Cardinals Make Trades with Blue Jays and Rangers, Sending Out Hicks, Montgomery, and Stratton




ST. LOUIS, MO., July 30, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that they have acquired minor league right-handed pitchers Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks.

Robberse, who pitched in the MLB Futures Game earlier this month, is a 21-year-old from Zeist, Netherlands who was signed by the Blue Jays in July of 2019.

The 6-1, 185-pound righty has started 18 games this season for New Hampshire (AA), going 3-5 with a 4.06 ERA in 88.2 innings pitched while posting a 1.17 WHIP (10th in all of Double-A) and striking out 86.

Kloffenstein, 22, is a 6-5, 243-pound right-hander from Magnolia, Texas who was the Blue Jays 3rd round draft choice in 2018.

Kloffenstein (pronounced KLOF-ehn-steen) has made 17 starts this season for the Fisher Cats at New Hampshire, going 5-5 with a 3.24 ERA (6th in all of Double-A) in 89.0 innings of work. He’s struck out 105 this season and had one complete game effort.

Both Robberse and Kloffentstein will be assigned to the Memphis (AAA) roster.

Hicks, 26, was drafted by St. Louis in 2015 and was 1-6 with a 3.67 ERA and 8 saves this season in 40 games. He will become a free-agent following the 2023 season.

— STL —



ST. LOUIS, MO., July 30, 2023 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon that they have acquired minor league right-handed pitcher Tekoah Roby, left-handed pitcher John King and infielder Thomas Saggese from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitchers Jordan Montgomery and Chris Stratton and International Signing Bonus Pool space.

Roby, 21, was the Rangers 3rd round draft choice in 2020 out of Pine Forest High School in Pensacola, Fla. The 6-1, 185-pound Roby has made 10 starts for Frisco (AA) this season, going 2-3 with a 5.05 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched.

King, 28, has four seasons of major league experience, all with the Rangers. He was 7-5 with a 3.52 ERA out of the bullpen in 27 games in 2021 and owns a career mark of 10-10, 4.27 ERA in 87 games, all in relief.

Saggese, 21, was the Rangers 5th round selection in the 2020 MLB Draft out of Carlsbad (Calif.) High School.

The 5-11, 175-pound right-handed hitting Saggese is batting .314 (6th in all of Double-A) with 15 HR’s, 78 RBI (3rd in AA) and a .894 OPS in 92 games for Frisco (AA) while playing second base, third base and shortstop.

Roby and Saggese will be assigned to the Springfield Cardinals (AA) club and King will report to St. Louis.

— STL —

And it’s finally happening. The Cardinals were expected to be one of the biggest sellers this deadline, and they sat on their hands. While they got some decent players, these names feel lesser then the prospects that have already been traded.

Hicks moves into Toronto’s bullpen, but probably not the closer role. I’m curious to see if his inconsistencies get fixed in a different organization.

Montgomery may not have been the best pitcher for the Cardinals this season, but he’s been the most consistent. He was a key to making the post-season last year; it’s too bad the team didn’t work with him on an extension in Spring Training, which was rumors to be what he wanted.

Stratton was, again, the not best bullpen arm, but the most consistent and the team will miss him.

As for the return:

Sem Robberse, RHP – Self-taught player from the Netherlands. Low 90s fastball; projected to sit mid-90s as he gets bigger. Good vertical movement on the pitch. Also has an average sinker. Curve sits around 80 MPH; above average spin on the pitch with movement. Slider sits 84-88, again with good movement. Has a changeup which is still being worked on; considered average at best. Good command of pitches. Considered more of a finesse pitcher at this point, but has the talent and mechanics to add to potential, along with a tall, lean frame which is starting to fill out. Good at making adjustments and taking instruction.

Projects as MLB long-man in the bullpen based on current numbers and pitches; ceiling of #2 starter if he puts it all together. The good news about the numbers is he’s typically pitching against older competition.

Ranks #6 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.

Adam Kloffenstein, RHP – A big boy (6’5″, 243 lbs), doesn’t have much left to mature physically. Mid-90s fastball, tops out at 96, with sink; gets a lot of grounders on the pitch. Slider has good horizontal movement, causing swing and misses for righties. Solid change, sits mid-80s; good deception and fade that causes more swing and misses. Mid-70s curve with 11-5 movement; keeps hitters off balance but needs work as a viable pitch. Unorthodox mechanics with 3/4 arm slot, but repeatable. Solid command, but needs a little improvement for prolonged success.

Projects as #5 starter; ceiling of #2-3 if he can improve command and improves the curve. Mechanics are risky though.

Ranks #23 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.

Of the 2 pitchers, Kloffenstein is the safe pick for long-term success, but Robberse has more potential. Overall, the package is solid, but they didn’t get an elite pitching prospect in return.

And now the Rangers return:

Tekoah Roby, RHP – Low to Mid-90s fastball that could top out at 96-97 eventually; good sink. A potential above-average curve that sits in the upper 70s with 11-5 movement; struggles with consistent control and occasionally keeps it up in the zone. Change struggles to be average; it’s flat and he struggles to tunnel it at times (although, the arm-speed/tunnelling can be on point with his fastball). Also has a slider that’s still a work in process. Command is generally around the plate, but it’s not good enough for MLB starting right now. Mechanics are solid and repeatable.

Projects as a late inning reliever; ceiling of #2 starter. Has the potential to throw 4 pitches but none will truly stand out.

Ranks #4 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.

Thomas Saggese, IF – Good, quick swing, but can be too aggressive at times. Power to the pull side; could hit 20 homers as he fills out. Decent pitch recognition and can work the count, but needs to improve as he faces more advanced pitching. Can play all 4 infield positions; mostly 2nd and 3rd, but saw some time at short as well. Speed is slightly below average and arm is average; projects to be more of a second baseman in the long run. Could be super-utility guy that the Cardinals like.

Projects as utility infielder; ceiling of starting second baseman. Like Robberse, he’s younger than most of his competition.

Ranks #8 in the Cardinals system according to MLB Pipeline.

John King, LHP – King has 3 years of MLB experience, so he’s headed into arbitration. He’s got OK stuff (low to mid-90s sinking fastball, generates groundballs) and OK numbers to back it up. The Cardinals have JoJo Romero, Andrew Suarez, and Packy Naughton who all project this way. He could be a non-tender candidate after the season; he was a throw in on the deal so the Cardinals could replenish the bullpen.

Both the prospects from the Rangers are solid and have a little projection. I could have done without King in the deal though; the groundball specialist hasn’t been very effective.

At first glance, I wasn’t impressed with any of the additions; the prospects almost all have high floor, low ceiling on first glance. They didn’t get an elite pitcher that they need. Both Robberse and Roby have better potential when you dig into them. Saggese is also a very “Cardinals” infielder and they have a good history of getting the most out of these types of guys. All of these guys could be ready by the end of next season.

At this point, I give both deals a B; if none of these guys hit their ceiling, they can all still be productive Major Leaguers.

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