By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. – Of the 44 players who appeared in at least one game for the Cardinals in the 2020 season, 34 of them are with the team again during spring training.
The departures of some have been well-documented – Kolten Wong signing as a free agent with the Brewers; the trade that sent Dexter Fowler to the Angels; Austin Gomber was part of package sent to the Rockies for Nolan Arenado, and Brad Miller signed as a free agent with the Phillies.
Two of the other six, left-handed reliever Rob Kaminsky and catcher Matt Wieters are still looking for a job.
Kaminsky said in a phone interview this week that he is throwing and working out at his home in New Jersey, just waiting for his phone to ring.
“This is the best I’ve ever felt,” Kaminsky said. “I’m throwing two or three miles an hour faster than I’ve ever been. Whoever signs me is going to look pretty smart.”
Kaminsky, a former first-round pick of the Cardinals who was traded away and then returned to the team as a minor-league free agent before the 2020 season, made his major-league debut last year, appearing in five games. He allowed one earned run in a combined 4 2/3 innings.
The 26-year-old Kaminsky believes his chance to prove he can stick at the major-league level will happen again soon.
“I’m staying ready,” he said. “I could pitch in a game tomorrow. Teams are seeing where they are, trying to figure out the options. My agent is working the phones and getting good feedback on what teams are looking for.
“Things are starting to pick up, which is nice. Overall it’s been a pretty slow market, especially for relievers.”
Kaminsky was pleased with how he pitched for the Cardinals last season but he said he actually benefitted more from the work and advice he received during his time at the alternate site camp.
“I pitched OK,” he said. “I think my basevall card numbers were better than my advanced numbers but overall it was a good little taste of the big leagues. I plan on being back there as soon as possible. One of the luxuries of being a reliever is you don’t need much time to build up.
“The Cardinals gave me some good advice on what to work on and it’s really helped. I took some advice from Cale Johnson (a minor league instructor) and ran with it. He was a big help. I’m excited to get to a camp.”
Kaminsky said while his agent has talked with the Cardinals, he expects his future will be with another organization. The Cardinals have 10 lefthanders among the 33 pitchers in camp.
“I’m in a good spot,” he said. “I think everything is going to work out. My agent just told me to be ready to hop on a plane.”
The former Cardinals who have landed with new teams are Nabil Crismatt, Ryan Meisinger, Rangel Ravelo and Max Schrock.
Crismatt was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals by the Padres and is in their spring camp in Arizona. Ravelo was expected to be headed to Korea or Japan when he was not offered a contract by the Cardinals for this season but instead signed with the Dodgers and is also a non-roster player in their camp. Meisinger signed with the Cubs.
When the Cardinals tried to clear Schrock through waivers after last season, he was claimed by the Cubs. Chicago later designated him for assignment and he was again claimed on waivers, this time by the Reds.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains
Rob Kaminsky photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports