The Cardinals designated right-handed reliever Dominic Leone for assignment on Wednesday and added three prospects to the 40-man roster.
Added to the roster were right-handed pitchers Jake Woodford and Alvaro Seijas and third baseman Elehuris Montero. The Cardinals had two open spots on the roster and Leone was dropped to make room for the third prospect, who otherwise would have been exposed to next month’s Rule 5 draft.
Leone was eligible for salary arbitration and it was likely he would not have been offered a contract by that deadline, so the Cardinals made the decision to let him go now. If not claimed on waivers he will become a free agent.
The 28-year-old Leone spent the last two seasons with the Cardinals after being acquired from Toronto. He made 40 appearances this season, going 1-0 with a 5.53 ERA and one save.
Leone’s contract, as well as a glut of right-handed relievers on the roster, made him expendable.
Montero, 21, is the highest rated prospect who had to be protected. He is a native of the Dominican Republic and was injured for much of the past season, appearing in only 63 games, mostly at Double A Springfield, because of a broken bone in his hand. In 2018, he was named the MVP in the Class A Midwest League when he was with the Peoria Chiefs.
Montero is expected to be the starting third baseman at Triple A Memphis next season.
Woodford, 23, pitched all of 2019 at Memphis, where he was 9-8 with a 4.15 ERA in 26 starts. He was the Cardinals’ first-round supplemental pick in the 2015 draft.
Seijas, 21, is a native of Venezuela. He was named to the Midwest League All-Star team this season and combined between Peoria and Palm Beach had an 8-6 record with a 2.81 ERA in 24 starts. He led all full-season starters in ERA this season in the organization.
Among the players not added to the 40-man roster, and thus eligible to be claimed by another team in the Rule 5 draft, were former first-round pick Nick Plummer, who has struggled offensively, pitcher Connor Jones and infielder Max Schrock.
Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports