All posts by Marilyn Green

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of February 12-18

photo: Bud Norris (Patrick Gorski/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Cardinals sign veteran righty Norris

Bud Norris (Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports Images)

In a surprise move for many St. Louis Cardinals fans, the team this past week signed veteran pitcher Bud Norris to a one year, $3 million dollar contract.  Norris, 32, was once considered the nemesis of Cardinals hitters, seeming to always baffle them at the plate when they faced him as a member of the Houston Astros rotation.

The right hander has logged nine seasons as a major leaguer, across six teams prior to the Cardinals.  Norris spent five of his nine seasons with the Astros, the team that drafted him in 2006.  Four of those five seasons were prior to 2013, when the Astros moved out of the NL Central to the AL Central.

Norris was traded to Baltimore in-mid season 2013, where he remained until he was released by the Orioles in August 2015.   He went on to play with the Padres, Braves, Dodgers and Angels before being signed by St. Louis.  After starting with the Astros, Norris moved to the bullpen with other teams since being traded away by Houston.

The Cardinals have not put Norris into a specific role but plan to maintain the flexibility to use him either as a starter or reliever.

In other acquisition news, the Cardinals also signed former Cardinal closer Jason Motte to a minor league contract.  Motte joins another former closer, Edward Mujica, who was signed to a minor league contract on February 1.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals were one of 12 teams attending a showcase for veteran pitcher Tim Lincecum on February 15.  Lincecum, 32, a two-time Cy Young Award winner with the San Francisco Giants almost a decade ago, is attempting a comeback after missing the 2017 season.

Jason Motte (Getty Images)

Transactions

2/14 The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Bud Norris.

2/14 The Cardinals designated RHP Rowan Wick for assignment.

2/16 Wick was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres.

2/16 The Cardinals signed RHP Jason Motte to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to major league spring training camp.

Injury Report

Matt Carpenter (USA TODAY Sports Images)

IF Matt Carpenter is reportedly dealing with a stiff back in spring training camp.  Carpenter’s workouts will be limited to first base for the time being.

RHP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) has begun Spring Training with light workouts to build up endurance.  The workouts so far have not included throwing breaking balls during bullpen sessions.  The Cardinals have set a return date of May 1 for the top prospect in a role to be determined.

Looking Ahead

Spring Training has begun.  Players have reported and workouts are underway.  The first Spring Training game will be played on Friday, February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

The regular season begins on Thursday, March 29.  The Cardinals play the Mets in New York in a four game series to open the schedule.  A three game series against the Brewers in Milwaukee follows the Mets series.  The Cardinals home opener is on Thursday, April 6, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Blast from the Past

The 1910 St Louis Cardinals are featured in this week’s Blast from the Past.  It was the 29th season of the franchise and the 19th in the National League.

The 1910 Cardinals ended the season with a record of 63-90, finishing seventh in the eight-team National League.  The player/manager was Roger Bresnahan and the owners were Frank and Stanley Robinson.

1910 St. Louis Cardinals

The Opening Day lineup was Miller Huggins (2B), Rube Ellis (LF), Rebel Oakes (CF), Ed Konetchy (1B), Steve Evans (RF), Roger Bresnahan (C), Rudy Hullswit (SS), Jap Barbeau (3B), and Vic Willis (SP).

The longest losing streak was 13 games, from July 28-Aug 11.  The longest winning streak was eight games, from May 12-19.  The highest winning margin was a 14-3 defeat of the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 30.  The worst loss was an 11-2 drubbing by the Phillies on July 20.  Splits were 35-41 at home, and 28-49 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Slim Sallee, with a record of 7-8 and an ERA of 2.97.  The best offensive performance was from Ed Konetchy, who hit .302/.397/.425, with 3 HR, and 78 RBI.

The highest paid player on the 1910 roster was Miller Huggins, the second baseman, who was paid $3,200.  That amount is approximately $80,000 in today’s dollars.  Huggins also played the most games for the team, playing 151 games out of 153.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2018 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedules

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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. Annual members may purchase our new 193-page 2018 Prospect Guide for less than half price.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 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 February 5-11

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

2/7 The Cardinals invited 23 non-roster players to Spring Training.  They are RHPs Preston Guilmet, Arturo Reyes, Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicks, Dakota Hudson, Hector Mendoza, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Jake Woodford, LHPs Sean Gilmartin and Jordan Schafer, OFs Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena, SSs Alex Mejia, Wilfredo Tovar and Tommy Edman, 1B Rangel Ravelo, 2B Max Schrock, 3B Patrick Wisdom, and Cs Francisco Pena, Steven Baron, Jeremy Martinez, Dennis Ortega, and Andrew Knizner.

More details here.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout scheduled on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals.  The 1930 season was the 49th of the franchise and the 39th in the National League.

Chick Hafey

The Cardinals of 1930 finished with a record of 92-62, which earned them in first place in the National League.  They played the Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series but lost in six games.  The manager was Gabby Street, the general manager was Branch Rickey, and the owner was Sam Breadon.

The Opening Day lineup against the Chicago Cubs was Taylor Douthit (CF), Sparky Adams (2B), Frankie Frisch (3B), Jim Bottomley (1B), Chick Hafey (LF), Showboat Fisher (RF), Charlie Gelbert (SS), Jimmie Wilson (C) and Flint Rhem (SP).

The longest losing streak was seven games, from May 27-June 2.  The longest winning streak was nine games, twice, from May 7-16, and Aug 20-28.  The highest winning margin was a 16-3 defeat of the Cubs on May 20.  The worst loss was also to the Cubs, by a score of 16-4, on August 30.  Splits were 53-24 at home and 39-38 on the road.

Burleigh Grimes

The top starting pitcher was Burleigh Grimes, with a record of 13-6 and an ERA of 3.01.  The best offensive performance was from Chick Hafey, who hit .336/.407/.652, with 26 home runs and 107 RBI.

In 1930, every Cardinal player with over 300 at-bats had a batting average over .300.  This is the only time in history this has occurred.

In Game 5 of the World Series, starter Grimes kept the Athletics from scoring through eight innings.  The score was 0-0.  In the top of the ninth, Grimes gave up a two run home run to Jimmie Foxx to give the Athletics the win.  Grimes was reported to have said, “He hit it so hard I couldn’t feel sorry for myself”.

The Cardinals had led the league in runs scored and averaged six runs per game in the regular season.  In the World Series, the Cardinals managed only two runs per game.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2018 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedules

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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. Annual members may purchase our new 193-page 2018 Prospect Guide for less than half price.

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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 January 29 – February 4

photo: Vince Coleman, John Tudor, Lee Smith, Ray Lankford (Getty Images)

Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot announced

Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III announced the St. Louis Cardinals Modern Era Hall of Fan ballot for fan voting on Wednesday.  The ballot contains four first-time candidates in Ray Lankford, John Tudor, Vince Coleman and Lee Smith, who join returnees Keith Hernandez, Scott Rolen, and Jason Isringhausen.

The nominees were chosen by a Red Ribbon Committee of media members and former Cardinals managers.  Fan online voting will begin on March 1.  The top two vote getters will be revealed on May 4, prior to the Cardinals game against the Cubs.  A Veteran Era player chosen by the Committee for induction will also be announced on May 4. A Veteran Era player is defined as one who has been retired for at least 40 years and played for at least three seasons for the Cardinals.

The induction ceremony will take place on August 18 at Ballpark Village.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

1/31 The Cardinals signed RHP Edward Mujica to a minor league deal.

Injury Report

RHP Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery) has an expected return date of May 1.  It is planned for Reyes to start his season in the bullpen.

Looking Ahead

Spring Training begins very soon.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here. Spring television and radio plans are here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the St. Louis Cardinals squad of 1962.  The 1962 was the 81st season of the franchise, and the 71st in the National League.

The season record for the Cardinals in 1962 was 84-78, which put them in sixth place in the National League, 17 ½ games behind the San Francisco Giants.  The manager was Johnny Keane, the general manager was Bing Devine, and the owner was Gussie Busch.

The Opening Day lineup against the New York Mets was Curt Flood (CF), Julian Javier (2B), Bill White (1B), Stan Musial (RF), Ken Boyer (3B), Minnie Minoso (LF), Gene Oliver (C), Julio Gotay (SS), and Larry Jackson (SP).

The longest losing streak was eight games, twice, from May 27-June 3, and again from September 10-19.  The longest winning streak was seven games, twice, from April 11-21 and again from June 5-10.  The highest winning margin was a 15-1 defeat of the Mets on July 8.  The worst losses were two 11-3 losses, both to the Phillies, on June 22 in the second game of a doubleheader, and August 11.  Splits were 44-37 at home and 40-41 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Bob Gibson, with a record of 15-13 and an ERA of 2.85.  The top offensive performers were Musial, who hit .330/.416/.508, with 19 HR and 82 RBI, White, who hit .324/.386/.482, with 20 HR and 102 RBI and Ken Boyer, who hit .291/.369/.470, with 24 HR and 98 RBI.

First baseman White and pitcher Bobby Shantz both won Gold Gloves in 1962.

Also in 1962, the Cardinals were the first National League club to wear names on the back of uniforms.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: 2018 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedules

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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. Annual members may purchase the new 2018 Prospect Guide for less than half price.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 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 January 22-28

photo: Alex Reyes (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Four Cardinals prospects make MLB Top 100 list

Jack Flaherty (Memphis Redbirds)

MLB Pipeline’s national top 100 prospect list for 2018 was announced over the weekend, and four St. Louis Cardinals prospects are included.

Topping the list is right handed pitcher Alex Reyes, at No. 18.  Reyes missed all the 2017 season following Tommy John surgery, but is expected to pitch in 2018, starting as early as May.  This makes Reyes’ third straight year as the Cardinals’ top prospect.

Also making the list are Jack Flaherty (38), Carson Kelly (46), and Tyler O’Neill (94).  The Cardinals were one of 13 teams to have at least four players on the list.

The annual prospect list is compiled MLB Pipeline draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis, and Mike Rosenbaum.  Only players with rookie status entering 2018 are eligible.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

Spring Training begins in February.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout scheduled on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

Rogers Hornsby

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the St. Louis Cardinals squad of 1920.  The 1920 season was the Cardinals’ 39th season of the franchise, and the 29th in the National League.

The Cardinals’ record in 1920 of 75-79 put them in fifth place in the National League.  The manager was Branch Rickey and the owner was Sam Breadon.  The position of general manager did not exist yet in 1920.

The Opening Day lineup was Burt Shotton (LF), Cliff Heathcote (RF), Milt Stock (3B), Rogers Hornsby (2B), Jack Fournier (1B), Austin McHenry (CF), Hal Janvrin (SS), Verne Clemens (C), and Bill Doak (SP).

Bill Doak

The longest losing streak was seven games, twice, from July 25-August 1, and September 5-11.  The longest winning streak was also seven games, from June 10-17.  The highest winning margin was a 16-1 defeat of the Cubs on September 27.  The worst loss was a 14-2 drubbing from the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 8.  Splits were 38-38 at home and 37-41 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Doak, with a 20-12 record and an ERA of 2.53.  The top offensive performance was from Hornsby, who hit .370/.431/.559/ with nine home runs and 94 RBI.

Hornsby’s batting average of .370 won him the NL batting title, his first of seven.  Hornsby also led the NL in OBP (.431), SLG (.559), hits (218), total bases (329), doubles (44), and RBI (94).  On defense, Hornsby led the league in putouts, assists, and double plays from his home at second base.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: BaseballHQ’s Top 15 Cardinals Prospects for 2018

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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 January 15-21

photo: Randal Grichuk (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Grichuk dealt to Toronto

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the trade of outfielder Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for right handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.

Dominic Leone (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Grichuk was slated to report to Spring Training as the Redbirds’ fourth outfielder, a role to which Grichuk had expressed disappointment having been relegated.  With the acquisition of Marcell Ozuna, the starting outfield appeared to be set with Ozuna joining returnees Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler.

The Cardinals are still awash in outfielders, with several prospects in the minor leagues, including Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill, knocking on the door for major league playing time.  The Cardinals also retained Jose Martinez, who plays both the corner outfield and first base.  In December, the Cardinals made the first move to start to address the logjam by dealing Stephen Piscotty to Oakland.  The trade of Grichuk likely created a bench spot for one of the youngsters.

Conner Greene (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Grichuk was acquired by St. Louis in 2014, along with former Cardinal Peter Bourjos, in the trade that sent World Series hero David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels.  Grichuk’s time with the Cardinals was marred by struggles at the plate that required several trips to the minor leagues for the right handed hitter.  Though Grichuk’s power was an asset, his troubles with plate discipline and streakiness remained issues.

Reliever Leone is coming off a strong 2017, helping to address a need following the loss of bullpen arms Trevor Rosenthal, Seung-Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio, and Zach Duke.  The Cardinals signed free agent Luke Gregerson earlier in the offseason and have proclaimed the right-hander as the new closer.  Greene is a hard thrower who pitched at Double-A last season.

The trade marks the second deal of the offseason with Toronto, as the Cardinals sent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to Toronto last month for minor league outfielder J.B. Woodman.

Molina to retire when contract ends

Veteran catcher Yadier Molina told reporters on Monday that he plans to retire after his three year contract expires in 2020.  Molina enters the first year of his 3 year, $60 million dollar contract in 2018, which marks his 15th season in the major leagues.

Yadier Molina (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Molina does not plan to reduce his workload, though his 35-year old body may have other plans. Molina’s backup, Carson Kelly, is just beginning his major league career after having been slated for some time to be Molina’s heir apparent.  The young backstop was recently named by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 catching prospect in MLB, behind the Indians’ Francisco Mejia.

Molina enters his final contract having earned eight Gold Gloves, eight All Star appearances, and two World Series rings.  A third World Series ring is Molina’s stated goal before he puts the catching gear away.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Cardinals’ principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said on Monday that the Cardinals will not likely make any more major moves between now and Spring Training.  DeWitt expressed little interest in investing assets in an expensive free agent closer, or in players who would be entering their walk year, such as Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado, however the owner did not entirely close the door on additional moves.

Transactions

The Cardinals traded OF Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Dominic Leone and RHP Conner Greene.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

January brings arbitration season.  The Cardinals arbitration eligible players were Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and the newly acquired Marcell Ozuna.  The Cardinals have agreed to contract terms with all four players.

Spring Training begins in February.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout scheduled on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s blast from the past centers on the St. Louis Cardinals team of 1989.  The 1989 season was the 108th season of the franchise, and the 98th in the National League.

The Cardinals ended the 1989 season with a record of 86-76, which put them in third place in the National League East.  The manager was Whitey Herzog, and Dal Maxville was the general manager.  The owner over the prior 36 years, Gussie Busch, passed away on September 29 at the age of 90.

The Opening Day lineup was Vince Coleman (LF), Willie McGee (CF), Terry Pendleton (3B), Pedro Guerrero (1B), Tom Brunansky (RF), Jose Oquendo (SS), Tony Pena (C), Tim Jones (2B), and Joe Magrane (SP).

1989 St. Louis Cardinals

The longest losing streak was six games, from September 9- 15.  The longest winning streak was also six games, from April 26-May 1.  The highest winning margin was three 12-run games; the first was a 15-3 defeat of the Phillies on April 9.  There was also a 12-0 victory over the Dodgers on May 4, and a 14-2 drubbing of the Dodgers on July 6.  The worst loss was a 13-1 defeat at the hands of the Mets on Sept. 7.  Splits that season were 46-35 at home and 40-41 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Magrane, with a record of 18-9 and an ERA of 2.91.  The best offensive performance was by first baseman Guerrero, who slashed .311/.391/.477, with 17 home runs and 117 RBI.

Coleman was the NL stolen base leader with 65 stolen bases.  Pendleton won the Gold Glove at third base, and Smith was the Gold Glove winner at shortstop.  Guerrero finished third in the NL MVP voting.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Manager Roberto Espinoza on Standout Johnson City Cardinals Pitchers

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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 January 8-14

photo: Tyler Lyons (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Cardinals avoid arbitration with four

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

There will be no arbitration hearings for the St. Louis Cardinals in February, as the club reached agreements with all four arbitration eligible players.  Randal Grichuk reached an agreement with the Cardinals for a one year, $2.6 million dollar contract on Thursday. On Friday, it was announced that agreements were reached with the remaining players, Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, and Marcell Ozuna.

Ozuna, in his second year of arbitration, agreed to a $9 million dollar deal for 2018.  Wacha, also in his second year of arbitration, agreed to $5.3 million, up from $2.775 million in 2017.  Lyons, along with Grichuk, enters his first year of arbitration, and settled with the Cardinals for $1.2 million for 2018.

None of the four had yet exchanged figures, something that would have triggered the Cardinals “file and trial” strategy.  Wacha was in this position last season, and his case went to arbitration, a proceeding in which the Cardinals prevailed.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Luke Gregerson (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals appear to be satisfied with the bullpen as it currently is constructed, and will go with newly signed reliever Luke Gregerson in the closer role.  Goold also reports that the rumors concerning the Cardinals’ interest in Tampa Bay reliever Alex Colome were “overstated” and the Cardinals’ interest in Rays’ players was centered on starter Chris Archer.

However, Goold also reported this past week that former Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria said his trade had gone to down to the Cardinals and Giants. He was sent to the latter club.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up is taking place as of this writing in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual BBWAA dinner is also taking place at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  All of the Winter Warm-Up events, including the Cardinals Caravans, will conclude on Monday, January 15.  Details of the Warm-Up, including photos and interviews, can be found at TCN here and here.

Spring Training begins in February.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout scheduled on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the St. Louis Cardinals from the year 1955.  The 1955 season was the franchise’s 74th season and the 64th in the National League.

The 1955 Cardinals ended the season with a record of 68-86, which placed them seventh in the eight-team National League.  The manager of the Cardinals was Eddie Stanky for the first 36 games, and Harry Walker for the remainder of the season.  Stanky was fired by owner Gussie Busch on May 27.   The Cardinals GM was Richard Meyer, who was fired at the end of the 1955 season.

The Opening Day lineup was Wally Moon (LF), Bill Virdon (CF), Stan Musial (1B), Rip Repulski (RF), Red Schoendienst (2B), Ken Boyer (3B), Bill Sarni (C), Alex Grammas (SS), and Brooks Lawrence (SP).

The longest losing streak was seven games, twice, from May 1-8, and again from Aug 27-Sept 2.  The longest winning streak was five games, from May 14-18.  The highest winning margin was a 14-1 defeat of the Cubs on April 17. The worst defeats were two 12-1 losses, the first to the Brooklyn Dodgers on June 17, and the second to the Milwaukee Braves on August 15.  Splits were 41-36 at home, and 27-50 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Willard Schmidt, with a record of 7-6 and an ERA of 2.78.  The best offensive player was Musial, who batted .319/.408/.566, with 33 home runs, and 108 RBI.

The Cardinals sent four players to the All-Star Game in 1955.  Red Schoendienst was the only starter, playing second base.  Three reserve players were Musial, Luis Arroyo, and Harvey Haddix.  Musial hit a home run in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the NL the 6-5 victory over the AL.

Musial came in eighth in the MVP voting in 1955.  Musial also led the National League in games played (154), and Hit by Pitches (8).

Center fielder Bill Virdon won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1955.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: St. Louis Cardinals Instructional Camp News – January 12

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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 January 1-7

photo: Joaquin Andujar (Getty Images)

Cardinals announce minors coaches

Jason Isringhausen (Getty Images)

Significant changes to the St. Louis Cardinals minor league coaching staff for 2018 were announced on Thursday.    A new coach for each of the nine affiliates were included in the changes.  The realignment includes six new pitching coaches and seven new hitting coach assignments.  Seven of the nine affiliates will have returning managers. The Cardinals have added a second team in the Dominican Summer League for 2018.

The promotion of Bryan Eversgerd from Memphis pitching coach to St. Louis bullpen coach and the resignation of Springfield pitching coach Jason Simontacchi necessitated the changes on the pitching side.  New additions to the Cardinals minor league coaching staff include the hiring of Jason Isringhausen and Ryan Ludwick as minor league pitching and hitting instructor, respectively.

The full breakdown of the coaching assignments can be found here.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago writes that the Cardinals have shown interest in free agent RHP Jake Arrieta.  Levine reports that the Cardinals and Cubs have shown the most interest in Arrieta.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports via twitter that the Cardinals “remain involved” in a pursuit of Eric Hosmer.

Transactions

1/5/18 The Cardinals signed RHP Preston Guilmet to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual Baseball Writers’ Dinner is scheduled for Sunday evening the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets for the Winter Warm-Up are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three day event.

The annual Cardinals Caravan is scheduled in conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up.  The Caravan will take place January 12-15 with six caravans scheduled.  Caravans will traverse six states: Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Details can be found at https://www.mlb.com/cardinals/community/caravan .

January brings arbitration season.  The deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures is January 13.  Any arbitration hearings will be scheduled during the first several weeks of February.  The Cardinals arbitration-eligible players are Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and the newly acquired Marcell Ozuna.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the 1984 Cardinals.  The 1984 season was the 103rd season of the franchise and the 93rd season in the National League.  The decade of the 1980s included one World Series Championship in 1982, and World Series appearances in 1985 and 1987.

The ‘84 Cardinals finished the season with a record of 84-78, which placed them third in the National League East, 12.5 games behind the Chicago Cubs.  The manager was Whitey Herzog and the GM was Joe McDonald.  The Cardinals were owned by Gussie Busch.

The Opening Day lineup was Lonnie Smith (LF), Ken Oberkfell (3B), Tom Herr (2B), George Hendrick (RF), Art Howe (1B), Willie McGee (CF), Darrell Porter (C), Ozzie Smith (SS), and Dave LaPoint (SP).

The longest losing streak was seven games, from April 18-24.  The longest winning streak was six games, from July 7-Aug 1.  The highest winning margin was a 12-2 defeat of the Mets on Sept 4.  The worst loss was an 11-0 loss to the Giants on April 7.  Home/Road splits were 44-37 at home and 40-41 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Joaquin Andujar, who had a record of 20-14 with an ERA of 3.34.  Andujar led the National League in wins (20), innings pitched (261) and shutouts (four).  On offense, first baseman David Green hit 15 home runs and drove in 65.  Willie McGee hit .291 with a full season of plate appearances, while Terry Pendleton batted .324 in about a half season of action.

One notable transaction was the trade of Ken Oberkfell in June to the Braves for Ken Dayley and Mike Jorgensen.

Andujar and shortstop Ozzie Smith each won Gold Gloves in 1984.  Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter set the NL saves record of 45 saves. (Coincidentally, Sutter celebrates his 65th birthday on January 8.)

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Could the Cardinals Manipulate Alex Reyes’ Service Time?

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

Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of December 25-31

photo: Mike Shannon, Bob Gibson and Orlando Cepeda (Getty Images)


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no new trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual Baseball Writers’ Dinner is scheduled for Sunday evening the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets for the Winter Warm-Up are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three day event.

The annual Cardinals Caravan is scheduled in conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up.  The Caravan will take place January 12-15 with six caravans scheduled.  Caravans will traverse six states: Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Details can be found at https://www.mlb.com/cardinals/community/caravan .

January brings arbitration season.  The deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures is January 13.  Any arbitration hearings will be scheduled during the first several weeks of February.  The Cardinals arbitration-eligible players are Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and the newly acquired Marcell Ozuna.

Blast from the Past

This week’s blast from the past centers on the St. Louis Cardinals team from 1966.  It was the 85th season for the franchise, and the 75th in the National League.

The 1966 Cardinals finished 83-79 and ended in sixth place in the National League.  The manager was Red Schoendienst, the GM was Bob Howsam.  The Cardinals were owned by Gussie Busch.

The Opening Day lineup was Lou Brock (RF), Julian Javier (2B), Curt Flood (CF), Tim McCarver (C), Charley Smith (3B), Alex Johnson (LF), George Kernek (1B), Jerry Buchek (SS), Curt Simmons (P).

The longest losing streak was eight games, from September 18-27.  The longest winning streak was seven games, from September 10-17.  The highest winning margin was an 11-5 defeat of the Pirates on June 8.  The worst loss was a 15-2 drubbing from the Giants on May 7.  Home/Road splits were 43-38 at home, and 40-41 on the road.

Bob Gibson

The top starting pitcher was Bob Gibson, who went 21-12 with an ERA of 2.44.  The top offensive performances came from Orlando Cepeda and Mike Shannon.  Cepeda hit .303/.362/.468 with 17 home runs and 58 RBI.  Shannon had a slash line of .288/.339/.462, with 16 home runs and 64 RBI.  Cepeda had been acquired in a trade from San Francisco in May for pitcher Ray Sadecki.

1966 marked the opening of Busch Stadium II.  The Cardinals played the first five weeks of the season in the old ballpark, Busch Stadium I (aka Sportsman’s Park), before playing the first game in the new stadium on May 12 against the Atlanta Braves.  In the summer of 1966, the Cardinals hosted the All-Star Game in the new Busch Stadium II.

Gibson and center fielder Curt Flood both won Gold Gloves in 1966.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of December 18-24

photo: Jack Flaherty (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Bader, Flaherty Minors Players of the Year

Harrison Bader (USA TODAY Sports Images)

On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals named outfielder Harrison Bader and right handed pitcher Jack Flaherty the organization’s minor league Player and Pitcher of the Year.

The two will receive their awards at the Baseball Writers’ Dinner on January 14 in St. Louis.

Bader, 23, was St. Louis’ third round draft pick in 2015, and moved quickly through the minors, making it to highest level within two years.  Bader made his major league debut with St. Louis in June of 2017, and made appearances in 32 games.  The outfielder had a slash line of .283/.347/.469, with 20 home runs in 123 games with Triple-A Memphis.

Jack Flaherty (Memphis Redbirds)

Flaherty also made his major league debut in 2017, as a September call-up.  The right-hander started five games for St. Louis, but struggled, going 0-2 with an ERA of 6.33.  In the minors, however, the 22 year old excelled, going 14-4 with and ERA of 2.18 in 25 starts between the Triple-A and Double-A levels.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch writes of the Cardinals’ continued interest in Toronto third baseman Josh Donaldson, as well as Tampa Bay closer Alex Colome and free agent reliever Addison Reed.  Hummel suggests the lack of any movement toward an extension by Toronto to Donaldson may signal more of a willingness to move him.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual BBWAA dinner is scheduled for Sunday evening the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Admission and player autograph tickets for the Winter Warm-Up are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three day event.

The annual Cardinals Caravan is scheduled in conjunction with the Winter Warmup.  The Caravan will take place January 12-15. Six caravans will traverse six states, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Details can be found at https://www.mlb.com/cardinals/community/caravan .

January brings arbitration season.  The deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures is January 13.  Any arbitration hearings will be scheduled during the first several weeks of February.  The Cardinals arbitration eligible players are Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and newly-acquired Marcell Ozuna.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment features the St. Louis Cardinals team from 1999.  It was the franchise’s 118th season and the 108th in the National League.

Tony La Russa (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals went 75-86 in 1999, and finished fourth in the National League Central, with manager Tony La Russa at the helm.  It was La Russa’s fourth season as the Cardinals’ skipper under general manager Walt Jocketty and owner Bill DeWitt, Jr.  Former GM and current President of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, was the Scouting Director in 1999.

The Opening Day lineup was Edgar Renteria (SS), J.D. Drew (CF), Mark McGwire (1B), Eric Davis (RF), Fernando Tatis (3B), Shawon Dunston (LF), Eli Marrero (C), Placido Polanco (2B), and Donovan Osborne (SP).

The longest losing streak was seven games, from August 23-30.  The longest winning streak was four games, twice, from April 13-17 and July 22-25.   The highest winning margin was a 16-5 victory over the Expos on May 1.  The worst loss was a 17-1 defeat at the hands of the Giants on May 25.  Home/Road splits were 38-42 at home, and 37-44 on the road.

Mark McGwire (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The top starting pitcher was Kent Bottenfield, who went 18-7 with an ERA of 3.97.  (The right-hander would be traded to the Angels the next spring for Jim Edmonds.) The best offensive performance came from McGwire, who hit .278/.424/.697, with 65 home runs, and 147 RBI.  This performance followed his record breaking 70 home run season in 1998.

Some notable events in 1999 included Fernando Tatis hitting two grand slams in the same inning, on April 23, both off pitcher Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park.  McGwire became the first major league player to hit at least 50 home runs in four consecutive seasons.

On June 2, 1999, the Cardinals drafted Albert Pujols in the 13th round of the amateur draft and signed him on August 17.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of December 11-17

photo: Stephen Piscotty (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Two Winter Meetings trades

The St. Louis Cardinals both added to and subtracted from their 2018 big league roster in two trades made this past week at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

On Wednesday, the Cardinals made a deal that sent four minor league prospects, including two from the 40-man roster, to Miami in exchange for outfielder Marcell Ozuna.  On the heels of the rejection by Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a trade to St. Louis, going to the Yankees instead, the Cardinals worked on and arranged for the acquisition of Stanton’s teammate.  Going to Miami were right handed pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen, left handed pitcher Daniel Castano, and outfielder Magneuris Sierra.  Alcantara and Sierra saw some big league time in 2017.

Ozuma had his best year last season with the Marlins, hitting 37 home runs and driving in 124 runs for a .942 OPS.  The outfielder will enter his second year of arbitration, and brings two seasons of team control, becoming free agent eligible in 2020. Ozuna also brings Gold Glove award winning defense in left field.  It is expected that Ozuna will play left field for the Cardinals, with Tommy Pham in center field, and Dexter Fowler in right field.

Stephen Piscotty (USA TODAY Sports Images)

To make room for Ozuna, the Cardinals sent last season’s right fielder, Stephen Piscotty, to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for two minor leaguers.  The acquisition of Ozuna made Piscotty expendable, and the Cardinals made the trade to Piscotty’s home town team, and to the team of which he was a fan while growing up.  Piscotty will be able to spend more time with his ailing mother, who was diagnosed with ALS this past May.  ALS is a progressive disease that is 100 percent fatal, with an average survival rate of three years.  That this was a consideration in where Piscotty was traded cannot be doubted, and it was a move that was widely praised throughout MLB.

The 26-year old Piscotty was a first-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2012.  The pick came to the Cardinals as compensation for losing Albert Pujols to free agency.  Piscotty made his debut with the Cardinals in mid-season 2015 and hit 22 home runs and drove in 85 runs in his first full season in 2016.  Piscotty’s 2017 was not a good one, affected at least in part no doubt by the stress of his mother’s diagnosis.

The Cardinals received minor league infielders Max Schrock and Yairo Muñoz from Oakland in exchange for Piscotty. For more detail on the two newest Cardinals prospects, click here (free article).

Rule 5 Draft quiet

To close the Winter Meetings on Thursday, the annual Rule 5 Draft was held. St. Louis was inactive in the Major League phase, neither selecting a player nor losing any. In the Minor League phase, second baseman Jacob Wilson was taken by Washington and the Cardinals added two outfielders, Angel Moreno from Tampa Bay and Jean Selmo from Arizona.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and The Athletic tweets that the Cardinals are “pushing hard” for Blue Jays 3B Josh Donaldson, though Toronto is inclined to keep Donaldson, as they believe they are in a position to compete in 2018. Donaldson will become free agent eligible following the 2018 season.

Multiple sources, including USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, have reported the Cardinals are interested in Orioles 3B Manny Machado, though the Cardinals reportedly have not made a formal offer to Baltimore.  Buster Olney of ESPN writes that as of Saturday, the White Sox and the Diamondbacks have shown the most interest in Machado, who like Donaldson will become free agent eligible following the 2018 season.

St. Louis has also been rumored to have had discussions with Tampa Bay about closer Alex Colome and perhaps third baseman Evan Longoria. At some point this off-sesaon, the Cardinals have also reportedly looked into free agent closers Greg Holland and Wade Davis.

Transactions

12/14 The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Luke Gregerson.

12/14 The Cardinals traded OF Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics for 2B Max Schrock and SS Yairo Muñoz.

12/14 The Cardinals traded RHPs Sandy Alcantara and Zac Gallen, LHP Daniel Castano, and OF Magneuris Sierra to the Miami Marlins for OF Marcell Ozuna.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals’ annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual Baseball Writers’ Dinner is scheduled for Sunday evening the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Tickets for the Winter Warm-Up and for player autographs are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three-day event.

The annual Cardinals Caravan is scheduled in conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up.  The Caravan will take place Jan 12-15, and there are six caravans scheduled.  Caravans will traverse six states, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Details can be found at https://www.mlb.com/cardinals/community/caravan .

January brings arbitration season.  The deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures is January 13.  Any arbitration hearings will be scheduled during the first several weeks of February.  The Cardinals arbitration eligible players are Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and newly-acquired Marcell Ozuna.

Blast from the Past

The 1975 Cardinals are the subject of this week’s blast from the past.  The ‘70s marked a period of middling Cardinals teams, with no playoff appearances for St. Louis in that decade.

The 1975 Cardinals finished 82-80, tying for third place in the NL East with the New York Mets.  It was the 94th season of the franchise.  The manager was Red Schoendienst, and the General Manager was Bing Devine.  The Cardinals were owned by Gussie Busch.

1975 St. Louis Cardinals (Topps)

The Opening Day lineup in 1975 was Lou Brock (LF), Ted Sizemore (2B), Bake McBride (CF), Reggie Smith (RF), Ted Simmons (C), Keith Hernandez (1B), Ken Reitz (3B), Ed Brinkman (SS), and Bob Gibson (SP).

The longest losing streak was six games, from April 19-26.  The longest winning streak was seven games, from June 2-9.  The largest winning margin was a 17-2 laugher against the San Francisco Giants on May 17.  The worst defeat was a 10-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on June 12.  Home/Road splits were 45-36 at home, and 37-44 on the road.

Bob Forsch

The top starting pitcher was Bob Forsch, who went 15-10 with an ERA of 2.86.   The top offensive performers were Simmons, with a slash line of .332/.396/.491, 18 HR and 100 RBI, and Smith, with a slash line of .302/.382/.488, 19 HR and 76 RBI.

1975 also marked the final season of Bob Gibson’s career.  Gibson spent 17 seasons as a Cardinal, his entire major league career.  To this day, Gibson’s single season ERA record of 1.12 in 1968 has never been surpassed.  Gibson won two Cy Young Awards and nine Gold Gloves.

Lou Brock was the recipient of the 1975 Roberto Clemente Award, given annually to the player who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”, as selected by fans and media members.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of December 4-10

photo: Miles Mikolas (Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Cardinals sign former draftee Gregerson

One offseason goal of the St. Louis Cardinals is been to shore up the bullpen for 2018.  The club made a move in this direction by signing former Cardinals draftee Luke Gregerson to a two-year, $11 million contract, announced on Sunday.

Luke Gregerson (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The right handed pitcher was the Cards’ 28th round draft pick in 2006.  Gregerson never made it out of the minor leagues while a Cardinal, as he was traded to the San Diego Padres in 2009 for shortstop Kahlil Greene.  Gregerson spent the first five seasons of his nine-year MLB career with the Padres before being traded to Oakland in 2013.  After one season in Oakland, the right hander was signed in December 2014 as a free agent by the Houston Astros, for whom he played through the 2017 season.

The 33-year old reliever posted a 4.57 ERA with the Astros in 2017, in 61 innings pitched.  Gregerson has a career ERA of 3.02 and a lifetime 9.1 K/9 innings rate.

It is expected that the addition of Gregerson is just one of several to the bullpen planned by the Cardinals for 2018.

Cards add starter Mikolas

Miles Mikolas (Yomiuri Giants)

Gregerson follows the signing earlier this week of right hander Miles Mikolas to a two-year contract.  Mikolas has spent the past several seasons pitching in Japan, and previously pitched for the Rangers and the Padres in MLB.

The right-hander, 33, posted a 2.18 ERA over three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants.  Mikolas was drafted by the Padres in 2009 and made his major league debut with that club in 2012.  He features a low 90s fastball, slider and curveball and is slated to compete for one of the five starting rotation spots in Spring Training.

Cardinals front office shuffling

Luis Morales (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The Cardinals announced a number of front office promotions and hires this past week.  At the top of the list is the promotion of Luis Morales to the post of Director of International Operations and Administration. Additionally, Matt Slater has been named Special Assistant to the GM, with Slater’s focus continuing to be player procurement.

Other promotions include Matt Bayer as Manager of Scouting and Athletics, Tyler Hadzinsky as Amateur Scouting Coordinator/Analyst, and Emily Wiebe as Baseball Operations Analyst.

Changes to the amateur scouting department were also announced.  The changes include four new area scouts in Stacey Pettis, Jim Negrych, Chris Rodriguez, and Alix Martinez, as well as promotions for crosscheckers Sean Moran, Zach Mortimer, and Joe Almaraz.  A Latin American crosschecker will be Damaso Espino.

The Cardinals hired Jose Leger to the post of Latin American field and academy development coordinator and Jose Gonzalez was promoted to scouting supervisor for Venezuela.

Simmons falls short of Hall

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

The Modern Era balloting for the National Baseball Hall of Fame was announced on Sunday. Of the ten nominees – Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Luis Tiant, Alan Trammell and former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons – only Morris and Trammell were selected.

In the vote of the 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee, 75 percent of the ballots cast were needed. Simmons secured 11 votes, just one short. The two winners will be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown on July 29, 2018.

Winter Warm-Up autograph tickets available

The 2018 Cardinals Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15, and autograph tickets will be going on sale beginning at noon CT, on Monday, December 11.  Prices for tickets range from $5 to $150, depending on the player, and the team is expects more than 60 players, coaches and alumni to attend.

Tickets for Yadier Molina are priced the highest, at $150.   Tickets that are $50 or higher include Adam Wainwright, Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa, Matt Carpenter, Carlos Martinez, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, Alex Reyes, and Michael Wacha.

A list of autograph prices and signing times can be found at www.cardinals.com/WWU .  Fans can purchase up to three tickets (except for Molina), and the tickets will remain available until January 11, subject to sell out.  Remaining tickets may be purchased at the event.

In other offseason news, the ground breaking for the Ballpark Village expansion will take place on Thursday.  Also announced was the availability for sale of a limited number of seats recently removed from Busch Stadium III.  Fifty pairs of premium stadium seats will be available for sale for $750.  A total of 250 standard seats will be for sale for $500.  For more information, see www.cardinals.com/seats .

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Winter Meetings have started and the Hot Stove is heating up.  Following the rejection by Giancarlo Stanton of an agreed-to trade to the Cardinals from Miami, the team has set its sights elsewhere.

There have been rumors all along that the Redbirds have interest in two other Marlins outfielders, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich.  Bob Nightengale reports, somewhat hyperbolically, that the Cardinals “badly desire” Ozuna.  The Cardinals do have interest in Ozuna, as has been reported by Post-Dispatch reporter Derrick Goold.  Interest in Yelich has also been rumored from several sources.

Goold reports the Cardinals have interest in free agent relievers Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow.  Goold’s article was written before it was announced that the Cubs have signed Morrow, taking him off the table.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Cardinals have interest in White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.

The Oakland A’s are rumored to have continued interest in acquiring Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty.

Transactions

12/5 The Cardinals sign free agent RHP Miles Mikolas.

12/10 The Cardinals sign free agent RHP Luke Gregerson.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings have begun in Orlando, Florida.  The Meetings run through Thursday, and the Rule 5 draft will occur on that last morning.

The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual BBWAA dinner is scheduled for Sunday the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Tickets for the Winter Warm-Up are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three-day event.

January brings arbitration season.  The deadline for teams and arbitration eligible players to submit salary figures is January 13.  Any arbitration hearings will be scheduled during the first several weeks of February. Eligible Cardinals are Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Randal Grichuk.

Blast from the Past

This week’s blast from the past features the St. Louis Cardinals squad from 1924.  The 1920s featured one World Series Championship for the Cardinals, which came two years later in 1926.  The 1924 season was the franchise’s 43rd year.

The 1924 Cardinals finished 65-89, which placed them sixth of the eight teams in the National League.  The club’s manager was Branch Rickey.  Rickey was fired by owner Sam Breadon in early 1925, but was asked by Breadon to stay on to run the front office.  Rickey’s title was Business Manager, which was the forerunner of the modern General Manager.

Rogers Hornsby

The Opening Day lineup was Max Flack (RF), Jack Smith (LF), Rogers Hornsby (2B), Jim Bottomley (1B), Howard Freiqua (3B), Heinie Mueller (CF), Les Bell (SS), Ernie Vick (C), and Johnny Stuart (P).

The longest losing streak was seven games, from June 14-21.  The longest winning streak was also seven games, from July 16-20.  That streak included three doubleheaders.  The widest winning margin was a 17-0 defeat of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the second game of an August 24th doubleheader.  The worst loss was a 14-1 drubbing by the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 3.  Home/Road splits were 40-37 at home and 25-52 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Leo Dickerman, with a record of 7-4 and an ERA of 2.41.  The best offensive performance came from Hornsby, who batted .424, with 25 home runs and 94 RBI.

Hornsby’s .424 batting average made him the National League batting champion for 1924.  That batting average remains the NL record for average in a single season.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 27 – December 3

photo: Kolten Wong, Giancarlo Stanton (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Cards brass meet with Stanton and agents

St. Louis Cardinals executives Bill DeWitt Jr., John Mozeliak and Michael Girsch met with agents for Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton on Friday in Los Angeles.  The meeting occurred one day after a similar get-together with the San Francisco Giants.  Though it was initially said that Stanton was not present, national writer Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports the outfielder did participate in both sessions.

Giancarlo Stanton (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Both teams have made formal offers to the Marlins for Stanton, and it has been reported that the Marlins have found both to be acceptable.  Credible reports say the Cardinals’ offer includes RHP Sandy Alcantara and includes more money than believed to have been offered by the Giants.

The final decision appears to be Stanton’s, given his full no trade clause means he can veto a trade to any team.  Stanton has reportedly not ruled out either St. Louis or San Francisco, but that his preference is said to be a West Coast team.  The Dodgers appear to be Stanton’s preferred landing spot, logical given that Stanton is from the Los Angeles area.  It is unknown whether the Dodgers are seriously interested in acquiring the slugger, as no formal offer from the club has been reported. Even without Stanton, the team already has serious salary cap issues, but also has significant financial resources.

A deal is expected to be finalized within the next 2-3 days, according to several sources.

Aledmys Diaz traded

In a deal announced on Friday, the Cardinals have parted ways with infielder Aledmys Diaz, sending him to Toronto in exchange for minor league outfielder J.B. Woodman.

Aledmys Diaz (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cuban infielder was signed by the Cardinals in 2014 on a four-year deal worth $8 million.  After spending two seasons in the minor league system, Diaz made his major league debut in 2015.  Following a season in which Diaz was St. Louis’ representative to the 2016 MLB All-Star Game, the infielder struggled early in 2017. He was optioned to Memphis, where he remained for the duration of the season, called up only after the Triple-A season ended.

Diaz was replaced at shortstop by Paul DeJong, who had an outstanding season, coming in second place for the NL Rookie of the Year.  The performance of DeJong put him ahead of Diaz in the shortstop pecking order, leading to the trade to the Blue Jays.  The move may give the Cuban infielder, who also played minor league innings at second and third base, a chance to be an everyday player in the majors.  Diaz is one year removed from arbitration eligibility.

Woodman was the Blue Jays’ second-round draft pick in 2016 and was the organization’s No. 28 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.  The outfielder, who bats left handed, hit .240 with an OPS of .699 in 96 games for the Jays’ Class-A Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League.  Woodman turns 23 this month and has played in both center field and right field defensively.

More details here.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals met with representatives of Giancarlo Stanton in Los Angeles this past week.  See details above.

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Marlins have agreed to general framework of deal with both the Cardinals and the Giants.  The final decision will be made by Stanton, and a decision is expected within the next 2-3 days, according to Craig Mish, sports radio host for SiriusXM.  Mish also reports that the Cardinals offer to the Marlins includes more money that the Giants are willing to pay.

Transactions

12/1 The Cardinals traded SS Aledmys Diaz to the Toronto Blue Jays for OF J.B. Woodman.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The deadline for tendering contracts to pre-arb and arbitration eligible players passed on Friday.  The Cardinals tendered 2018 contracts to all three of their eligibles – Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Randal Grichuk.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 10-14 in Orlando, Florida.  The Rule 5 draft will occur on the last day of the meetings.

The Cardinals annual Winter Warmup is scheduled for January 13-15 in St. Louis at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.  The annual BBWAA dinner is scheduled for Sunday the 14th at the Union Station Hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Tickets for the Winter Warmup are on sale now either online at Cardinals.com or at the Busch Stadium Box Office.  Admission tickets are $40 for the three-day event.

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past features the 1981 St. Louis Cardinals.  The 1981 season was the 100th season of the franchise, though the organization recognizes 1892 as its debut.

The 1981 Cardinals finished the truncated season with a record of 59-43, which placed them first in the National League East.  The season was shortened by a player’s strike that began on June 12 and ended on July 31, with the season resuming on August 9 with the All-Star game.  The strike forced cancellation of 38% of the MLB schedule.  Because the season was split into two halves, and the Cardinals finished in second place in both halves, they did not qualify for the playoffs.

The manager of the 1981 Cardinals was Whitey Herzog, his second season as manager.  Herzog also served as the Cardinals’ general manager, a position he would hold through the 1982 season.  The Cardinals were owned by Gussie Busch and Anheuser-Busch.

Keith Hernandez and George Hendrick

The Opening Day lineup that season was Garry Templeton (SS), Ken Oberkfell (3B), Keith Hernandez (1B), George Hendrick (RF), Darrell Porter (C), Sixto Lezcano (LF), Tony Scott (CF), Tom Herr (2B), and Bob Forsch (P).

The longest losing streak was five games, from Sept. 5-9.  The longest winning streak was eight games, from April 16-26.  The largest winning margin was a 13-0 victory over the Pirates on May 9.  The worst loss was a 10-0 defeat by the Cubs on Sept. 7.  Home/road splits were 32-21 at home, and 27-22 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Forsch, with a record of 10-5 and an ERA of 3.18.  Top position player performances came from Hernandez, with a slash line of .306/.401/.463, 8 HRs, 48 RBI, and Hendrick, slash line of .284/.356/.485, 18 HRs, 61 RBI.

Hernandez won his fourth Gold Glove Award in 1981.  The notable in-season trade was a June 7 swap of Scott for pitcher Joaquin Andujar, with the latter soon to become a star.

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 20-26

photo: Tyler O’Neill (Memphis Redbirds)

Cardinals add four to 40 man roster

Oscar Mercado (Springfield Cardinals)

In preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December, the St. Louis Cardinals added four minor league players to the 40-man roster.  The immediate benefit is to protect the four from being chosen in the Rule 5 draft.

The 40-man additions are outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Oscar Mercado and pitchers Austin Gomber and Derian Gonzalez.  They bring the 40-man roster up to 39 players.

O’Neill came to the Cardinals in July in the trade that sent Marco Gonzales to the Mariners.  The 22-year old finished the year with 31 home runs and 96 RBI between the Mariners Triple-A squad and the Cardinals Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

Mercado was drafted by the Cardinals in 2013 as a shortstop.  The Florida native was moved to the outfield and took over primary center field duties with the 2017 Springfield Cardinals.  Mercado posted a slash line of .287/.341/.428 in Double-A 120 games.

Austin Gomber (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Left hander Gomber went 10-7 with an ERA of 3.34 in 143 innings in his second season with Springfield.  Gomber was a fourth round pick by the Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Gonzalez, 22, pitched for the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals in 2017.  The right hander went 4-7 with an ERA of 4.33 in 18 games.  Gonzalez was signed as a non-drafted free agent from Venezuela in 2012.

Among the players not protected and thus eligible to be chosen in the Rule 5 draft are infielder Patrick Wisdom and pitchers Daniel Poncedeleon, Matt Pearce, and Trey Nielsen, along with many others.

Former Cards make first appearance on Hall of Fame ballot

As the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2018 was made public this past Monday, three former Cardinals made their first appearance – pitchers Chris Carpenter and Jason Isringhausen, and third baseman Scott Rolen. The former has been inducted into the team Hall of Fame with the latter two having appeared on the ballot.

Chris Carpenter, Scott Rolen, Jason Isringhausen (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Along with Carpenter, Isringhausen, and Rolen, former Cardinal Larry Walker is up for consideration for the eighth year.  Also on the ballot is Jamie Moyer, who made eight appearances for the Cardinals in 1991.

Carpenter was signed as a free agent by the Cardinals in 2002 after pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays, who drafted him in 1993.  Carpenter was granted free agency in 2013 and then retired.  The right handed pitcher missed the 2003 season due to injury, then went on to pitch for nine seasons with the Cardinals.  Carpenter won the Cy Young Award in 2005, and finished in the top three for the honors in 2006 and 2009, and had a record as a Cardinal of 95-44 with an ERA of 3.07.

Isringhausen pitched seven seasons for the Cardinals, from 2002 to 2008.  The reliever was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 2001.  Isringhausen is the franchise all-time saves leader with 217, and topped the 2004 NL with 47. The latter tied Lee Smith for the team record, since passed by Trevor Rosenthal in 2015.

Rolen was acquired by the Cardinals in a mid-season trade with the Phillies in 2002.   The third sacker played during six seasons with St. Louis, appearing in five All Star games, and winning four Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger as a Cardinal.  Rolen batted .286 and had 111 home runs and 453 RBI with the club before he was traded to the Blue Jays in 2008.

The Hall of Fame voters, members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America with at least 10 years of experience, have until the end of the year to submit their ballots.  The results will be announced on January 24, 2018.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that in addition to Giancarlo Stanton (for whom the Cardinals reportedly made a formal offer to acquire), the team has also expressed interest in two other Marlins outfielders, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.

Goold reports that the Cardinals are also interested in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Transactions

11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of OF Oscar Mercado from the Springfield Cardinals.

11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Derian Gonzalez from the Palm Beach Cardinals.

11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of LHP Austin Gomber from the Springfield Cardinals.

11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RF Tyler O’Neill from the Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals have finalized the 40-man roster for the upcoming Rule 5 draft and have one open roster spot that could be used to select a player.  The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 14, the final day of the Winter Meetings.  The Winter Meetings begin on December 10, and will be held in Orlando Florida.

The deadline for teams to tender contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players is December 1.   The Cardinals have three arbitration eligible players – Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Randal Grichuk.  All should be tendered, though all may not remain with St. Louis for 2017. Grichuk has been rumored to be involved in trade talks.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment covers the 1949 St. Louis Cardinals.  The 1949 season ended a decade in which the club won four NL pennants and three World Series Championships.  It was the 58th season of the franchise as recognized by the club.

St. Louis finished the 1949 season in second place in the National League with a record of 96-58. The Cards came in just one game behind the Dodgers after losing the lead on September 29.  The manager that season was Eddie Dyer, who led the club from 1946 to 1950.  Dyer had been a Cardinals pitcher from 1922-1927.  The general manager in 1949 was William Walsingham Jr. and the owner was Fred Saigh.

The Opening Day starters for the 1949 season were Del Rice (C), Nippy Jones (1B), Red Schoendienst (2B), Marty Marion (SS), Tommy Glaviano (3B), Stan Musial (CF), Ron Northey (RF), and Enos Slaughter (LF).

1949 Cardinals team photo

The longest losing streak was four games, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1.  The longest winning streak was nine games, from July 20 to July 30.  The largest winning margin was 14-1 defeat of the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 24.  The worst loss was to the same Brooklyn Dodgers on Sept. 22, a drubbing of 19-6.  Home/road splits were 51-26 at home, and 45-32 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Howie Pollet, who forged a 20-9 record and an ERA of 2.77.  All five starters posted ERAs under 4.00. The best offensive performer was Musial, who batted .338 with 36 home runs and 123 RBI. He and Slaughter came in second and third, respectively, in the NL Most Valuable Player voting, won by Jackie Robinson.

Other notable players who played on the 1949 squad were Joe Garagiola, catcher and future broadcaster, and Solly Hemus, who would become the Cardinals manager from 1959-1961.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: John Nogowski

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 13-19

photo: Paul DeJong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lynn rejects qualifying offer

As expected, free agent starting pitcher Lance Lynn has declined his qualifying offer for the 2018 season made by the St. Louis Cardinals last week.  Lynn was one of nine players to receive the qualifying offer across MLB, and all nine rejected them.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Lynn’s decline means the Cardinals will receive a compensation pick in next year’s draft if Lynn signs with another team.  That pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B, following the second round, which currently ends with pick number 75.  Where the Cardinals will pick will be slotted will depend on the value of any contract Lynn signs with another team.

Last season, the 30-year old right-hander made 33 starts and had a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.43.  Lynn pitched in 2017 a year after getting Tommy John surgery.

Competitive Balance pick in the 2018 draft

The Cardinals will receive a Competitive Balance pick in the 2018 draft due to being in the bottom 10 of MLB teams in either revenue or market size. Last season, the Cardinals’ pick was in Competitive Balance Round B, but was forfeited to Houston. In 2018, their pick moves up to Round A, following the first regular round, and is currently slotted at number 39 overall.

In addition to the Cardinals, the Pirates, Rays, Orioles, Padres, Diamondbacks, Royals, Indians and Rockies, in that order, complete Round A.

DeJong second for Rookie of the Year

Cardinals rookie shortstop Paul DeJong finished second to Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger in the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year balloting.  Bellinger was a unanimous pick.

Paul DeJong (USA TODAY Sports Images)

From the 30 voters, two from each NL city, DeJong received 15 second place votes, and 11 third place votes.  The Pirates’ Josh Bell finished third with 10 second place votes and two third place votes.

DeJong made his MLB debut on May 28, and took over the shortstop job after Aledmys Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.  DeJong hit 25 home runs with St. Louis, and cemented the shortstop position for the remainder of the season.  His 25 home runs made him the first rookie to lead the Cardinals in home runs since Albert Pujols in 2001. DeJong ranked second among all NL rookies in 2017 in home runs and extra base hits, behind Bellinger.

No Cardinals were among the finalists for the 2017 Cy Young Award, Manager of the Year and Most Valuable Player.

Outfield move for Fowler?

Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak visited outfielder Dexter Fowler in Las Vegas recently to discuss a number of issues, one of which was a possible move out of center field for the 2018 season.

In an effort to improve defense, the Cardinals will consider moving Fowler to a corner position, and put Tommy Pham in center field.  Though hampered somewhat by injuries in 2017, Fowler’s defense in center field in terms of his defensive metrics fell considerably from 2016.  From a Defensive Runs Saved of +1 in 2016, Fowler’s numbers in DRS fell to -18 in 2017.

Fowler has never played a corner outfield position in his major league career.

Another Hall of Fame shot for Simmons

The Modern Era ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame includes ten names – Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Luis Tiant, Alan Trammell and former Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons.

The vote of the 16-member Modern Baseball Era Committee will occur on December 10 with 75 percent of the ballots cast needed. Winners will be inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown on July 29, 2018.

The regular Hall 2018 ballot will be announced on Monday, November 20. Along with those 2017 candidates who finished with between five percent and 75 percent of the vote, first-time eligibles for the ballot include former Cardinals Chris Carpenter, Jason Isringhausen and Scott Rolen.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Jon Morosi of mlb.com reports that the Cardinals are interested in relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler.  In a tweet on Wednesday, Morosi reported that the Cardinals have discussed reliever Alex Colome in trade talks with the Rays.

Morosi also tweeted on Sunday that the Cardinals have made a formal trade offer to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that while the Cardinals have no interest in free agent J.D. Martinez, there have been internal discussions concerning free agent outfielder Carlos Gonzalez.

Rob Rains reported that free agent first baseman Logan Morrison is considering offers from the Cardinals and the Angels.

In a related item, the Post-Dispatch reported that 2017 first baseman Matt Carpenter has been told to prepare to play multiple defensive positions in 2018.

Transactions

There are no transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

November 20 at 7:00 p.m. CT is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  The Cardinals have made subtractions from the roster by releasing Trevor Rosenthal and outrighting Alex Mejia and Alberto Rosario.  Further subtractions could occur on November 20.  The 40-man roster now stands at 35 players. Key additions may include outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Oscar Mercado and pitcher Austin Gomber.

The deadline for teams to tender contracts to pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players is December 1.  The Cardinals have three arbitration eligible players – Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, and Randal Grichuk.  Grichuk has been rumored to be a trade candidate.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 10-14 in Orlando, FL.  The Rule 5 Draft will occur on the 14th.

Blast from the Past

In last week’s history segment, I discussed the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals team.  This week I jump two decades ahead to remember the Cardinals of 1990.

The 1990 Cardinals finished the season with a record of 70-92 and finished sixth in the National League East (last place).  The 1990 season was the end of Whitey Herzog’s tenure as the Cardinals manager.  Herzog resigned at mid-season and was replaced first by Red Schoendienst in an interim capacity, and then by Joe Torre, who served as the Cardinals manager until he was fired in June of 1995.  St. Louis’ GM in 1990 was Dal Maxvill.

Willie McGee (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Opening Day starters were Tom Brunansky (RF), Vince Coleman (LF), Pedro Guerrero (1B), Joe Magrane (SP), Willie McGee (CF), Jose Oquendo (2B), Terry Pendleton (3B), Ozzie Smith (SS), and Todd Zeile (C).

The club’s longest losing streak was seven games, from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3.  The longest winning streak was four games, twice, from July 19-22 and Aug. 9-12.  The largest winning margin was an 11-0 defeat of the Phillies on April 13.  The worst defeat was an 18-2 loss to the Expos on June 8.  Home/road splits were 34-47 at home and 36-45 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was John Tudor, with a record of 12-4 and an ERA of 2.40.  On the position player side, Guerrero had a slash line of .281/.334/.426, hit 13 home runs and drove in 80.

Smith was awarded his 11th Gold Glove at shortstop in 1990.

McGee won the NL batting title with a batting average of .335. However, McGee did not play the entire 1990 season with St. Louis, as he was traded on August 29 to the Oakland Athletics.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Surprise Manager Spike Owen on Cardinals AFL Prospects

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of November 6-12

photo: Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Wainwright wins first Silver Slugger

Adam Wainwright (USA TODAY Sports Images)

2017 Silver Slugger awards were announced this past Thursday, and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright was the National League honoree at his position.  The award was Wainwright’s first for his bat rather than his arm.

Wainwright is the third pitcher in franchise history to win the Silver Slugger.  Past recipients were Bob Forsch, who won twice in 1980 and 1987, and Jason Marquis, who was selected in 2005.  The award originated in 1980.

Wainwright led all MLB pitchers with 11 RBI and seven runs scored.  The right hander also topped all pitchers with at least 40 plate appearances in SLG (.452) and OPS (.731).  Wainwright has often stated his goal was to win the Silver Slugger and that was achieved with his 2017 performance at the plate.

In other award news, eight-time Gold Glove winner Yadier Molina failed to win that award for the second consecutive season.  Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart was the 2017 winner, unseating Buster Posey.  Additionally, shortstop Paul DeJong was announced as one of the three finalists for the Rookie of the Year award, which will be given out on November 13.

