New St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Mike Girsch completed his first two trades Sunday, his second full day on the job.
The Cardinals sent cash – or international cap space – to the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays to acquire three minor-leaguers.
St. Louis acquired infielders Stanley Espinal, 20, and Imeldo Diaz, 19, from Boston. From Toronto, the Cardinals landed outfielder Lane Thomas, 21.
The international signing period began Sunday and continues until June 15.
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“We have $5.75 million in our cap,” Girsch said. “We can’t spend more than $300,000 on any one individual. So the math just makes it hard to efficiently spend $5.75 (million). You can; you can always find someone to take your money. But it doesn’t mean it’s a good investment.
“We decided we would see what the market was with other teams who weren’t capped out. We felt like we got better than what we could do if we just sort of threw money into Latin America and spend it wildly. ... We’re trading a weird asset. We’re trading the right for someone else to spend their own money on a 16-year-old. It’s a weird thing to trade.”
Espinal, a native of the Dominican Republic, has batted .251 with eight home runs and 82 RBIs in 132 career games. The right-handed-hitting third baseman spent seven games with the Lowell Spinners of the New York-Penn League this season, batting .185 (5-for-27) with two doubles and three RBIs.
Diaz is a right-handed-hitting shortstop from Venezuela who owns a .222 career average in 123 games, including seven with Lowell this season.
Thomas was drafted in the fifth round in 2014. The right-handed-hitting center fielder has batted .242 with 18 home runs, 123 RBIs and 42 stolen bases in 264 career games. Thomas was batting .252 with four homers and 38 RBIs in 73 games this season for high-Class A Dunedin of the Florida State League.
Memento for Matheny
Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny, who registered his 500th career victory Saturday in a 2-1 decision over Washington, was given the ball by catcher Yadier Molina after Matt Bowman struck out Adrian Sanchez with the bases loaded.
Matheny became the second-fastest Cardinals manager to 500 wins.
“It could have certainly been Bowman’s ball for the save,” Matheny said. “I don’t collect a lot of things, but that’s certainly something that will have a spot somewhere.”
Comparing playing to managing, Matheny said: “I think it’s equally hard to stick around in both. I think of that more so than any accomplishment.”
Marlins up next
The Cardinals will begin a four-game series against Miami at 6:15 p.m. Monday, when Adam Wainwright (8-5, 5.17 ERA) pitches against Jeff Locke (0-4, 5.52 ERA).
The other games in the series will be at 1:15 p.m. Tuesday, 7:15 p.m. Wednesday and 12:45 p.m. Thursday.
St. Louis’ final three games before the All-Star break will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the New York Mets at Busch Stadium.
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm