Andrew Kittredge Traded To Cardinals, Rays Acquire Outfielder Richie Palacios

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(AP Photo/Scott Audette)

Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays sent Andrew Kittredge to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for left-handed hitting outfielder Richie Palacios.

Kittredge, who will be 34 on opening day, is in his last year of team control and is arbitration eligible. In 2023, Kittredge returned from the dreaded Tommy John surgery (June 2022) to appear in 14 games and post a 2-0 mark with a 3.09 ERA.

Palacio will play next season at age 27 and has less than one year of service time. The 2023 season was a breakout year at the big league level. After opening the season with the Cleveland Guardians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers he struggled batting .217/.351/.318; however, he did have an excellent eye at the plate with 41 strikeouts and 41 walks.

When right -handed pitcher Cody Morris was to be activated off the Guardians 60-day injured list, the corresponding roster move was to designated Palacios for assignment. While in DFA limbo, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for cash considerations.

After the trade he reported to the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds where he played 40 games batting .299/.418/.459 with 20 strikeouts and 32 walks. He was called up to the Cardinals on August 17th finishing the season with the big league club. In 32 games with the Cardinals Palacios hit .258/.307/.516 with 6 homers.

The left-handed hitting outfielder was selected out of Towson University in the 3rd round in 2018. He missed all of the 2019 season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He also missed the 2020 season due to the pandemic. He made his big league debut with the Guardians on April 25, 2022 and registered his first big league hit against Angels starter Michael Lorenzen.

Palacios comes from a baseball family. His father Richard made it to Triple-A with the Tigers, his uncle Rey played parts of three seasons with the Kansas City Royals, and his brother Joshua has spent parts of the last three season with the Toronto, Washington, and Pittsburgh (current team).

With the Rays, Palacios is expected to serve as a part-time outfielder in 2024. He should take many of the reps that were taken by Luke Raley who was dealt to the Seattle Mariners earlier in the day.

Kittredge was acquired by the Rays from the Seattle Mariners along with minor leaguers Dalton Kelly and Dylan Thompson in exchange for Taylor Motter and Richie Shaffer. He spent parts of the 2017-2020 season as an optionable reliever and filled the role of the opener several times.

An elbow injury ended his 2020 campaign in August and it was thought at the time that surgery was on the horizon. At the end of the 2020 campaign the Rays designated him for assignment. He cleared waivers and was a declared a free agent. After demonstrating that his elbow was sound in multiple bullpen session, Kittredge re-signed a minor league deal with the Rays that included a spring opt-out. Kittredge was added back to the Rays 40-man roster at the end of camp when Nick Anderson suffered a partial tear of the elbow ligament.

Kittredge erased all worries about the elbow while hurling a dominant 2021 season that included being named to the All-Star team. He appeared in 57 games and pitched to a 1.76 ERA spanning 71.2 innings of work. He struck out 77 batters while walking 15 (5 intentional).

Unfortunately, the elbow issue crept up again in May of 2022 requiring Tommy John surgery in June. He returned to the Rays on August 18, 2023 and finished the season.

With the Cardinals, Kittredge will be employed as a high leverage reliever along with JoJo Romero and Giovanny Gallegos in getting the ball to closer Ryan Helsey.