All posts by Marilyn Green

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of January 6-12

photo: John Gant (Michael McLoone/Imagn)

This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals signed two players and made one trade amid rumors of a bigger one still ahead. With spring training approaching, our history feature highlights prior Cardinals Grapefruit League locales.


Trade with Tampa Bay Rays

On Thursday, January 9, a trade between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays was announced.  The Cardinals received left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, minor league catcher Edgardo Rodriguez, and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick from the Rays.  In exchange, the Rays received outfielders Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena, plus a Competitive Balance Round A draft pick.

St. Louis had a glut of outfielders on the major league roster and in the minor leagues, a position of considerable depth in the system.  The Cardinals traded from this depth to obtain left handed pitching, an area of lesser depth in the system.

The 20 year old Liberatore was a first round draft pick by the Rays in 2018 and a top prospect in their system.  Liberatore is a close friend of the Cardinals’ 2018 first round pick, Nolan Gorman.  The two have been friends since the age of five and often played baseball together growing up.  In 2019, Liberatore pitched for the Rays’ Class A affiliate in Bowling Green, posting an ERA of 3.10 in 16 appearances with a record of 6-2.  The left hander is ranked by The Cardinal Nation as the Cardinals No. 3 prospect.

Comparing and Ranking Cardinals Lefties Liberatore and Thompson

Rodriguez, 19, was a 2017 international signing by the Rays out of Venezuela. He played 10 games in the Gulf Coast League in 2019, and prior to that he logged 51 games in the Dominican Summer League, where he hit .330 with six home runs.

Martinez was acquired by the Cardinals from the Royals for cash considerations in May 2016.  He made his major league debut that September.  In four seasons with the Cardinals, Martinez slashed .298/.363/.453 in over 1,200 plate appearances.  Martinez was a below average defensive player, which hampered him from being a regular in the starting lineup.  Martinez’ profile is more suited as a designated hitter in the American League.

The 24 year old Arozarena was the Cardinals’ no. 7 prospect according to The Cardinal Nation and debuted with St. Louis last season.  The outfielder put up excellent offensive numbers with the Cardinals’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs in 2019 and was TCN’s system-wide Player of the Year. However, he had a challenging road ahead for playing time with St. Louis due to the glut of outfielders.

The possibility of a return of Marcell Ozuna to the outfield mix, in addition to the possible 2020 debut of outfield prospect Dylan Carlson may have also figured into the reasoning behind the trade.

The trade reduced the Cardinals 40-man roster to 38 players, giving them flexibility for additional roster tweaking for 2020.


Gant avoids arbitration hearing

Pitcher John Gant reached an agreement on a one-year contract and avoid arbitration with the Cardinals prior to the deadline to submit salary numbers on Friday, January 10.  Gant was the Cardinals’ only arbitration eligible player following the release of pitcher Dominic Leone in November.

Gant will make $1.3 million in 2020, his first of three arbitration-eligible years.

John Gant

Gant spent the entirety of the 2019 season in the Cardinals bullpen after losing the competition for the fifth rotation spot in Spring Training. Gant was acquired by the Cardinals in the December 2016 trade of Jaime Garcia to the Braves.  Gant went 11-1 with a 3.66 ERA in 66 1/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2019.  He struggled in the second half, posting a 6.55 ERA during that period and was left off the postseason roster.

The settlement with Gant leaves no player on the 40-man roster unsigned for the 2020 season.


Backup catcher still uncertain

As of this writing, the identity of the backup for catcher Yadier Molina in 2020 remains uncertain.  The Cardinals have prospect Andrew Knizner on the roster as a possibility, and the Cardinals have stated an interest in a reunion with the 2019 reserve Matt Wieters.

Matt Wieters

Wieters is a free agent, but it has been reported for the last month that both the Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics have interest in signing the veteran backstop.  After Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic recently reiterated the interest by both teams, St. Louis beat writer Derrick Goold confirmed that not only are the Cardinals hoping for a return of Wieters, but they are keeping a locker open for him.

The veteran catcher is no doubt holding out for a full time gig and as much money as possible, but should that not pan out, the position as Molina’s backup, with the limited playing time that comes with it, remains an option.  Wieters logged 67 games with the Cardinals in 2019, much of that due to Molina’s month long stint on the injured list with a groin injury.

In addition to Knizner, the Cardinals added some insurance by signing catcher Oscar Hernandez to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.  Hernandez, 26, spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Boston Red Sox, but hasn’t played in major league game since 2016.  The catcher will be assigned to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.  Hernandez is known more for his defensive ability than for offense.

Cardinals Sign Catcher Oscar Hernandez


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Nolan Arenado (Allan Henry/Imagn)

Matt Spiegel, columnist for Chicago AM radio’s 670 The Score, tweeted on Saturday that the station’s baseball analyst Bruce Levine heard the Cardinals made a trade offer for Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado. This offer allegedly included Dakota Hudson, Carlos Martinez, Tyler O’Neill, and newly acquired pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore.

Later that day, Rockies beat writer Patrick Saunders from the Denver Post tweeted that trade rumors concerning Arenado are dart throws and should be taken with a grain of salt.  Additionally, Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak stated in an interview with KMOX on Sunday morning that the rumors are “90% to 95% untrue”.

On Saturday, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted about the Cardinals’ continued interest in free agent catcher Matt Wieters, who spent the 2019 season as the Cardinals’ backup to Yadier Molina.  Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch confirmed the Cardinals’ interest in Wieters in a subsequent tweet.

The Cardinals have been linked all offseason to free agent and former Cardinals left fielder Marcell Ozuna. Ozuna declined the qualifying offer from the Cardinals and thus comes with the loss of a draft pick attached.  While the Cardinals maintain an interest in Ozuna, he remains a free agent for now.    Ozuna recently told a Dominican television reporter that his decision is down to either the Cardinals or the Texas Rangers.  Ozuna stated that if the Cardinals “step up” he would prefer to return to St. Louis.   The exact definition of “step up” is unclear, but it has been reported the Cardinals are not interested in a long-term deal for the outfielder.


Transactions 

  • 1/7 The Cardinals signed C Oscar Hernandez to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
  • 1/9 The Cardinals traded RF Jose Martinez, LF Randy Arozarena, and a Round A Competitive Balance draft pick to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP Matthew Liberatore, C Edgardo Rodriguez, and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up .

In conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up, the annual Cardinals Caravan takes place the same weekend, with groups of players and former players making 20 stops in towns across the Midwest.  The full slate of dates, times, places, and players participating are available here.

Spring Training is a month away.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 11, with the first workout to begin on February 12.  Position players will report on February 16, with first workout on February 17.

The first spring training game will be played on February 22 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter.  The full spring training schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

Spring Training is just around the corner, and as Cardinals players prepare for a return to Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida, this week’s Blast from the Past recalls prior Spring Training venues in St. Louis Cardinals history.

The Cardinals have had their spring training home in Jupiter since 1998.  Roger Dean Stadium was built that year and has a capacity of around 7,000. The Cardinals share the facility with the Miami Marlins.  In addition to the Cardinals, the Roger Dean complex is host to four minor league teams:  the Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins Class A-Advanced), the Palm Beach Cardinals (Cardinals Class A-Advanced), the Gulf Coast Cardinals, and the Gulf Coast Marlins.

From 1947 to 1997, the Cardinals held spring training in Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a capacity of 7,500.  It was built primarily for baseball but has hosted other sports in its history.  The Cardinals shared Al Lang Stadium with various other MLB teams throughout their history there, including the New York Yankees, the New York Giants, the New York Mets, and the Baltimore Orioles.  The Tampa Bay Rays took over the facility for its spring training in 1998 and remained there through 2008.  The stadium is currently the host of the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team.

Exterior of Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, FL (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Cardinals spring training in St. Petersburg, FL (National Baseball Hall of Fame)
Jim Konstanty, Vern Rapp, Shelden Bender and George Kissell

The Cardinals made their spring training home at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Florida from 1930-1936.  LECOM Park was known as Florida’s version of Fenway Park.  This was the spring training era of the Cardinals “Gashouse Gang”.  The stadium had a capacity of 2,000. Future Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean liked Bradenton so much he bought a local gas station there and had a home there.  It was said the Cardinals sent Dean to Bradenton weeks before spring training to keep him out of trouble and sent a local sportswriter to keep an eye on him.

Other spring training facilities used by the Cardinals include Ban Johnson Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas (1900), Herald Park in Houston (1904), and West End Park in Houston (1906-08).

The Cardinals held spring training in other cities at various times, including St. Louis (1901-02), Dallas (1903), Marlins Springs, TX (1905), Little Rock, Arkansas (1909-1910), West Baden, Indiana (1911), Jackson, Mississippi (1912), Columbus, Georgia (1913), St. Augustine, Florida (1914), Hot Wells, Texas (1915-17), San Antonio, Texas (1918), St Louis, again (1919), Brownsville Texas (1920), Orange, Texas (1921-22), Bradenton, Florida (1923-24), Stockton, California (1925), San Antonio, again (1926), Avon Park, Florida (1927-29), Daytona Beach, Florida (1937), St. Petersburg’s Waterfront Park (1938-42), Cairo, Illinois (1943-45), and St. Petersburg Athletic Park (1946).


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© 2020 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 December 16-22

photo: Kwang-Hyun Kim and John Mozeliak (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals added a new left-handed pitcher from Korea while saying goodbye to a Cuban-born outfielder. Our history feature highlights five other Cardinals, current and former, with Asian roots.


Korean lefty signs two-year deal

The Cardinals announced on Tuesday, December 17 that Korean left hander Kwang-Hyun Kim has agreed to terms on a two-year contract.  Kim pitched for the Korean Baseball Organization for the past 12 years, and sought a move to MLB for the 2020 season.  The deal is worth $8 million plus incentives with 20% percent additional ($1.6 million) going to his former team as a posting fee.

Kwang-Hyun Kim

The 31-year old left hander, nicknamed “KK”, posted an ERA of 3.27 with 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his KBO career.  Kim had Tommy John surgery in 2017, but returned healthy for the 2018 season, posting an ERA of 2.98.  The lefty throws a mid-90s fastball and a slider that is his best pitch.

Kim’s role in the KBO was as a starter, but his role in St. Louis is yet to be determined.  The health and effectiveness of Carlos Martinez may be the determining factor of whether Kim heads to the rotation or the bullpen.

To make room on the 40-man roster, Memphis outfielder Adolis Garcia was designated for assignment, then traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.  Garcia was one of a plethora of outfielders in the upper levels of Cardinals system and spent the entire 2019 season at Memphis.

Adolis Garcia


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told reporters this past week that the team was still in the mix for free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna.  Ozuna has reportedly fielded interest from several other teams, including the Cincinnati Reds, and is thought to be seeking a multi-year deal.

Mark Saxon of The Athletic recently tweeted that it appeared unlikely the Cardinals will sign their former left fielder, given their preference for a left handed bat, but in a later chat, pegged Ozuna’s odds of returning to St. Louis at 50 percent.  The length of contract the outfielder is seeking may be a hindrance to the Cardinals re-signing him.

Marcell Ozuna


Transactions 

  • 12/17 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim.
  • 12/18 The Cardinals designated OF Adolis Garcia for assignment.
  • 12/21 The Cardinals traded OF Adolis Garcia to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for arbitration.  The Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant.

Should the Cardinals not reach agreement with Gant on a 2020 salary, an arbitration hearing to determine his salary will be held some time in February.

The annual Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up .


Blast from the Past

This past week the Cardinals signed Korean left handed pitcher Kwang-Hyun Kim to a two-year major league contract.  Kim is one of three Asian players signed as international free agents by the Cardinals in franchise history, and one of six Cardinals players of Asian descent. This week’s Blast from the Past briefly looks at the history of Asian players for the Cardinals.

So Taguchi (Getty Images)

The Cardinals have signed three Asian players as international free agents over the recent past. So Taguchi was the first Asian player signed by the Cardinals. Taguchi, born and raised in Japan, joined the Cardinals in January 2002 as a free agent. Prior to that, Taguchi played for the Orix Blue Wave from 1992-2001 and was a teammate of Ichiro Suzuki.

Taguchi played the first half of 2002 for the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds.  He made his major league debut with St. Louis on June 10, 2002 at the age of 32. Taguchi was re-signed in free agency on December 22, 2004 and remained with the Cardinals through the 2007 season. The Cardinals declined Taguchi’s 2008 option and released him on December 5, 2007. Taguchi signed a one-year deal with the Phillies on December 23, 2007.

In his six seasons with the Cardinals, Taguchi slashed .283/.336/.391 with 19 home runs and 154 RBI. Taguchi played one year with the Phillies and one year with the Chicago Cubs. He then returned to Japan and concluded his career with his old team, the Orix Blue Wave. Taguchi announced his retirement from baseball on July 31, 2012.

Seung-Hwan Oh (USA TODAY Sports)

On January 11, 2016, the Cardinals signed Korean RHP Seung-Hwan Oh to a two year contract. Prior to that, Oh played for the Samsung Lions of the KBO from 2005-2013, and then pitched two seasons for the Hanshin Tigers of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan.

In two seasons with the Cardinals, Oh worked out of the bullpen and posted an ERA of 2.85, saving 39 games.  He pitched 139 innings with a strikeout rate of 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings.  Oh became a free agent at the end of the 2017 season and signed for 2018 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Toronto traded him mid-season to the Colorado Rockies, where he remained until his release in July 2019.  Oh returned to Korea in August 2019 and signed with the Samsung Lions.

In addition to Taguchi, Oh, and now Kim, the Cardinals have drafted three players of Asian descent who have made the major leagues.  Kolten Wong, whose father is of Chinese descent, was drafted by the Cardinals in 2011 and currently plays second base for the team.  Wong is a native of Hawaii.

Tommy Pham was drafted by the Cardinals in 2006 and made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2014. Pham’s father is Vietnamese.  Pham was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2018 and dealt again to the San Diego Padres earlier this month.

Tommy Edman was drafted by the Cardinals in 2016.  He made his major league debut on June 8, 2019 and remained on the team through the regular season and postseason.  Edman was drafted as an infielder and played the infield in the minor leagues but also appeared in the outfield for St. Louis.  Edman’s mother is Korean.


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2019-2020 Cardinals Winter Ball Pitchers Report – December 19


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

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 9-15

photo: Rob Kaminsky (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Welcome to The Cardinal Nation’s quick but complete recap of the prior week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, posted each Monday morning and soon heading into its fifth consecutive year.


News and Notes

  • The Cardinals announced the promotion of Patrick “Packy” Elkins from the position of professional scout to the Cardinals major league staff. Elkins will take on a newly created position of Major League Internal Player Strategist.  Elkins was formerly an infielder in the Cardinals minor league system from 2010-2012, reaching the High A level in Palm Beach.  The duties of the newly created position are to synthesize video and statistical data for the use of players and coaches.

More details can be found here.

  • The Cardinals have signed one of their former pitching prospects, Rob Kaminsky, to a minor league deal. Kaminsky first joined the Cardinals in the first round of the 2013 draft as a high schooler and was traded in 2015 to the Cleveland Indians for Brandon Moss. Kaminsky, whose career was slowed by injury, is expected to provide bullpen depth from the left side at Memphis.

Rob Kaminsky

  • The Rule 5 draft was held on Thursday, December 12 in San Diego. The Cardinals lost no players in the major league phase of the draft, and could not make a pick in that phase, as the major league roster is full.  The Cardinals did choose three players in the minor league phase of the draft, all right handed pitchers.  From Milwaukee the Cardinals drafted RHP Jordan Brink, a 26 year old hard thrower who has been clocked from 97-99 mph.  Also drafted were right handed pitchers Enrique Saldana and Jacob Bosiokovic from Colorado.  The Cardinals lost two players in the minor league phase, catcher Brian O’Keefe and first baseman Dariel Gomez.

More details on Kaminsky and the Rule 5 draft for TCN members here.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweeted during the Winter Meetings that the Cardinals are interested in left handed free agent pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.  The 32 year old former Dodgers starter has been reported to be seeking a three- to four-year deal.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported that the Cardinals are among several teams that may have had trade discussions with the Red Sox about pitcher David Price.  The left-handed pitcher has three years and $96 million remaining on his contract, which had been the largest in MLB history for a pitcher until this off-season.  The Cardinals offered Price a seven-year deal in 2015, before the Red Sox topped the Cardinals bid, but now the Sox are looking to shed salary.

Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals have “heavily scouted” free agent Shogu Akiyama and could be suitors for the Japanese center fielder and leadoff candidate.

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals are “intrigued” by left handed pitcher Dallas Keuchel.  Keuchel and Ryu are among the top left handed starters available on the free agent market.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for a one-year contract.  The Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant. Should the two sides not reach agreement, a hearing to determine his 2020 salary will be held some time in February.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis.  Admission and autograph tickets are currently on sale at mlb.com/cardinals/fans/winter-warm-up. More details here.


Blast from the Past

The Winter Meetings took place this past week in San Diego.  The Cardinals left without making any additions to the roster, though the team was the subject of several rumors during the meetings.  This week’s Blast from the Past looks at memorable trades in franchise history during this mid-December time period.

On December 9, 1980, the Cardinals acquired future Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter from the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Leon Durham and infielder Ken Reitz. Sutter spent four seasons with the Cardinals and was the NL saves leader in 1984 with 45 saves.

Garry Templeton and Ozzie Smith (Getty Images)

On December 10, 1981, the Cardinals acquired shortstop Ozzie Smith from the San Diego Padres for Garry Templeton, Sexto Lezcano, and Al Olmstead. Future Hall of Famer Smith played his final 15 seasons with St. Louis, amassing 14 All Star appearances, 11 Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award.

Ted Simmons (Getty Images)

On December 12, 1980, the Cardinals traded Ted Simmons, Rollie Fingers, and Pete Vuckovich to the Milwaukee Brewers for David Green, Dave LaPoint, Sixto Lezcano and Lary Sorensen. This Whitey Herzog-driven trade was widely considered one of the worst made by the Cardinals.  Both Fingers and Vuckovich won Cy Young Awards with the Brewers and Simmons was one of the best catchers in franchise history, recently selected as part the 2020 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Simmons was previously inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Adam Wainwright and Busch Stadium fans (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)

On December 13, 2003, the Cardinals acquired Adam Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis from the Atlanta Braves for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero. Wainwright was the centerpiece of the trade and has had a long and distinguished career as a Cardinal, which continues to the present day.

David Freese (USA TODAY Sports Images)

On December 14, 2007, the Cardinals traded outfielder Jim Edmonds to the San Diego Padres for third baseman David Freese. Freese went on spend five seasons in St. Louis and is of course best known as the hero of the 2011 World Series.  Freese was the MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series.  Edmonds had played for eight seasons with the Cardinals and won six Gold Glove awards in center field, but finished his illustrious career as a journeyman.  Edmonds is currently a color analyst for Fox Sports Midwest and was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Add Sixth Minor League Pitcher of the Off-Season


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

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 2-8

photo: Ted Simmons (Getty Images)

Welcome to The Cardinal Nation’s quick but complete recap of the prior week’s St. Louis Cardinals news, posted each Monday morning and soon heading into its fifth consecutive year.


Ted Simmons

Simmons elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

On Sunday, the Modern Era Baseball Committee, meeting in San Diego on the first day of the Winter Meetings, selected former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Ted Simmons for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 2020 class.

Candidates before the Modern Era Committee needed 75 percent of the vote to be selected.  Simmons received 13 votes, 81.3% of the total.  Simmons is joined by the late Marvin Miller, Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players’ Association from 1966 to 1982, who garnered 12 votes.

The catcher played 13 seasons with the Cardinals, after making his major league debut on September 21, 1968 at the age of 19.  Simmons’ career slash line with the Cardinals was .298/.366/.459 with 172 home runs and 929 RBI.  Simmons, aka “Simba”, was an eight time All-Star, six with St. Louis.  Simmons was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on December 12, 1980.  He finished his career with the Atlanta Braves, retiring after the 1988 season.

Simmons was voted by fans into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2015 and will become the 50th inductee to the Baseball Hall of Fame with ties to the St. Louis Cardinals.


Cardinals tender contract to Gant

The non-tender deadline came and went last Monday, December 2.  The Cardinals had one arbitration eligible player for whom they had to make a decision.  Gant was tendered a contract for 2020, as was announced prior to the deadline.

The 27 year old right handed pitcher entered his first year of arbitration and was the team’s sole arbitration eligible player after RHP Dominic Leone was designated for assignment on November 20 and subsequently released.

The Cardinals and Gant will submit salary figures on or before January 10, 2020 unless both parties reach agreement prior to that date on a 2020 salary.  Gant’s salary in 2019 was $571,300 and he could double that. Arbitration hearings begin in February, but the parties can agree on a salary any time prior to then.

The Cardinals also tendered contracts to the remaining players on the team’s 40-man roster who did not have contracts for the 2020 season.  The salaries for those remaining players typically are set at or close to the Major League minimum when they are renewed in the spring.

John Gant


Cardinals receive Competitive Balance draft pick

The Competitive Balance picks and selection order have been set for the 2020 First-Year Player Draft.  The Cardinals will receive one of eight Competitive Balance picks in Round A, which is tentatively overall pick No. 38.  The draft order after the first round is subject to change depending on what happens to the six free agents who declined a qualifying offer and have not yet signed with a team for 2020.

The Cardinals will also receive a compensation pick after Competitive Balance Round B should free agent Marcell Ozuna sign with another team prior to the June Draft.  Ozuna declined the qualifying offer from the Cardinals in November.

The Cardinals have pick No. 21 in the first round of the draft, which is scheduled for June 8-10 2020.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals have had discussions about starting pitching options on the free agent market.  They have explored what left-hander Madison Bumgarner is seeking as a free agent and considered Dallas Keuchel and Wade Miley as well.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings officially begin on Monday, December 9.  Transactions such as trades and the signing of free agents are often accomplished at these meetings.  The last day, December 12, is highlighted by the annual Rule 5 draft.  The Cardinals now have a full 40-man roster, so will not make a pick in the major league phase of the draft unless subtractions from the roster occur before that date.

Following the Winter Meetings, the next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts.  The Cardinals have only one applicable player, John Gant.


Blast from the Past

The Competitive Balance Picks and tentative draft order for the 2020 June draft have been announced.  The June draft includes both Competitive Balance Rounds and Supplemental Rounds which occur between the first and second rounds of the draft.  Competitive Balance picks are a recent phenomenon, first introduced in the 2012-2016 Major League Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).  Compensatory Picks, however, have been a part of the draft since 1988.  This week’s blast from the past looks at some of the history of Cardinals’ compensatory draft picks.

Prior to 2013, free agents were categorized as either Type A or Type B players.  Type A free agents were players ranked in the top 20 percent of players at their positions.  Type B free agents were ranked between the top 20 and 40 percent of players at their positions.  Teams received two picks for Type A players, a pick from the team that signed them, and a supplemental pick for the loss of the player.  For Type B free agents teams received only a supplemental pick for losing the player.

Brian Jordan

This system changed in the 2012-2016 CBA, with the Type A or B classification removed beginning with the 2013 draft and replaced with a system in which teams make departing free agents qualifying offers, and if such offer is declined, the team receives a compensation pick if the departing free agent signs with another team prior to the next June draft.

In the first year of compensation picks in 1988, the Cardinals received two draft picks for the loss of first baseman Jack Clark.  Clark signed with the New York Yankees and the Cardinals received a compensation pick from the Yankees.  The Cardinals drafted pitcher John Ericks with that pick in the first round of the 1988 draft, the 22nd overall pick.  St. Louis also received a supplemental pick for the loss of Clark, which was used on outfielder Brian Jordan in the first round, the 30th overall pick.

Colby Rasmus (Getty Images)

Other notable compensatory picks since 1988 include Colby Rasmus, a first-round pick in the 2005 draft, 28th overall.  The Rasmus pick was a pick from the Red Sox as compensation for Edgar Renteria.  Lance Lynn was a supplemental pick in the 2008 draft for the loss of Troy Percival.  Patrick Wisdom, Stephen Piscotty, and Michael Wacha were all compensatory picks in the 2012 draft.  Wisdom was a supplemental pick for the loss of Octavio Dotel.  Piscotty was a supplemental pick for the loss of Albert Pujols, and Wacha was a pick from the Angels for Pujols.

Rob Kaminsky was the last compensatory pick from a team that signed a Cardinals free agent.  Teams that sign free agents no longer forfeit draft picks.  Kaminsky’s pick was received from the Milwaukee Brewers, after they signed free agent Kyle Lohse.

Other compensatory draft picks currently in the Cardinals system include Jack Flaherty, Jake Woodford, Jordan Hicks, Dylan Carlson and Dakota Hudson, so the team has made good use of these extra choices in recent years.

Teams currently receive a draft pick when qualifying offers are rejected by a player and the player signs with another team before the next June draft.  The Cardinals have one such player, Marcell Ozuna, for whom they will receive a 2020 draft pick if he signs elsewhere.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #23 – Griffin Roberts


Not yet a member?

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

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

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

St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 25-December 1

photo: Jack Flaherty (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Tickets for the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up and Baseball Writers’ Dinner are now on sale, where Jack Flaherty will be among honorees. The subject of our history feature is the legal troubles of former team owner Fred Saigh.


Flaherty among many honorees at BBWAA dinner

The annual St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner is set for January 19, 2020 at Marriott Grand Hotel in St. Louis.  Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty is among those to be honored.

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Flaherty will receive the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, which is for the St. Louis baseball Man of the Year.  Also to be honored at the event are Kolten Wong, who will receive his Gold Glove Award, and manager Mike Shildt, who will be given his National League Manager of the Year award.  Pitchers Dakota Hudson and Giovanny Gallegos, and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are other Cardinals to be honored at the dinner.

Former Cardinal Ted Simmons will be awarded the Red Medal for invaluable service to baseball. The medal is named for the late Red Schoendienst.  Will Clark will receive the Burnes Nostalgia award.

Tickets for the dinner can be bought through Metro Tix, or by calling 314-534-1111.  Those who wish to attend the event can also send a check or money order to St. Louis BBWAA, 2721 South Kingshighway, St. Louis, MO 63139.  Tickets are priced at $150 or $250 for individuals.  Tables of 10 are available for $1,500 and $2,500.

Cardinals radio announcer John Rooney will be the Master of Ceremonies.


Tickets on sale for Winter Warm-Up

The annual Cardinals Winter Warm- Up is scheduled for January 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis.  Admission tickets went on sale on Friday, November 29.  Tickets may be purchased online here at a price of $40 for an adult and $10 for children.

Autograph tickets will go on sale on Monday, December 9 at 12 pm CT.  The tickets are available online only on December 9.  Tickets will be made available for sale at the Busch Stadium Box Office beginning Tuesday, December 10.

All proceeds from the Winter Warm-Up benefit the Cardinals Care charity.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

11/25 The Cardinals released RHP Dominic Leone. Leone had been designated for assignment on November 20.


Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

The non-tender deadline is December 2.  The Cardinals now have only one player, John Gant, who is arbitration eligible.  The likelihood of Gant being non-tendered is low but remains a possibility should the Cardinals feel a roster spot opening is necessary.  Other players on the 40-man roster could also be removed at any time for this purpose.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.  Transactions such as trades and the signing of free agents are often accomplished at these meetings.  The last day of the meetings, December 12, is when the Rule 5 Draft takes place.  Because the Cardinals have a full 40-man roster, they cannot make a pick in the major league phase of the draft unless further subtractions from the roster occur before that date.

Also occurring during the Winter Meetings is the meeting of the Modern Baseball Era Committee, to be held of December 8. The group will consider 10 veteran candidates for Hall of Fame election for the Class of 2020 – Dwight Evans, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Marvin Miller, Thurman Munson, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons and Lou Whitaker.

Following the Winter Meetings, the next important date on the MLB offseason calendar is January 10.  This is the date when teams and their arbitration eligible players both submit salary amounts for arbitration. Again, the Cardinals have only one arbitration eligible player, John Gant.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past tells the tale of the sale of the St. Louis Cardinals on November 25, 1947 to an owner whose shady dealings to obtain the team came back to haunt him.

Sam Breadon

The owner of the Cardinals at the time of the 1947 sale was Sam Breadon, who had owned the team since 1920.  Breadon, who was sick with prostate cancer, made it known he was ready to sell.  Breadon had been trying to buy land on which to build a new ballpark but was unsuccessful in his attempts.  Breadon had been renting Sportman’s Park from the St. Louis Browns since he purchased the team in 1920.

Robert Hannegan

St. Louis attorney and investor Fred Saigh let Breadon know he was interested.  Breadon had set aside $5 million dollars to build the new ball park but the deadline to build the park before taxes became due on the $5 million was nearing.  Saigh persuaded Breadon to sell the team to him by assuring him he would not have to pay the taxes.  Saigh brought in St. Louis businessman Robert Hannegan as a minority partner to facilitate the sale.  Hannegan was a former US Postmaster General and friend of President Harry Truman.  Breadon agreed to sell the team to Saigh and Hannegan for $4 million dollars.

In January of 1949, Hannegan sold his share to Saigh.  Hannegan suffered from heart disease and died in October of that year.  Saigh became the sole owner of the Cardinals.

Fred Saigh

Saigh’s tax dodge on the sale of the team was soon revealed, and in April of 1952 he was indicted on federal tax evasion charges.  He was charged with evading $49,260 in taxes between 1946 and 1949.  Saigh pleaded no contest to two federal tax evasion charges in January 1953 and was sentenced to 15 months in prison.  Saigh served five months in a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana and was paroled in November 1953.

Saigh was pressured by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick to sell the team after his indictment.  In February 1953 he put the Cardinals up for sale.  No credible offer from any St. Louis interest was put forth for some time, so it appeared the team would have to be sold and moved from St. Louis.  A consortium of businessmen from Houston made an offer.

Just before a final agreement was reached with the Houston group, an offer came from the St. Louis based Anheuser-Busch brewery, an offer that was substantially less than the Houston offer.  Saigh agreed to sell the team to the brewery.  Saigh had reportedly wanted the team to remain in St. Louis and willingly accepted the lesser offer.

Shortly after Anheuser-Busch took control of the team, they bought Sportsman’s Park from the St. Louis Browns.  With their leverage now gone, and with the knowledge that they couldn’t compete with the resources of Anheuser-Busch, the Browns left St. Louis and moved to Baltimore to become the Orioles.

Thus ends the saga of how the St. Louis Cardinals almost moved to Houston and how the Baltimore Orioles came to be.  All because an owner made a shady deal and went to prison for his efforts.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Prospect #31 – Seth Elledge


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

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

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

The St. Louis Cardinals prepared for the Rule 5 draft by making four roster moves. Four former Cardinals are on the 2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, including the subject of our history feature, Cardinals Hall of Famer Scott Rolen.


Cardinals add three to roster, remove one

The deadline for finalizing rosters ahead of the December Rule 5 draft came and went on Wednesday, November 20.  The Cardinals added three players to the 40 man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft – pitchers Jake Woodford and Alvaro Seijas, and third baseman Elehuris Montero.

Dominic Leone (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

To make room for the final spot on the roster, reliever Dominic Leone was designated for assignment.  During a seven-day window that began last Thursday, the Cardinals can either trade, release, or assign Leone to the minor leagues.  Release or assignment require waivers to be requested on Leone.  Leone has three years of service time, and per the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement he has the option of electing free agency in lieu of an assignment to the minor leagues.  The right hander was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in a January 2018 trade of Randal Grichuk to Toronto.  In 40 2/3 innings out of the St. Louis bullpen in 2019, Leone had an ERA of 5.53.  Leone struggled during much of the season, and was optioned to the minor leagues on two occasions. The 28-year old was left off the team’s playoff roster.

