Cardullo's intriguing trajectory from four seasons in the independent leagues to the Rockies in 2016 took another turn as he hit free agency. He was solid enough in Triple-A during 2016, posting a PCL-inflated .308/.367/.522 for Triple-A Albuquerque, that he should at least be able to find another team needing minor league depth.
The Brewers had been reported by Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball to still be looking for trade partners for Carter, but those efforts apparently failed. That's not too large of a surprise, considering Milwaukee was negotiating with little leverage since they had already designated him for assignment, but that's also not a good sign for Carter's market as a free agent. Carter should still be able to find a team that values his right-handed power and can stomach the whiffs and poor defensive value.
After revealing Monday that they had no intention of tendering Carter a contract for the 2017 season due to the expected salary increase he was due in arbitration, the Brewers signed Korean import Eric Thames to a three-year deal Tuesday to serve as their new everyday first baseman. In order to clear a 40-man spot for Thames, Carter was designated for assignment, which will allow the Brewers to see if any other teams are interested in trading for the slugger before he becomes a free agent. While Carter made a major splash for fantasy owners last season with 41 homers and 94 RBI, his sky-high strikeout rate and poor defense makes him far less attractive in real-life terms, hence the Brewers decision to move on from him.
Carter set career bests with 41 home runs, 94 RBI, and 160 games played last season, his first with the Brewers, but he also struck out 206 times and posted just a .222 batting average, so the Brewers decided to let him go rather than pay him a hefty sum in salary arbitration. Despite Carter's penchant for punch outs, his durability and pop figure to garner him some attention on the free agent market.
The 30-year-old fell out of favor in the Phillies' organization, as he failed to capitalize on his opportunities against left-handed pitching in 2016 (.695 OPS) and was passed by Tommy Joseph on the organizational depth chart at first base. He will get a fresh start with the Dodgers although there's not a clear path to at-bats and he's far from a lock to even make the Opening Day roster. Adrian Gonzalez struggled against lefties but a healthy Scott Van Slyke (if he's tendered a contract) may be a better platoon option.
Joseph, who won't return to the Dominican Republic after his exam, had played in just five games before suffering the injury. GM Matt Klentak said there are "no long-term implications" with the injury, so it sounds like Joseph will be ready for spring training.
He reached the Triple-A level in his age-23 season, finishing with a .291/.333/.482 line in 63 games with Triple-A Indianapolis. Osuna totaled 13 homers between Double-A and Triple-A, but he's limited defensively to first base and the outfield corners and it's uncertain if he'll ever hit enough to be a viable option for the major league club.
Howard hit 25 home runs in 2016 for the seventh time in his career, but he also hit just .196 and would have been due $23 million had the Phillies picked up his option, so there was not much of a decision for them to make. Howard has not announced any intention to hang up the cleats, so he will likely look for a job elsewhere. At this stage of his career, however, he is likely looking at a reserve job wherever he lands.
After spending three years at the Double-A level with declining offensive production, it appears the Brewers would like to try Ramirez out as a reliever in order to keep him in the organization. The 27-year-old did act as the closer while he was at Cal State-Fullerton, converting 16 saves in his final collegiate season to go with a stellar 1.13 ERA and 11.6 K/9. Those stats did come from 2011, however, so he may need a bit of time to get accustomed to pitching to professional hitters. That being said, left-handed relievers with that kind of strikeout ability are hard to come by, so if the 27-year-old can get back into the same groove he was in during his final season in college, he could finally manage to move past Double-A.