All posts by Marilyn Green

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 18-24

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals went a strong 4-2-1 in the final week of spring training action as Paul Goldschmidt, armed with a new contact, and the offense finally came to life. The Opening Day roster has been set, with no real surprises. In our weekly history feature, another star Cardinals first baseman once acquired in trade, Mark McGwire, is remembered.

Spring game recaps

 

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Monday, March 18 – Cardinals 4, Phillies 1

The final week of Grapefruit League play began with a St. Louis Cardinals win over the visiting Phillies.  Bryce Harper did not travel with his new club.  Dakota Hudson took the mound and earned his second Grapefruit League win.  Hudson pitched five scoreless innings, allowing four hits, fanning eight and walking one.  Chasen Shreve, John Brebbia, and Alex Reyes followed with a scoreless inning apiece.  Jordan Hicks gave up the only Phillies run in the ninth.

Three of the four St. Louis runs scored via the long ball.  Tyler O’Neill hit a solo shot in the second inning.  Paul Goldschmidt added a two-run blast in the fifth.  In the seventh, Paul DeJong added an RBI single.  DeJong and Marcell Ozuna went 4-for-4.

Drew Robinson stole his third base of the spring.  Yairo Munoz committed a fielding error.

 

Tuesday, March 19 – Off day

 

Wednesday, March 20 – Cardinals 0, Marlins 6

The Cardinals were blanked by the Marlins in Jupiter on Wednesday.  It was another lack of offense day for the Redbirds.  Of the three hits, two came from Drew Robinson. The other was a single by Dexter Fowler.

The lack of offense was exacerbated by a poor outing on the mound from Daniel Ponce de Leon, continuing his rough spring.  Ponce de Leon pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked two. To make matters worse, Ponce de Leon also made a throwing error.  Mike Mayers followed with two scoreless innings of relief.  Tommy Layne gave up a run in 1/3 innings.  Dominic Leone, Alex Reyes, and Tyler Webb pitched the scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively.

 

 

Dexter Fowler (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Thursday, March 21 – Cardinals 11, Yankees 3 (split squad)

The Yankees came to Jupiter with their B team and the Cardinals’ split squad team walloped them.  The Cardinals won both spring games against the Yankees in Grapefruit League action, despite the Yankees sporting the best record in the Grapefruit League at 17-9.   Jake Woodford made the start and pitched four innings, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out one and walking two.  Williams Perez tossed two scoreless innings.  Andrew Miller and John Brebbia combined for the next two scoreless fames, and Jordan Hicks finished with a scoreless ninth.

Dexter Fowler homered twice, once to lead off the first inning, a solo shot, and in the second, added a two-run blast.  Drew Robinson contributed an RBI single, also in the second inning.  Marcell Ozuna launched a solo home run in the third inning. In the sixth, Harrison Bader drove in a run on a single, as did Robinson for the second time.  Ozuna doubled in a run in the seventh, Kolten Wong hit a sac fly, and Robinson doubled in two.  Fowler went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.  Ozuna was 3-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored.  Bader was 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Robinson was 3-for-4 with four RBI.

Robinson stole his fourth and fifth bases of the spring. Wong swiped his third bag in Florida.

 

Thursday, March 21 – Cardinals 1 at Nationals 7 (split squad)

The Cardinals did not fare well in the second split squad game, against the Nationals at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  The Cardinals scored their lone run in the sixth inning on a Dylan Carlson single.  Otherwise the team scattered seven other hits.  Leadoff hitter Tommy Edman went 2-for-5 with a double.  Scott Hurst also doubled.  Carlson went 2-for-3.

In a bullpen game, Chris Beck started and pitched two innings, giving up one run on three hits.  Chasen Shreve surrendered two runs in 1 2/3 innings.  Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless inning. Jesus Cruz pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  Evan Kruczynski gave up four runs without recording an out in the seventh, as the game got away from the Cardinals.  He was relieved by John Fasola, who got the three outs without further damage. Kodi Whitley added a scoreless eighth.

Carlson was picked off and caught stealing second base.  He also made a fielding error.

 

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Friday, March 22 – Cardinals 15 at Mets 5

The Cardinals ambushed the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Friday.  Just after he was announced as having lost the fifth starter race, John Gant started.  The right hander pitched 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on eight hits.  He fanned four and walked two.  Dominic Leone surrendered two runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched.  Mike Mayers and Alex Reyes pitched the final two scoreless innings.

To start a busy day of offense, Tommy Edman singled in two runs in the second inning.  Paul Goldschmidt launched a solo home run in the third, and Yadier Molina followed with a two run RBI single.  In the fifth, Molina hit a ground rule double to drive in a run and Kolten Wong plated a run on a sac fly.  Ozuna added a sac fly for a run in the sixth, and Yairo Munoz did the same in the seventh.  In the eighth, Ozuna hit a solo home run, Edman added an RBI single and Munoz drove in two on a single.  Andrew Knizner plated two on a double in the ninth.

 

 

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Saturday, March 23 – Cardinals 4 at Nationals 4

The Cardinals and the Nats played to a tie at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Saturday.  Tyler O’Neill plated the first run on a ground rule double in the first inning. In inning two, starting pitcher Miles Mikolas hit his first Grapefruit League home run, a two-run shot.  The final St. Louis run scored in the sixth on Max Schrock’s single.  O’Neill went 4-for-5; Schrock went 2-for-3.

Mikolas pitched three innings, giving up four runs on six hits while fanning two and walking two. Dakota Hudson finished with six scoreless innings during which he allowed only three hits.  He struck out three and walked two.

Dylan Carlson and Evan Mendoza both stole a base.  Yairo Munoz had an outfield assist.

 

Evan Mendoza (Andrew Miller/Palm Beach Cardinals)

Sunday, March 24 – Cardinals 2, Marlins 1

In the final Grapefruit League game on Sunday, the Cardinals beat the Marlins in a walkoff.  The Cardinals scored first via Paul Goldschmidt’s solo home run in the first inning, his third home run of the spring.  The Marlins tied the score in the eighth inning.  In the ninth, Evan Mendoza singled to end the game.

Jack Flaherty started and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and striking out three. Kodi Whitley tossed a scoreless fifth, followed by two scoreless innings from Tyler Webb.  Jesus Cruz gave up the Marlins’ only run in the eighth and left with two outs. Chris Beck pitched the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Big Picture

The Cardinals ended their final Grapefruit League week at 4-2-1 and their final Florida record was 12-15-4.  This tied the Boston Red Sox for the 11th spot overall.  The Orioles, Mets and Rays all tied for the cellar with records of 12-16.

The Cardinals spring was marked for the lack of offense, which picked up in the final week.  The pitching by the five rotation pitchers was basically good overall with Flaherty and Hudson as standouts.  The relief pitching was good for the most part.

Spring Training News and Notes

Below is a final summary of Spring Training 2019.

  • The 25 man opening day roster has been set. It consists of:  SP – Mikolas, Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, Hudson; Bullpen – Miller as the sole LHP, RHPs Alex Reyes, John Gant, John Brebbia, Mike Mayers, Dominic Leone, and Jordan Hicks; Starting eight – C Yadier Molina, 1B Paul Goldschmidt, 2B Kolten Wong, SS Paul DeJong, 3B Matt Carpenter, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Harrison Bader, RF Dexter Fowler; Bench – C Matt Wieters, OF Jose Martinez, OF Tyler 0’Neill, UT Yairo Munoz, and UT Drew Robinson.
  • Five players will begin the season on the injured list: RHP Luke Gregerson, RHP Carlos Martinez, LHP Brett Cecil, UT Jedd Gyorko and OF Justin Williams.
  • C Francisco Pena did not make the team. He is on a minor league contract and will either begin the season in Memphis or become a free agent and look for a better deal elsewhere.
  • The remaining 40 man roster players will all be optioned to Memphis by Thursday to begin the season on the Triple-A roster.
  • Those who do not make the trip to Memphis to play in Monday’s exhibition game will remain in minor league camp in Jupiter and play games this week. The Memphis roster plus some additional Double-A players will play in the exhibition game then remain in Memphis to work out until the minor league season begins on Thursday, April 4.

Additional details here for TCN members:

St. Louis-Memphis Exhibition Roster Ramifications

Goldschmidt signs five-year extension

On Thursday, the Cardinals and Paul Goldschmidt formalized a contract extension before the first baseman ever took an at bat in St. Louis.  The deal, reported to be for five years and $130 million, will keep Goldschmidt in St. Louis through the 2024 season.  The deal has a no trade clause, no opt outs and is a straight $26 million for years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.  Goldschmidt will play 2019 at his current contract level of $14.5 million.

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Goldschmidt took a physical exam on Friday, passed it, and the deal was officially announced at a press conference on Saturday, with more than a dozen of Goldschmidt’s teammates in attendance.

The first sacker was acquired by the Cardinals in a December trade that sent RHP Luke Weaver, C Carson Kelly, 2B Andrew Young, and a competitive balance draft pick to the Diamondbacks.  The Cardinals made the trade with the goal of getting to this extension, as Goldschmidt was in the final year of his contract and set to become a free agent at the end of the year.  The Cardinals had made similar trades that led to extensions in the past, notably for players such as Scott Rolen, Mark McGwire and Jim Edmonds.

Goldschmidt, 31, will turn 32 in September.  The contract will extend through his age 36 season, which will end with him turning 37 in the final month of the 2024 regular season.

The serious work on the extension began a couple of weeks ago as Goldschmidt and President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak bumped into each other getting coffee one morning.  Mozeliak took the opportunity to probe whether Goldschmidt would consider talking extension.  When Goldschmidt answered that he would, the deal began its infancy and ended with the deal announced on Thursday.  Mozeliak and Goldschmidt’s agent, Casey Close, who had done many deals together over the years, came to this final agreement and the rest is history.

With this deal, Goldschmidt gets security and stability and the Cardinals get the middle of the order bat they wanted for the next six years.  Whether it is a win-win will be determined by how Goldschmidt and his new team perform over the length of the contract.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions 

  • 3/20 The Cardinals optioned RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/20 The Cardinals optioned LHP Austin Gomber to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/22 The Cardinals designated LHP Chasen Shreve for assignment. The Cardinals have seven days to settle his fate.
  • 3/22 The Cardinals selected the contract of C Matt Wieters from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an in injection of platelet-rich plasma in early spring training and did not appear in Grapefruit League games.  Martinez has begun a throwing program and will begin the season on the injured list.

RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder) will begin the season on the injured list.  Gregerson has been throwing bullpen sessions.

IF/UT Jedd Gyorko is nursing a calf injury.  Gyorko has been out of the lineup for all of the last several weeks of spring games.  Gyorko will remain in Jupiter to get at bats in minor league games and will begin the season on the injured list.

LHP Brett Cecil (left arm fatigue) will begin the season on the injured list.  No timetable for his return to roster has been announced.

3B Matt Carpenter started Sunday’s final spring game and took one at bat.  Carpenter will remain in Jupiter to get at bats in minor league camp and will join the team for Opening Day in Milwaukee.

Looking Ahead

Grapefruit League games ended on Sunday and the team headed to Memphis to play an exhibition game against the Memphis Redbirds on Monday night.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on Thursday, March 28 when the Cardinals play in Milwaukee.  The first series of the season is a four game set against the Brewers, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

In celebration of the extension of Paul Goldschmidt, this week’s Blast from the Past looks at another notable trade that led to an extension for a Cardinals first-base star.

Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire (Bill Greenblatt/Getty Images)

On July 31, 1997, the Cardinals acquired Oakland Athletics slugger Mark McGwire for RHP T.J. Matthews, RHP Eric Ludwick (brother of Ryan Ludwick) and RHP Blake Stein.  McGwire had played for then-current Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in Oakland, and La Russa was instrumental in promoting the trade.

It was believed at the time that McGwire, who was in the final year of his contract with Oakland, was a rental, and that he would go to free agency and seek a contract near his home in Southern California.  However, the Cardinals convinced McGwire to agree to an extension to remain in St. Louis.

The extension was signed on September 16, 1997.  It was for three years, 1998-2000 at $28.5 million plus a mutual option for 2001. That option was exercised, so the extension became four years at $39.5 million (11 million option).  There was a $1M signing bonus.

That extension put McGwire in St. Louis for the historic race to break Roger Maris’ home run record against Sammy Sosa of the Cubs in 1998.  McGwire broke the record on September 8 with his 62nd home run, hit to over the left field fence off Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel.  McGwire finished the season with 70 home runs, four ahead of Sosa.

The home run record was broken in 2001 by Barry Bonds with 73.

McGwire was awarded the Babe Ruth Home Run Award that year, but ironically it was Sosa who won the 1998 NL MVP award.  The Cubs went to the playoffs that year but the Cardinals did not.

To this day, many credit the excitement of the 1998 home run race with restoring baseball from the brutal consequences of the 1994-95 baseball strike.

McGwire had a good offensive year in 1999, but his numbers declined over the last two years of the contract.  McGwire retired after the 2001 season.

McGwire was hired in 2009 by the Cardinals to replace hitting coach Hal McRae, lured back into the game thanks to La Russa’s efforts over a number of years.  Despite the scandal of the intervening time, including McGwire admitting he used PEDS, the new hitting coach was welcomed with open arms by Cardinals fans with a standing ovation on opening day 2010.  McGwire remained the hitting coach through the 2012 season, then rejected an extension offer from the Cardinals to accept the hitting coach job with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

McGwire became the bench coach for the San Diego Padres in 2016.  He left that position after the 2018 season, retiring again.

“Big Mac” was voted by fans into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2017.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Cardinal Nation Spring Prospect Interview – Outfielder Dylan Carlson


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 11-17

photo: Dakota Hudson (Aaron Doster/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals went 2-5-1 in spring training action last week as Dakota Hudson seems to be leading in the fifth starter race. In our weekly history feature, the Hall of Famer Cy Young, the namesake of the famous pitching award and a former Cardinals pitcher, is remembered.


Spring game recaps

 

Dexter Fowler (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Monday, March 11 – Cardinals 3, Nationals 2

The Cardinals edged the Nationals at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Monday.  Jack Flaherty and Max Scherzer were the starters.  Flaherty went five innings and gave up one run on three hits while fanning five and walking one.  Andrew Miller, John Brebbia, and Jake Woodford followed.  Brebbia surrendered a run in the seventh, while Miller pitched a scoreless sixth and Woodford ended with two scoreless innings.

The Redbirds offense got on the board in the third inning on a Dexter Fowler RBI single that scored Harrison Bader, followed by a Paul Goldschmidt double that plated Matt Carpenter and Fowler. Fowler was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.  He also had an outfield assist, throwing Adam Eaton out at home plate.


Tuesday, March 12 – Cardinals 0 at Braves 6

The Cardinals were blanked by the Braves on Tuesday in road game at Lake Buena Vista. St. Louis hitters scattered six hits, with Yadier Molina going 2-for-3.  Yairo Munoz, Drew Robinson, and Rangel Ravelo each doubled.

Miles Mikolas got the start, and it was a rough outing for the right hander. He pitched five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits, including two home runs.  Tommy Layne, Mike Hauschild, Alex Reyes, and John Gant combined for the final four scoreless innings.

Robinson committed a fielding error, his second miscue of the spring.


Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Wednesday, March 13 – Cardinals 1 at Marlins 4

The Redbirds offense was flat in Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Marlins in Jupiter.  The single St. Louis run scored on a ground ball single to right field by Max Schrock.  The only other hits came from Marcell Ozuna, who was 2-for-3 with a double.

Starter Dakota Hudson hurled three innings, giving up one run on two hits. The righty fanned three and walked three.  Jordan Hicks and Andrew Miller each pitched a scoreless inning.  Chasen Shreve gave up a run in the sixth. Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless seventh, followed by Mike Hauschild, who surrendered two runs in the eighth.

Paul DeJong stole his second base of the spring.  Schrock committed a fielding error.


 

Harrison Bader (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Thursday, March 14 – Cardinals 1, Mets 1

The Cardinals and the Mets played to a 1-1 tie in Jupiter on Thursday.  Harrison Bader had a big day, going 2-for-3 and stealing three bases.  No Cardinal had stolen three bases in the last 25 years prior.  Yairo Munoz doubled and Jose Martinez tripled.  The lone Redbirds run scored on Munoz’ double in the seventh inning.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched five scoreless innings.  The right hander allowed five hits, struck out two and walked two.  Dominic Leone added a scoreless sixth.  Mike Mayers gave up the lone Mets run in his two innings pitched.  John Brebbia tossed a scoreless ninth.


Friday, March 15 – Cardinals 2, Astros 11 (split squad)

In one of two split squad contests Friday evening, the Cardinals were routed by the Astros at home in Jupiter. It was an Adam Wainwright start.  Wainwright pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits.  The veteran righty struck out five and walked one.  Andrew Miller followed in the sixth but couldn’t record an out.  He surrendered four runs before being taken out for Ryan Meisinger.  Meisinger got the final two outs but relinquished a run of his own.  Jordan Hicks gave up a run in the seventh, and Alex Reyes yielded three more runs over the last two innings.

St. Louis’ offense put up two runs on six hits.  Paul DeJong hit a solo home run in the second to put the Cardinals on the board.  In that same inning, Randy Arozarena singled in a run.  Those were the only Cardinals runs.

Dexter Fowler stole his first base of the spring.  Catcher Joe Hudson had a passed ball.


Friday, March 15 – Cardinals 0 at Astros 5 (split squad)

The second split squad game was played at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches and the Cardinals were blanked 5-0.  The game was highlighted by Astros manager A.J. Hinch being ejected in the first inning by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.  The Redbirds scattered five hits but could not get a run home.  Tyler O’Neill had the only extra base hit, a double.

Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched four innings and gave up three runs on four hits.  The right hander fanned four and walked three.  Chris Beck followed with a scoreless fifth.  Chasen Shreve surrendered a run in his two innings pitched, before Tyler Webb gave up the final Astros run in the eighth.

Drew Robinson stole second and third base for his first two stolen bases of the spring.  Marcell Ozuna stole his first spring base.  Rangel Ravelo made a throwing error.


Andrew Knizner (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Saturday, March 16 – Cardinals 8 at Nationals 5

The Cardinals took on the Nationals again at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Saturday.  The offense finally scored substantial runs, but seven of the eight runs came in the final three innings when all of the starting regulars were done for the day.

The first run was drive in by Jose Martinez in the first inning.  In the seventh inning, the Cardinals 2018 first round draft pick, 18 year old Nolan Gorman, hit a solo blast to the walkway behind the right center field bleachers off Nationals reliever Kyle Barraclough.  Randy Arozarena immediately followed with a solo home run to left field.  In the ninth inning, with Nationals closer Sean Doolittle on the mound, Tommy Edman doubled to score a run, and Max Schrock followed with an RBI single.  Then Andrew Knizner hit a screamer to left field to plate three runs.  The kids had a day and pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.

The game began with Austin Gomber on the mound.  It ended for Gomber after four innings in which five runs on eight hits crossed the plate.  Tommy Layne and Mike Mayers combined for a scoreless fifth.  John Brebbia, Dominic Leone, Hunter Cervenka and Jake Woodford followed with a scoreless inning each.

Gorman’s day was slightly marred by two fielding errors.


Sunday, March 17 – Cardinals 2 at Marlins 4

Another day of weak offense led to a 4-2 loss to the Marlins in Jupiter on Sunday.  Until the ninth inning, the Cardinals were no-hit by Marlins pitching, beginning with a six-inning scoreless, hitless outing by starter Trevor Richards.  The offense finally broke through when Dexter Fowler hit a leadoff single in the ninth, and Paul Goldschmidt followed with a single that brought Fowler home on a throwing error.  Goldschmidt ended up on third and was driven home by a ground out from Andrew Knizner.

John Gant got the start and pitched four innings, giving up one run on four hits. Ryan Meisinger and Tommy Layne followed in the fifth, each getting an out.  Chris Beck then struck out the final batter to end the inning.  Beck returned to pitch the sixth and surrendered a run.  Tyler Webb gave up two runs in the final two innings.

Harrison Bader successfully stole third base for this fifth of the spring and fourth of the week.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals offense continued to scuffle.  The team went 2-5-1 in a week where two split squad games were played against the Astros – one in Jupiter and the other at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  The Cardinals lost both contests, an 11-2 rout at home and a 5-0 shutout in Palm Beach.  Starters for the most part have been fine, though Mikolas had a tough outing against the Braves on Tuesday.  The bullpen has been hit and miss, and the offense has been weak from the starters. St. Louis’ highest scoring game was against the Nationals on Saturday.  The bulk of the scoring in that game came in innings seven and nine when the starters were out of the game.


Spring Training News and Notes

Below is a summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019.

  • The status of LHP Brett Cecil for Opening Day is in doubt. Cecil appeared in a squad game on Thursday and the outing reportedly was not encouraging.  The left hander is not scheduled to appear in any upcoming Grapefruit League games.  Cecil has been struggling with this mechanics, and manager Mike Shildt describes Cecil as a “work in progress”.  Shildt has not committed to Cecil having a spot on the opening day roster.  The veteran pitcher appeared again in a squad game on Friday, but when asked about the outing, he declined comment.
  • The bid for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation appears to be down to two – RHP’s John Gant and Dakota Hudson. Gant pitched a decent outing in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Marlins.  Hudson pitched four scoreless innings against the Astros on March 8 and is scheduled to make the Monday start against the Phillies.
  • RHP Carlos Martinez and his wife Laura are the proud parents of a third child, a daughter named Khloe, who was born on Saturday. Martinez is likely to return to camp early in the coming week.
  • The Cardinals Number 2 prospect, third baseman Nolan Gorman, started the game at third on Saturday against the Nationals. The 18-year old 2018 first round draft pick went 1-for-4, blasting his first major league spring home run in the seventh inning.  The long ball went into the walk way behind the right center field bleachers.  The home run was launched off Nationals reliever Kyle Barraclough, a former Cardinal farm hand.
  • Third baseman Matt Carpenter underwent a revised throwing program in the offseason to strengthen his throwing arm for the return to third base. Carpenter says he has changed his throwing motion and as a result is throwing pain free.
  • CF Harrison Bader stole three bases in Thursday’s game against the Mets. According to Elias Sports, no Cardinal has stolen three bases in a spring game in the last 25 years, until Bader accomplished the feat on Thursday.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 3/11 The Cardinals optioned CF Lane Thomas to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/11 The Cardinals optioned 2B Ramon Urias to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/11 The Cardinals reassigned RHP Connor Jones to minor league camp.
  • 3/11 The Cardinals reassigned RHP Jake Woodford to minor league camp.
  • 3/11 The Cardinals reassigned C Jose Godoy to minor league camp.
  • 3/11 The Cardinals reassigned C Brian O’Keefe to minor league camp.
  • 3/16 The Cardinals reassigned LHP Hunter Cervenka to minor league camp.
  • 3/16 The Cardinals reassigned C Jeremy Martinez to minor league camp.
  • 3/16 The Cardinals reassigned 2B Max Schrock to minor league camp.
  • 3/16 The Cardinals reassigned OF Randy Arozarena to minor league camp.
  • The Cardinals now have 45 players remaining in camp–33 roster players and 12 non-roster invitees.

Injury Report

RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an in injection of platelet-rich plasma a week ago.  As a result of the injection, Martinez’ rehab program was extended for another week.  The right hander will not throw until at least March 12.  Martinez will likely not be ready to open the season on the rotation and could begin the season on the injured list.

RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder) will likely begin the season on the injured list.    Gregerson played catch off the mound on Friday, but no bullpen session is scheduled for the near future.

IF/UT Jedd Gyorko is nursing a minor calf injury.  Gyorko has been out of the lineup for the last week and could be out of commission for another week or so.

C Francisco Pena suffered an oblique injury in the game against the Phillies on Tuesday.  Pena as returned to camp and started Saturday’s game against the Nationals.

OF Justin Williams continues to not appear in spring games.  Williams is recovering from a broken right hand, an injury he sustained in the offseason.

3B Matt Carpenter was scratched from Sunday’s lineup with back tightness.  The condition is not considered serious and Carpenter is day to day.


Looking Ahead

In the final week of Grapefruit League games coming up, the Cardinals will take on Phillies in Jupiter on Monday.  Dakota Hudson is scheduled to make the Monday start against Zach Eflin of the Phillies.  The Cardinals have an off day on Tuesday, then play the Marlins as the home team in Jupiter on Wednesday.  The Yankees come to Jupiter on Thursday, and on Friday the Cardinals travel to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets.  On Saturday the Redbirds return to the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches to take on the Nationals.  Finally, on Sunday the Cardinals play the Marlins again in Jupiter for the last Grapefruit League Game.

Next Monday, the Cardinals travel to Memphis to play their Triple-A affiliate the Memphis Redbirds in an exhibition game.  The team then travels to Milwaukee, where they will play the first game of the regular season against the Brewers on Thursday.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on March 28 when the Cardinals play in Milwaukee.  The first series of the season is a four game set against the Brewers, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

In the final installment of the Hall of Fame series, we look at the man who is more famous for the major pitching award named after him than his pitching career itself.

Cy Young (Topps 2010 collection)

Denton True “Cy” Young was born on March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, Ohio.  Young was the oldest of five children.  Young was raised on a farm and was only educated up to the sixth grade.  Young played for several amateur baseball leagues, including a semi-pro team in Carrollton Ohio.  After the one season in Carrollton, Young joined his first professional league, a minor league team in Canton in 1889.

Young’s nickname “Cy” came from destroying fences with his fastball, like a “cyclone”.  Reporters later shortened the name to Cy.  Young had a record of 15-15 with the Canton team.

Young signed with his first major league team, the Cleveland Spiders, in 1890.  He made his major league debut that August 6, pitching a three hit 8-1 victory over the Chicago Colts.  It was believed Young was the hardest thrower in the game at the time.  His catcher, Chief Zimmer, often put a piece of beefsteak in his glove to catch Young.  Young played for the Spiders through the 1898 season.

Prior to the 1899 season, the owner of the Spiders, Frank Robison, bought the St. Louis Browns.  The Browns were renamed the “Perfectos”.  Robison transferred most of the Spiders players to the Perfectos, including Young.  The Spiders players failed to help the new team, as the team finished fifth in both 1899 and 1900.  The Perfectos became the Cardinals in 1900.

Young left St. Louis after the 1900 season and joined the Boston Americans of the American League. The Americans later became the Red Sox.  Young played in Boston from 1901-1908.  Young pitched a perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics in 1904.

Young tossed the third no-hitter of his career in 1908. At age 41, he was the oldest pitcher to record a no-hitter, a record that would stand 82 years until Nolan Ryan broke it at the age of 43.

After 1908, Young was traded back to Cleveland, to the Naps of the American League.  He won his 500th career game on July 19, 1910.  He was traded to the Boston Rustlers in the middle of the 1911 season.  His last career victory came on September 22, 1911.

Young returned to farming in 1912.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the first year of its existence, in 1937.

Young died on November 4, 1955, in Ohio at the age of 88.  The Cy Young Award was created one year later in 1956.  The first award was given to the late Don Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  For the first 11 years, there was only one award.  It was divided into National League and American League winners in 1967.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 4-10

photo: Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals went 3-4 in spring training action last week as Yadier Molina appeared in his first games. In our weekly history feature, Hall of Fame manager Whitey Herzog is remembered.


Spring game recaps

Monday, March 4 – Cardinals 5 at Tigers 9

Rangel Ravelo (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

In the first of a three-game road trip to the west coast of Florida, the Cardinals were soundly defeated by the Tigers.  Adam Wainwright pitched three innings, giving up two runs on five hits while fanning three and walking one.  Austin Gomber surrendered three runs in 2 2/3 innings pitched and took the loss.  Mike Mayers gave up one run in 2/3 innings, and Ryan Helsley allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning.

The Redbirds offense put up five runs on nine hits.  Kolten Wong hit his first spring home run, a solo shot in the first inning. Rangel Ravelo had a two-run blast in the sixth.  Ravelo was 2-for-4.  Ramon Urias and Drew Robinson each drove in a run.

Randy Arozarena was caught stealing and had an outfield assist, throwing a runner out at home.  Robinson made a throwing error.


Tuesday, March 5 – Cardinals 1 at Phillies 2

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals lost a close contest to the Phillies on Tuesday.  The sole run for the Redbirds scored on a single from Max Schrock in the eighth inning.  There were only four St. Louis hits. Edmundo Sosa doubled, while Paul Goldschmidt and Evan Mendoza each singled.

Jack Flaherty pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out nine.  Flaherty issued no walks.  Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks followed with a scoreless inning each.  Alex Reyes allowed one run in the seventh.  Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless eighth.  Genesis Cabrera gave up the winning run in the ninth.

Minor leaguer Alberto Triunfel, pinch running for Schrock, who pinch hit for Ozuna, was caught stealing.  Goldschmidt made a fielding error and Leone picked a runner off first base.


Wednesday, March 6 – Cardinals 9 at Yankees 5

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals ended the three-game road trip on Wednesday with a victory over the Yankees.  John Gant took the mound and pitched three innings.  The right hander gave up three runs on four hits while fanning two and walking one. The damage came on a three-run home run by Austin Romine in the second inning.  Chris Beck, Connor Jones, Ryan Meisinger, and Tommy Layne each added a scoreless inning.  Mike Hauschild pitched the final two innings and surrendered two runs on three hits.

Tyler O’Neill hit a solo home run in the second inning, his fourth of the spring, to put the Cardinals on the board.  The Redbirds scored four in the third inning, beginning with an RBI double by Jose Martinez. O’Neill doubled to score Martinez.  A ground out by Matt Wieters plated a third run, then Paul DeJong doubled home another.   Kolten Wong plated a run on a bunt single in the sixth, and DeJong hit a two-run home run in the seventh.  Drew Robinson singled in the final run in the eighth.

Harrison Bader stole his first base of the spring, and DeJong did the same.  Rangel Ravelo was picked off first base.  Catcher Joe Hudson had a passed ball.


Thursday, March 7 – Off day


Friday, March 8 – Cardinals 3, Nationals 2

Mike Mayers (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals edged the Nationals in the Friday afternoon split-squad contest in Jupiter.  The Redbirds offense scored three runs on seven hits, with all three runs coming home in the first inning.  The Nationals scored both of their runs in the first inning also. Jose Martinez doubled in the first St. Louis run.  Rangel Ravelo followed with an RBI single and Matt Wieters singled in Martinez.

Starter Michael Wacha gave up solo home runs to Matt Adams and Jake Noll.  Wacha pitched four innings, giving up the two runs and allowing six hits.  Wacha struck out two.  John Brebbia and Andrew Miller followed with a scoreless inning each.  Mike Mayers pitched two scoreless innings, and Ryan Meisinger added a scoreless ninth.


Friday, March 8 – Cardinals 6 at Astros 3

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

In the night game of Friday’s split-squad day, many of the Cardinals regulars traveled to West Palm and they defeated the Astros, 6-3.

Starters Dakota Hudson and Gerrit Cole were both dominating, with the Cardinal throwing one-hit ball for four innings and the Astros star doing the same for three. St. Louis got to the Houston pen in the fourth, plating three. After Andrew Knizner drove in a run, Dylan Carlson plated two more on a double.

Matt Carpenter was busy in the fifth as he launched a solo home run. The home club halved the gap in the bottom half of the inning against Hunter Cervenka when a groundball shot between third baseman Carpenter’s legs for a two-run error.

Daniel Ponce de Leon yielded a run in the sixth, but Scott Hurst plated two on a double to set the final score in the seventh. Hudson earned the win and Ponce de Leon was given a save after yielding the lone run over the final four frames. Knizner had two of St. Louis’ eight hits, drove in one and scored twice.


Saturday, March 9 – Cardinals 3, Astros 9

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were walloped by the Astros in the Saturday contest in Jupiter.  St. Louis initially took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Harrison Bader’s RBI single and a two-run home run by Tommy Edman, who went 2-for-3 in the game.  This lead would hold until a Cardinal pitching meltdown in the sixth inning.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, fanning two and walking one.  Alex Reyes followed with a scoreless fifth.  Then came the sixth inning. Connor Jones proceeded to give up four runs while recording only one out.  Genesis Cabrera entered and surrendered three more.  After the bloodbath was over, the score was 7-3 in favor of the Astros.  Chasen Shreve and Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, respectively.  Tyler Webb yielded two more runs to the Astros’ tally in the ninth, one unearned due to a fielding error by Tommy Edman.

Ramon Urias also committed an error, an unfortunate throw to second base.


Sunday, March 10 – Cardinals 1 at Mets 9

Dylan Carlson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals ended the week with another walloping, this one at the hands of the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Austin Gomber made the start and it went badly.  The left hander couldn’t finish three innings, and by then he had given up five runs on six hits, including two home runs.  Tommy Layne came in to stop the bleeding but ended up making it worse. Two more Mets runs scored, so the combined 3 2/3 innings of Gomber and Layne resulted in a 7-0 Mets lead.  Chris Beck and Brett Cecil combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings.  Ryan Meisinger handed the Mets another run in the seventh, and Hunter Cervenka did the same in the eighth.

The Cardinals finally scored a run when Dylan Carlson hit a solo home run in the eighth.  Matt Carpenter, Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, and Yairo Munoz scattered singles.


The Big Picture

This past week, the Cardinals played seven games, including a three-game road trip to the west coast of Florida.  The period did not go particularly well for the Redbirds overall, as they went 3-4.  Their overall spring record sits at 6-8-2. The starting pitching has fared well, but a number of the younger relievers have faltered. The offense remains spotty, with many players in and out of the lineups.


News and Notes

A summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019:

  • Left hander Brett Cecil lost a considerable amount of weight since the end of last season. However, the weight loss, approximately 42 pounds, has apparently affected his pitching, according to Cecil.  The lefty was kept out of the lineup at the beginning of the season in an effort to correct some bad mechanics.  Cecil made an appearance in Sunday’s loss against the Mets and though he did not yield a run, did not pitch well.  Cecil now believes the weight loss was too much and has affected his mechanics; therefore the left hander seeks to work with a nutritionist to regain some of the lost weight.
  • Marcell Ozuna, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, has spent the initial weeks of spring out of the field and making appearances at the plate as a DH. That plan is set to change as Ozuna is expected to make his first appearance in left field on Monday.
  • Yadier Molina (knee) made his first spring training appearance at the plate as DH Friday’s game against the Nationals. Molina went 1-for-2 with a run scored in the 3-2 win.  On Saturday, Molina returned behind the plate to catch long time battery mate Adam Wainwright.
  • The Cardinals renewed the contracts of 20 pre-arbitration members of the 40-man roster, while pitchers Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks protested by not agreeing. However, they are signed anyway. More details here:

Cardinals Agree to Terms with 20 Pre-Arbitration Players


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 3/9 The Cardinals optioned RF Adolis Garcia, RHP Giovanny Gallegos, LHP Genesis Cabrera, RHP Ryan Helsley and SS Edmundo Sosa to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 3/9 Five non-roster invitees were also re-assigned to minor league camp – pitchers Evan Kruczynski, Seth Elledge and Williams Perez plus catchers Dennis Ortega and Julio Rodriguez.
  • The Cardinals have 55 players remaining in camp – 35 40-man players and 20 non-roster invitees. See the details at The Cardinal Nation’s Roster Matrix.

Injury Report

  • RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an injection of platelet-rich plasma a week ago. As a result, Martinez’ rehab program was extended for another week.  The right-hander will not throw until at least March 12.  Martinez will likely not be ready to open the season in the rotation and could begin on the injured list.
  • RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder) will likely open the season on the injured list. Gregerson played catch off the mound on Friday, but no bullpen session is scheduled for the near future.
  • IF/UT Jedd Gyorko is nursing a minor calf injury. Gyorko has been out of the lineup for the last week and could be out of commission for another week or so.
  • C Francisco Pena suffered an oblique injury in the game against the Phillies on Tuesday. The injury is characterized as a mild oblique strain and Pena is expected to miss about a week.
  • Outfielder Lane Thomas returned over the weekend after missing more than a week due to discomfort in his side.
  • Outfielder Justin Williams has yet to appear in spring action as he recovers for a broken right hand suffered in the off-season.

Looking Ahead

The new week opens as the Cardinals take on the Nationals again in Jupiter on Monday.  Jack Flaherty is scheduled to make the start against Max Scherzer of the Nationals.  The Cardinals travel to Lake Buena Vista on Tuesday to play the Braves.  The Cardinals return to take on the Marlins in Jupiter, with the Cardinals the visitor.  The Cardinals remain in Jupiter to play the Mets on Thursday and the Astros on Friday.  The Redbirds then travel down to West Palm Beach to play the Nationals again, then end the week playing the Marlins on Sunday.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on the afternoon of March 28 as the Cardinals will begin the season in Milwaukee.  The four-game series against the Brewers includes a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment looks at another Cardinals Hall of Fame manager.  This one reigned over a decade of delightful Cardinal baseball that resulted in three World Series appearances and one World Series title.

Whitey Herzog

Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, better known as “Whitey” was born on November 9, 1931 in New Athens, Illinois. Herzog played both basketball and baseball at New Athens High School.  His professional baseball career started with the New York Yankees and he played minor league ball in the Yankees organization from 1949-1955, with an interruption in 1953 when Herzog joined the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War.  A Yankees sportscaster gave Herzog the nickname “Whitey” because of his light blonde hair and resemblance to Yankees pitcher Bob “The White Rat” Kuzava.

The Yankees traded Herzog to the Washington Senators in 1956, where he made his major league debut on April 17 at the age of 24.  The Kansas City Athletics purchased Herzog in May of 1958.  Kansas City traded Herzog to the Baltimore Orioles in 1961.  At the end of the 1962 season, the Orioles traded Herzog to the Detroit Tigers.  In his eight seasons as a major leaguer, Herzog batted .257 with 25 home runs, 172 RBI, 213 runs scored, 60 doubles, 20 triples, and 13 stolen bases.  Herzog played his last game in September of 1963 at the age of 31.  During his career, Herzog played the outfield and first base.

Herzog became a scout for the Athletics in 1964 and a coach in 1965.  In 1966 Herzog went to work for the Mets as third base coach.  He moved to the front office in 1967 as Director of Player Development, where he remained for six years.  Herzog left the Mets to sign on as the manager of the Texas Rangers for the 1973 season.  He lasted only the one season in Texas, then moved on as interim manager for the Angels in 1974.

Herzog was hired in 1975 to manage the Kansas City Royals.  In his five seasons as the Royals manager, his clubs won three straight AL West division titles.

Whitey moved to the Cardinals in June 1980, replacing manager Jack Krol.  Herzog also acted as the Cardinals’ general manager from 1980-82.  Herzog remained the team’s field manager until resigning on July 7, 1990, stating he was “embarrassed” by his team’s play.

The style of play Herzog brought to St. Louis, focusing on pitching, speed, and defense, received the moniker of “Whiteyball”.  Herzog preferred high on-base hitters in his lineups, which featured Keith Hernandez, Jose Oquendo, and Ozzie Smith.

Herzog led the Cardinals to the World Championship in 1982.  The Cardinals reached the World Series in 1985 and 1987, but lost both, the first to Herzog’s prior team, the Kansas City Royals, and then to the Minnesota Twins.  The 1985 World Series became infamous for one of the worst blown calls in the history of baseball, a crucial out turned safe call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger.  The blown call turned a potential Game 6 win and World Series title into a loss followed by a Game 7 defeat to the Royals.

Herzog finished his decade as Cardinals manager in 1990, with a mark of 822 wins and 728 losses.  After his managerial career ended, Herzog went into the front office of the Angels for a short time and became the GM in 1993. This stint as GM went badly and he resigned in January 1994.

Herzog was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager by the Veterans Committee in 2009.  He was inducted in 2010.  That same year the Cardinals retired Herzog’s uniform number 24.  Herzog was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2014.

Whitey, who remains a St. Louis resident with his wife, Mary Lou, can still be seen at Cardinals games and serves on the team’s Hall of Fame nominating committee.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 25 – March 3

photo: Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Spring game recaps

Monday, February 25 – Cardinals 3, Tigers 3

The Detroit Tigers brought a split squad to fact the St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter on Monday, a group that included slugger Miguel Cabrera.  Jake Woodford made the start for the Cardinals and pitched two innings, giving up two runs on two hits.  Following Woodford was Evan Kruczynski, Williams Perez, Mike Hauschild, Connor Jones, and Mike Mayers.   Perez gave up one run in his two innings pitched.

On offense, the Cardinals scored three runs on six hits, all singles from Jose Martinez, Dylan Carlson, Yairo Munoz, Tommy Edman, Kolten Wong, and Rangel Ravelo.  Munoz, Edman, and Ravelo drove in one run each.


Tuesday, February 26 – Cardinals 6 at Nationals 1

Randy Arozarena (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Tuesday, the Cardinals took on the Nats in the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  Randy Arozarena had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. He also stole a base.  Francisco Pena, competing for the back-up catcher job, went 2-for-3 with two RBI.  Pena and Paul Goldschmidt doubled.

Adam Wainwright made the start and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with one strikeout.  Wainwright was followed by Chasen Shreve, who gave up a run in one inning of relief.  Chris Beck, Tommy Layne, Ryan Meisinger, Hunter Cervenka, Ryan Helsley, and Dominic Leone finished the game with scoreless performances.


Wednesday, February 27 – Cardinals 0, Braves 4

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were shut out by the Braves in Jupiter on Wednesday.  Dakota Hudson got the start and pitched two scoreless innings. Austin Gomber, Brett Cecil, John Brebbia, and Tyler Webb followed with a combined five scoreless innings. In the eighth, Seth Elledge took the mound and gave up four runs, three earned, on two hits.  Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side.

The offense managed four hits, with Yairo Munoz going 2-for-3 with a double. Kolten Wong and Harrison Bader both singled.

Wong stole his first base of the spring, and Munoz was caught stealing for the first time.  Edmundo Sosa committed a fielding error at shortstop.


Thursday, February 28 – Cardinals 2, Mets 3

The Mets came to Jupiter on Thursday and defeated the Redbirds 3-2.  Matt Carpenter hit his first spring home run, a solo shot in the first inning on his way to a 2-for-2 day.  Dylan Carlson and Sosa each contributed a double, and Sosa drove in a run.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched three scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walking one.  Jack Flaherty followed and surrendered two runs on three hits in his three innings.  Flaherty fanned five and walked one.  Mike Mayers took the seventh and allowed one run.  Jordan Hicks fanned three in the eighth and walked one.  Genesis Cabrera tossed a scoreless ninth.


Friday, March 1 – Cardinals 4 at Astros 4

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Astros came to Jupiter on Friday and the game ended in the second tie of the week and spring.

John Gant got the start and pitched three innings, giving up one run on four hits.  Connor Jones tossed a scoreless fourth.  Andrew Miller, in his first appearance of the spring, surrendered three runs on two hits in the fifth.  He was removed with two outs in the inning for Chris Beck, who got the final out of the inning.  Beck returned to pitch a scoreless sixth.  Ryan Helsley, Ryan Meisinger, and Tyler Webb combined for the final three scoreless frames.

The Cardinals offense came on solo home runs by Scott Hurst and Tyler O’Neill, and RBI singles by Rangel Ravelo and Joe Hudson. Paul DeJong doubled. Ramon Urias and Max Schrock singled.

Kolten Wong stole his second base of the spring.


Saturday, March 2 – Cardinals 4, Marlins 3

Michael Wacha (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals prevailed as the home team against the Marlins in Jupiter on Saturday.  Randy Arozarena had another good day at the plate, going 2-for-4 including a triple, with two runs scored. Francisco Pena went 2-for-3 with an RBI.  Tommy Edman, Edmundo Sosa, and Jeremy Martinez contributed doubles.

Michael Wacha made the start and pitched three scoreless innings. He fanned four and walked one.  Chasen Shreve and Dominic Leone followed with a scoreless inning each.  Tommy Layne gave up two runs on two hits in the sixth.  Mike Hauschild pitched a scoreless seventh.  Jake Woodford took the final two innings and surrendered one unearned run.

Chase Pinder stole his first base of the spring.  Tommy Edman made a fielding error and a throwing error.  Leone committed an error on a pickoff attempt.


Sunday, March 3 – Cardinals 8, Mets 10

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Sunday, the Mets made their second trip to Jupiter this spring. The lead changed hands several times, but the Mets prevailed in the end.

Starter Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched three innings and gave up three runs on four hits, including a two-run home run.  Dakota Hudson followed with 1 2/3 innings, during which he surrendered two runs on four hits.  John Brebbia relinquished two runs in his 1 2/3 innings and Giovanny Gallegos added 1 2/3 innings in which he gave up three runs.  Only Tyler Webb came out unscathed with a scoreless ninth.

Matt Carpenter blasted his second spring home run, a two run shot, in the second inning.  Tyler O’Neill hit his third, another two run shot, in the fifth.  Jedd Gyorko went 2-for-2 with an RBI.  Edmundo Sosa, who pinch ran for Gyorko, then remained in the game to play shortstop, and was 2-for-3.  Ramon Urias went 2-for-5.  Sosa and Scott Hurst each tripled.

Carpenter stole his first base of the spring.  Adolis Garcia swiped two.  Sosa and Harrison Bader were both caught stealing.

Joe Hudson committed a throwing error and Urias made a missed catch error.


Cardinals extend Mikolas

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Tuesday, the Cardinals announced they had extended Miles Mikolas’ contract through the 2023 season.  The four-year deal, worth $68 million dollars, will begin after Mikolas’ current contract expires at the end of this season.  The contract includes a full no trade clause and an escalator clause that adds $2 million if the hurler pitches 200 innings in 2019.

Mikolas was signed by the Cardinals to a two-year contract for 2018-19 after returning to MLB after a three-year stint pitching in Japan. The right hander pitched well in 2018, posting an ERA of 2.83 and finishing sixth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.  In other 2018 accomplishments, Mikolas had the highest strike rate in the majors at 69.3% and was the third pitcher in MLB history to win 10 games on the road without a loss.  Mikolas earned an All-Star berth but was unable to take part in the game because his wife gave birth to twins.

The extension announcement followed by three days the announcement that Mikolas would be the opening day starter.


Wieters to compete for backup catcher

Matt Wieters (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

The Cardinals gave potential backup catcher Francisco Pena some added competition this past week by adding free agent veteran catcher Matt Wieters to the team on a minor league deal.

Wieters, 32, a 10-year veteran, had gone unsigned over the offseason before the Cardinals extended their offer.  Wieters played the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals.  Prior to that he spent eight seasons as the primary catcher for the Baltimore Orioles.  Wieter made four All-Star appearances as an Oriole and also won two catching Gold Glove Awards.  Injuries have plagued the backstop over his career, including Tommy John surgery in 2014 that ended his season mid-year and kept him out of the 2015 season until June.

Two underwhelming seasons with the Nationals left Wieters without a job until the Cardinals came calling.  Wieters will compete with Francisco Pena for the job backing up Yadier Molina.  While Pena has one year as Molina’s back up under his belt, Wieters bring veteran experience with offensive upside as a switch hitter.

Wieters will receive a salary of $1.5 million if the makes the team and has a March 21 out, the same date as does Pena.


Spring Training News and Notes

Brett Cecil (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

A summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019:

  • Alex Reyes is set to make his spring debut on the mound on Tuesday, March 5. He will appear in relief on Tuesday but is still set to stretch out as a starter.
  • Left hander Brett Cecil’s spring has been put on pause in an effort to correct some bad mechanics seen on video from Cecil’s one spring appearance on Wednesday. Cecil will be kept out of games until late this coming week.  Cecil came to camp having lost 30 pounds and has lost an additional 10 pounds since.
  • Dabo Swinney, head coach of the National Champion Clemson Tigers football team, made a visit on Sunday to Cardinals camp as a guest of manager Mike Shildt, and addressed the team. Swinney opened with a video presentation and then shared a message of normalized excellence.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 2/27 The Cardinals signed free agent C Matt Wieters to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Injury Report

C Yadier Molina (knee surgery) has not yet appeared in either of the first two spring games and is not expected to catch in games at least mid-March.  Molina has been taking at bats in squad games on the backfields.

RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an in injection of platelet-rich plasma in the shoulder on Monday.  As a result of the injection, Martinez’ rehab program was extended for another week.  The right hander will likely not be ready by opening day and could begin the season on the injured list.

UT Yairo Munoz (left hand) was hit by a pitch in Saturday’s game against the Marlins.  X-rays on the hand came back negative.

OF Lane Thomas suffered an intercostal (rib) injury on a check swing and has not appeared since the second game of the spring. He is expected to return within a week.


Looking Ahead

The first full week of spring training games began on Monday, February 25.  The Cardinals went 2-3-2 for the week and are 3-4-2 overall.  On Monday, March 4, the Cardinals play the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, FL with Adam Wainwright scheduled to start.  On Tuesday, the Cardinals take on the Phillies in Clearwater with Jack Flaherty on the mound for the Redbirds.  The next stop is Tampa on Wednesday to play the Yankees.  John Gant will make the start.  There is no game on Thursday.  On Friday, the Cardinals return home to Jupiter to play the Nationals.  The Astros come to Jupiter on Saturday, and on Sunday the Cardinals travel to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is on March 28 as the Cardinals travel to Milwaukee.  The first game of the four-game set is to start at 1:10 CT.  That will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates on April 1st and 3rd.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past moves forward several decades from the prior week to cover a living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  A fan favorite, this former Cardinal is currently in Jupiter for Cardinals spring training.

Lou Brock (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Louis Clark Brock was born on June 18, 1939 in El Dorado, Arkansas, to a family of sharecroppers. When Lou was two years old, his family moved to Collinston, Louisiana.  Brock attended Southern University in Baton Rouge and began playing baseball in order to secure a scholarship to continue his time at the University.  Southern University won the NAIA championship in Brock’s junior year.  Lou was selected to the United States baseball team for the 1959 Pan American Games.

Brock came to St. Louis on a recommendation from a scout to try out for the Cardinals, but the scout was in Seattle to sign Ray Washburn.  Brock then tried out for the Chicago Cubs instead, who signed him as a free agent in 1960.  Brock made his major league debut with the Cubs in September 1961.  Brock had speed and good baserunning skills, but his bat did not impress the Cubs management.  The Cubs lost patience with Brock and traded him to the Cardinals in 1964 for Ernie Broglio.

At the time the trade was thought to be a steal for the Cubs.  Brock, however, had other ideas.  Brock’s hitting improved to .348 in 1964, from his .260 mark for the Cubs over the two previous seasons.  Brock stole 38 bases in that second half of 1964 with the Cardinals.

At the time of the trade, the Cardinals were in eighth place in the National League.  After Brock arrived, the Cardinals raced to the top to take the pennant on the last day of the season, and the team won the 1964 World Series against the Yankees.  Brock finished 10th in the MVP voting in 1964.

Brock broke Maury Wills’ NL single-season stolen base record in 1966.  Lou led the NL in stolen bases eight times between 1966 and 1974.

Brock led the NL in runs scored (113) in 1967, and again (126) in 1971.  He led the NL in doubles (46) and triples (14) in 1968. In his 16 years with the Cardinals, Brock slashed .297/.347/.414, with 129 home runs and 814 RBI.  He stole 888 bases in that span.  In 1979, Brock became the 14th player in MLB history to reach the 3,000 hits plateau.

Brock retired at the end of the 1979 season at the age of 40, having posted a .304 average in that last season.  He was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year that season.  His number 20 was retired by the Cardinals that year.

The NL named its annual stolen base leader award the Lou Brock Award in 1978.  Brock has won many awards over his career, including the Roberto Clemente Award in 1975, the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1977, and the Hutch Award in 1979.

Brock was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.  He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and was part of the 2014 inaugural class of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Brock and his wife Jackie continue to live in St. Louis.  Brock, a diabetic, had his left leg amputated in October 2015.  In April 2017, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.  Several months later Brock announced he was cancer free.

Brock makes appearances when he can at Cardinals games, including the Opening Day ceremonies.  He is currently working as a special instructor for the Cardinals.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 18-24

photo: Jose Martinez (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals are 1-1 in early spring training action and outfielder Jose Martinez has a new contract. In our weekly history feature, the Hall of Fame career of The Fordham Flash, Frankie Frisch, is remembered.


Spring training game recaps

Saturday, February 23 – Cardinals 11, Marlins 1

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Miami Marlins in the first game of 2019 Grapefruit League action on Saturday.  Starter Miles Mikolas pitched two innings, retiring all six batters faced.  Following Mikolas on the mound were Jack Flaherty, Tommy Layne, Chris Beck, Hunter Cervenka, Ryan Helsley, and Ryan Meisinger.  Flaherty gave up the only Miami run.

It was the minor leaguers who shined after the starters departed.  Drew Robinson went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.  Robinson is a candidate to make the opening roster as a utility fielder. Tommy Edman went 3-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored.  Max Schrock was 3-for-4 with four RBI, including a three-run home run.  Earlier, Ramon Urias hit a three-run shot and was 2-for-4.  Lane Thomas was 3-for-3 and Andrew Knizner was 2-for-3.  Rangel Ravelo, who started the game at first base, was 2-for-5.

Sunday, February 24 – Cardinals 2, Nationals 12

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were the victims rather than the perpetrators of a rout on Sunday, as the Nationals walloped the Redbirds 12-2.  Offense was scarce for St. Louis, with the highlight a solo blast from Tyler O’ Neill.  Andrew Knizner provided the other run.  Once again, Drew Robinson made his presence and his wish for an opening day roster spot known.  Robinson went 2-for-3 with a double and was the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched two innings, giving up one run on one hit.  He fanned one and walked one.  Daniel Ponce De Leon had a rough outing and was taken out after two outs in the third inning.  He gave up three runs on one hit.  Chasen Shreve got the last out of the inning.  John Gant followed with two innings.  Genesis Cabrera had a hard time on the mound as well, as he surrendered four runs in only 2/3 innings.  Andrew Morales relinquished three additional runs and was removed with a shoulder issue.  Seth Elledge, Tyler Webb, and Giovanny Gallegos pitched the final three innings.


Cardinals give Martinez two-year deal

In a somewhat surprise move, the Cardinals signed outfielder Jose Martinez to a two-year contract extension, the team announced on Saturday.  Martinez, the subject of trade rumors both at the July deadline in 2018 and in the offseason, accepted a deal worth $3.25 million, which buys out one of his arbitration years.  The deal is a raise in salary for 2019 and includes a signing bonus.

Jose Martinez

The deal seems to have been prompted by the news that Martinez had been offered a job playing in Japan, revealed to the media by President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak.  However, such an opportunity could only have occurred had the team been willing to sell Martinez’ rights.  The deal provides Martinez with a measure of financial security, something that has a unique importance for the outfielder, whose family resides in the politically explosive country of Venezuela.

Martinez led the team in batting average (.305), and hits (163) last season and has slashed .309/.372/.478 since making his Cardinals debut in September of 2016.  Martinez spent some time playing first base last season, but ended the season in the outfield, his natural position.  With the return of Dexter Fowler from injury and the addition of Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Martinez will likely be a bench option in a corner outfield spot, where his defense plays better than at first base.

Martinez would have been arbitration eligible in 2020 and will be a free agent after the 2022 season. Further details here:

Cardinals Announce Two-Year Deal with Jose Martinez


Spring Training News and Notes

Below is a summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019:

  • In Sunday’s game against the Nationals, Matt Carpenter, Dexter Fowler, and Paul Goldschmidt topped the lineup in the first three spots. Manager Mike Shildt revealed that he plans to continue with this alignment at least through the first half of spring games.
  • The Grapefruit League debut of LHP Andrew Miller will be delayed a bit. Miller will throw to live batters on Monday along with Alex Reyes, and Jordan Hicks.  All three hurlers are on a slower spring program for precautionary reasons.  Miller missed two months of his 2018 season due to right knee inflammation.
  • Shildt named RHP Miles Mikolas as the regular season opening day starter. Mikolas retired all six batters he faced in Saturday’s game against the Marlins.  Mikolas will make at least five more Grapefruit League starts before spring training wraps up.
  • The beginning of Grapefruit League action brought something new for players and fans to talk about. MLB is doing a trial run of a 20-second pitch clock in spring games this year.  Its regular-season introduction may hinges on talks between MLB and the players union.  Though Commissioner Rob Manfred has the authority under the CBA to implement the clock without the union’s consent, he has indicated he would prefer to have the union’s consent.  Talks on this issue, as well as other potential rule changes, are ongoing.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Yadier Molina (knee surgery) has not yet appeared in either of the first two spring games and is not expected to catch in games at least until mid-March.  Molina has engaged in catching drills and on Saturday he squatted behind the plate for the first time this spring to catch Adam Wainwright’s side session.  Molina is expected to appear in some spring games to bat as the designated hitter.

Andrew Morales made an early exit from Sunday’s game due to right shoulder discomfort.  Morales will undergo further evaluation in the coming days.  The right hander is a spring non-roster invitee.


Looking Ahead

Spring Training games have begun.  The first two resulted in a 1-1 split, with the Cardinals defeating the Marlins but losing to the Nats.  The Cardinals will play the Tigers at home on Monday, followed by a second game against the Nats on Tuesday in Palm Beach.  Jake Woodford will get the start on Monday, and Adam Wainwright is scheduled for the Tuesday start.  Home games against the Braves and Mets lead into a weekend schedule of games against the Astros, Marlins, and Mets again.   The Spring Training Schedule can be found here. TCN’s consolidated Cardinals spring radio and television schedule follows.

Cardinals Announce 2019 Spring Training TV and Radio Schedule

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on March 28 with the Cardinals on the road in Milwaukee.  In the four-game series against the Brewers, the first game will start at 1:10 CT, with a 7:10 CT first pitch on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past recalls the career of Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, who played 11 seasons for the Cardinals and was a player-manager for the last five of those years.

Frankie Frisch

Frisch was born on September 9, 1898 in the Bronx, New York.  He attended the Fordham Preparatory School and Fordham University, where he excelled in four sports, baseball, football, basketball and track, and earned the nickname, “The Fordham Flash”.

Frisch left school in 1919 to sign a contract with the New York Giants, skipping the minor leagues and going straight to the majors. The switch-hitter led the league in stolen bases in his first full season in 1920 and played both second and third base for the Giants until 1923, when he became a full time second baseman.

Frisch played with the Giants through the 1926 season.  He batted over.300 for the last six seasons in New York and helped the Giants win the World Series in 1921 and 1922.

The Giants traded Frisch to the Cardinals after the 1926 season in exchange for another future Hall of Famer, Rogers Hornsby.  The trade occurred after a memorable blowup with Giants manager John McGraw, the subject of last week’s Blast from the Past.

Frisch became the Cardinals’ second baseman and played on four World Series teams in 1928, 1930, 1931 and 1934.  St. Louis’ famed “Gashouse Gang” was built around Frisch, who played with a no holds barred approach.  The Cardinals had won only one NL pennant before Frisch joined the team.

The second baseman won the NL MVP Award in 1931 after batting .311 and leading the league with 28 stolen bases.  He was an All-Star in the game’s first three years, from 1933-1935.

He became the player-manager of the Cardinals in 1933 and managed the club to its fourth World Series title, in 1934.  He finished his playing career in 1937 and managed the Cardinals for one more season in 1938.  Frisch continued managing for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1940-1946 and the Chicago Cubs from 1949-1951.

Frisch followed up his playing and managing career with a stint in broadcasting, first as a color commentator on Boston radio.  From 1959-1961, he was a member of the backup crew for the Game of the Week on CBS.

He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 on the fifth ballot, with a vote of 84.47%.  Frisch became a member of the HOF Veterans Committee and later its chairman.  During this time, a number of Frisch’s ex-teammates were elected to the Hall, something which has been widely criticized by the baseball media.

Frisch died on March 12, 1973, in Wilmington Delaware, of injuries suffered in a car accident a month earlier.  He was 74 years old.  Ironically the accident occurred as he was returning from a meeting of the Veterans Committee.

As a Cooperstown honoree, Frisch was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame as part of the 2014 inaugural class.


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Cardinals Farm System in MLB’s Middle Class for Fifth Straight Year


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© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 11-17

photo: Adam Wainwright (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports)

Spring Training News and Notes

A summary of various reports coming out of St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training 2019:

  • The Cardinals have avoided naming a closer for the 2019 season, says Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com. The ninth inning could be split between Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks, depending on matchups and availability.
  • Cardinals pitching coach Mike Maddux told Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch that he expects 12 pitchers to make the opening day roster, though the team remains open to taking 13 and having one less bench player available. The number of pitchers on the roster will affect which of the non-starting position players make the team out of camp.  Several players could be on the bubble, such as Tyler 0’Neill and Yairo Munoz.  Francisco Pena, Jose Martinez and Jedd Gyorko likely have a bench spot either way.
  • Speaking of Gyorko, the addition of Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals starting eight and the move of Matt Carpenter back to third base leaves Gyorko somewhat in limbo, reports Langosch. Gyorko made 71 starts at third base last season, as Carpenter split time at first base with Jose Martinez.  Now that Carpenter will make the permanent move back to third, Gyorko will function as a utility infielder.  He will get work at all four infield spots in spring training.  In addition to Gyorko and Munoz, the Cardinals also have a new utility player, Drew Robinson, acquired in an offseason trade with the Texas Rangers, who will prioritize his spring work in the infield.  The left-handed hitting Robinson has more flexibility than Gyorko, as he can play all three outfield spots as well.
  • With Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina not at full strength yet due to offseason surgeries, neither will play the field in the early weeks of camp but will make appearances at the plate in the DH position.
  • Adam Wainwright has added a new pitch to his repertoire, a “power sinker”. The right hander learned the pitch from friend, and former Braves farmhand Charlie Morton.  Morton was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason, and Wainwright called him for some pitching advice.  Wainwright debuted the pitch in his practice session on Saturday.
  • Mike Mayers will be throwing a curve as well as a sinker this spring. Mayers threw the curveball in a game at Wrigley Field on the last day of the regular season in 2018.  Adding the curve and the sinker takes Mayers from two pitches to four.  Mayers, who is out of minor league options, will be vying for a bullpen spot on the opening day roster.

Wainwright invokes the “S” word

Anyone who has been paying any attention at all to baseball’s offseason knows that labor controversy has been stirred up over the slow moving and low spending market for free agents.  Not only have the two biggest names in the free agent class not yet signed with a team, but a significant number of lesser names (estimated somewhere between 50-100) have also not found jobs.

This turn of events has caused some major league players to speak out publicly.  Included in the list of outspoken players is the Cardinals’ own Adam Wainwright.  In an interview with Tim McKernan of The Morning After on Radio’s 590 The Fan on Friday, Wainwright said in answering a question on this issue, “Unless something changes, there is going to be a strike, 100 percent”.  He further expressed the worry of a walkout mid-season.

The entire interview can be heard here.

On Saturday, Wainwright took to Twitter to clarify his comments.  In a 14-tweet thread that begins here, Wainwright explains that no player wants a strike but they all protect each other, and he sees players as entertainers, no different that actors or singers.

Wainwright’s twitter comments were retweeted and commented on by many.  Nationals closer Sean Doolittle was among those who did, posting screenshots of the entire tweet thread.

On Sunday, none other than MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred commented obliquely and without reference to Wainwright specifically about the current state of baseball labor relations.  Here is the quote in its entirety.

“I do believe it is unfortunate, it reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how you conduct good labor relations to have people running around three years before an agreement expires, before there has been one word of negotiation, arguing that there’s going to be a strike.   I missed that, you know, I actually have a degree in labor relations; we never learned that tactic.  It really is not productive in terms of our business.  I don’t think it’s good for our fans, I don’t think it’s good for the players.  And I know it’s not going to change the outcome of the negotiation.”

Manfred also expressed dismay at the “negativity” around the game this spring and stated the belief that the conversation will improve by playing the game and “getting the glow back”.

I am sure many are looking forward to playing the game, glow or no glow.  Spring training games start in a week, and the regular season begins on March 28.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Outfielder Marcell Ozuna (right shoulder surgery) will be on a limited throwing program during spring training but is expected to be ready by opening day, according to manager Mike Shildt.

Both Ozuna and catcher Yadier Molina, recovering from offseason knee surgery, will serve as designated hitters during the early weeks of spring training.

The cast has been removed from the hand of Justin Williams, but the 40-man roster outfielder will not play in any games this spring and probably open the season in extended spring training, according to Shildt.


Looking Ahead

Spring Training has begun as pitchers, catchers, and position players have all reported to camp.  The first spring training game is this coming Saturday, February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here. TCN’s consolidated Cardinals spring radio and television schedule follows.

Cardinals Announce 2019 Spring Training TV and Radio Schedule

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season begins on March 28 with the Cardinals in Milwaukee.  The first series is a four game set against the Brewers, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates on April 1 and 3.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past remembers one of two Cardinals who were the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame the year after it opened.  The second will be covered in a later article.

John McGraw

John McGraw was both a player and a manager, but his connection to the Cardinals was only as a player.  His induction to the Hall of Fame was based on his managerial career with two teams, the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Giants.

McGraw was born on April 7, 1873 in Truxton, NY.  He began playing baseball for his town team, the Truxton Grays, and made a favorable impression on is manager, Albert Kenney.  It was this relationship that began his professional baseball career.  In 1890 Kenney bought into a new professional baseball franchise in Olean, NY.  This team played in the New York-Penn League.  McGraw begged his former coach to let him play on the team and Kenney decided to give him a chance.  McGraw signed his first pro baseball contract on April 1, 1890.  McGraw’s time on the team was brief, as his play was so bad in his first few games that he was released.

McGraw went on to play for other teams in New York, Gainesville, FL and finally in Cedar Rapids, IA.  It was with the Cedar Rapids team that he found his opportunity for the majors.  In an exhibition game against the Chicago White Stockings, McGraw impressed the Chicago manager, Cap Anson.  This led to his first call to the major leagues, to the Baltimore Orioles in August of 1891.

McGraw remained with the Orioles through 1899. He was predominantly a third baseman.  He hit .320 or higher every year from 1893 on and scored 100 runs in five seasons.

McGraw moved on to the Cardinals in 1900.  He played only one season before returning to the Orioles.  During his St. Louis season, he led the league in on base percentage at .505.  McGraw slashed .344/.505/.416.

Known for a quick temper and for bending the rules, McGraw was a small man at 5 foot 7 inches and weighing only 155 pounds.  He was nicknamed “Little Napoleon”.

