Rayner Laya, 26, was selected by the Cardinals from the Montreal Expos in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December, 2003. He had been originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Atlanta Braves in 1998 and played for the Braves' affiliate in the Venezuela Summer League through the 2000 season. He later had a stop in the Mexican League before being signed by the Expos.
In 2006, Laya missed a month after going onto the disabled list for the Springfield Cardinals (Double-A) because of a sprained left finger. Shortly thereafter, he was demoted to Palm Beach (A-Advanced), where he had played for all of 2004 and much of 2005.
The Venezuelan clearly lacked the bat necessary to advance.
In winter ball at home in Venezuela, Laya hit just .194 in part-time duty for the Zulia Aguilas. Overall, he had just two extra-base hits, doubles, in 62 at-bats. Laya is a career .278/.328/.317 hitter with 89 stolen bases in 367 minor league games.
Keith Naylor, 24, was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in June, 2006. He was the oldest player on the Johnson City Cardinals of the Appalachian League this past season. Despite his advanced age for the level, the outfielder struggled with the bat, hitting just .157 in 30 games for the rookie-level club.
The Sayreville, NJ native had been a two-year starting outfielder for the New Jersey City University baseball team prior to signing with the Cardinals. His older brother, Marteese Robinson, a former professional player in the Oakland A’s organization, is in his seventh year as the Cardinals’ Director of Professional Scouting.
The organization is expected to drop at least one more player, this one from the Dominican Republic. More details on that move coming soon.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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