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Cardinals Release Josh James – MLB Trade Rumors

Cardinals Release Josh James - MLB Trade Rumors

The Cardinals announced Tuesday that right-handed reliever Josh James has been given his unconditional release. The former Astros reliever had been pitching with their Triple-A affiliate in Memphis after signing a minor league deal in the offseason.

James hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2021. The 31-year-old spent the the majority of the 2022 season on the injured list before eventually undergoing flexor surgery that cost him the whole 2023 campaign. He made for an intriguing minor league flier, given some prior success in Houston, but James displayed calamitous command issues during his brief time with the Redbirds. In 7 2/3 innings this season, he’s been shelled for 17 earned runs (19.96 ERA) on 13 hits and 15 walks with only five strikeouts. James faced 51 hitters and walked 15 of them (29.4%).

Before encountering his forearm injury, James spent four seasons in the Houston bullpen as a hard-throwing middle reliever with lofty strikeout and walk totals. In 106 1/3 innings at the MLB level, James has fanned 34.3% of his opponents but also issued walks at a 13.2% clip — all en route to a 4.64 earned run average.

It’s possible he’ll get another look elsewhere, but a near-30% walk rate in Triple-A on the heels of such a lengthy injury layoff underscores that James is a project at this point. He’s quite a ways removed from the impressive 2.35 ERA, 32% strikeout rate and 7.7% walk rate he turned in as a rookie with the 2018 Astros.

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