learn when you're sitting next Yadi (Molina), but at some level you still have to play and I think last year when we had him up here, I think from an offensive standpoint, he took a step backwards. So got to let him go down, get some at bats and sort of allow him to catch up a little bit."

So, fighting for the opening day backup catcher position will be Francisco Peña and Steven Baron, but Mozeliak did not give us an idea of who could be leading that competition. As for the obvious starting catcher, Mozeliak says Yadier Molina is in "mid-season form with five-years-ago energy."

Also optioned to Memphis, were pitchers John Gant and Ryan Sherriff, infielder Breyvic Valera and outfielder Oscar Mercado. 

Gant is another player, Mozeliak says, we will likely see in a St. Louis uniform this season. He was a player who had nearly made the roster in 2017, after a trade with the Atlanta Braves for Jamie Garcia brought him to St. Louis in December 2016, but a groin injury in the last week of spring training set him back. He made seven appearances last season, mostly as a September call up. 

Mozeliak also made his weekly appearance on Sports On A Sunday, with Mike Kelly (which you can hear at the 9:50 mark, below). Their conversation happened before the roster moves were announced, Sunday: