12/18/2006 5:18 PM ET
Cardinals agree to terms with 10 minor league free agents
ST. LOUIS -- The World Champion St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have completed minor-league contracts with 10 minor league free agents.
The club agreed to terms with and extended Major League spring training camp invites to infielders Tagg Bozied and Edgar Gonzalez, outfielders Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Negron, catchers Ryan Christianson and Danilo Sanchez and right-handed pitchers Mike Smith and Kelvin Jimenez.
Bozied, 27, appeared in 60 games at Triple-A Norfolk last season and batted .256 with eight home runs and 23 RBI. He was the third-round selection of the San Diego Padres out of the University of San Francisco in 2001.
Christianson was behind the plate for 87 games at the Devil Rays' Double-A affiliate Montgomery Biscuits last season and hit 14 home runs with 38 RBI. The 25-year-old was Seattle's top pick (11th overall) in the 1999 Draft.
Gonzalez climbed two levels in the Marlins system, beginning at Jupiter (A), advancing to Carolina (AA) and ending the season with Triple-A Albuquerque. He combined to bat .327 (140-428) with 13 home runs and 71 RBI. The 28-year-old ended his season by batting .392 (56-143) with five home runs and 36 RBI in 46 games for Albuquerque.
As a member of the International League champion Toledo Mud Hens, Ludwick batted .266 with 28 home runs and 80 RBI. He led all Detroit minor leaguers with the 28 home runs as well as 81 runs and 64 extra-base hits. Ludwick, 28, was originally drafted by Oakland with their second pick in the 1999 draft and has appeared in 104 Major League games between Texas and Cleveland.
Negron, 24, began last season in New Hampshire (AA) of the Blue Jays organization and finished at Double-A West Tennessee in the Cubs' system. The outfielder batted .291 with a home run and 24 RBI in 86 games for West Tennessee. His 19 doubles ranked third on the club.
Jimenez appeared in 26 games of relief for the Triple-A Oklahoma RedHawks last season, compiling a 4-2 record and 5.21 ERA. He fanned 40 in 38.0 innings and held left-handed batters to a .204 batting average.
Pitcher Mike Smith spent the majority of 2006 in Triple-A Rochester in the Twins system. He did earn one start for Minnesota, a no-decision on August 6 at Kansas City in which he tossed three innings and allowed four runs on five hits in the 11-5 Twins win. At Rochester, the 29-year-old went 11-5 with a 3.88 ERA in 28 games (24 starts).
For Danilo Sanchez, it'll be the first time playing for an organization other than the Tigers. The 26-year-old spent last season at Double-A Erie and was the catcher in 76 games while batting .181 with seven home runs and 24 RBI.
The Cardinals also signed right-handed pitchers Matt Hirsh and Alex Pena to minor league deals.
The club also announced a pair of purchases from independent teams. St. Louis purchased catcher Chris Grossman from Sioux City of the American Association. Outfielder Ian Church was purchased from Kalamazoo of the Frontier League.