Even though he had much success as a player, he was better known for his managing career.  McGraw won 2,763 games as manager of the Orioles and the New York Giants, second behind only Connie Mack.  He still holds the National League win record of 2,669 games.  McGraw also held the record for most ejections by a manager at 132, until Bobby Cox broke the record in 2007.

In his 33-year managerial career, his teams won 10 NL pennants and three World Series titles.  McGraw retired from baseball in 1932.

McGraw died of uremic poisoning on February 25, 1934.  After his death, his wife found a list in his belongings of all the black players he wanted to sign over the years.

McGraw was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.  A monument to him stands in his hometown of Truxton, NY.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Breaking Down the Cardinals Relief Pitching Decisions


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© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 4-10

photo: Billy Southworth and Stan Musial, Spring Training 1942

24 non-roster players invited to spring camp

Spring Training for the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals officially begins on Tuesday, February 12, when pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter, Florida.  The spring season will open with 64 players in big league camp, including 24 not on the 40-man roster.  This group of players, called “NRIs”, or non-roster invitees, is made up of 11 pitchers, eight catchers, three infielders, and two outfielders.

The 11 pitchers are RHPs Chris Beck, Seth Elledge, Mike Hauschild, Connor Jones, Ryan Meisinger, Andrew Morales, Williams Perez, and Jake Woodford.  There are three lefties in the group – Hunter Cervenka, Evan Kruczynski, and Tommy Layne.

Catchers are Francisco Pena, likely to make the 25-man roster as Molina’s backup, Andrew Knizner, Jeremy Martinez, Brian O’Keefe, Dennis Ortega, Jose Godoy, Joe Hudson, and Julio Rodriguez.

Rounding out the group are infielders Tommy Edman, Rangel Ravelo, and Max Schrock, as well as outfielders Dylan Carlson and Randy Arozarena.

11 of the players, Knizner, Arozarena, Edman, Schrock, Carlson, Woodford, Kruczynski, Elledge, Jones, Ortega and Rodriguez are on The Cardinal Nation’s top 50 prospect list for 2019.

50 Days, 50 Nights, 50 Cardinals Prospects – 2019

Beck, Meisinger, Hauschild, Cervenka, Hudson, and Perez are new to the organization.  Meisinger was a waiver pickup from the Orioles who was outrighted off the roster in December, and the remainder are recently signed minor league free agents.

In addition, throughout spring camp, players from minor league camp are brought over to make appearances in games along with the roster and NRI players.

More details on the non-roster invitees here:

Early Report of 2019 Cardinals Non-Roster Spring Camp Invitees

The first spring game will take place on February 23 against the Miami Marlins, who share the Jupiter facility with the Cardinals, and will be the first of 15 Grapefruit League contests to be televised by FOX Sports Midwest.

The full spring television schedule can be viewed here.

Cardinals Announce 2019 Spring Training TV and Radio Schedule

Update

And the full set of spring training uniform number assignments can be viewed here:

2019 Cardinals Spring Training Number Assignments


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Injury Report

Derrick Goold provided an update on Marcell Ozuna’s recovery from shoulder surgery. The outfielder reflected on the numbness he felt last season and how he is now being re-taught how to throw.

Goold also noted that catcher Yadier Molina went through a series of agility drills as he continues his return from knee surgery. At Winter Warm-Up, Molina said it could be several weeks before he starts catching bullpens, and he doesn’t expect to appear in games until midway through March. He hit on the field this past week, and has accelerated his running leading up to camp.


Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12.  The first workout for pitchers and catchers is the next day, February 13.  Position players report on February 17 and the first workout is then next day, February 18.  The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here.

(St. Louis Cardinals)

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is March 28 as the Cardinals are on the road in Milwaukee.  The first series is a four game set, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series will take place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment continues with a Hall of Fame focus, as a former Cardinals manager in the Hall of Fame is remembered.

Billy Southworth

Billy Southworth was the 42nd manager of the franchise.  Born on March 9, 1893 in Harvard, Nebraska, and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Southworth had four older brothers who also played baseball.  Southworth’s father wanted him to go to college, but against his father’s wishes Billy signed a contract with a team in the Ohio State League at the age of 19.  Southworth played one game with the Cleveland Indians in 1913 as a defensive replacement.  He returned to the Indians in 1915 and played in 60 games.

Southworth joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1918 and played there through 1920.  Two seasons with the Boston Braves and two more seasons with the New York Giants followed. Southworth was traded to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1926 season.  A rib injury in 1927 limited his playing time and it was at that point that the Cardinals decided to switch his role to that of manager, and he managed the Cardinals top minor league team in Rochester, IL in 1928.  That team won the championship that year and the Cardinals promoted Southworth to manage St. Louis in 1929.  The team did not play well under Southworth and he was sent back to Rochester in July.

Southworth’s personal life during these years and beyond was beset by tragedy.  His wife gave birth to stillborn twins in May 1928, and later in that year his son, Billy Jr, was shot by a neighbor, but recovered from his wounds.  His wife passed away in the early 1930s, on her 42nd birthday. His son Billy, a World War II bomber pilot, was killed in a training mission in 1945.

Southworth struggled with alcoholism after the death of his wife and quit coaching in 1933.  After two years battling his demons, he recovered and returned to coaching in the Cardinals minor league system in 1935. He also remarried in 1935.

Southworth was rehired to manage the Cardinals in 1940, replacing the fired Ray Blades.  Southworth was more successful in his second run as St. Louis finished in third place in 1940 and jumped to second place in 1941.

From 1942 to 1944, the Cardinals won three pennants and two World Series titles.  His last season with the Cardinals was 1945, the year his son died.  That year, the Cardinals won 95 games but finished second behind the Cubs.

Southworth moved on to manage the Boston Braves from 1946-1949.  Southworth had relapsed back into alcoholism following the death of his son, and his drinking damaged his relationship with his players.  Southworth took a leave of absence in August of 1949.  He returned for the 1950 season.  In June of 1951, Southworth resigned as manager of the Braves.  He remained with the Braves as a scout, but after a drunk driving arrest in 1955, he retired from scouting when his contract expired in 1956.

Southworth returned to Ohio to live and died of emphysema in 1969.  He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 by the Veterans Committee.  Southworth was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame as part of the 2014 inaugural class.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinal Minor Leaguer Arauz Stars in Caribbean Series Final


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Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.


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© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 28-February 3

photo: Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash, 1946

Six players on Cardinals’ 2019 Hall of Fame ballot

The ballot for the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame was announced last week and six former Cardinals from the Modern Era will be up for consideration by fan vote beginning March 1.

Four of the six appeared on last year’s ballot.  They are Keith Hernandez, Scott Rolen, Jason Isringhausen, and John Tudor.  The two newest nominees are Edgar Renteria and Matt Morris.

The nominees were selected by the Red Ribbon Committee, which consists of media members and former Cardinals managers.  Fans will choose two of the six players on the ballot to be inducted during a ceremony August 24.  The fan vote will run from March 1 through April 12.

In addition to the fan vote, the Red Ribbon Committee will choose a veteran player, someone who has been retired for at least 40 years, to be inducted into the Hall.  Ownership may also select an inductee at their discretion, potentially coaches, broadcasters, or front office employees.

The winners of the fan vote will be announced prior to the start of the Cardinals’ April 26 game.

More details can be found here.

Cardinals 2019 Hall of Fame Fan Ballot Set


Spring Training broadcast schedule announced

The Cardinals 2019 spring training broadcast schedule has been revealed and fans will be able to either watch or listen to 29 of 31 Cardinal spring training games.

Fox Sports Midwest will televise 15 spring games, beginning with the first game against the Miami Marlins on February 23.  Nine of the fifteen games will be Saturday or Sunday games, and one Friday evening game against the Astros will also be televised.

In addition to the games shown on Fox Sports Midwest, 19 games will be broadcast on KMOX radio. Cardnal broadcasters John Rooney, Mike Shannon, Mike Claiborne, and Ricky Horton will be on the radio for these games.

Ten more games will stream on Cardinals.com as well as the MLB At Bat app.  Claiborne, Kyle McClellan, Chris Hrabe, and Tom Ackerman will be on hand for those games.  The final spring game against the Memphis Redbirds will also be streamed.

At least three other Grapefruit League games will be televised by the opposing team’s network, as well.

The complete schedule for spring training broadcasts can be found here.

Cardinals Announce 2019 Spring Training TV and Radio Schedule


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Injury Report

LF Marcell Ozuna (right shoulder surgery) has been rehabbing in the Dominican Republic. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak met with Ozuna there last week and brought back a favorable report.  Mozeliak reported that Ozuna is working hard and looking strong.

Ozuna will begin a throwing program in early February and the team will monitor the outfielder’s progress throughout spring training.  It is expected Ozuna will be fully ready by Opening Day.


Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12.  The first workout for pitchers and catchers is the next day, February 13.  Position players report on February 17 and the first workout is then next day, February 18.  The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is March 28 as the Cardinals begin on the road in Milwaukee.  The first series is a four game set, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  It will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past, Hall of Fame edition, remembers a former Cardinal who went by the nickname “Country” and played for St. Louis from 1938-1942, and again from 1946-1953.

Enos Slaughter

Enos Slaughter was born on April 26, 1916 in Roxboro, North Carolina.  The Cardinals signed Slaughter as an amateur free agent prior to the 1935 season and he began his professional baseball career playing for the Columbus Redbirds minor league affiliate in the South Atlantic League.  Slaughter made his major league debut on April 19, 1938 and played right field, a position he would maintain throughout his major league career.

Slaughter played 13 seasons in all for St. Louis, posting a Cardinal career slash line of .305/384/.463, with 146 HRs and 1148 RBI.  His Cardinal career was interrupted by World War II, in which Slaughter served.

After returning from the war in 1946, Slaughter led the National League that season with 130 RBI.  The Cardinals went to the World Series that fall, defeating the Boston Red Sox for the title.  In the seventh and final game of the series, Slaughter made his famous “Mad Dash”, scoring from first base on a hit by Harry Walker in the eighth inning.  That was the winning run.

Slaughter was controversial, as well.  It was reported that he was involved in the racial taunting of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league player.  The story was that Slaughter was involved in an attempt to get the Cardinals to refuse to play against the Brooklyn Dodgers when Robinson was on the field.  Slaughter later denied that this occurred or that he held any racial animus against Robinson.  The evidence that such a plot actually occurred is sparse.

Slaughter was depicted in the film “42”, a Robinson biopic, as having intentionally spiked Robinson in the leg at first base. Slaughter denied any intent to injure Robinson, citing his typical style of rough play.

Slaughter was traded to the New York Yankees in 1954.  He played for the Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and the Milwaukee Braves before retiring in 1959.  After retiring, Slaughter managed minor league teams.  He also coached baseball for Duke University from 1971 to 1977.

Slaughter was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.  He was also inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class of 2014.  The Cardinals retired his number 9 in 1996.

Slaughter died on August 12, 2002 of non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the age of 86.

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 21-27

photo: Larry Walker and Scott Rolen (Ford-Mobley.com)

Two ex-Cardinals gain votes for Hall of Fame

Larry Walker (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The results of the vote for the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced last week.  Votes are cast in December by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.  Four players passed the requisite 75% threshold for induction – Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina.  Former Cardinals closer Lee Smith was announced as a Today’s Era committee inductee back in December.

Though none of the four who received sufficient votes for induction were former Cardinals, two former Cardinals gained additional support beyond the level they received in the previous year.

Larry Walker appeared in 144 games for the Cardinals in 2004 and 2005, at the end of his 17-year major league career.  The Rockies traded Walker to St. Louis in August 2004.  Walker played in 44 games that season, slashing .280/.393/.560.  Walker was bothered by a herniated disc in his neck during the 2005 season, but managed to play in 100 games, slashing .289/.384/.502.

Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

Walker garnered 54.6 % of the vote on this year’s ballot, up from 34.1% last year.  Walker has only one more year of eligibility on the ballot.

Scott Rolen was traded to St. Louis in July 2002 and remained with the team through the end of the 2007 season.  Rolen finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2004, and he, along with Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds, were nicknamed “the MV3”.  Over his six years as a Cardinal, the third baseman won three Gold Gloves and was named to four All-Star teams.

In his second year of HOF eligibility, Rolen received 17.2% of the votes, up from 10.2% the year before.  Rolen has eight years of eligibility remaining.

Alex Reyes (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals prospects appear on MLB Pipeline Top 100 list

MLB Pipeline announced its Top 100 prospects list last Friday, and two Cardinals appear.

Alex Reyes made the list at the number 33 spot, the fourth straight year he was recognized.  Reyes remains eligible due to injuries that have kept him from reaching the innings threshold that would remove him from prospect status.  Reyes was the top ranked pitcher at number six on the 2017 list.

Nolan Gorman (Bret Jacomet photo)

The Cardinals first-round draft pick in 2018, Nolan Gorman, made his debut on the list at number 61.  Gorman will begin his first full season as a Cardinals prospect in 2019.  Gorman hit 17 home runs in 63 games in 2018, beginning at the rookie league affiliate in Johnson City before being promoted to Class-A Peoria toward the end of the season.

Reyes will come to spring training to be stretched out as a starter.  Whether he is ready to make the major league roster and in what role remains an open question.

Gorman is expected to begin 2019 where he ended last season, Class-A Peoria.


Teen Prospects Get Diplomas

This past weekend at the Cardinals academy in the Dominican Republic, nine players received their high school diplomas. They are the first to complete a new program developed by assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez and international director Luis Morales.

The nine new graduates are Freddy De Jesus, Diego Cordero, Gustavo Rodriguez, Alexander Samuel, Franklin Soto, Luis Montano, Roy Garcia, Joerlin De Los Santos and Darlyn Del Villar. Another 35 players are expected to go through the program.

MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch has more details here.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Yadier Molina (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

C Yadier Molina continues to recover from cleanup surgery on his left knee over the offseason.  Molina told media at the Winter Warm-Up last weekend that his knee is currently at 50% and he is squatting at 10%.  With spring training set to start in a little over two weeks, Molina will be limited in his ability to catch bullpens in the early weeks of camp.  Molina will also likely not play in any spring training games until mid-March.

Justin Williams (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

40-man roster outfielder Justin Williams will not be ready to start the season. In December, Williams suffered fractures/dislocation in his metacarpal bones in his right hand when he hit a television set.

Reliever Luke Gregerson, who again skipped Winter Warm-Up, is reportedly not “feeling perfect”, reported John Mozeliak. This puts the start of the right-hander’s second of two years with the Cardinals in jeopardy.


Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12, with their first workout the next day, February 13.  Position players report on February 17 and their first workout is the next day, February 18.  The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here. A preliminary spring television and radio schedule is here.

(St. Louis Cardinals)

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is March 28 with the Cardinals on the road in Milwaukee.  The first series of the season is a four game series against the Brewers, with the first game to start at 1:10 CT.  That game will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates beginning on April 1.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.  The second game of the series takes place on Wednesday, April 3.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with two games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.


Blast from the Past

In the second installment of the Cardinals in the Baseball Hall of Fame series, we remember former Cardinal and Hall of Famer Joe “Ducky” Medwick.

Ducky Medwick and Dizzy Dean

Medwick was born November 24, 1911 in Carteret, New Jersey, the son of Hungarian immigrants.  Medwick was an excellent athlete in multiple sports in high school, including baseball.  He originally intended to play football at the University of Notre Dame for coach Knute Rockne but chose to play professional baseball over attending college.

Medwick began his baseball career with the Scottsdale Scotties of the Middle Atlantic League in 1930.  He played the following two seasons with the Houston Buffaloes of the Texas League.

Medwick made his major league debut with the Cardinals in September 1932 at the age of 20.  Medwick played 17 years in the major leagues, playing for both the Cardinals and the Brooklyn Dodgers twice in his career.  Medwick began and ended his major league career with St. Louis.

In his first stint with the Cardinals, from 1932-1940, Medwick appeared in six All-Star Games.  His best season was 1937, in which he won both the NL MVP and the NL Triple Crown.  Medwick’s 64 doubles in 1936 remains the National League record.  He also holds the major league record for consecutive seasons with 40 or more doubles, from 1933 to 1939.

The Cardinals traded Medwick to the Brooklyn Dodgers in June 1940 for four players and $125,000.  He played for the Dodgers until July 1943, when he was claimed by the New York Giants off waivers.  Medwick remained with the Giants until he was traded to the Boston Braves in July 1945.  The Braves released him in February 1946.  The St. Louis Browns signed Medwick as a free agent in March 1946, but they released him a month later.  The Dodgers signed Medwick in June of 1946 and released him in October.  The Yankees signed him in December 1946 and released him the following April.

The Cardinals signed Medwick as a free agent in May of 1947. He was released in October then re-signed in April 1948. The Cardinals released him again in October 1948.

Medwick continued to play baseball in the minor leagues from 1949 through 1952.  He retired from baseball at the end of the 1952 season.  Medwick became a hitting coach in the Cardinals minor league system in his later years and was serving in that role at the time of his death in 1975.  He is buried in Sunset Hills, Missouri.

Medwick was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1968.  He received no votes for the seven years after his retirement.  This was attributed to a strained relationship with his teammates and the press. Because of his spot in Cooperstown, Medwick was among the 22 players inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in the inaugural class in 2014.

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 14-20

photo: Miles Mikolas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals and Miles Mikolas may work on a new contract for the right-hander and the rivalry with the Cubs was stoked over weekend. In our weekly history feature, short but memorable stint of Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander with the Cardinals is remembered.


Mikolas open to extension talks

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas told the media on Sunday that he was open to discussing an extension with the team.  The right hander is in the final year of a two-year contract he signed with the Cardinals when returning to the major leagues following a three year stint pitching in Japan.

Mikolas stated that he was willing to discuss a possible extension with the team at any time so did not preclude discussions during the regular season.  Mikolas indicated he was a pretty easygoing guy and would not be distracted by any contract negotiations during the season.  The hurler added that the fact that the Cardinals held Spring Training in his hometown of Jupiter made the situation with the Cardinals ideal.

Mikolas was a first time All Star in 2018 and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.  Mikolas posted a record of 18-4 with an ERA of 2.83.  The right hander did not lose a game on the road in 2018.

In addition to Mikolas, fellow rotation members Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright will be free agents at the end of 2019.  It is uncertain how long Wainwright will continue to pitch and is set on going year-to-year with the Cardinals.  No negotiations with Wacha appear to be on the horizon and it is likely Wacha will test the free agent market after this season is finished.  The Cardinals see Mikolas as a possible veteran anchor to a young rotation going forward.


Cubs rivalry gets early start

John Brebbia (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

While the NL Central rivals Cardinals and Cubs were both hosting fan events over the weekend, a Cub regular and a former Cub decided to take a jab at their rival city.

During the Cubs Convention, Cubs star Kris Bryant, and former Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster were parodying a late night talk show format as part of the festivities.  Dempster, acting as host, questioned guest Bryant about his recent meeting of rapper and St. Louis native Nelly at a Florida concert.  Bryant responded with comments about Nelly’s attempts to persuade Bryant’s friend free agent Bryce Harper to sign with the Cardinals.  Bryant quipped, “Who would want to play in St. Louis? It’s so boring”.  Bryant went on to comment that he didn’t like to play in St. Louis (perhaps his sub-.700 OPS in Busch Stadium has something to do with it?)

Dempster responded with similar comments about how he never wanted to be traded to St. Louis or sign as a free agent with the Cardinals.

A video of this interchange made it to the internet, as one would expect.  Meanwhile, the Cardinals were holding a similar fan event, the Winter Warm-Up, in St. Louis.  Reliever John Brebbia was asked about the comments while on a Cardinals Caravan stop in Peoria, IL.  Brebbia replied playfully to Bryant’s comments, “Cry me a river, loser”.

Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina added his two cents on Instagram, posting a screenshot of Bryant’s interview and also of Brebbia’s response.  He then added, “All stars, elite players, and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city.  There should be respect, and you should play and compete with respect. Only stupid players and losers make comments like the ones made by Bryant and Dempster.”

Molina’s teammates supported Molina, as did his manager Mike Shildt, when asked about it at the Winter Warm-Up.  Bryant may have made the comments in jest, but they weren’t found to be all that amusing to Molina or anyone else on the St. Louis side of the rivalry.

The Cardinals meet the Cubs for the first of 19 times in the regular season on May 3 at Wrigley Field.  The first home game against the Cubs is on May 31.  How will St. Louis fans greet Bryant?  Stay tuned.


Minor league staffs announced

Five new managers for minor league affiliates were announced by the Cardinals on Friday.  Only one addition was from outside the organization while the other four were internal promotions.

(Memphis Redbirds)

The Cardinals hired Memphis native Ben Johnson to lead the Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds this season.  Johnson was formerly a coach with the Durham Bulls, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Johnson replaces Stubby Clapp, who was promoted to the major league coaching staff for 2019.

Joe Kruzel was promoted to manage Double-A Springfield, Erick Almonte will lead Class-A Peoria, Jose Leon was promoted to short season-A State College, and finally, Joshua Lopez was chosen to manage the Rookie Gulf Coast League Cards.

Dann Bilardello will return to manage Class-A Advanced Palm Beach, Roberto Espinoza remains with Rookie League Johnson City, and Fray Peniche and John Matos are back with the Dominican Summer League Blue and Red teams, respectively.

Former Cardinals backup catcher Tony Cruz has been hired as a major league catching instructor.

Chris Swauger, who formerly managed at Johnson City and Peoria, has been promoted to assistant field coordinator.  Johnny Rodriguez, former Springfield manager, was shifted to minor league infield instructor.

Jose Qquendo was previously announced as moving from major league third base coach to minor league roving instructor at his own request.

More details here:

Cardinals Announce 2019 Minor League Staff Assignments


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

MLB Cardinals reporter Jenifer Langosch reports that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has stated that the Cardinals are confident in their current roster and no additional moves to add or subtract from the full 40 man roster are in the works or are contemplated at this time.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports from a Saturday chat with John Mozeliak as part of the Winter Warm-Up, that the health of two Cardinals remains uncertain.  Mozeliak stated that he will be taking a trip to the Dominican Republic, and while there, will check on the status of outfielder Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna chose to rehab from his shoulder surgery in the DR rather than at the Cardinals’ facility in Jupiter, FL, a circumstance Mozeliak stated was “not ideal”.  The Cardinals have been made aware that Ozuna has not yet begun a throwing program and Mozeliak could not be sure he has begun hitting.  The outfielder maintains he will be ready for Spring Training, which begins in less than a month.

