The commissioner’s office is working with owners “to identify ways to blunt the wide-ranging impact of the national emergency,” a release stated.
The Cardinals’ moves Thursday give some hint of what they planned to do with the roster headed toward next week’s originally scheduled opening day. Edmundo Sosa, a gifted fielder, had made his case to be on the big-league bench as a backup to Paul DeJong at shortstop, and Sosa had made considerably strides offensively over the winter. In 16 spring games, he hit .231/.279/.436 with two homers and proved deft at third, shortstop, and second, as expected.
Sosa had to overcome Tommy Edman and free-agent addition Brad Miller for the job, and with Miller’s return from a sore back and Edman’s assertive spring and reliable play at shortstop the Cardinals had their answer. Sosa is likely set to be the starter at shortstop in Memphis and DeJong’s de facto backup during a longterm absence.
While most players get three option years, Sosa qualified for a fourth one, and this is it. He can be brought back and forth from the minors as much as the Cardinals see fit during the season, whenever it begins.
Dean, 26, was acquired by the Cardinals from Miami this offseason, and he was advertised as a possible replacement for Jose Martinez’s role off the bench. In 18 games, Dean was one of the most active players for the Cardinals this spring in terms of at-bats and appearances. He hit .250/.368/.563 and had two homers to go with his 38 plate appearances. Outfielder Justin Williams, one of the few lefthanded hitters the Cardinals have on the outfield depth chart, hit .143/.226/.393 with two homers in 16 games. The Cardinals urged Williams to be more assertive with his play in the outfield, where his athleticism should be an asset.