Cardinals Updrade Farm System

Organization injected with young talent





ST. LOUIS—The Cardinals reshaped the look of any top prospect list from their organization, but not without some anxious moments before the clock struck midnight on Aug. 16.

Third baseman Zack Cox, their first-round pick in June, agreed to terms on a major league deal less than 30 minutes before the signing deadline. When the dust cleared, the Cardinals had signed their first 13 picks, including all four of the players they took through the second round. Cox and other picks instantly restocked a system in need of an infusion.

"The way we looked at this year's draft, by getting Cox signed, Tyrell Jenkins signed, Seth Blair and Jordan Swagerty, we really feel we've changed the look of our minor league system in a lot of ways," general manager John Mozeliak said. "It will change the look (of the top-end) prospects."

The Cardinals signed righthander Jenkins away from a football commitment to Baylor with a $1.3 million bonus. Righthanders Swagerty and Blair came out of Arizona State's pitching staff. Swagerty, like Cox, was a sophomore-eligible signee.

The Cardinals spent a total of $6.7 million in bonuses this year, and that doesn't include all of the four-year, $3.2 million contract Cox signed. Cox, 21, and the Cardinals agreed early that it would take a major league deal to land him, and up until the deadline the two sides just negotiated the dollar details.

Cox, who hit .429 for Arkansas this spring, immediately went on the 40-man roster and moved into a position of need for the team, at third base. He debuted in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Aug. 25.

"They're going to send me down there so I can get in playing shape," said Cox, who will appear at the Arizona Fall League. "I just had faith (a deal) would get done, no matter what."

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• Lefty John Gast, a sixth-round selection in June out of Florida State, was 4-0, 1.57 in his first six games for short-season Batavia. He had 26 strikeouts and two walks in 23 innings.

• Outfielder Amaury Cazana, the 34-year-old Cuban the Cardinals drafted in 2006, returned to Triple-A Memphis in a flurry of extra-base hits. Cazana was batting .319/.364/.522 overall for the Redbirds this season, but since returning from the Mexican League in August he was hitting .342/.419/.645 with seven homers and 20 RBIs.