Luke Gregerson (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Mozeliak also said that pitcher Luke Gregerson has told him he has “not felt right” during his winter throwing program.  Mozeliak expects Gregerson to be limited in Spring Training as the team attempts to ascertain whether the right-hander is healthy enough to contribute.

40-man roster outfielder Justin Williams showed up at Winter Warm-Up with  a cast on his right hand, the result of a mid-December “mistake” – a battle with a television that the TV won. The result is fractures/dislocation in metacarpal bones in his fingers. Williams, who was likely to return to the Memphis outfield, is not expected to be ready to open the season.

Though Rick Ankiel remains a free agent, the Cardinals had interest in re-signing the 39-year old to a minor league contract in his comeback as a left-handed pitcher. This was interrupted by October elbow ligament repair (not replacement) surgery. Ankiel told Rob Rains of StlSportsPage.com that he expects to be cleared to throw soon and could be ready for action as soon as June.


Looking Ahead

The final day of the Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up will be held on Monday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  On the schedule to sit for autographs on Monday are Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, and Harrison Bader, among others.  Complete coverage of the first two days of the Warm-Up can be found at TCN here and here.

There appears to be no further roster changes on the horizon for the Cardinals.  President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said this weekend that he is satisfied with the roster as it is currently constructed and anticipates no additional moves may be made.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12.  The first workout for pitchers and catchers is the next day, February 13.  Position players report on February 17 and the first workout is then next day, February 18.  The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here.


Blast from the Past

The annual inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame are set to be announced by Major League Baseball on Tuesday, January 22.  As a tribute to that esteemed annual event, the history segments for the next several weeks will celebrate those former Cardinals who have been honored as members in Cooperstown over the years.

Grover Cleveland Alexander

The first members were chosen in 1936, though the physical museum did not open until 1939. The first former Cardinals to be inducted were John McGraw and Cy Young, who were inducted in 1937.  McGraw was inducted as a manager.  Those two will be remembered in later segments, but this week’s Blast from the Past remembers Grover Cleveland Alexander, who was voted in by the BBWAA in 1938 with 212 votes out of 262 ballots.

Alexander was born in Elba, Nebraska on February 26, 1887.  Alexander was named after the US President at the time of his birth, Grover Cleveland, and he was one of 13 children.  Alexander signed his first professional baseball contract at the age of 20 for $50 a month.  He was a pitcher and played for the Galesburg Boosters and the Syracuse Stars before being sold to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1911.  He was paid $750 a month. Alexander played for the Phillies from 1911-1917.  He also went by the nickname Pete, or “Ole Pete”.

In 1917 the Phillies traded Alexander to the Chicago Cubs.  Alexander was drafted in World War I and spent most of the 1918 season in France.  While serving Alexander was exposed to mustard gas, and a nearby exploding shell caused hearing loss.  Alexander returned from the war with what was called shell shock, now referred to as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  He also suffered from epilepsy.  As a result of his trauma from the war, Alexander began drinking heavily, and his drinking problems plagued him until his death.

Nevertheless, in spite of his drinking, Alexander pitched successfully for the Cubs from 1918- 1926.  The drinking eventually took its toll, however, resulting in the Cubs selling him to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1926 season.

Grover Cleveland Alexander

The Cardinals won the National League pennant in 1926, then faced the New York Yankees in the World Series.  Alexander pitched Games 2 and 6, winning both.  After the win in Game 6, Alexander drank heavily that night.  Though he did not start Game 7 the next day, Alexander was called upon to enter in the seventh inning after Jesse Haines developed a blister.  The Cardinals were winning 3-2 and Alexander managed to hold off the Yankees for two innings to preserve the win and give the Cardinals the World Series victory.  The final out was made when Babe Ruth was caught stealing second base.

Alexander had one 20-win season for the Cardinals, in 1927.  The drinking continued, and he was traded to the Phillies in December 1929.  Alexander played in nine games for the Phillies before leaving major league baseball for good.

In his four seasons with the Cardinals, Alexander posted a record of 55-34 with an ERA of 3.08.  At the time of his induction to the HOF, players did not have insignias on their caps indicating what team they represented.  Given that Alexander played more years with the Phillies and the Cubs and had his best seasons with those teams, he likely would not have entered the hall as a Cardinal.

Alexander died on November 4, 1950, at the age of 63, less than a month after attending Game 3 of the World Series, in which his former Phillies lost to the Yankees.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 7-13

photo: Chris Duncan and Rick Ankiel (Scott Rovak/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals avoid arbitration with trio

As the January 11 deadline for submitting salary figures in arbitration came and went, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they had come to agreements with the three remaining eligible players on their roster.  LHP reliever Chasen Shreve had signed his contract back in December.

Outfielder Marcell Ozuna and the club settled on a one-year salary of $12.25 million.  This is a raise from the $9 million he was paid in 2018.  The 2019 season is Ozuna’s final arbitration year and he will become a free agent at the end of the season.  The outfielder, who the Cardinals received in a trade with the Miami Marlins in the 2017-2018 off-season, slashed .280/.325/.433 in 148 games in 2018.  This was down from the .312/.376/.548 he hit for the Marlins in 2017.  Ozuna underwent a cleanup procedure on his shoulder during this winter and is expected to be fully healthy for the start of Spring Training.

Michael Wacha agreed to a salary of $6.35 million, up from the $5.3 million he received in 2018.  Wacha was shut down in June due to an oblique strain and did not pitch for the remainder of the season.  Wacha is also in his final year of arbitration and will become a free agent this coming fall.

Dominic Leone came to the Cardinals in the trade of Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays one year ago.  Leone missed a substantial amount of the season, from May 5 to August 26, due to a nerve issue in his pitching arm.  Leone agreed to a one-year salary in the amount of $1.26 million, up slightly from $1.085 million in 2018.  Leone is in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.


Jaime Garcia announces retirement

Jaime Garcia announced his retirement from Major League Baseball in a press conference in Mexico last week.  Garcia pitched in the Cardinals starting rotation from 2008 through 2016.  Garcia made only one start in 2008 and was out the entire 2009 season with Tommy John surgery.

The left-hander was born in Mexico but went to high school in Texas, thus making him eligible for the regular June draft.  He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 22nd round in 2005.  Garcia made 28 starts in 2010 and was a significant contributor to the Cardinals 2011 World Championship season.  He made 30 starts in the regular season, one game in the NLDS and two games in each of the NLCS and World Series.

Garcia suffered multiple injuries throughout the remainder of his Cardinals career, mostly with shoulder injuries.  He had multiple surgeries, including one for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.  Garcia made 20 starts in 2012 and 2015 but missed most of 2013 and 2014 with injury.  Garcia last pitched for the Cardinals in 2016, making 32 starts.

Garcia was traded to the Atlanta Braves after the 2016 season for three players, including current Cardinals pitcher John Gant.  The Braves dealt him to Minnesota midseason in 2017, then he was traded again a week later to the Yankees.  Garcia signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays in February 2018 and was released by Toronto at the end of August.  He was signed a couple of days later by the Cubs and made eight appearances for them, including one start.  Garcia was a free agent again at the end of the season.  He played winter ball in the Mexican League before announcing his retirement.

Garcia’s career record with the Cardinals was 62-45 with an ERA of 3.57.  He finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting in 2010.


Chris Duncan takes leave of absence from radio job

Chris Duncan, former outfielder for the Cardinals and son of former Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, has taken a permanent leave of absence from his St. Louis radio show to fight a recurrence of his brain cancer.

Duncan, 37, played for the Cardinals from 2005 to 2009.  He made 1317 plate appearances in 389 games, with a career slash line of .257/.348/.458.  Duncan was a first round pick of the Cardinals in the 1999 June draft.

Duncan was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in 2012, a year after his mother’s diagnosis with the same tumor.  She passed away in June 2013 at the age of 64.  Duncan underwent surgery to remove the tumor shortly after his 2012 diagnosis and then returned to his radio job at WXOS (101.1 FM). He co-hosted an afternoon show called “The Turn” with Anthony Stalter, who made the announcement of the leave on the show last week.

Duncan’s tumor returned last fall and he is currently undergoing treatment in Arizona, where he relocated in the fall to be nearer to his father and brother Shelley Duncan.  The tumor has affected Duncan’s speech and has caused seizures.

The Cardinals followed the announcement with a tweet of support for Duncan, as did Duncan’s former manager Tony La Russa.


Other ex-Cardinals on the move

In news regarding other ex-Cardinals, David Eckstein joined the Pirates as a special assistant and free agent outfielder Jon Jay signed with the White Sox, bumping another former Cardinal, Charlie Tilson, off Chicago’s 40-man roster.


Cardinals take part in Rookie Development Program

Three pitchers and one position player from the Cardinals system will take part in the 28th annual Rookie Career Development program in Miami this week.  The four players are RHP Giovanny Gallegos, LHP Genesis Cabrera, LHP Austin Gomber, and OF Justin Williams.

The program is a joint effort between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association which began in 1992.  This is the first year the program will be held in Miami, as its previous location was in Washington, D.C.

The program is designed to help rookie players manage aspects of their future major league careers.  Included are sessions on how to handle the media, how to handle issues in the clubhouse, financial planning advice, inclusion and drugs in baseball.

Players from all 30 MLB organizations are invited to participate.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that at least one executive from a rival club feels the Cardinals are becoming less likely to trade Jose Martinez.  Rosenthal writes the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt allows the Cardinals more flexibility to use Martinez in multiple roles that don’t include playing at first base where his defense is below average.  A summary of this item can be found at MLB Trade Rumors here.


Transactions  

  • 1/4/19 The Cardinals sent RHP Ryan Meisinger outright to the Memphis Redbirds

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

As noted above, the Cardinals came to agreements with all of their arbitration eligible players so there will be no arbitration hearings in February.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.

The annual Cardinals Caravan takes place the weekend of the Winter Warm-Up.  The Caravan will traverse six states from January 18-21.  The schedule for the Caravan can be found here.

The annual St. Louis BBWAA dinner will be held on January 20 at the Curio Hotel, Union Station downtown.  Former Cardinals broadcaster Bob Costas and former Cardinals pitcher and new Hall of Famer Lee Smith will be honored.

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 12.  The first workout for pitchers and catchers is the next day, February 13.  Position players report on February 17 and their first workout is then next day, February 18.  The first spring training game is February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.  The Spring Training Schedule can be found here.


Blast from the Past

In a week in which one former Cardinal announced his retirement and another is fighting a courageous battle with cancer, this week’s history segment discusses a former Cardinal who fought a battle of a different sort.

Rick Ankiel (Getty Images)

Rick Ankiel was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 1997 June draft as a high schooler.  Ankiel was seen as something of a phenom, a left handed pitcher with terrific stuff.  Ankiel received a $2.5 million dollar signing bonus, the fifth highest ever given to an amateur player at that time.  In 1998 he was voted the best pitching prospect in both the Midwest and Carolina Leagues, was the Carolina League’s All-Star starting pitcher and was the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year.

Ankiel made his major league debut on August 23, 1999 in Montreal.  He pitched his first full major league season at the age of 20 in 2000, posting a record of 11-7 with an ERA of 3.50.  He struck out 194 batters that season.

The Cardinals were the NL Central Division winners in 2000.  Manager Tony La Russa decided to start Ankiel in Game 1 of the NLDS.  The game began well, Ankiel did not allow a run in the first two innings.  In the third inning, however, Ankiel allowed four runs on two hits and four walks.  More distressing were the five wild pitches he threw before he was removed with two outs in the inning.  The Cardinals were able to win the game in the end.

Ankiel didn’t start again until Game 2 of the NLCS against the New York Mets.  Ankiel threw 20 pitches in the first inning, five of which went past catcher Eli Marrero.  One sailed over the head of Mets hitter Timo Perez.  Ankiel was removed in the first inning.  He appeared next in the seventh inning of Game 5 and threw two more wild pitches while facing four hitters.  The Cardinals lost the NLCS 4-1 to the Mets.

Tony La Russa later said his decision to start Ankiel in Game 1 was a decision that haunted him more than any other decision he ever made.

Ankiel returned to the majors in 2001 but his control problems continued, and he was sent to Triple-A, then demoted all the way to the Rookie Appalachian League as the control issues worsened.  Ankiel did double duty in the minors as a pitcher and a designated hitter.  The left hander didn’t pitch in 2002 due to elbow issues and had Tommy John surgery in 2003.  He had a brief return to the majors in 2004, making only five relief appearances.  Ankiel was convinced by then-GM Walt Jocketty in March of 2005 to switch to the outfield.

Ankiel injured his left knee before the start of the 2006 season and had season ending surgery in May.  In 2007 he started the season in Triple-A.  Ankiel was called up to the big league club on August 9. 2007.  He played right field and in the seventh inning, hit a three-run home run to right field to lead the Cardinals to victory over the San Diego Padres.

Ankiel continued to play the outfield for the Cardinals through the 2009 season. (In the main photo above, Duncan gets the ball in after Ankiel was injured a collision with the wall in June 2009.) He became a free agent in November and signed with the Kansas City Royals.  He was traded mid-season to the Braves and became a free agent again at the end of the season.  He signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals for the 2011 season.  He re-signed with the Nationals for 2012 but was released in July.  He then signed with the Astros for 2013 but was released in May, then signed with the Mets.  He was let go again in June 2013.  Ankiel announced his retirement in March 2014.

The story of Rick Ankiel, pitcher, is not yet over, however.  After spending some time as a life skills coordinator for the Nationals, writing his memoirs entitled “The Phenomenon: Pressure, The Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life”, published in 2017, and doing some broadcasting for FOX Sports Midwest, Ankiel announced he is going to try his hand at pitching again.

His comeback has been delayed by elbow issues, and he had a ligament reattachment surgery in October 2018.  The surgery is an alternative to Tommy John.  The Cardinals have announced they have a minor league contract offer waiting for the 39-year old after he recovers from the surgery, which may be as soon as mid-season 2019.

Stay tuned.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 24-30

photo: Francisco Peña, Mike Maddux, Adam Wainwright (Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a quiet addition with the return of free agent catcher Francisco Peña. In our weekly history feature, the tumultuous two-year tenure of general manager Frank “Trader” Lane is remembered.


Cardinals sign reserve catcher Peña

Francisco Pena (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a minor league deal with Francisco Peña to compete for the job of backing up catcher Yadier Molina, a position he also held in 2018.  Peña, 29, won’t be immediately added to the 40-man roster, with that likely occurring at the end of spring training.

Peña made a career high 142 plate appearances for the Cardinals in 2018, which included time he spent as the starting catcher while Molina recovered from surgery from a groin injury.  Peña slashed just .203/.239/.271 last season.

With the recent trade of catching prospect Carson Kelly to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the heir apparent to Molina appears to be Andrew Knizner.  The prospect has just 61 plate appearances at the Triple-A level, so the likelihood that Peña will face any stiff competition from Knizner for the backup position seems slim.

The Cardinals could, however, make additional catching acquisitions during the offseason, so Peña’s position as Molina’s backup is not assured.  The minor league deal Peña signed gives the Cardinals the flexibility to wait to add Peña to the roster should other options make themselves available prior to spring training.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros are “involved” in discussions for a possible trade for Cardinals OF/1B Jose Martinez.  These three teams are reportedly interested in both Martinez and Edwin Encarnacion of the Mariners.


Transactions

12/28 The Cardinals signed C Francisco Peña to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.


Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

In the wake of the signing of catcher Peña, the Cardinals are closer to obtaining the necessary pieces for the 2019 roster. It has been reported that the team continues to be in the market for an additional left handed bench bat to complement a mostly right-handed roster.  The Cardinals also continue to monitor the market for any additional opportunities, especially in relief pitching.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information.  The Cardinals have three such players on the roster – Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone.  Both Wacha and Ozuna are in their final year of arbitration and thus will become free agents after the 2019 season.  Leone is a first year arbitration eligible player.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.

That weekend also includes the Cardinals Caravan, which brings the players to the fans. Stops are numerous in Missouri and Illinois, with others in Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee.

The annual St. Louis BBWAA Dinner will be held on January 20 at the Curio Hotel, Union Station downtown.  Former Cardinals broadcaster Bob Costas, and new Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith will be honorees at the dinner.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past focuses not on a particular trade or acquisition, but a figure from the Cardinals past who made a name for himself making trades for five different teams in a career spanning several decades.

Frank “Trader” Lane

Frank C. Lane was born February 1, 1896, in Cincinnati Ohio.  Lane briefly played professional football and tried his hand at baseball but was unsuccessful.  He worked as a football and basketball referee and was hired in 1933 as the traveling secretary for the Cincinnati Reds.  Lane spent one season as the general manager of the Reds minor league affiliate in Durham, North Carolina before becoming the assistant general manager for the Reds in 1936.

Lane served four years in the Navy during World War II, after which he spent two years as president of the minor league American Association.  Lane resigned that post in 1948 to take his first general manager job with the Chicago White Sox.

Over the span of his career as a baseball executive, Lane became well known as a compulsive trader.  In his seven years in Chicago alone, Lane made 241 trades.  He is believed to have made somewhere between 400 and 700 trades across jobs with five major league teams, including the Cardinals.

Lane left the White Sox in 1955, and was hired by the Cardinals.  Lane was St. Louis’ GM for two seasons, 1956-57.  His first move was not a trade, however, but a uniform change.  Lane banished the birds on the bat logo, a move that was so unpopular that the logo returned the next season.

In May of 1956, Lane traded the 1955 NL Rookie of the Year winner, Bill Virdon, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bobby Del Greco and Dick Littlefield.  Virdon went on to be an elite defensive centerfielder for the next ten years, while Del Greco and Littlefield did virtually nothing.  Del Greco couldn’t hit at all, and later in life Lane admitted the Virdon trade was the worst trade he ever made.

In the first two weeks of May, Lane traded 17 players in six deals.  Then in June, Lane attempted, but did not succeed in, a trade of Stan Musial to the Phillies for pitcher Robin Roberts.  Thankfully, owner Gussie Busch got wind of the deal and put a stop to it.  But Lane would not be deterred, and he immediately traded Red Schoendienst, Musial’s roommate, to the New York Giants.  This successful trade was almost as bad and made Busch so furious he ordered Lane to make no further trades without his approval.

Lane did make some good trades for the Cardinals.  In the 1956 offseason, Lane dealt pitchers Tom Poholsky and Jackie Collum to the Cubs for RHP Sam Jones. Jones had two successful seasons with the Cardinals before being traded to San Francisco for Bill White.  Another offseason deal sent Rip Ripulski and Bobby Morgan to the Phillies for OF Del Ennis.  Ennis contributed 24 HRs and 105 RBI to the Cardinals’ 1957 run at the pennant.

Lane left the Cardinals after the 1957 season and owner Gussie Busch made no attempt to persuade him to stay.  Lane’s compulsive trader ways reportedly hurt team morale.

Lane went to work for the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Athletics, and the Milwaukee Brewers.  Lane’s last executive job with Milwaukee came 10 years after a short stint In Kansas City.  At the age of 76, Lane was hired by the owner of the Brewers, Bud Selig.

Lane’s trading compulsion sprouted several nicknames for him over his career.  He was called at various times. “Frantic Frank”, “Trader Frank”, “Trader Lane”, and “The Wheeler Dealer”.

Lane died in a nursing home in Dallas, Texas in 1981 at the age of 86.  Frantic Frank was once quoted as saying “The only deals that irked me are the ones I didn’t make”.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 17-23

photo: Jason Isringhausen (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals made a big splash last week with the signing of free agent relief pitcher Andrew Miller. In our weekly history feature, another prominent free agent reliever addition is remembered, that of Jason Isringhausen 17 years ago.


Cardinals add reliever Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller (Orlando Hernandez/USA TODAY Sports)

The St. Louis Cardinals made no secret that they were in pursuit of left-handed relief help for the 2019 season.  This past week, the team found their man, signing free agent pitcher Andrew Miller.

Miller, 33, was the first round selection of the Detroit Tigers in the 2006 June draft.  The left hander has played for six different teams in his 13 year MLB career, beginning in Detroit followed by the Florida Marlins, the Boston Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles, the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians.  Miller’s career record is 49-48 with an ERA of 3.98.

Miller most recently pitched for Cleveland, where he was named the ALCS MVP in 2016.  Miller was named to two All-Star teams, in 2016 and 2017.  Injuries in 2018 derailed the left hander, as he spent most of that season on the DL for hamstring, knee, and shoulder issues, logging only 34 innings.  Miller’s medical history was reviewed by the Cardinal medical staff and the verdict is that the lefty is good to go for Spring Training.

Miller’s deal with the Cardinals is for two years, $25 million, with a $12 million vesting option for a third year if he pitches 110 combined games in 2019-20. Incentives make the total maximum value of the contract to be $36 million.

Miller will be introduced to Cardinals fans at the Winter Warm-Up in January.

To make room for Miller on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals designated right-handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger for assignment.  Meisinger was a waiver pickup from the Baltimore Orioles two weeks ago.


BBWAA Dinner to honor Costas and Smith

Lee Smith (Getty Images)

The 61st annual St. Louis Baseball Writers Dinner will be held on January 20, 2019 at the Curio Hotel at Union Station downtown.  The event coincides with the Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up held that weekend.

Scheduled to attend and be honored at the annual dinner are former Cardinals broadcaster Bob Costas, and former St. Louis pitcher Lee Smith.  Costas was last year’s Ford C. Frick award winner, baseball’s top broadcasting honor, and Smith will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY in July 2019.  Smith was chosen for induction by the Hall’s Today’s Game Era Committee this month.

Costas will receive the Red Schoendienst Medal for invaluable service to the game of baseball in recognition of his four decades of service to sports broadcasting.

The dinner will also feature a special presentation honoring Vera Clemente, the widow of Roberto Clemente.  Mrs. Clemente will give the Roberto Clemente award to this year’s recipient, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.  Clemente will also receive recognition as this year’s co-winner, along with Rachel Robinson, wife of the late Jackie Robinson, of the Branch Rickey Award.

Among other honorees at the dinner will be current players Miles Mikolas and Matt Carpenter, who are named the J.G. Taylor Spink St. Louis Baseball Men of the Year.  Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Harrison Bader, and Yairo Munoz will be recognized for their outstanding rookie seasons with the Herman/Ostermeier award.

