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Cardinals Release Josh James – MLB Trade Rumors

The Cardinals announced Tuesday that the right-handed reliever Josh James he was granted his unconditional release. The former Astros reliever had been with their Triple-A team in Memphis after signing a minor league deal earlier in the season.

James has not pitched in the majors since 2021. The 31-year-old spent most of the 2022 season on the injured list before undergoing surgery that cost him the entire 2023 campaign. He made himself an interesting minor leaguer, given some success in Houston, but James showed disastrous command problems in his short time with the Redbirds. In 7 2/3 innings this season, he has allowed 17 runs (19.96 ERA) on 13 hits and 15 walks with just five strikeouts. James faced 51 batters and walked 15 of them (29.4%).

Before dealing with his arm injury, James spent four seasons in Houston's bullpen as a middle-of-the-road pitcher with a high strikeout and walk total. In 106 1/3 innings at the MLB level, James has struck out 34.3% of his opponents but has 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 a lengthy injury layoff underscores that James is a project at this point. He's still 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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