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Cards part ways with infielder Miles

Cards part ways with infielder Miles

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals cut ties with infielder Aaron Miles on Wednesday night, choosing not to tender a contract to the switch-hitting veteran.

Miles, who turns 32 on Saturday, would have been eligible for arbitration, and St. Louis elected not to begin that process with him. Miles earned $1 million in 2007 and likely would have been in line for a raise in '08.

"It really came down to some roster flexibility," general manager John Mozeliak said. "When you look at how our club is put together, if we can find a way to add some offense in some of our roster spots, I think that's something we have to consider."

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Miles was acquired along with Larry Bigbie in the December, 2005 trade that sent Ray King to Colorado. In two years as a Cardinal, he appeared in 268 games, batting .276 with a .326 on-base percentage and a .348 slugging percentage.

With on-base issues at several positions -- including second base, shortstop and potentially catcher -- the Cards acknowledge a need to improve their run-scoring capabilities. St. Louis has several middle infielders still on the roster, with Cesar Izturis, Adam Kennedy and Brendan Ryan set, and Jarrett Hoffpauir possibly pushing for a spot in the spring.

"I think we'll be OK as far as middle infield protection by the time we get to Spring Training,," Mozeliak said. "We'll have some flexibility there."

Miles was the only Cardinal non-tendered. Arbitration-eligible players who were tendered contract offers included Todd Wellemeyer, Yadier Molina and Rick Ankiel.

The Cardinals also announced several Minor League signings on Wednesday. As expected, they completed a deal with left-handed reliever Ron Flores, who is the brother of Cards lefty Randy Flores. Veteran catcher Mark Johnson, who has spent parts of seven years in the big leagues, signed a Minor League deal with St. Louis, while pitcher Hugo Castellanos and infielder Rico Washington returned for another year in the Cardinals system. All four players received non-roster invitations to Spring Training.

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Chris Gibson, the son of Hall of Famer and Cardinals franchise icon Bob Gibson, signed a Minor League deal as well, but did not receive an NRI. Gibson, 23, had been with the Gateway Grizzlies of the independent Frontier League.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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