New Cardinal Paul Goldschmidt has been invited to receive his 2018 Silver Slugger Award at the dinner.

Tickets for the event are on sale at StLouisBBWAA.com and range in price from $150-$250.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The signing of reliever Andrew Miller this past week does not preclude further additions to the bullpen writes Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.  Goold states that the signing of Miller allows the team to step back from its pursuit of left-handed relievers.  Goold quotes President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak as saying the team will “reassess, see if there’s anything we want to pursue on the outside” in the New Year.

The Cardinals are also expected to add a left-handed hitting infield reserve and a catcher to serve behind Yadier Molina. The latter may be on a minor league contract initially.


Transactions   

  • 12/21 The Cardinals designated RHP Ryan Meisinger for assignment.
  • 12/21 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP Andrew Miller

Injury Report

Yadier Molina underwent a minor surgical procedure last week to remove a bone spur from his left knee.  Recovery is expected to last about two weeks, and Molina should return to a normal offseason by the first of the year.

Pitcher Alex Reyes’ recovery from shoulder surgery is on track, but the right-hander may open the season on the disabled list and ramp up his workload in the minors as he did in 2018. His ultimate role with St. Louis is to be determined.


Looking Ahead

As the offseason continues, the Cardinals continue to look for additions to the roster in the form of an additional bench bat and a backup catcher.  The Cardinals also continue to monitor the market for any opportunities that make sense for the roster.

January 11 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary expectations for 2019.  The Cardinals have three remaining arbitration-eligible players whose salaries are not yet set – Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone.  Both Wacha and Ozuna are in their final year of arbitration and thus will become free agents after the 2019 season.  Leone is a first year arbitration eligible player.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.

The annual St. Louis BBWAA Dinner will be held on January 20 at the Curio Hotel, Union Station downtown.  Former Cardinals broadcaster Bob Costas and new Hall of Fame pitcher Lee Smith will be among the honorees.


Blast from the Past

This past week, the Cardinals signed free agent LHP Andrew Miller to a multi-year contract to pitch out of the bullpen for St. Louis beginning in 2019.  This week’s Blast from the Past recalls another prominent free agent reliever acquisition by the Cardinals.

Jason Isringhausen (Getty Images)

Jason Isringhausen was signed by St. Louis as a free agent prior to the 2002 season.  The right-hander had been originally drafted by the New York Mets in the 44th round in 1991.  “Izzy” had an injury-plagued five years as a once-promising starter for the Mets, and was finally traded away mid-season 1999 to the Oakland Athletics.  As closer for Oakland, Isringhausen established himself as a top reliever, pitching in the playoffs in both 2000 and 2001 and earning his first All-Star selection in 2000.

Isringhausen became a free agent after the 2001 season and signed with St. Louis that December 11. His seven seasons with the Cardinals included two trips to the World Series, in 2004 and 2006, and an All-Star selection in 2005.  Isringhausen led the league with 47 saves in 2004, tying Lee Smith’s franchise record.  The record was broken in 2015 by Trevor Rosenthal.

Though Isringhausen contributed to getting the Cardinals to the World Series in 2006, he was sidelined with a hip injury late in the season and did not pitch in the playoffs.  He was replaced as closer by rookie Adam Wainwright.

During Isringhausen’s final season with the Cardinals in 2008, he struggled with his control and was removed from the closer role by manager Tony La Russa in May.  The right-hander was returned to the closer role at the end of July but left the team in mid-August with elbow tendinitis and a torn tendon. He departed as the franchise’s career saves leader with 217 and games finished at 332.

Isringhausen’s final years in major league baseball were marred by arm injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2009 while he was with the Tampa Bay Rays.  He signed a minor league contract in July 2010 with the Cincinnati Reds, then returned to the Mets in 2011.  He ended his career with the Los Angeles Angels in 2012, appearing in 50 games.

Isringhausen currently works as a mentor and pitching instructor in the Cardinals’ minor league system and has been among candidates on the team’s annual Hall of Fame fan ballot.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 10-16

photo: Dexter Fowler/USA TODAY Sports Images

The St. Louis Cardinals were mostly quiet at the Winter Meetings but continue to pursue left-handed roster additions. The club reaffirmed its commitment to right-fielder Dexter Fowler. In our weekly history feature, the trade of Scott Rolen is regretted.


Cardinals mostly quiet at Winter Meetings

The 2018 MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas last week ended with the St. Louis Cardinals making no major additions to the roster.  Prior to then, the Cardinals had made a significant trade, acquiring slugger Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks.  It added an impact player to an offense starved for a middle of the order bat.

Ryan Meisinger (Norfolk Tides)

While rumors swirled about the future homes of the two top free agents in the market, Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the meetings were subdued for the Redbirds.  As teams reduced their 40-man rosters in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft, many players were placed on waivers, and the Cardinals added pitching depth by claiming right handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger from the Baltimore Orioles.

Meisinger, 24, was drafted by the Orioles in the 11th round in 2015. He made his major league debut in June 2018 and made 18 appearances, posting an ERA of 6.43 in 21 innings pitched.  Meisinger struck out 21 and walked 10.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals made a trade with the Texas Rangers, sending third baseman Patrick Wisdom to the Rangers for lefty handed utility player Drew Robinson.  The 26 year old Robinson was the fourth round pick by Texas in the 2010 draft.  Robinson made his major league debut in April 2017 and played 48 games that season and 47 games in 2018 for the Rangers.  His slash line in 246 plate appearances with the Rangers was .204/.301/.366.  Robinson hit nine home runs with 22 RBI.

Both additions are depth moves for the Cardinals.  The club has indicated additional moves to come, including another left handed bench bat and one or more relievers to bolster the bullpen.  The Cardinals also continue to seek a backup catcher to replace Carson Kelly, who went to Arizona in the Goldschmidt trade.


Cardinals remain committed to Fowler

Dexter Fowler (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

As rumors swirled during last week’s Winter Meetings about the future baseball home of free agent star Bryce Harper, the Cardinals made it clear that they consider Dexter Fowler to be the starting right fielder for the 2019 season.

The 32-year old is coming off a 2018 season shortened by a foot injury that landed him on the 60 day disabled list in early August and ended his season.  Fowler had his worst year at the plate of his career in 2018, slashing .180/.278/.298.  The Cardinals are hoping for better from Fowler in 2019 as he has three years remaining on his contract and is owed $49.5 million.

The Cardinals want to give Fowler the opportunity to show he is better than his 2018 stats suggest, and have apparently remained outside the Bryce Harper fray.  The Cardinals did not meet with Harper in Las Vegas last week, and though the team says they are monitoring Harper’s market, they also say there is a high probability the 2019 position player starters are already on the roster.

The Cardinals met with Fowler at his home in Las Vegas last week, and though Fowler initially was not going to attend the Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up in January, he has reconsidered that decision and will now attend.

Whether Fowler can right his ship in 2019 remains to be seen, but the Cardinals have a reliable backup in Tyler O’Neill, and also Jose Martinez if he is not traded.  Fowler appears to have recovered from his foot injury and the club has received a favorable report about Fowler’s health from head athletic trainer Adam Olson.


Rule 5 recap

In Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft to close the Winter Meetings, St. Louis lost right-hander Chris Ellis in the Major League phase to the Texas Rangers, who then traded him to Kansas City. With a full roster, St. Louis was unable to make any selections.

In the minor league phase, the Cards lost State College pitcher Winston Nicacio and added pitcher John Fasola from Texas and infielder Alberto Triunfel from the Angels.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Drew Robinson (Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals continue to seek a lefty bench bat, despite the acquisition of left handed utility player Drew Robinson in a trade with the Texas Rangers last week.  A possible reunion with former Cardinal Daniel Descalso is on the Cardinals’ radar, according to USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale.  Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch had previously reported that the Cardinals have had discussions with Descalso’s agent.

The Cardinals are entertaining offers for 1B/OF Jose Martinez, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.  Given the addition of Paul Goldschmidt at first base, and a full contingent of outfielders on the roster, the Cardinals don’t see a fit for the defensively-challenged Martinez on the roster and are open to moving him for the right value and for a piece they need.

The Cardinals and Phillies are among the teams in pursuit of left-handed closer Zach Britton, Jon Heyman reports.

St. Louis has also inquired about acquiring lefty Will Smith from San Francisco, says Mark Saxon. It is unclear whether Smith is available, however.


Transactions

  • 12/10 The Cardinals claimed RHP Ryan Meisinger off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles
  • 12/11 The Cardinals traded 3B Patrick Wisdom to the Texas Rangers for UT Drew Robinson.
  • 12/14 2018 draftee RHP Griffin Roberts suspended 50 games for second positive test for a drug of abuse.

Injury Report

Yadier Molina underwent a minor surgical procedure last week to remove a bone spur from his left knee.  Recovery is expected to last about two weeks, and the 36-year old catcher should return to normal preparation for the season by the first of the year.


Looking Ahead

The 40-man roster remains full.  At this time, the Cardinals have indicated further moves will be made to include one or more relievers with a focus on left-handers, a backup catcher, and an additional left-handed hitting bench bat.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information.  The Cardinals have three arbitration eligible players on the roster who have not yet come to terms – Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone.  Both Wacha and Ozuna are in their final year of arbitration and thus will become free agents after the 2019 season.  Leone is a first year arbitration eligible player.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.


Blast from the Past

The Trade and Acquisition series continues with a look at the one trade that President of Baseball Operations’ John Mozeliak has said he regrets making.

Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

In an interview with Spink Award winning writer Rick Hummel in May 2014, Mozeliak said the only player he regrets trading was third baseman Scott Rolen.  Mozeliak stated that the trade weakened the team and wasn’t a great baseball decision.

Rolen came to the Cardinals the same way he left, in trade.  He began his major league career with the Philadelphia Phillies, the team that drafted him in the second round in 1993.  Rolen debuted in August 1996 and was voted the National League Rookie of the Year in 1997. He won the first of his eight Gold Gloves in 1998.  Rolen was unhappy with the Phillies and in 2002 requested a trade.  There was friction between Rolen and manager Larry Bowa and Rolen felt management wasn’t trying hard enough to win.

Rolen was traded to the Cardinals on July 29, 2002, along with Doug Nickle.  The Cardinals sent Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith to the Phillies.  Later in 2002 the Cardinals signed Rolen to an eight year deal worth $90 million.

Rolen’s six seasons with the Cardinals included four Gold Gloves and four All-Star Game appearances, and a final slash line of .286/.370/.510.  The third sacker hit 111 home runs and drove in 453. Rolen’s best season was 2004 as he, along with Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds, were nicknamed the “MV3”.

On May 10, 2005, Rolen collided with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi.  He had shoulder surgery three days later for a torn labrum and missed the rest of the 2005 season.  Rolen returned to play in 2006, hitting .292 with 22 home runs and 95 RBI as the Cardinals won the World Championship.

Rolen’s shoulder issues returned in late 2007 as he was placed on the disabled list in August and had season ending surgery on September 11.  That ended his tenure with the club. In January 2008, the Cardinals traded Rolen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Glaus.  Rolen played for 1 ½ seasons in Toronto and then was dealt in July 2009 to the Cincinnati Reds, where he concluded his career in 2012.

Late in Rolen’s time with the Cardinals, a rift developed with manager Tony La Russa.  The matter became public and the two didn’t speak to each other for periods of time.  Mozeliak admitted that the decision to trade Rolen was influenced by the situation between the two and not for strictly baseball reasons.  Mozeliak told Hummel in that 2014 interview that he felt Rolen still had a lot of baseball left, but the situation with La Russa was out of his control.

Rolen is again on the current Hall of Fame ballot, after receiving 10.2 percent of the vote in 2018. He has also appeared on the Cardinals Hall of Fame Modern Era fan ballot in recent years, but has yet to be elected.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 3-9

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

In this past week’s news, Paul Goldschmidt became a St. Louis Cardinal and former Cardinals closer Lee Smith was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In our weekly history feature, the acquisition and re-signing of Matt Holliday is remembered.


Goldschmidt Joins Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt (Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

The search for a middle of the order bat came to an end last week with the announcement that the Cardinals had acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four player swap.

Going to Arizona in the trade are pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, and minor league infielder Andy Young.  Also going to the Diamondbacks is the Cardinals’ 2019 Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.

Goldschmidt, 31, is coming to St. Louis with one year remaining on his six year/$44.5 million contract.  The Cardinals will pay the first baseman $15.5 MM for 2019 – $14.5 MM for the final year plus a $1MM trade bonus included in his contract.

The slugger put up a career slash line with Arizona of .297/.398/.532.  Goldschmidt hit 209 home runs and drove in 710 in his eight years in Arizona.  He won four Gold Gloves and made six All-Star Game appearances.

The Cardinals say goodbye to Luke Weaver, who debuted in St. Louis in 2016.  Weaver made 10 starts for the Cardinals in 2017 and posted a respectable 3.88 ERA.  Weaver struggled in 2018, making 25 starts for a record 7-11 and an ERA of 4.95.

Kelly, 24, also debuted in 2016, but has spent most of the time since getting regular playing time in Memphis.  The continued presence of Yadier Molina in the starting catching role through 2020 has kept Kelly from any meaningful role in St. Louis.

Andy Young was St. Louis’ 37th round draft pick in 2016.  The infielder spent 2018 in Palm Beach and Springfield and was one of a handful of Cardinal minor leaguers to play in the Arizona Fall League, where he distinguished himself by putting up a .936 OPS in the six week span there.

The Cardinals introduced Goldschmidt to the St. Louis media and fans at a Wednesday morning press conference.  Goldschmidt will wear uniform number 46.


Lee Smith (Getty Images)

Lee Smith to Enter Hall of Fame

Former Cardinals closer Lee Smith has been selected to join Baseball’s Hall of Fame, selected by a unanimous vote of the 16-member Today’s Game committee and announced Sunday night. Former White Sox outfielder Harold Baines was also selected, with the minimum qualifying vote of 12.

At the time of his 1997 retirement, Smith, 61, held MLB’s career saves record with 478. 160 of those saves were earned with St. Louis from 1990-1993. Smith will feature a Cubs cap logo on his Hall plaque, acknowledging his longest and most successful period (eight years) of a MLB career that lasted for 18 seasons.


Steve Turco (St. Louis Cardinals)

Turco honored by Minor League Baseball

Also honored on Sunday evening as the Winter Meetings opened was Steve Turco, the recipient of Minor League Baseball’s Mike Coolbaugh Award for outstanding work ethic, baseball know-how and prospect mentorship.

The recently-retired 62-year old was a player, scout, instructor, coach and league champion manager for the Cardinals organization going back to 1978. Turco is a two-time winner of the George Kissell Award for player development excellence.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals go into the Winter Meetings with several goals, including a left handed reliever, a backup catcher, and a left handed bench bat.  Goold reports that the Cardinals have remained engaged in talks with relievers Zach Britton and Andrew Miller.  The Cardinals also have had talks with the agent of former Cardinal Daniel Descalso to fill the role of the left-handed bench bat.  Also rumored to be in consideration is Derek Dietrich, non-tendered by the Marlins at the end of November.   Also on the Cardinals’ radar is Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.  As for backup catcher, the Cardinals have not ruled out a reunion with Francisco Pena.

Goold writes that the Cardinals are not completely out on superstar free agent Bryce Harper, but their interest would hinge on the length of the contract.  Harper is reportedly looking for a 10-year commitment, but the Cardinals would require a shorter term.


Transactions  

  • 12/5 The Cardinals acquired 1B Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for C Carson Kelly, RHP Luke Weaver, 2B Andy Young, and a Competitive Balance draft pick.

Injury Report

In the next week, Yadier Molina is expected to have minor cleanup surgery to remove a bone spur from his left knee, a procedure that is not expected to put his 2019 readiness at any risk. The 36-year old catcher recently participated an MLB goodwill tour of Japan.


Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings are now underway in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled the final morning of Thursday, December 13. The 40-man roster is at 39 after the trade with Arizona, leaving one spot available for a possible pick up in that draft.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information.  Last week’s agreement with Chasen Shreve reduces the Cardinals unsigned arbitration players to three.  Any arbitration hearings that become necessary will occur in February with Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna and Dominic Leone. Wacha and the Cardinals went to a hearing in February of 2017, the first arbitration hearing for the Cardinals since 1999.  The Cardinals prevailed in Wacha’s 2017 hearing.  Wacha and the Cardinals avoided a hearing last season.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.


Blast from the Past

The trade and acquisition series began with remembrances of both good and bad trades in Cardinals’ history.  Last week covered a notable free agent signing, that of starting pitcher Chris Carpenter.

This week’s contribution is a look at a prior Cardinals transaction that was in a sense both a trade and a free agent signing.

Matt Holliday (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals acquired outfielder Matt Holliday in a trade from the Oakland Athletics on July 24, 2009 for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson and $1.5 MM.

Holliday had been acquired by Oakland in November of 2008 in a trade with the Colorado Rockies.  Holliday was drafted by Colorado and played for the Rockies from 2004 through the 2008 season.

The mid-season trade to the Cardinals ended with a NL Central title and a trip to the postseason.  The Cardinals were swept in four games in the NLDS against the Dodgers, a series that included a notable defensive miscue by Holliday, who dropped a line drive that resulted in a 2-1 St. Louis lead becoming a 3-2 in Game 2.  Not an auspicious start for the new Cardinal.

Holliday filed for free agency on November 5, 2009.  In January, 2010, the Cardinals signed Holliday to a seven year, $120 million dollar deal.  The contract contained a no-trade clause and a $17 million dollar team option for 2017.  It was the largest deal in team history at the time.

Over those seven years, Holliday slashed a cumulative .288/.377/.486 for the Cardinals.  He hit 143 home runs and drove in 561.  Holliday made four All-Star Games and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2010.  His time with the Cardinals also included contributions to the 2011 World Series Championship.

In the offseason of 2016, the Cardinals declined Holliday’s 2017 team option and Holliday filed for free agency a second time.  He signed a one-year contract with the New York Yankees.  After not being initially signed by any club for 2018, the Rockies signed Holliday to a minor league contract in late July.  Holliday was called up on August 23 and played for the Rockies the remainder of the season. He is currently a free agent for the third time.

The seven-year contract is widely considered one of the better free agent deals the Cardinals have made.  It was a deal that really began with a trade and was extended beyond that.

Will the Cardinals have lightning strike twice with Paul Goldschmidt and sign the newly acquired Cardinal to a contract to stay in St. Louis past 2019?  Stay tuned and see if history repeats itself.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #23 – Ivan Herrera


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 26-December 2

photo: Chasen Shreve (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

In this past week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, Chasen Shreve has a contract to remain with the team for 2019, and while the MLB hot stove cooks on, there are no red-hot Cardinals rumors. In our weekly history feature, the St. Louis career of pitcher Chris Carpenter is remembered.


Cardinals reach agreement with Shreve, tender remaining arbitration players

Chasen Shreve (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinals announced prior to the non-tender deadline on Friday that they had reached an agreement to avoid arbitration with LHP Chasen Shreve.  Shreve was a late July acquisition from the Yankees, who received first baseman Luke Voit and international cap money from the Cardinals in exchange for Shreve and pitcher Giovanny Gallegos.

The financial terms of the agreement with Shreve are $900,000 salary plus incentives, per Fancred reporter Jon Heyman.  The left hander had a 3.07 ERA in 20 appearances with the Cardinals, but was underwhelming against left handed hitters, who posted a .911 OPS against him.

The Cardinals tendered contracts to their three remaining arbitration eligible players, Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone.  Both Wacha and Ozuna are in their final year of arbitration.  Wacha lost his arbitration hearing with the Cardinals in 2017 and avoided arbitration this past season by coming to terms with the team.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

A free agent whom the Cardinals reportedly pursued, third baseman Josh Donaldson, agreed to a one-year, $23 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.

Heyman tweeted on Monday that the Cardinals have free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas “on radar”.  The Cardinals have been connected to Moustakas in the past, including last season when signing him would have come with loss of a draft pick.  No such impediment exists this season.

The Cardinals continue to be linked on the trade front with Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, as are the Houston Astros and potentially other teams.  Derrick Goold writes that Goldschmidt checks many boxes for the Cardinals, including their preference to trade for a bat rather than sign one.  Goldschmidt has only one year left on his contract, so acquiring him would be short term absent an extension.  Goldschmidt bats right-handed, however, in conflict with the team’s preference for a lefty.

At this point, it is unclear the level of interest the club has in the top free agent in this year’s market, former Washington outfielder Bryce Harper.

The Memphis Redbirds managerial opening, created when Stubby Clapp was promoted to first base coach with St. Louis, will be filled by another Memphian who once played in the Cardinals system. Ben Johnson, who had been most recently been one of two Triple-A field coaches with Tampa Bay’s Durham affiliate, is the choice, according to a report from stlsportspage.com’s Rob Rains.

Members of The Cardinal Nation can read about a number of other changes pending announcement across the minor league system in this November 6 article.

2019 Cardinals Minor League Coaching Rumors


Transactions  

  • 11/26 The Cardinals sent RHP Derian Gonzalez outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/26 RHP Conner Greene was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Royals.

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

The non-tender deadline has passed.  The Cardinals reached an agreement with LHP Chasen Shreve, and tendered contracts to Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, and Dominic Leone.  Shreve seemed to be the arbitration eligible player who was most on the bubble for receiving a tender.  The 40-man roster remains full; therefore any additions due to trades or signings will require further spots being made available.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13. If the Cardinals 40-man roster remains at its capacity, the club will be unable to select any players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information. This applies to Wacha, Ozuna and Leone if they do not come to terms with the team in the interim. Any arbitration hearings that become necessary will occur in February.  Wacha and the Cardinals went to a hearing in February of 2017, the first for the Cardinals since 1999.  The Cardinals prevailed in Wacha’s 2017 hearing.  Wacha and the Cardinals avoided a hearing last season.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets are currently on sale, with autograph ticket sales opening on December 10.


Blast from the Past

In this week’s installment of the trade and acquisition series, a free agent addition rather than a trade is remembered.

Chris Carpenter

This week’s Blast from the Past focuses on the signing of Chris Carpenter by the Cardinals in December of 2002. Carpenter was the first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1993 draft.  The right handed pitcher was the first player from a cold weather state, New Hampshire, to be selected in the first round.