Cardinals make Lynn qualifying offer

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The deadline to make a qualifying offer to free agents came and went this past Monday, and the Cardinals made one such offer to pitcher Lance Lynn.  In addition to Lynn, three other Cardinals pitchers were free agents, Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Zach Duke.  The Cardinals did not extend the qualifying offer to any of the three.

The qualifying offer is for a one-year contract at $17.4 million.  Lynn has 10 days from 4pm CT on November 16, to accept or decline the offer.   Should Lynn decline, the Cardinals will receive a compensatory pick following Competitive Balance Round B in the June 2018 draft.

The 30-year old starter pitched in 2017 after missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery.  Lynn finished the season with a record of 11-8 and an ERA of 3.43 in 33 starts.  Though Lynn indicated during the season that he would welcome remaining with St. Louis, the team did not engage in extension talks with the right-handed hurler.

Lynn is not expected to accept the offer, given that he has expressed the desire for a multi-year contract.

Cardinals cut ties with reliever Rosenthal

Trevor Rosenthal (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals announced this past Monday that they have given pitcher Trevor Rosenthal his unconditional release. Next season will be Rosenthal’s final year of arbitration, eligibility and he will miss all or part of it due to Tommy John surgery.

The right-handed reliever was drafted by the Cardinals in 2009 and was paid a salary of $6.4 million in 2017.  Rosenthal made his major league debut in 2012 and ranks sixth all time in the Cardinals franchise with 121 saves.  He set the club’s single season record with 48 saves in 2015.

The Cardinals could bring Rosenthal back under a different contract structure, or allow him to seek employment elsewhere as a free agent.  Rosenthal had Tommy John surgery in August, and with an expected recovery time of 12-18 months, the right hander could miss all, or a considerable part of, next season.

Other moves made by the Cardinals include outrighting second baseman Alex Mejia and catcher Alberto Rosario off the 40 man roster.  The moves reduced the 40-man roster to 35 players.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Giancarlo Stanton (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals continue to be linked to a pursuit of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.  Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals are “determined” in their interest in Stanton.  Goold stated that the Cardinals are interested in other players on the Miami roster as well, including reliever Brad Ziegler.  Conversations with the Marlins are expected to continue during the GM Meetings in Orlando, FL during the coming week.  Other teams reported to be in the Stanton mix are the Giants, the Phillies and the Red Sox.

Goold also mentions in his same article on the Cardinals pursuit of Stanton that the Cardinals continue to be interested in Blue Jays infielder Josh Donaldson, though recent reports suggest the Jays are unlikely to deal him.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports believes the Cardinals may pursue relief pitcher Greg Holland and outfielder Jay Bruce.  Holland has been mentioned previously as someone in whom the Cardinals are interested.  Heyman’s report concerning Bruce is the first mention of any link to the outfielder.

Transactions

11/6 The Cardinals activated RHP Alex Reyes from the 60 day disabled list.

11/6 The Cardinals sent 2B Alex Mejia outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

11/6 The Cardinals sent C Alberto Rosario outright to the Memphis Redbirds.

11/6 The Cardinals released RHP Trevor Rosenthal.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

It was announced on Monday of this past week that the Cardinals have made a qualifying offer to pitcher Lance Lynn.  The qualifying offer is for 1 year, at a salary of $17.4 million dollars.  Lynn has 10 days to make a decision whether to accept or reject the offer.  Such decision by Lynn must be made prior to 4:00 pm CT on Thursday, November 16.   If Lynn rejects the offer, the Cardinals will get a draft pick as compensation, a pick that will occur after Competitive Balance Round B in next year’s June draft.  The Cardinals did not make qualifying offers to any of their other free agents.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  Several of the awards have already been given out.   The following is a list of the remaining offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

November 20 is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft in December.  Look for movement to and from the Cardinals roster between now and November 20.  That movement could include trades, as well as outrighting or releasing of existing 40 man players.

The GM Meeting begin this week in Orlando, Florida, running from Monday through Thursday.  It is expected that talks concerning a trade for Stanton, as well as others will occur during these meetings.

Blast from the Past

Last week, the history segment focused on the 1959 Cardinals.  This week, I jump ahead two decades to the 70s and showcase the 1978 club.  The 70s, like the 50s, were an indifferent decade for the franchise.  The team finished no higher than second in three seasons during the decade, and as low as fifth out of six teams in two more years, including 1978.

The 1978 Cardinals finished the season with a record of 69-93, 21 games back of the first-place Phillies.   The team had three managers during the season.  1978 began with Vern Rapp as skipper.  Rapp had been the manager for the entire 1977 season, and was very unpopular with his players.  After a seven game losing streak early in the 1978 season, Rapp was fired on April 25.  Rapp was succeeded temporarily by coach Jack Krol for two games, then former Cardinals third baseman Ken Boyer managed for the remainder of the season.  Boyer remained manager for two more seasons.  The general manager for the 1978 Cardinals was Bing Devine, who was fired at the end of the season.

The Opening Day starters were Lou Brock (LF), John Denny (SP), Keith Hernandez (1B), Jerry Morales (RF), Ken Reitz (3B), Tony Scott (CF), Ted Simmons (C), Garry Templeton (SS), and Mike Tyson (2B, not the boxer).

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

The longest losing streak during the season was 11 games, from May 12-23. The longest winning streak was five games, from August 5 through a doubleheader on August 8. The game with the highest winning margin was a 12-2 defeat of the Expos on April 26. The worst game was a 12-1 drubbing by the Braves on June 13. The team’s best month that season was August, when they went 18-11. Their home/road splits were 37-44 at home and 32-49 on the road.

The starting pitcher with the best record that season was Denny, who was 14-11 with an ERA of 2.96.  The best offensive performance was from catcher Ted Simmons, who had a slash line of .287/.377/.512.  Simmons hit 22 home runs, and drove in 80. (It was also announced this week that Simmons is among the Modern Era candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

First baseman Keith Hernandez won a Gold Glove.

One notable event not involving a Cardinal was a no-hitter pitched against the Cardinals on June 6 by Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Seaver.  It was the only no-hit performance of Seaver’s Hall of Fame career.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Prospect Interview: Andy Young

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/11/17

photo: Edmundo Sosa (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results from the Arizona Fall League Military Appreciation Game played on Saturday, November 11.

Peoria Javelinas 11 at Surprise Saguaros 10

In a slugfest on Saturday night between Surprise and Peoria, the Saguaros’ four-run lead was erased in a comeback over the final two innings by the winning Javelinas.

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players were in the starting lineup for the Saguaros.  Center fielder Oscar Mercado hit leadoff and was 1-for-5 on the night with two strikeouts.  Mercado’s lone hit was a fourth inning single, after which he stole his sixth base of the AFL season.

Mercado was involved in a scary outfield collision with right fielder and Twins prospect LaMonte Wade in the second inning as the latter’s head came into contact with the former’s hip.  Mercado was uninjured, though shaken up, and remained in the game.  Wade was carried off the field and taken to a nearby hospital with a concussion. His chest and back reportedly checked out ok. Mercado was able to catch the fly ball during the play for the out.

Here is video of the collision.

https://twitter.com/MorrieSilver8/status/929524410373033986

Edmundo Sosa (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Edmundo Sosa played second base and batted seventh, finishing 1-for-2 with fifth-inning single. The infielder also drew two walks, and came around to score on a fourth inning grand slam by teammate Nicky Lopez.  The second baseman also had a baserunning miscue when he was picked off first base in the third inning after his first free pass.

One Cardinals hurler made an appearance Saturday.  Josh Lucas pitched the ninth, and after a ground-rule double, sacrifice bunt, walk and fielders’ choice, yielded the Javelina’s winning run to take the loss, his second in the AFL.

The Saguaros setback puts their record at 11-15 with one week left in the season.  Surprise is in last place in the AFL West, four games back of the first place Javelinas.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: Oscar Mercado

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/10/17

photo: Sandy Alcantara (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 10.

Surprise Saguaros 11 at Peoria Javelinas 5

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Surprise was dominant on Friday night, defeating the first-place Javelinas by the score of 11-5.  Two St. Louis Cardinals position players and two Cardinals pitchers made appearances in this contest.

Right hander Sandy Alcantara was the starting pitcher for the Saguaros. He pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while fanning four and walking none.  Alcantara was relieved Arturo Reyes.  Reyes allowed two runs on three hits in two innings of relief.  Reyes struck out two and walked one.

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Center fielder Oscar Mercado and catcher Andrew Knizner were in the starting lineup.  Mercado hit in the two-spot and was 1-for-5 with an RBI.  The outfielder singled to plate a run in the fifth, a high scoring inning for Surprise.  Knizner also singled in a run in the same inning.  The number five hitter was 2-for-5 on the night; in addition to the RBI single, the catcher doubled in the second.

With a week left in the AFL season, Knizner is hitting .333 with three home runs and 11 RBI.  Mercado is batting .261 with eight RBI and five steals in five attempts.

Alcantara has a record of 1-2 and an ERA of 4.20 in the AFL season to date.  Reyes’ AFL ERA is 6.23.

Surprise is 11-14 and tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs, three games back of the Javelinas in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Peoria, Tyler Davis (1-0, 2.25) 7:08 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: Oscar Mercado

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 30-November 5

photo: 1959 St. Louis Cardinals

Molina to head Puerto Rican team

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The online Puerto Rican publication Primerhora.com reports that St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been named by the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation to head its U23 National Team.  The team will play in the premundial category tournament from November 23 to December 3 in Panama.

Molina will be supported by World Cup coaches Jose Cruz, Jose Molina, and Victor Ramos.  A list of players has not yet been published, but the roster will have 22 players, 75% of whom will be active major and minor leaguers.  The remainder will be amateurs.

Molina will be in charge of selecting the players and obtaining the necessary permits from the players’ current organizations.  He will also pay for the trip and the accommodations for each player.  Molina has arranged for the team to train at the Cardinals’ Spring Training facility in Jupiter, Florida.

Update: Among the players participating is Cardinals shortstop prospect Delvin Perez.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Peter Gammons of Gammons Daily reported that the Cardinals have made “one of their best young pitchers” available for a possible trade for Marlins’ outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.  Stanton’s remaining contract with the Marlins is sizeable, and Gammons stated that the Cardinals would expect the Marlins ownership to retain the payment of some of the money owed Stanton if the Cardinals were to trade a top prospect.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are looking at the free agent market for a closer and the club has reached out to agents of several free agent relievers as yet unnamed. Free agent relievers available include Greg Holland, Anthony Swarzak, Bryan Shaw, and Juan Nicasio. Nicasio, who was acquired by the Cardinals in September from the Philadelphia Phillies, is now a free agent.  Also available are Wade Davis and Brandon Kintzler, already established closers.

Transactions

11/2: Pitchers Juan Nicasio, Seung-Hwan-Oh, Lance Lynn, and Zach Duke all elected free agency.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

On November 2, all pending free agents became eligible to elect free agency.  Four Cardinals pitchers have elected free agency.  They are Juan Nicacio, Lance Lynn, Seung-Hwan Oh, and Zach Duke.   A quiet period, where teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions, ends at 4 pm CST on Monday, November 6.  Other teams are prohibited during this period from negotiating with or entering into contracts with another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.  It has been reported that the Cardinals are unlikely to make a qualifying offer to any of the four free agent pitchers, though the possibility remains for Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

November 20 is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft on December 14.  Look for movement to and from the Cardinals roster between now and November 20.  That movement could include trades, as well as outrighting or releasing of existing 40-man players.

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

In past history segments, the author has written articles based on current events occurring during the week.  Now that the baseball season has concluded, this and future history segments during the offseason will often be based on past Cardinals’ teams chosen at random.

The segment this week has a connection to me.  I recently celebrated a birthday, and thus have chosen the year of my birth, 1959, as the focus this week.

The 1959 St. Louis Cardinals played in the 78th season of the Cardinals’ franchise.   The team finished the season with a record of 71-83, which put them seventh in the National League (there were no divisions in 1959).  The National League pennant and World Series winner that year was the Los Angeles Dodgers; the Cardinals finished 16 games back.

Solly Hemus

The manager of the 1959 Cardinals was Solly Hemus.  Hemus began as player-manager, but was released as a player in mid-June of that year.  The General Manager was Bing Devine and the team was owned by August (Gussie) Busch Jr.

Among the players from that team who should be familiar to Cardinals’ fans are infielder Stan Musial, pitcher Bob Gibson, and catcher Tim McCarver.  It was McCarver’s rookie year; he did not make his MLB debut until September 10 at the age of 17 (and he turned 18 a month later).  Other familiar names are Ernie Broglio (who was later traded to the Cubs for Lou Brock), Ken Boyer, and Curt Flood.

The Opening Day starter in 1959 was Larry Jackson.  The top MVP vote getter on the team was third baseman Ken Boyer, who placed 10th in the voting.  Boyer led the team in home runs with 28, and RBI with 94.  Jackson finished the season with a record of 14-13 and an ERA of 3.30 over his 256 innings.

Notable games in the 1959 season included a pair of 11-1 blowouts of the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, on May 9 and May 20, respectively.  The worst losses were a 11-0 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies on July 9, and a 18-2 drubbing by the Pirates on August 6.

The longest losing streak in that season was seven games from August 18 through August 25.  The team had four four-game winning streaks in that season.

Boyer won a Gold Glove, one of his five Gold Gloves in all, four of which were consecutive, from 1958 through 1961.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Winter Pitchers Report: 2017-2018 Period 2

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/4/17

photo: Jordan Hicks, Sandy Alcantara, Andrew Knizner (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

AFL West 2 at AFL East 4

The Arizona Fall League Fall All Stars Game was played on Saturday night at Salt River Fields and in front of a national audience on MLB Network.  The AFL West team was defeated by the AFL East squad by the score of 4-2, powered by a three-run East comeback in the bottom of the eighth.

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Two Cardinals appeared for the West.

On the pitching side, St. Louis Cardinals prospect Sandy Alcantara pitched two innings in relief of the starting pitcher for the AFL West, Mitch Keller.  Alcantara kept the East off the board over the third and fourth innings.  The right hander struck out two and walked none, while allowing two hits, a single and a double.

(Editor’s note: Alcantara showed at least three different pitches, a fastball in the 98-99 mph range,  his plus change up and slider. The hard-hit double into the left field corner in the third came on a fastball thrown to Baltimore third baseman Ryan Mountcastle, the East’s number three hitter. In his second inning of work, after I had moved from the guns to taking photos, Alcantara reportedly threw a 100 mph offering.)

Cardinals pitcher Jordan Hicks did not appear in the contest.

Catcher Andrew Knizner was not in the starting lineup, but became the defensive substitution for starting catcher Max Pentecost in the bottom of the sixth inning.  Knizner had one plate appearance, in the top of the ninth inning, and grounded out.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 11/3/17

photo: Arturo Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, November 3.

Surprise Saguaros 4, Salt River Rafters 1

Oscar Mercado (Springfield Cardinals)

The Saguaros defeated the Rafters on Friday with the help of six Cardinal prospects.  Four position players were in the starting lineup, and two pitchers made appearances out of the bullpen.  Three of the four Saguaros runs were driven in by Cardinals.

Oscar Mercado, playing center field and batting third, went 1-for-4 with two RBI.  Mercado’s fifth inning single drove in two after the ball caromed off the third baseman and traveled into left field.  Andrew Knizner started as the Surprise catcher and batted clean up.  Knizner launched a solo home run in the eighth inning for his only hit of the game.  He fanned once in four at-bats.

Edmundo Sosa batted in the seventh spot and played third base.  Sosa was 2-for-4 and scored a run.  John Nogowski played first base and hit in the eight hole. Nogowski was 1-for-3 including a strikeout.

Arturo Reyes (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Josh Lucas and Arturo Reyes pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively.  Both pitchers tossed scoreless innings with identical lines of one hit allowed and one strikeout.  Reyes earned his first AFL save with Lucas receiving a hold, also his first in the league.

Knizner, along with pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Jordan Hicks, will represent the Cardinals and the West Division in the AFL Fall Stars Game, to be played on Saturday night and televised on MLB Network.

Saturday’s game:  The 2017 AFL Fall Stars Game will take place at Salt River Fields at 7:00 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Winter Hitters Report: 2018-2019 Period 2

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 23-29

photo: David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the World Series continues, the St. Louis Cardinals filled their coaching staff for 2018 and Yadier Molina has again placed among the top three for the Gold Glove Award.  In our history feature, the unforgettable Game 6 of the 2011 World Series is remembered.

Molina repeats as Gold Glove Award finalist

Once again in his distinguished career, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has been named one of three finalists for the Rawlings National League Gold Glove Award for catcher.  The annual award will be given out during a televised award show on November 7, at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN.

Yadier Molina (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Molina was a finalist in 2016, but lost out to Giants catcher Buster Posey.  That loss broke a string of eight consecutive awards over Molina’s career.  For the prestigious award, Molina is once again among the top three scorers with Posey, as well as Reds’ catcher Tucker Barnhart joining them this year.

Should the catcher win his ninth Gold Glove Award, he will move into a tie with Bob Gibson for the second most Gold Gloves in Cardinals’ franchise history.  Ozzie Smith has the most Gold Gloves as a Cardinal with 11.  Only two catchers in history have more Gold Gloves than Molina – Ivan Rodriguez with 13 and Johnny Bench with 10.

The very durable 35-year old backstop logged 1,125 2/3 innings behind the plate in 2017, the eighth time in the last nine seasons Molina has caught more than 1,100 innings.  His 133 starts led all Major League catchers.  His 36% caught stealing rate was third among NL catchers with at least 100 games played.

The award is voted on by managers and coaches, with 25% of the rating being a sabermetric component established as an index by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).  Molina’s Defensive Runs Saved for 2017 was a +3, which is considerably lower than the +21 compiled by his competition, Tucker Barnhart.  Barnhart did catch 200 fewer innings than Molina.

The winner of the Gold Glove at each position are then eligible for the Platinum Glove, which recognizes the best defensive player in each league.  Molina has won the Platinum Glove four times – in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Cardinals fill coaching staff

The Cardinals announced four additions to manager Mike Matheny’s coaching staff this past week.  Three of the four coaches are internal hires, with one coming from outside the organization.

Mike Maddux (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Mike Maddux, former pitching coach for the Brewers, Rangers and Nationals, was hired to replace the dismissed Derek Lilliquist.  To replace the also dismissed Blaise Ilsley as bullpen coach, the Cardinals promoted Bryan Eversgerd.

Maddux, 56, was the pitching coach for the Washington Nationals for the last two seasons, but was dismissed along with manager Dusty Baker following the Nationals loss in NLDS.  The availability of Maddux became known after the Cardinals had already dismissed Lilliquist, and had reportedly interviewed former Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey.  Maddux was the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers from 2009-2015, including during the Rangers’ infamous loss to the Cardinals in the 2011 World Series.  Prior to the Rangers, Maddux was the pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2008.  Maddux is the brother of Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux.

Bryan Eversgerd (St. Louis Cardinals)

Eversgerd, 48, has been the pitching coach for the Memphis Redbirds for the past five seasons.  He also coached for the Springfield Cardinals, and several of the Cardinals’ Class A affiliates.  Eversgerd was a major league pitcher from 1994 to 1998.  His major league career began and ended with the Cardinals, during 1994 and 1998 seasons. In between, Eversgerd played for the Montreal Expos in 1995, and the Texas Rangers in 1997.

Jose Oquendo (USA TODAY Sports Images)

In addition to Maddux and Eversgerd, the Cardinals sought and obtained the return of Jose Oquendo as third base coach, and have added former outfielder and Cardinals Hall of Famer Willie McGee to Matheny’s coaching staff.

Oquendo’s return to the third base coaching position follows a two year stint away from Matheny’s staff.  Oquendo took a leave of absence in March 2016 after multiple knee surgeries.  The former St. Louis infielder remained employed by the organization, serving as a special assistant to the GM, working with minor league players at the Cardinals spring training facility in Florida for the past two seasons.  Before his two-year absence, Oquendo spent 16 years on the Cardinals’ coaching staff, and played for St. Louis during the majority of his 12 season major league career.

Willie McGee (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

McGee, 58, played 13 of his 18 major league seasons as an outfielder for the Cardinals.  He was hired as a special assistant to the GM in 2013, has been a regular guest instructor at Cardinals’ Spring Training, and made visits to assist with instruction of the major league team.  McGee has not been given an official title as a member of Matheny’s staff.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The World Series continues, with Game 5 to be played in Houston on Sunday night, then moving to Los Angeles for Game 6 on Tuesday.  What to expect once the World Series concludes, follows.

Lance Lynn (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  A quiet period follows, when teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with, another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering making the qualifying offer only to Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

This week’s history segment goes back only a short time, but marks an event that will likely be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, World Series game in MLB history.  Saturday, October 28, marked the sixth anniversary of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series between the Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.

That Game 6, the greatest Game 6, was won by the Cardinals by a score of 10-9 after four hours and 33 minutes of head scratching errors, pickoffs, wild pitches and passed balls, plus finger-nail biting, hair-pulling stress, never before experienced by any major league baseball team (or at the very least by this writer).

The Cardinals were down three games to two coming into Game 6.  The game was tied 2-2 in the fourth inning when the fun started.   A pop fly unbelievably fell between Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal and outfielder Matt Holliday.  Then a grounder to the mound was airmailed over second base by Cardinals reliever Fernando Salas.  An RBI single by Mike Napoli put the Rangers in the lead, and Cardinal Nation groaned.  Fortunately, the Rangers couldn’t tack on any more in that inning despite the St. Louis defense looking like the Keystone Cops on steroids.

David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Texas defense wasn’t much better, which kept St. Louis in the game. Yadier Molina grounded out in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score.  Cardinals third baseman David Freese decided the previous inning’s follies weren’t enough, and took a popup off his head for another error just to prove it.  The Rangers took a one run lead again in the fifth when a double scored the runner who reached on the botched popup.

The Cardinals re-tied the score in the sixth inning because the Rangers’ pitcher went aiming for Yadier Molina’s face and walked him to force in a run via a bases loaded walk.  Maybe another bases loaded run would have occurred on a wild pitch had Matt Holliday not decided to take a nap at third base; you guessed it, he was picked off.

The Rangers took a two-run lead in the seventh via home runs, which made Lance Lynn unhappy.  Octavio Dotel was unhappy when the lead was increased to three runs by Ian Kinsler.   Everyone was sure the Rangers were the World Series winners – almost everyone, that is.  The intrepid Cardinals weren’t going to let defense and baserunning bungling ruin a perfectly good World Series game.

So Allen Craig did his Allen Craig thing and hit a home run.  The Cardinals were only losing by two, but it became the ninth inning and things looked bleak.  Albert Pujols doubled.  Lance Berkman walked.  Then there were two outs and David Freese came to the plate, the popup to the head guy.  Down to his last strike, he hit a line drive to right, and Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz thought he saw something whiz past him, but he wasn’t sure.  Too late; it was a game-tying triple.  David Freese forgot the popup to his head.

So extra innings happened.  Josh Hamilton hit a two-run home run and the Rangers took their lead back.  Again, it looked like the Rangers had won the World Series.  Nuh-uh.  In the home 10th, Daniel Descalso and Jon Jay reached base.  Kyle Lohse bunted.  Ryan Theriot grounded out and Descalso came home.  Albert Pujols was sent to first base because the Rangers were afraid of him.  They should have been afraid of Lance Berkman instead.  With the final strike of the game just moments away for the second time, Berkman singled to tie the game.  Again.

The Rangers didn’t score in the top of the 11th.  Popup guy came to bat in the bottom of the 11th.  He hit a home run to the grass in center field and Joe Buck told everyone listening that he would see them tomorrow night.  Chaos ensued.  Clothing was ripped off popup guy.  There was much rejoicing.  Tim McCarver didn’t understand how it all happened.

Game 7 came and the Rangers just didn’t have it in them.  The rest is history.  Glorious history.

