Cardinals Add Voss And Cerda In Rule 5

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals saw the opportunity to add a pitcher to the thinnest part of their minor league depth chart. All the connections came later.

After passing on the major league portion of the Rule 5 draft, the Cardinals took two players in the minor league phase: lefthander Jay Voss from the Tigers and infielder Matt Cerda from the Cubs.

Voss, 25, is coming back from Tommy John surgery, and his rehab will continue into the regular season, though the Cardinals said they think they have added help at a need position—while getting a pitcher familiar with their organization.

Voss is a native of Breese, Ill., and was a Cardinals fan as a youth, and one of his pitching coaches while growing up was Bryan Eversgerd, who is now the Cardinals' Double-A pitching coach.

"He was a solid prospect," farm director John Vuch said of the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder. "Both of these guys have some upside if it pans out. They could have a future. We'll see them in the minor leagues (for now)."

The Cardinals seem perpetually on the lookout for lefties. The team signed veteran specialist Randy Choate to a three-year deal during the Winter Meetings. Sam Freeman and Kevin Siegrist represent the lefty reliever prospects closest to the majors, and Voss will slide onto that depth chart if he's healthy and productive. He went 0-3, 6.10 in three starts before his 2012 season ended with the elbow surgery.

Cerda, 22, hit .241/.374/.317 between two levels for the Cubs in 2012. He'll come to spring training as the likely starter at third base in Double-A, a spot the Cardinals had open. The Cardinals view him as a solid on-base batter who is reliable defensively at the hot corner. 


• The Cardinals announced that outfielder Oscar Taveras and righthander Seth Maness were the organization's player and pitcher of the year, respectively. Taveras hit .321/.380/.572 for Double-A Springfield last season, while Maness finished 14-4, 2.97 between high Class A Palm Beach and Springfield.

• The Cardinals had not finalized their minor league coaching staffs. One addition the team planned to make was hiring former major league pitcher Jason Simontacchi as a pitching coach for low Class A Peoria.