Carpenter made his major league debut with Toronto on May 12, 1997 against the Minnesota Twins.  At the age of 22, Carpenter struck out his first major league hitter, Paul Molitor.  Carpenter made two more appearances and was sent down to the minors.  He was recalled in July and remained on the major league roster for the rest of the season.  Carpenter’s career with Toronto was inconsistent as was his pitching; he was moved from a starter to the bullpen multiple times. The right hander was also plagued by injuries in 1999 and early in 2002.

Carpenter had surgery in September 2002 to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.  In October, Carpenter was released by the Blue Jays after he refused a minor league deal, making him a free agent.

Chris Carpenter (USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals signed Carpenter on December 13, 2002.  Carpenter was still recovering from surgery at the time of the signing, and the Cardinals anticipated he would be ready by mid-season 2003.  Unfortunately, after eight rehab starts it was discovered that he had re-torn his labrum.  A second surgery was required, and Carpenter missed the remainder of the 2003 season.  The Cardinals declined Carpenter’s $2 million dollar option for 2004, but negotiated a new contract with him for $300,000.

The new contract turned out to be a steal for the Cardinals, as Carpenter posted a record of 15-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 28 starts in 2004.  A nerve problem in his bicep ended Carpenter’s season early in September and caused him to miss the postseason.  He was voted the NL Comeback Player of the Year.

Fully recovered from the nerve problem for 2005, Carpenter posted one of the best seasons of his career, going 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 33 starts and leading the NL in complete games with seven. He received his first and only Cy Young Award that fall.

Carpenter finished third for the Cy Young in 2006 and received a five-year, $65 million contract that winter. He had a second place Cy Young finish in 2009.

Carpenter was instrumental in both the 2006 and 2011 World Series Championships.  He pitched what was arguably one of, if not the best postseason games of any pitcher in the fifth and final game of the 2011 NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies.  Carpenter was brilliant, going toe to toe with his good friend, the late Roy Halladay, in a 1-0 victory over the Phillies (pictured below). That spurred the Cardinals to an NLCS victory over the Milwaukee Brewers, and then to a World Series win against the Texas Rangers.  Carpenter ended 2011 having pitched an NL-leading 237 1/3 innings.

Chris Carpenter (USA TODAY Sports)

Carpenter’s outstanding 2011 season came with a cost, however.  Carpenter was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and attempted to rehab with a strengthening program.  The program failed, and the right-hander finally had surgery in July.  It was expected that Carpenter would miss the remainder of the 2012 season, but his recovery was speedier than anticipated and he returned to the mound in September.  Carpenter won Game 3 of the NLDS but lost both Game 2 and Game 6 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants.

Carpenter did not pitch for the Cardinals in 2013, struggling with the return of shoulder issues.  He made several minor league rehab starts in an attempt to return to the mound in May, but the shoulder discomfort returned and he was shut down.  With his two-year, $21 million contract for 2012 and 2013 complete, Carpenter retired from baseball in October.

Carpenter’s Cardinals career was marred by many injury-plagued seasons, including 2007 and 2008 with the return of nerve issues as well as Tommy John surgery, his shortened 2012 and lost 2013.  His struggles with chronic injuries throughout his otherwise outstanding career kept him from serious consideration for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, he fell off the writers’ ballot in his first year eligible, but could still be considered later as a veteran.

But Carpenter is a Hall of Famer in the hearts of Cardinals fans, confirmed by his election to the team Hall in 2016. Carpenter will always be remembered as a gamer who gave his all to baseball and paid the price.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #29 – Steven Gingery


Not yet a member?

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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 19-25

photo: Ozzie Smith and Harrison Bader (St. Louis Cardinals)

Cardinals tweak rosters for Rule 5 draft

Tuesday, November 20 was the deadline for teams to finalize their rosters in preparation for the Rule 5 draft.  This process generally includes removing players from the 40-man roster by trade or by releasing or outrighting a player to make room.  Minor league players to be protected are then added to the roster.

The Cardinals selected the contracts of four players from Memphis to protect from Rule 5 – LHP Genesis Cabrera, RHP Ryan Helsley, OF Lane Thomas, and 2B Ramon Urias.  The roster prior to these additions contained 38 players, so two players were designated for assignment to open up the additional two spots – RHPs Conner Greene and Derian Gonzalez.

Helsley is the Cardinals No. 7 prospect, according to The Cardinal Nation’s August rankings. The 21-year old missed much of his 2018 in Memphis due to shoulder and forearm issues.  Cabrera is the Cardinals No. 14 prospect who came from the Rays in the Tommy Pham trade at the end of July. Urias is the No. 44 prospect who the Cardinals signed from the Mexican League in January.  Urias played in both Springfield and Memphis in 2018.  Finally, Thomas was acquired from the Blue Jays for international pool money and is ranked No. 19 in the Cardinals system.  Thomas hit 27 home runs and drove in 88 runs across both Springfield and Memphis in 2018, both the best in the system.  The center fielder also competed in the Arizona Fall League.

Greene was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Randal Grichuk trade in January.  Greene struggled with control issues and walked 7.1 batters per nine innings in the minors.  The right hander also struggled to get batters out in the Arizona Fall League.  Gonzalez was injured for much of 2018 and after having begun at Memphis, returned to Springfield to try to make up for lost time. The two may be claimed by another organization or could clear waivers and join Memphis.

Players of note who were left unprotected include second baseman Max Schrock, who along with Yairo Muñoz joined the Cardinals in the Stephen Piscotty trade with Oakland.  Schrock is the Cardinals No. 20 prospect.  Also left unprotected were RHP Junior Fernandez (No. 32), catcher Dennis Ortega (No. 41) and outfielder Wadye Ynfante (No. 46).

There is also a minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. Brian Walton explains in detail how it works as well as which Cardinals are affected and why in the following subscriber article.

Setting the Memphis Roster is Crucial to Rule 5 Protection Strategy


Return of the powder blues

Ozzie Smith (Getty Images)

During a Monday, November 19 ceremony at Ballpark Village headlined by Ozzie Smith and Harrison Bader, the Cardinals announced a new alternate uniform design for 2019.

It is a updated version of the light blue uniforms worn in the late 70s and early 80s, known as “powder blue” to fans, but officially referred to as Victory Blue.

These blue uniforms will be worn for 13 games in 2019, all Saturday road games.  The updated version retains all the elements of the current off-white Saturday alternates but in the blue color, including the script “St. Louis” on the breast.  The uniforms will be worn with red hats.

The uniforms will debut on March 30 in Milwaukee.


Matheny joins Royals

Former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has joined the Kansas City Royals as a special advisor for player development. He was fired as St. Louis’ manager after 6 ½ years on July 14, replaced by Mike Shildt.

For further details, please refer to the article below.

Royals Hire Matheny as Special Advisor for Player Development


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals have talked to the Arizona Diamondbacks about acquiring Paul Goldschmidt, reports Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch.  The 31-year old first baseman has one year remaining on his contract.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports and MLB Network tweeted this past week that the Cardinals “maintain interest” in free agent outfielder Michael Brantley.  Goold, however, reported via Twitter that Brantley isn’t a top priority.

Morosi also repeated his report from several weeks ago that the Cardinals have interest in reliever Andrew Miller. Goold again commented that the organization has concerns about the “mileage” on the 33-year old left-hander’s arm and that they are looking into all left-handed options.


Transactions  

  • 11/20 The Cardinals designated RHP Derian Gonzalez for assignment.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals designated RHP Conner Greene for assignment.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of LHP Genesis Cabrera from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of CF Lane Thomas from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Ryan Helsley from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of 2B Ramon Urias from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

November 30 is the non-tender deadline, when teams must present 2019 contracts to all of their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players.  Any player not tendered a contract becomes a free agent.  The 40-man roster is now full, so it is possible some players will be non-tendered to make room for any offseason trades or signings.  The Cardinals have four arbitration eligible players this year.  They are Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna, Dominic Leone, and Chasen Shreve.  Of those four, Shreve is the most likely to be non-tendered.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary amounts.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets are currently on sale, with autograph ticket sales opening on December 10.


Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment continues the theme of noteworthy trades in Cardinals history.  This week’s deal is one that received mixed reviews from Cardinals fans, both at the time of the trade, and today.

Keith Hernandez and George Hendrick

Keith Hernandez is perhaps better known to younger Cardinals fans as a New York Met, both as a player and now as a broadcaster.  Hernandez, however, was first a Cardinal, having been drafted by St. Louis in the 42nd round of the 1971 draft.  The first baseman, considered one of the best fielders of all time at his position, made his major league debut on August 20, 1974 at the age of 20.

Hernandez played for 9 ½ seasons as a Cardinal, amassing an impressive resume which included an MVP award, two All-Star Game appearances, a batting title, a Silver Slugger and five Gold Gloves.  He was a significant contributor to the Cardinals World Series Championship in 1982.

One might wonder with those credentials why the first baseman was traded away.  The answer is that Hernandez developed a cocaine habit, something that did not set too well with management and with fans.  Cocaine use by baseball players of that era was not uncommon. Hernandez himself once testified that as many as 40 percent of baseball players were using in those days.

In any event, manager Whitey Herzog was determined to get rid of Hernandez because of his drug habit, a move that to some seemed hypocritical in light of the fact that teammate Darrell Porter had also had a cocaine problem, one that eventually ended his life many years later.

Hernandez was traded to the Mets in June of 1983 for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey.  Neither Allen nor Ownbey amounted to much, while Hernandez went on to win five more Gold Gloves and appear in three more All-Star games as a Met.  Hernandez also added another World Series Championship as a Met in 1986.  Hernandez has stated that he did not use drugs after the trade.

Hernandez ended his career with a forgettable season with the Cleveland Indians in 1990, after which he retired from baseball.

Hernandez is currently a broadcaster for the SNY Network that televises Mets games.  He is also a published author with four books to his credit and this past week was named a Gold Glove Hall of Famer.

Hernandez has been on the Modern Era fan ballot for the Cardinals team Hall of Fame in recent years, but has yet to finish among the top two in the voting.

Opinions on this trade vary depending on who you ask, but in the view of this author, the trade of Hernandez was a big mistake.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2019 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #37 – Alvaro Seijas


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

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© 2018 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 12-18

photo: MLB Team – Japan All-Star Series (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina and John Brebbia finished their tour of Japan. In our weekly history feature, the 1981 Ozzie Smith trade with San Diego is remembered.


Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals receive votes in player awards

Results of three major player awards were announced this past week and four St. Louis Cardinals received votes.

The National League Rookie of the Year was announced on Monday, and two Cardinals, Jack Flaherty and Harrison Bader, received votes.  Flaherty finished in fifth place and Bader was sixth.  Flaherty received two third-place votes and Bader received one third-place vote.  Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Braves was the recipient of the award

On Wednesday, the CY Young Award winners were announced.  Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas finished sixth, earning one third-place vote.  Jacob deGrom of the Mets was the winner.

On Thursday, the Most Valuable Players were announced.  Christian Yelich of the Brewers was the winner, with Javier Baez of the Cubs finishing second and Nolan Arenado of the Rockies third.  Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter finished ninth.


Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Japan All Star Series concludes

The six-game Japan All-Star Series concluded this past week with the US team dropping five games.  Two Cardinals, Yadier Molina and John Brebbia, participated.

Molina started four of the six games, three as the starting catcher and one as the DH.  Molina went 8-for-16 (.500) in the series, with one home run and five RBI.

Brebbia appeared out of the bullpen in two of the six games.  The right-hander pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up two runs on three hits.  Brebbia struck out two and walked none.


Winter Warm-Up plans announced

The dates for the Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival have been announced.  The three-day event will take place on January 19, 20, and 21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis.

Admission tickets will go on sale November 23 at 10 a.m. CT.  The tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for children and can be purchased online or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.

Paid autograph tickets go on sale December 10, online or at the Busch Stadium Box office.  Free autographs tickets will also be available on December 10. Prices will be announced later.

Details here.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no new trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.


Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.


Looking Ahead

The deadline for finalization of 40-man rosters in preparation for the Rule 5 draft is Tuesday, November 20 at 7 p.m. CT.   The Cardinals’ roster currently stands at 38, leaving room for as many as two minor league prospects to be protected by addition to the roster.  Further subtractions could occur prior to the deadline to open up roster spots for more players.

Earlier, Brian Walton shared with TCN members his view of which players may be added to the roster.

The Cardinal Nation’s 2018 Rule 5 Protection Picks

Another deadline approaching is the November 30 non-tender deadline.  This is when teams must tender contracts to all of their pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players.  Any player not tendered a contract becomes a free agent.

There are three awards left to be given on the slate of November awards.

Nov. 19 – Comeback Players of the Year

Nov. 20 – Designated Hitter of the Year (American League only)

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13.


Blast from the Past

Sixto Lezcano (Getty Images)

Last week’s history segment covered the 1980 trade of Ted Simmons to the Milwaukee Brewers.  One of the players received by the Cardinals in that trade was a part of a major trade a year later.  That subsequent trade is the subject of this week’s Blast from the Past.

One of the four players received in the Simmons deal was outfielder Sixto Lezcano.  A year later, Lezcano was dealt to the San Diego Padres along with two other players for shortstop Ozzie Smith.  This trade is unquestionably one of the best trades in franchise history.

Smith was the fourth-round draft pick by the Padres in 1977, and made his major league debut in 1978.  In 1981, Smith and his agent got into a contract dispute with the ownership of the Padres.  Meanwhile, the Cardinals, specifically manager and GM Whitey Herzog, were unhappy with their current shortstop Garry Templeton.  Templeton had a contentious relationship with Cardinals fans, culminating in Templeton twice making an obscene gesture to fans during a game and being physically removed from the field by Herzog.

Garry Templeton and Ozzie Smith (Getty Images)

During the 1981 Winter Meetings, Padres GM Jack McKeon agreed to a six-player deal with the headliners being Smith to the Cardinals and Templeton to the Padres.  Along with both shortstops, Lezcano and a player to be named later were sent to San Diego, while Smith, Steve Mura, and a player to be named later went to St. Louis.  The trade was delayed because Smith had no-trade protection in his contract and he initially was inclined to refuse the trade – but agreed to listen to Herzog’s attempts to persuade him.   Smith later said Herzog made him feel wanted in St. Louis, so he agreed to the trade.

The deal went through on December 10, 1981 and Smith became a St. Louis Cardinal.  Smith remained with the Cardinals until his retirement in 1996.  Smith became a fan favorite and appeared in the All-Star Game in 14 of his 15 seasons in St. Louis.  Smith also won 11 of his 13 Gold Gloves as a Cardinal.

Smith was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.  He was also part of the 2014 inaugural class in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  Ozzie continues to live in St. Louis post playing career and is a fixture in many local charity and other events.  Smith is a St. Louis icon thanks to the persuasion efforts of another future team Hall of Famer, Whitey Herzog.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Prospect Interview – Will Latcham


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 5-11

photo: Yadier Molina and John Brebbia (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina and John Brebbia are part of an MLB barnstorming team playing in Japan. In our weekly history feature, the 1980 Ted Simmons trade with Milwaukee is remembered.


Molina and Brebbia in Japan

An MLB All-Star team is playing a six-game series against the Japanese national team, the Samurai Japan. The series began on Thursday and is set to conclude on November 15.

John Brebbia (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

Two Cardinals are on the 29-player All-Star roster – catcher Yadier Molina and relief pitcher John Brebbia.

Molina, 36, is the oldest player on the squad. The veteran catcher distinguished himself on Sunday by hitting a three-run home run in the fifth inning of the 7-3 US victory. Molina also picked off a Japan outfielder at first base.

Molina is 7-for-11 in the series for a .636 batting average. Brebbia pitched the ninth inning in Sunday’s game and gave up two runs on three hits.

The tour began with an exhibition game on Thursday against the Yomiuri Giants of the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball League. The MLB All-Stars won the game 9-6 with Molina going 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Brebbia pitched the eighth inning and allowed one unearned run on two hits.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that the Cardinals are interested in reliever Andrew Miller and are active in the relief pitcher market. Morosi further wrote at MLB.com that the Cardinals are possible suitors for free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals are in the market for an impact bat but are thinking more infield than outfield. Such a hitter would likely play at either first base or third base. The possibility of signing free agent outfielder Bryce Harper could shift that thinking, however, according to Goold.


Transactions

There are no new player transactions to report. However, there was a coaching announcement – made by the Seattle Mariners this past Wednesday. Cardinals minor league pitching analyst Paul Davis has been named Seattle’s major league pitching coach.

Mariners Hire Cards’ Paul Davis as Pitching Coach


Rick Ankiel (Getty Images)

Injury Report

39-year old Rick Ankiel’s comeback attempt as a relief pitcher five years after retiring as an outfielder was interrupted due to elbow ligament repair surgery. The former left-handed pitching star quit the mound 14 years ago due to an inability to throw strikes, the story behind which later became the subject of his autobiography.

Ankiel, who had recently been an on-air talent for FOX Sports Midwest, had been training in Jupiter, Florida since his August comeback announcement. He is expected to sign a minor league contract with the Cardinals when ready, which now appears to be at least mid-season 2019.


Looking Ahead

The annual General Manager Meetings in Carlsbad, CA concluded last week. Next on the offseason calendar is the November 20 deadline for finalizing 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 draft in December. The Cardinal 40-man roster currently stands at 38 players, but there is the possibility that further subtractions from the roster could take place before the deadline. Any players the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft will be added to the 40 man roster before the deadline.

(For TCN members, Brian Walton identified the top Rule 5 protection candidates here: http://thecardinalnation.com/the-cardinal-nations-2018-rule-5-protection-picks/)

Next will be the non-tender deadline on November 30. Several players have already moved on via waivers or free agency. Any further subtractions from the roster are likely to occur on or before the November 20 Rule 5 deadline.

November also brings awards. The following are the remaining awards to be given and the dates the winners will be announced.

Nov. 12 – Rookie of the Year
Nov. 13 – Manager of the Year
Nov. 14 – Cy Young
Nov. 15 – MVP
Nov. 19 – Comeback Player of the Year
Nov. 20 – Designated Hitter of the Year (AL only)

Harrison Bader (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The top three vote-getters for the November 12-15 awards have been disclosed and no Cardinals will be winners.

Of awards that were announced in the last week, the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year, the Rawlings Platinum Glove and the Silver Slugger Awards, the Cardinals were shut out. However, outfielder Harrison Bader was named to the Topps Rookie All-Star Team. (All of these awards are highlighted at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum.)

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas. The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13.


Blast from the Past

Last week’s Blast from the Past featured the trade that brought Willie McGee to the Cardinals – one of the good ones. This week’s segment will cover one of the not-so-good trades.

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

While current Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina distinguishes himself in the Japan All-Star Series, this trade and acquisitions entry looks into the deal that sent another talented Cardinals catcher out of St. Louis – Ted Simmons, also known as “Simba”.

Simmons was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 1967 June draft, and made his major league debut on September 12, 1968 at the age of 19. Simmons played in only two games in 1968, and then reappeared in 1969 for a five-game stint. Simmons came back to the majors for good in 1970, playing in 82 games while platooning with starting catcher Joe Torre. After Torre moved to third base in 1971, Simmons became the starting catcher. Simmons remained the Cardinals’ full-time catcher until a feud with manager Whitey Herzog ended his time with the team.

During Simmons’ 13-year stint with St. Louis, the catcher slashed .298/.366/.459, hitting 172 home runs and driving in 929. Unlike Yadier Molina, Simmons was a better offensive catcher than a defensive one.

Whitey Herzog

The trade that sent Simmons out of St. Louis came as a result of conflict between Herzog and Simmons over Herzog’s desire to have Simmons play first base for most of the games, returning behind the plate only at the end of the game. Simmons refused to do this, and Herzog responded by trading Simmons to the Milwaukee Brewers in December of 1980. Herzog had assumed GM duties in August of 1980, turning over the managing to Red Schoendienst for the remainder of the season. (Herzog reclaimed the manager job in the offseason and did both jobs for two full seasons.)

Simmons was traded to Milwaukee along with Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich. The Cardinals received Sixto Lezcano, Lary Sorensen, Dave LaPoint, and David Green from the Brewers. Fingers and Vuckovich each won a Cy Young Award with the Brewers. Simmons had two good seasons in 1982 and 1983 with the Brewers. Simmons was traded to Atlanta in 1986 and retired from baseball in 1988. While the players the Cardinals received did contribute to the Cardinals’ 1982 World Series Championship, all were gone by 1985 when the Cardinals returned to the World Series.

The trade was bad not only because the Cardinals gave up players in Fingers and Vuckovich who went on to have great careers with other teams, but also because Simmons had been a five-time All Star with the Cardinals and was summarily tossed away because of a disagreement with the manager. Herzog was a beloved Cardinal manager, but he had his warts, and the trade of Simmons was one that many of the team’s fans took serious issue with.

The replacement catcher, Darrell Porter, had played for Herzog with Kansas City. Porter distinguished himself in the 1982 postseason, winning both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. However, he was released following the 1985 season and developed a serious substance abuse problem that ultimately led to his death from a drug overdose in 2002.

The trade was not one of Whitey’s finest moments in the minds and hearts of many Cardinals fans.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook– November 10, 2018

photo: Will Latcham, Connor Jones (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals appeared in Surprise’s Saturday AFL loss to Peoria. Andy Young singled in four at-bats. Connor Jones pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and Will Latcham added a scoreless ninth.

Results for the game played on Saturday, November 10.

Surprise Saguaros 4, Peoria Javelinas 7

Andy Young (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

One St. Louis Cardinals position player and two pitchers appeared in the Saguaros’ loss to Peoria on Saturday.

Andy Young hit ninth for Surprise. In his first at bat in the second inning, Young struck out swinging. The second baseman grounded out to third in the fourth inning, struck out swinging in the sixth, and singled to left in the eighth.

Connor Jones pitched 1 1/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing one hit and fanning two. 13 of his 22 offerings were called strikes. Will Latcham closed out the game by pitching a scoreless ninth, with one hit allowed and one strikeout. 12 of his 17 pitches went for strikes.

No other Cardinals saw action.

The Saguaros are 10-16 in the AFL West and have been eliminated from Championship contention.

Sunday’s game: No game scheduled.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 9, 2018

photo: Evan Kruczynski (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Five St. Louis Cardinals prospects played in Surprise’s Friday night loss to Peoria. Starter Evan Kruczynski tossed four scoreless innings, but Conner Greene yielded three runs in relief. Jeremy Martinez singled and doubled.

