Gordon Graceffo, Springfield Cardinals (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
With so many ways to impact this Spring Training, it’s astonishing to see players lose out on the opportunity.
The St. Louis Cardinals have several players participating in the World Baseball Classic. While the team’s starters were away, the younger guys could play. Several players had a shot at making their way onto a stacked roster with Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, Lars Nootbaar, Tyler O’Neill, and more to create their roles on the team.
But the Cardinals have proven that anything can happen in Spring Training. Players like Jordan Walker and Masyn Winn are making it impossible not to consider them for a roster slot. Former bullpen regulars Kodi Whitley and James Naile were re-assigned to minor league camp.
While the winners of Spring Training should become clear over the next few weeks, let’s look at some of the losers of spring camp.
St. Louis Cardinals spring training biggest losers No. 4: Gordon Graceffo, SP
With so many questions looming over the pitching staff, Graceffo had the opportunity to make an impact and earn a spot on the starting rotation.
Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas have been pitching for Team USA in the WBC. Jack Flaherty is working on his program to come back. Steven Matz is also working his way back from injury. Jordan Montgomery is ramping up along with Matthew Liberatore and Dakota Hudson. Andre Pallante, who started games last season, had an excellent start in the WBC for Team Italy.
It’s wonderful that the Cardinals’ starters do their part to keep their jobs. It would have been great to see questions the team has in the future get answered now before it becomes an issue next spring.
Wainwright will be retiring. Mikolas is in the last year of his current contract with the team. Flaherty and Montgomery will become free agents at the end of this season. The hope is to sign both pitchers. Matz is the only starting pitcher signed after this season.
Graceffo had the opportunity to step up and show that he can be a starting pitcher now. He has pitched in two games, starting one. In 4.2 innings, he accumulated six hits, four earned runs, three walks, three wild pitches, a hit batter, and an ERA of 7.71.
That’s not great. Graceffo did get re-assigned to minor league camp. This will give Graceffo more opportunities to work on his pitches in a less stressful environment. It will allow him to build up more innings. In the long run, this is a good thing for Graceffo, but it does seem he lost out on an opportunity.
All is not lost, though. Cardinal fans could still see him at some point this season.