(Editor’s note: Former ESPN scribe Anna McDonald recently published a series of articles consisting of extensive quotes from the newsmakers of the 2011 World Series. I encourage you to read them all, but here is the specific link to her Game 6 quotes.)

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Potential Price of “Pouncing” on Free Agent Greg Holland

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/28/17

photo: Sandy Alcantara (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 28.

Surprise Saguaros 3, Scottsdale Scorpions 11

Sandy Alcantara (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros dropped a laugher to the Scorpions on Saturday. Surprise starter and Cardinal Sandy Alcantara was the losing pitcher.  The right-hander gave up three runs on four hits, including a two run home run, in four innings pitched.  Alcantara struck out seven and walked two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch. He suffered his second loss in the AFL, while his ERA grew to 5.73.

Pitching in relief were Cardinals Arturo Reyes and Josh Lucas.  Reyes pitched one inning following Alcantara, and surrendered one run on a hit and a walk. Reyes fanned a pair. Josh Lucas pitched a scoreless ninth with one hit allowed.

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Three Cardinals hitters were in the starting lineup.  Andrew Knizner batted cleanup as the DH, and was 1-for-4 with an RBI, his 10th in 10 AFL games.  Oscar Mercado started in center and hit in the two hole, going 0-for-5, including a strikeout.  Edmundo Sosa, playing second base, batted ninth and was 1-for-4 with a strikeout.  Knizner’s and Sosa’s hits were singles.

The Saguaros fell to 7-9 in the AFL West. They remain tied with the Glendale Desert Dogs, with both teams three games back of the Peoria Javelinas.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Potential Price of “Pouncing” on Free Agent Greg Holland

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/27/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 27.

Surprise Saguaros 5 at Scottsdale Scorpions 6

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros lost another close contest on Friday against the Scottsdale Scorpions.  Two Cardinals appeared in this game.

Andrew Knizner, last week’s AFL Player of the Week, started at first base, hitting third in the lineup.  Knizner went 1-for-4 with two RBI.  A third inning single by the first sacker with two outs brought two runs home for Surprise, and tied the game.  A throwing error by Knizner in the sixth put a runner on, but no harm was done as that runner did not score.

Knizner is batting .351 in AFL action with two home runs and nine RBI in nine games.

John Nogowski (Sioux City Explorers)

Taxi squad player John Nogowski was Surprise’s designated hitter. The fifth-place batter went 0-for-4, with a line out, two fly outs and a damaging ground into double play in the eighth inning. Down one run in the eighth, Surprise had three singles, but could not tie the score. In addition to the double play, a Saguaros runner was thrown out at home.

None of the Cardinals four pitchers saw action.

The Saguaros are 7-8 in the AFL West, tied with Glendale, and two games behind Peoria.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Scottsdale, Sandy Alcantara (0-1, 5.14) 1:35 CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Potential Price of “Pouncing” on Free Agent Greg Holland

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 16-22

photo: David Bell (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bench coach David Bell departs

St. Louis Cardinals bench coach David Bell has left the organization to become Vice President for Player Development for the San Francisco Giants.

David Bell (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bell served as the Cardinals bench coach for the past three seasons and was the assistant hitting coach in 2014.  Before joining the organization, the 45-year old spent one season as the third base coach for the Chicago Cubs.  Bell began his coaching career in the Cincinnati Reds’ minor league system.

Bell played four seasons for the Cardinals from 1995-1998 as a bench infielder.  His career in the majors totaled 12 years, including one season with the Giants.  Bell also played for Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

Bell’s father and grandfather were also major league players.  His brother, Mike Bell, was a third baseman for a short time with the Cincinnati Reds, while his father Buddy Bell, played for the Reds from 1985-1988, and also had seasons with Cleveland, Texas, and Houston.  Buddy Bell managed from 1996 to 2007 with the Tigers, the Rockies, and the Royals, and currently serves as Vice President and Assistant General Manager for the White Sox.

The departure of Bell leaves three coaching positions open for 2018.  The Cardinals previously released pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley.  The search to replace all three is ongoing.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly interested in former Tampa Bays pitching coach Jim Hickey as a replacement for Lilliquist.  The Cubs have also been reported to be interested in hiring Hickey following the dismissal of pitching coach Chris Bosio.  Hickey is scheduled to interview with the Cubs on Monday.

St. Louis President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak has declined to offer specifics regarding any pursuit of Hickey or the search for a pitching coach other than to say he would like to complete the search by the end of the month.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no new injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The World Series is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 24.  The series pits the Houston Astros against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a best of seven.  The Dodgers have home field advantage in the series, thus Games 1 and 2 will be played in Los Angeles.  Once the World Series concludes, the offseason officially begins.

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  What follows is a quiet period, where teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-season contract.  Free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period, to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering the qualifying offer only for Lynn.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the offseason awards and the dates they will be announced:

October 26             Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists announced on Twitter

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando Florida.

Blast from the Past

The World Series is set to begin on Tuesday, with a matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Last week, the history segment focused on the NLCS and the Cardinals franchise history with respect to it.  This week I will take a look at the Cardinals in the World Series.

As most fans reading this know, the Cardinals have 11 World Series titles in franchise history, the most of any National League team, and the second most of any MLB team.  Only the New York Yankees have more, with 27 titles to their name.

The first World Series title occurred in 1926.  That series was played against the aforementioned New York Yankees, who the Cardinals defeated four games to three.  That Cardinals team featured player-manager Rogers Hornsby, as well as pitchers Grover Cleveland Alexander, aka “Pete” and Jesse “Pop” Haines.  Also on that team was future St. Louis manager Billy Southworth.  The most famous Yankees to play in that series were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  Ruth hit three home runs in Game 4, a record that has only been matched four times since.  Ironically, that includes 2011, when Albert Pujols hit three home runs for the Cardinals in Game 3.

The Cardinals won World Series titles 10 more times, in 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006, and 2011.  In addition, the Cardinals lost the Series eight additional times, in 1928, 1930, 1943, 1968, 1985, 1987, 2004, and 2013.

The Cardinals played the Yankees in the World Series five times, the most of any other team, with the Cardinals winning three.  Boston was the next most common opponent; the Cardinals played them four times, most recently in 2013.  The Cardinals defeated Boston in 1946 and 1967.  The Cardinals played Detroit three times, and Philadelphia twice, defeating Detroit in 1934 and 2006, and Philadelphia in 1931.

The Cardinals have never swept a World Series opponent, but were swept themselves twice, by the Yankees in 1928, and by Boston in 2004.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals Bring Back Trio of Minor League Free Agents

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/20/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 20.

Surprise Saguaros 6 at Mesa Solar Sox 7

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros dropped a tough one in Mesa on Friday night.  The Cardinals’ lone position player in the starting lineup made his presence known.  Catcher Andrew Knizner hit two long balls, his first of the AFL campaign.  The number five hitter began with a two-run shot in the fourth inning, followed by a solo shot in the sixth.  Knizner was 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, raising his AFL average to .393. Knizner did make a miscue in the field, a passed ball in the sixth inning, his second.

Two Cardinals hurlers saw action.  Arturo Reyes pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning of relief, receiving his second hold. The right-hander has now tossed six scoreless AFL innings on three hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Jordan Hicks did not fare well in his ninth inning outing. Ask to protect a three-run lead, he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks. The right-hander took the loss for the Saguaros on a walk-off triple with two out.

The Saguaros fell to 4-6, two games back of Peoria in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  No game scheduled.  The Bowman Hitting Challenge will take place at 7:35 CT in Mesa. Participants have not yet been announced. On Monday, Surprise will host Salt River.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Bilardello on Palm Beach’s Title-Winning Offense

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Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of October 9-15

photo: Greg Holland (Russell Lansford/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Greg Holland (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Cardinals plan to pursue right handed pitcher Greg Holland, once he declines his player option for 2018 in his contract with the Colorado Rockies.  Holland is expected to decline the option and test free agency, as reported by FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The Cardinals are reportedly in search of a closer, and Holland, one year removed from Tommy John surgery, posted 41 saves in his all-star 2017 with the Rockies, his third all-star selection. The others were with the Kansas City Royals.  Holland, age 32 next season, is represented by agent Scott Boras, so the price tag will likely be high.

Transactions

There are no new transactions to report.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

The Championship Series in both leagues is now underway.  The World Series will follow beginning on October 24.  At the conclusion of the World Series, the offseason activity will officially begin.

Pending free agents officially enter free agency at 9 a.m. EST on the day following the end of the World Series.  A quiet period follows, when teams can enter into discussions with their pending free agents about extensions. Other teams are prohibited during this period, which lasts five days, from negotiating with or entering into contracts with, another team’s free agents.  During this quiet period, teams may make their free agents a qualifying offer, which is valued at about $17.4 million dollars for a one-year contract.  Offered free agents have ten days following the conclusion of the quiet period to accept or reject the qualifying offer.

The Cardinals free agents are Lance Lynn, Juan Nicasio, Zach Duke, and Seung-Hwan Oh.  The Cardinals are reported to be considering the qualifying offer only to Lynn. Nicasio has expressed a desire to return.

Offseason awards will be given out in November.  The following is a list of the awards and announce dates:

October 26             Rawlings Gold Glove Finalists announced on Twitter

November 6           BBWAA Awards Finalists announced on MLB Network

November 7            Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN, 9 pm ET)

November 9            Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 10          Wilson Defensive Players of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 13          Jackie Robinson Rookies of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 14          Managers of the Year (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 15          Cy Young Awards (MLB Network. 6 pm ET)

November 16          Most Valuable Players (MLB Network, 6 pm ET)

November 17          Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network)

Also coming up in November are the GM Meetings, scheduled for November 13-16 in Orlando, Florida.

Blast from the Past

In last week’s Notebook, I discussed the League Division Series in MLB, and the Cardinals’ history in it.  This week’s subject is the League Championship Series.  The current ALCS and NLCS are underway, with the Dodgers and the Cubs playing in the NLCS, and the Astros opposing the Yankees in the ALCS.

The League Championship Series officially began in 1969. In that year, both leagues expanded from 10 teams each to 12.  Added were the Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres in the National League, and the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots in the American League.   The Seattle Pilots were the precursor to the current Milwaukee Brewers, who are now in the National League.  With the expansion to 12 teams, the Leagues were divided in two divisions, the Eastern and the Western.

The LCS was originally a best of five series, in the 2-3 format.  In 1985, it was expanded to the current best of seven, in the 2-3-2 format.  When the League Division Series was added in 1995, the LCS matched the winners of the LDS in each league.  As of 2017, all 30 MLB teams have played in the LCS at least once.

It took 13 years for the Cardinals to reach their first LCS, but since then, they have appeared in 13 different LCS, winning seven – in 1982, 1985, 1987, 2004, 2006, 2011, and 2013.  Three World Series titles came from those seven wins.  The Cardinals were eliminated in the 1996, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2012, and 2014 LCS.

The team the Cardinals played most often in the NLCS is the San Francisco Giants, the opponent four times.  The Cardinals won only once, in seven games in 1987.

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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook: 10/14/17

photo: Andrew Knizner (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 14.

Surprise Saguaros 11, Scottsdale Scorpions 1

Andrew Knizner (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Saguaros walloped the Scorpions in Scottsdale on Saturday night, giving Surprise their second win of the early AFL season against three losses.

Three Cardinals position players saw action in the game, with Oscar Mercado and Andrew Knizner in the starting lineup, and Edmundo Sosa making a later appearance.  Mercado had two plate appearances in the game and was hitless.  The designated hitter and third-place hitter lined out and grounded out in the first and third innings, respectively, and was replaced by a pinch hitter in the fifth.

Edmundo Sosa (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Knizner started at first base, and was 1-for-4.  The cleanup hitter drove in two Surprise runs in the seventh on a ground ball single to right field.  Sosa was a defensive replacement at shortstop in the sixth inning and had two plate appearances.  The shortstop singled in both, with an infield single in the seventh and a line drive single to right field in the ninth.

No Cardinals pitchers saw action on Saturday.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.

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