Results for the game played on Friday, November 9.

Surprise Saguaros 2 at Peoria Javelinas 4

Evan Kruczynski (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals position players and two pitchers saw action in Surprise’s Friday night contest at Peoria. Peoria was the victor by the score of 4-2.

In his first action since the Fall Stars Game on Saturday, left hander Evan Kruczynski started for Surprise. Kruczynski tossed four scoreless innings, allowing one hit, striking out three and walking two.

Conner Greene pitched in relief in the eighth, and he allowed three Peoria runs on two singles, two walks, and a double. After throwing 30 pitches and securing just two outs, Greene was removed.

Tommy Edman hit leadoff and played shortstop for the Saguaros. Edman began the game by lining out to center field. The infielder singled to center in the third inning, grounded into a force out in the sixth, and walked in his final at bat in the eighth.

Lane Thomas played center field and hit second. In the first inning, Thomas popped out to the shortstop. In the fourth, the outfielder grounded out to third. Thomas walked in the sixth, and grounded out to second in the eighth. He added an outfield assist.

Jeremy Martinez (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Jeremy Martinez caught and hit eighth. Martinez took his first at bat in the third inning, grounding out to short. The backstop led off the sixth with a single but was out at second in when Edman grounded into a force out. Martinez doubled to right field in the eighth was but was left stranded at third, then struck out looking for the last out of the game in the ninth.

The catcher was the only Saguaro with multiple hits as the rest of the team managed just six more. Surprise was shut out until a ninth-inning rally that fell two runs short.

Manager Stubby Clapp’s Saguaros are 10-15 in the AFL West and have been eliminated from Championship contention with one week to go.

Saturday’s game: vs. Peoria, Shawn Morimondo (0-1, 6.75) 2:35 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Prospect Interview – Lane Thomas


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 29-November 4

photo: Yadier Molina (Gregory Fisher/USA TODAY Sports)

The 2018 St. Louis Cardinals have one winner of the Gold Glove and Fielding Bible Awards, Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong, respectively. In our weekly history feature, the trade that brought outfielder Willie McGee to St. Louis is remembered.


Molina wins ninth Gold Glove; Wong takes Fielding Bible

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners were announced on ESPN on Sunday night. One St. Louis Cardinals “finalist” came out a winner but the other did not.

Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Yadier Molina took home his ninth Gold Glove, but first since 2015, winning at catcher over fellow top three scorers Buster Posey and Manny Pina.  The other Cardinal among the top three at his position was second baseman Kolten Wong, who had his best defensive year in 2018.  Wong had never won or even been a “finalist” for a Gold Glove until this year.  The top finisher at second base in the NL was D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies, a repeat winner from 2017.

Kolten Wong (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Wong led all second basemen in baseball with 19 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, yet lost to LeMahieu, who had 18.  The Gold Gloves are chosen primarily by a vote of managers and coaches, which accounts for 75% percent of the final score, and by a SABR defensive component which accounts for 25% of the final score.  The SABR component is an objective score based on five statistics, and in that measure, LeMahieu finished ahead of Wong by a considerable amount.  Still, in this SABR Defensive Index, the two second basemen were number one and two among all NL players at all positions.

There is some thought that reputation carries weight in the manager/coach voting, which may account for repeat winners in many of the categories.

The Cardinals second baseman, however, was the 2018 recipient of the Fielding Bible Award for second base.  The Fielding Bible is also an annual award for defensive excellence, chosen by a panel of sabermetrically-inclined baseball analysts and journalists, and it is considered by some to be a more accurate measure of defensive excellence.  The Gold Glove Awards are chosen by managers and coaches who may or may not have seen the nominees play regularly and thus may vote based on reputation rather than actual performance.  On the other hand, reputation is not a factor in choosing the Fielding Bible recipients.

This year’s Fielding Bible award for Wong was his first.  Molina has won the Fielding Bible award at catcher six times, but not in recent years. In 2018, Molina did not place in the top 10.

Coming full circle, the same coaches’ vote that may have hurt Wong powered Molina to his Gold Glove win.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post Dispatch reports the Cardinals will check in on Bryce Harper as part of what is anticipated to be a busy off-season.  The Cardinals are looking to add an impact bat, preferably left-handed, for the 2019 season.  Harper fits this bill.  Whether the Cardinals have the financial will to pay the likely hefty price tag for the free agent and possibly get into a bidding war for the outfielder, is unclear.


Transactions

  • 10/29 RHP Tyson Ross elected free agency.
  • 10/29 RHP Bud Norris elected free agency.
  • 10/29 1B Matt Adams elected free agency.
  • 10/29 P Adam Wainwright elected free agency.
  • 10/29 P Adam Wainwright signed a one-year contract with St. Louis.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Alex Reyes from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RF Dexter Fowler from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Michael Wacha from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Luke Gregerson from the 60-day disabled list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals sent C Francisco Pena outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/1 SS Greg Garcia was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.
  • 11/1 RHP Matt Bowman was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds.
  • 11/2 C Francisco Pena elected free agency.

Injury Report

LF Marcell Ozuna (right shoulder inflammation) underwent a cleanup procedure on his right shoulder on Tuesday, October 30.  Ozuna is expected to begin Spring Training in February at 100 percent.


Looking Ahead

The Hot Stove season has begun.  Free agency officially began at 4 pm CT on Friday.  Any team may now sign free agents.  The deadline for making qualifying offers has also passed and the Cardinals did not make qualifying offers to any of their three free agents.

The General Manager Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday, November 5 in Carlsbad, CA.  These meetings are a jumping off point for the offseason.

The non-tender deadline is November 30.  The Cardinals have already made subtractions from the 40-man roster in Greg Garcia and Matt Bowman, who were both been claimed off waivers, and Francisco Pena, who was outrighted off the roster and elected free agency.  Free agents Tyson Ross, Bud Norris, and Matt Adams are also now off the roster.  Required additions were made by activating Alex Reyes, Michael Wacha, Luke Gregerson, and Dexter Fowler from the 60-day disabled list.  The 40-man roster now stands at 38.

The Cardinals must add any minor league players not on the 40-man roster whom they wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft by November 20.  Additional subtractions from the 40-man roster are possible.

November brings awards.  The following are the awards to be given and the dates the winners will be announced.

Nov 5 – Executive of the Year
Nov 7 – Defensive Player of the Year
Nov 8 – Silver Sluggers
Nov 12 – Rookie of the Year
Nov 13 – Manager of the Year
Nov 14 – Cy Young
Nov 15 – Most Valuable Player
Nov 19 – Comeback Player of the Year
Nov 20 – Designated Hitter of the Year (AL only)

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-13 in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 draft is scheduled for the morning of December 13.


Blast from the Past

In the continuing series of trades and acquisitions, this week’s segment looks at a trade which brought one of the most popular Cardinals ever to St Louis.

Willie McGee, 1983

On October 21, 1981, the Cardinals acquired outfielder Willie McGee from the Yankees for pitcher Bob Sykes.  McGee was in the Yankees farm system at the time of the trade and was initially placed with the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate in Louisville.  McGee made his major league debut with the Cardinals on May 10, 1982 at the age of 23. He slashed .296/.318/.391 in his rookie season in 1982, with four home runs and 56 RBI, and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

McGee played 13 total seasons as a Cardinal, broken up by six seasons with San Francisco, Oakland, and Boston.  In his first stint with the Cardinals, from 1982 until August 1990, McGee was voted the NL MVP and won the Silver Slugger in 1985. He received three Gold Gloves and made four All Star Game appearances as a Cardinal.

McGee made a name for himself in the 1982 World Series win over the Milwaukee Brewers.  The center fielder hit two home runs in Game 3 and made a home run-robbing leap in center field.  McGee also contributed to the Cardinals’ postseason successes in 1985 and 1987.

Willie McGee (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

After manager Whitey Herzog resigned in mid-season 1990, McGee was traded to the Oakland Athletics on August 29, 1990 for Daryl Green, Felix Jose, and Stan Royer.  In December 1990, McGee signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent.  McGee became a free agent again in 1994 and signed with the Boston Red Sox in June of 1995.  He became a free agent again at the end of 1995 and in December returned to the Cardinals for his second tour in St. Louis.  McGee signed a succession of one year contracts with the Cardinals in 1996, 1997, and 1998, then retired at the end of 1999 at the age of 40.

McGee was named to the Cardinals Hall of Fame in its inaugural class of 2014, a winner in the fan vote for Modern era players.  At the time, McGee was already an employee of the organization, having been hired as a Special Assistant in 2013.  He continued to work with minor leaguers until 2017, when he was hired as a member of the Cardinals major league coaching staff, a position he currently holds.

A fan-driven campaign to retire McGee’s uniform number 51 has been ongoing for years, but has yet to be successful.  McGee remains one of the most popular players among Cardinals fans to ever wear the Birds on the Bat.


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Manager Stubby Clapp Reflects on Memphis’ 2018 Season


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 2, 2018

photo: Connor Jones (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

St. Louis Cardinals Lane Thomas and Tommy Edman drew four walks between them and scored once in Surprise’s Friday loss.  Connor Jones started and threw two scoreless innings and Will Latcham added a clean inning in relief.

Results for the game played on Friday, November 2.

Surprise Saguaros 3, Salt River Rafters 8 (seven innings)

Lane Thomas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Two Cardinals position players and two pitchers saw action in Friday’s game against Salt River.

Lane Thomas played center field and hit sixth in Surprise’s lineup.  In his first at bat in the second inning Thomas drew a walk but was left stranded. In the fourth, the outfielder struck out looking.  Thomas led off the seventh with his second walk, and later scored on a single by Nick Heath.

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Tommy Edman played second base and hit ninth.  Edman led off the third with a walk but did not score.  The second baseman walked again in the fifth but was doubled off on a line drive double play.  In the seventh, Edman popped out to the Salt River second baseman.

In what appeared to be a bullpen game, Connor Jones started for Surprise and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, fanning three and walking two.

Will Latcham pitched the fourth inning out of the bullpen, allowing one hit and one walk, but neither scored.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Saturday’s game:   No regular AFL game is scheduled.  The Annual Fall Stars game will take place at Surprise, with first pitch at 7:08 CT.  Pitcher Evan Kruczynski is the sole Cardinal on the West roster. The game will be televised on MLB Network and online.


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Surprise Manager Stubby Clapp Highlights his Cardinals AFL Charges


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – November 1, 2018

photo: Lane Thomas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three Cardinals position players contributed to the Surprise Saguaros’ win at Mesa on Thursday, including Lane Thomas’ three hits and a run scored.  Conner Greene earned his first AFL save.

Results for the game played on Thursday, November 1.

Andy Young (Andrew Miller/Palm Beach Cardinals)

Surprise Saguaros 5 at Mesa Solar Sox 4

Three St. Louis Cardinals prospects appeared in the starting lineup for Surprise on Thursday and one closed the game on the mound, as Surprise defeated Mesa in a one run contest, 5-4.

Cleanup hitter Andy Young played second base for the Saguaros. Young struck out looking to end the inning and singled to left in the third, but was stranded.  In the fifth, the second baseman drew a walk and later scored on a three-run home run from Surprise teammate Will Craig.  Young hit an infield single to the pitcher in the seventh and then stole second base.  In his final at bat in the ninth, Young struck out looking.

Jeremy Martinez (Palm Beach Cardinals)

Lane Thomas played right field and hit fifth in the lineup.  Thomas led off the second inning with a line drive single to left field. Thomas scored two batters later when Cavan Biggio thumped a two-run home run to right field.  The Cardinal outfielder singled on a line drive to right in the third, flied out to left in the fifth, and grounded out to third in the seventh.  Thomas hit his third single of the game in the ninth, a line drive to left field.

Conner Greene (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The third Cardinal in the starting lineup, Jeremy Martinez, was the catcher and batted eighth.  Martinez hit an infield single to the Mesa third baseman in his first at bat in the second inning.  The catcher led off the fourth with a ground out to the shortstop, then drew a walk in the fifth.  Martinez drew his second walk of the game to lead off the eighth.

All three starting Cardinals contributed hits with Thomas having three and Young two.

Conner Greene closed out the game and got the save, his first in the AFL.  The right-hander’s ninth was scoreless with one hit allowed.

Friday’s game:   vs. Salt River, TBA 2:35 CT.


Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation

Walton’s Cardinals Arizona Fall League Report – November 1, 2018


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 31, 2018

photo: Andy Young and Tommy Edman (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Cardinals Tommy Edman and Andy Young started for Surprise vs. Mesa on Wednesday. They reached base five times between them, including Edman’s double, but did not score. Reliever Will Latcham closed out the game and took the loss.

Results for the game played on Wednesday, October 31.

Surprise Saguaros 2, Mesa Solar Sox 4

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in the Saguaros’ Wednesday home loss to the Mesa Solar Sox.

Tommy Edman hit leadoff and played shortstop and struck out swinging in his first at bat.  Edman grounded out in the third inning, drew a walk in the fourth, then singled to left in the sixth.  In the eighth Edman grounded out for the second time, and in the ninth, he struck out swinging.

Andy Young played second base and hit third in the lineup.  Young walked in his first at bat.  The second sacker popped out to the catcher in the third inning and flied out to center in the fourth.  Young walked in the sixth and reached on a fielding error in the eighth.

Right handed reliever Will Latcham pitched in the ninth and gave up the winning two runs to take the loss for Surprise.  The difference-maker was a two-run home run by Mesa’s first baseman Bobby Dalbec.  The loss was Latcham’s first in the AFL.

The Saguaros are 8-12 and sit in third/last place in the AFL West.

Thursday’s game:   at Mesa, RHP Scott Blewitt (KC) 2:35 CT.


Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation

Walton’s Cardinals Arizona Fall League Report – October 31, 2018


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 30, 2018

photo: Lane Thomas (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Two St. Louis Cardinals saw action in the Surprise Saguaros’ Tuesday loss to Peoria.  Lane Thomas hit a long ball and drove in four runs, while Connor Greene allowed two runs in a relief appearance.

Results for the game played on Tuesday, October 30.

Surprise Saguaros 7, Peoria Javelinas 12

Lane Thomas (Springfield Cardinals)

Two St. Louis Cardinals prospects saw action in Tuesday’s 12-7 rout of the Saguaros by the Peoria Javelinas.

Lane Thomas batted sixth and played CF for Surprise.  Thomas made his first at bat in the contest count, with a three run home run to left center field.  This long ball plus a later RBI double by Saguaro teammate Santiago Espinal put them up 4-0.  Thomas struck out on a foul tip in his second at bat in the third inning.  In the fifth, the Cardinals outfielder hit a sacrifice fly and two runs scored on a Peoria fielding error, but only one counted as an RBI for Thomas, giving him four RBI in the game.  Thomas finished his night at the plate by reaching on a catcher interference in the seventh and striking out swinging in the ninth.

Connor Jones (St. Louis Cardinals)

Cardinals right hander Connor Jones relieved Saguaros starter Tai Tiedemann with two outs in the fourth inning.  Jones walked his first batter then got the final out of the inning on a ground out.

Jones returned to pitch the fifth and again walked the first man up.  The next batter doubled to score a run.  A ground out advanced the runner to third with one out.  A second ground out scored that runner, and two runs were charged to Jones.  The last batter also grounded out to end the inning.  Jones pitched 1 1/3 innings with one hit allowed and two runs scored.

No other Cardinals saw action.  The Saguaros are 7-11 and are now tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs, five games behind first place Peoria in the AFL West.

Wednesday’s game:  vs. Mesa, LHP Shawn Morimando (TOR), 2:35 CT.


Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation

Walton’s Cardinals Arizona Fall League Report – October 30


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 22-28

photo: Roberto Clemente Award ceremony (St. Louis Cardinals)

Yadier Molina is front and center in St. Louis Cardinals news from the prior week. In our weekly history feature, the trade that sent pitcher Rick Wise to Boston for outfielder Reggie Smith is remembered.


Molina receives Roberto Clemente Award

Major League Baseball announced prior to the start of Game 2 of the World Series that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is the recipient of the 2018 Roberto Clemente Award. The Clemente Award recognizes a player who exemplifies extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions.  It is given annually and is considered the most prominent individual off-field player award in Major League Baseball.

Molina was honored for his personal and financial efforts to help rebuild Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.  He joins Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado as the only native Puerto Ricans to win the award.

The catcher not only provided money, food and supplies to aid his native land, but walked the streets of Puerto Rico for two weeks hand delivering supplies and helping to repair homes and rebuild infrastructure.

Molina is the fifth Cardinals player to win the prestigious award, along with Beltran, Albert Pujols, Ozzie Smith, and Lou Brock.

He was unable to attend the ceremony in Boston as he was managing Puerto Rico’s U-23 national team in World Cup action in Colombia, but was represented by his wife, Wanda, and their two children in the ceremony at Fenway Park. They received the award from Clemente’s widow, Vera.

You can watch the full ceremony here: https://atmlb.com/2PTVVfB 


Two Cardinals are Gold Glove Award top finishers

The top three vote-getters at each position in each league for the 2018 Gold Glove Awards were announced this past Thursday, and two Cardinals made the cut.  Yadier Molina was named a “finalist,” along with fellow catchers Manny Piña of the Brewers, and Buster Posey of the Giants.  Molina has won eight Gold Gloves in his career, most recently in 2015.

Also named was second baseman Kolten Wong.  This top-three finish is Wong’s first.  Wong’s competition for the award is Javy Baez of the Cubs and D. J. LeMahieu of the Rockies.  Wong amassed 19 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018, one more than LeMahieu.  Baez has five Defensive Runs saved at second base in 2018.

It would also be a first Gold Glove Award for Baez.  LeMahieu is a two-time prior winner.

The winners will be announced on November 4.


Two Cardinals heading to Japan

John Brebbia (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

John Brebbia will join Molina as Cardinals representatives in MLB’s Japan Series. A team of MLB players will face standouts from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in six games to be held across Japan from November 8-15. Miami’s Don Mattingly will be the squad’s manager.

The All-Star Tour games in November will mark the 37th time overall that Major Leaguers have toured Japan for exhibition games, dating back to 1908. The All-Star Tour will be hosted in Tokyo (Tokyo Dome), Hiroshima (Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium) and Nagoya (Nagoya Dome). The events will begin with an exhibition game against the Yomiuri Giants in Tokyo on November 8th, followed by three games in Tokyo from November 9th-11th, one game in Hiroshima on November 13th and two games in Nagoya on November 14th-15th. – per MLB.com

The full roster can be seen here: https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-announces-roster-all-star-tour-in-japan/c-299919036


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions  

  • 10/20 The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Engels Martinez to a minor league contract.
  • 10/20 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP Michael Ozoria to a minor league contract.

TCN members can read more about the signings here.

Cardinals Trickle of International Signings Continue


Injury Report

There are no new injury updates to report.


Looking Ahead

The World Series concluded in five games on Sunday night, October 28, with the Boston Red Sox and Joe Kelly defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers of David Freese.

All off-season activities will now begin.  Pending free agents will officially become free agents today, the day after the World Series. Free agents can sign with their prior club during the next five days, after which they can negotiate with any team.  Adam Wainwright has agreed to a one-year deal to return to St. Louis in 2019, which will now be finalized, and the terms of the new deal should be disclosed soon after.

In addition to Wainwright, the Cardinals pending free agents are Bud Norris, Tyson Ross, and Matt Adams.  There have been no indications as of this writing of intentions to re-sign any of the three.

Status of players with contract options or opt-outs will be resolved by this Wednesday, October 31. The deadline to extend qualifying offers is 5 pm ET this Friday, November 2. Players have until November 12 to accept or reject the qualifying offer. No Cardinals are expected to be among this group, though it is relevant for potential free agent signings, as a 2019 draft pick would be forfeited if a player who rejected a QO is signed (such as with Greg Holland in 2018).

The 40-man roster must be finalized prior to the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  The deadline for doing so is on or about November 20.

The non-tender deadline is November 30.  The Cardinals have five arbitration eligible players.  They are Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha, Dominic Leone, Chasen Shreve, and Greg Garcia.  Of those players, Garcia is the most likely non-tender candidate.

November brings awards.  The following are the major awards to be given and the dates the winners will be announced.

Nov 4 – Gold Gloves
Nov 5 – Executive of the Year
Nov 7 – Defensive Player of the Year
Nov 8 – Silver Sluggers
Nov 12 – Rookie of the Year
Nov 13 – Manager of the Year
Nov 14 – Cy Young
Nov 15 – Most Valuable Player
Nov 19 – Comeback Player of the Year
Nov 20 – Designated Hitter of the Year (AL only)


Blast from the Past

The trade and acquisition series continues with a trade that was not particularly memorable in and of itself, but was the end result of what many consider to be the worst trade the Cardinals ever made.  That trade was the infamous Steve Carlton for Rick Wise deal.

Rick Wise

On February 25, 1972, the Cardinals dealt left handed pitcher Steve Carlton to the Philadelphia Phillies for right-hander Rick Wise in what is considered one of the most lopsided trades in baseball history.  This trade has been covered in past history articles, so that trade is not the subject of this week’s Blast from the Past, but the subsequent trade of Wise by the Cardinals to the Boston Red Sox.

Wise pitched for two seasons with the Cardinals, amassing a record of 32-28 with an ERA of 3.24.  The trade looks to be fine at first blush, as Wise pitched fairly well in his two seasons in St. Louis.  When compared to Carlton’s career after the Cardinals traded him though, the trade was a bust for the Cardinals.  Carlton had the best seasons of his career with the Phillies, winning four Cy Young Awards and cementing his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Reggie Smith

After his two seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals traded Wise to the Boston Red Sox on October 26, 1973 along with Bernie Carbo, for outfielder Reggie Smith and right-handed reliever Ken Tatum.  Tatum’s Cardinals career was short lived, as he was flipped after Spring Training 1974 to the Chicago White Sox.  Smith played for three seasons with St. Louis, slashing .293/.371/.495 with 50 home runs and 199 RBI.  Smith was traded in mid-season of 1976 to the Dodgers.

In the end, the Cardinals received two average seasons of Rick Wise and subsequently three average seasons of Reggie Smith while losing one of the greatest left handed pitchers in baseball history.  It all happened because of a contract dispute that could have been resolved.  Not the finest moment in the history of the Cardinals franchise.


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