Right hander Woodford was the Cardinals No. 11 prospect according to The Cardinal Nation’s August rankings. Pitching a full season at Memphis in 2019, Woodford made 26 starts and logged an ERA of 4.15.  The 23-year old was the 39th overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Montero, 21, spent most of 2019 on the roster of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, but played in only 59 games due to a broken hamate bone in his left hand.  In 2018, with the Class A Peoria Chiefs, he led the Midwest League in batting average, slugging percentage, and OPS and was the League MVP. He is TCN’s third-ranked prospect.

The 21-year old Seijas split time with Class A Peoria and Class A-Advanced Palm Beach in 2019, and finished the season with an ERA of 2.81. His ranking in the Cardinals system is no. 26.

For more information:

Cardinals Add Montero, Seijas and Woodford to 40-Man Roster, Remove Leone


Four ex-Cardinals on Hall of Fame ballot

The ballot for the 2020 class of the Baseball Hall of Fame was released this past Monday.  It includes four former Cardinals, including two who appear for the first time and one for the final time.  Shortstop Rafael Furcal and pitcher Brad Penny are first timers.  Appearing for the 10th and final year is outfielder Larry Walker.  The final Cardinals representative is third baseman Scott Rolen, back for a third time on the ballot.

Rolen received 17.2 percent of last year’s vote, up from 10.2 percent the previous year.  Rolen played for the Cardinals from 2002-2007 and was a contributor to the Cardinals 2006 World Championship season.  During his time in St. Louis, Rolen was named to four All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove Awards at third base.

Larry Walker (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis acquired Walker from the Colorado Rockies in a mid-season trade in 2004. With the team, he posted a slash line of .286/.387/.520 in 144 games over the 2004-2005 seasons.  Walker ended his 17-year MLB career with the Cardinals.

The Cardinals acquired Furcal from the Dodgers in 2011 in a mid-season deal.  The shortstop played in 50 regular season games in 2011 and won his first and only World Series Championship with St. Louis that October.  Furcal returned to the Cardinals for 2012 and was an All-Star.

Penny signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in the 2009-2010 offseason.  The right hander pitched in only nine games for the Cardinals in 2010, before suffering an oblique injury during a May at bat in which he hit his first career grand slam.  The injury ended his 2010 season and his time with St. Louis.

The voting by eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will conclude on December 31, 2019.  The 2020 Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 21, 2020.  Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall.

Full Hall of Fame ballot:

https://baseballhall.org/discover/2020-hall-of-fame-bbwaa-ballot


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 11/20 The Cardinals designated RHP Dominic Leone for assignment.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of 3B Elehuris Montero from the Springfield Cardinals.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Jake Woodford from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/20 The Cardinals selected the contract of RHP Alvaro Seijas from the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.


Looking Ahead

Rosters have been finalized in preparation for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft.  The Draft is scheduled for December 12, the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego.  The Cardinals added three players to the roster, RHP Jake Woodford, RHP Alvaro Seijas, and 3B Elehuris Montero.  The Cardinals designated RHP Dominic Leone for assignment to make room on the roster.  The roster is now full at 40 players.

It is possible further subtractions from the roster may occur prior to the Winter Meetings.  The non-tender deadline is December 2.  The Cardinals now have only one player, John Gant, who is arbitration eligible.  The likelihood of Gant being non-tendered is low but remains a possibility should the Cardinals feel a roster spot opening is necessary.  Other players on the 40 man roster could also be removed for this purpose.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.


Blast from the Past

It is Baseball Hall of Fame season, the time of the year when the annual ballot is announced, and voting commences to choose the inductees for the 2020 class.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at the career of former Cardinal third baseman Scott Rolen, who is making his third appearance on the ballot.

Scott Rolen (Getty Images)

Rolen was born on April 4, 1975 in Evansville, Indiana and was a three-sport athlete in high school.  Rolen excelled in baseball, basketball, and tennis, but committed to play basketball for the Georgia Bulldogs after high school.  Rolen was persuaded to abandon college basketball by a large bonus offer by the Philadelphia Phillies, the club that selected him in the second round of the 1993 draft.

Rolen made his major league debut with the Phillies on August 1, 1996.  He was named the National League Rookie of the Year the following season.  Despite six strong seasons with Philadelphia, including three Gold Glove Awards, Rolen did not get along with manager Larry Bowa and demanded a trade.  The Phillies obliged and sent Rolen to the Cardinals on July 29, 2002.  The Phillies received Doug Nickle, Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin, and Bud Smith in the trade.

The Cardinals signed Rolen to an eight-year, $90 million dollar contract later that year.  During Rolen’s time with St. Louis, he won three more Gold Gloves and was named to four All-Star teams.  His best season as a Cardinal was in 2004, where he posted a slash line of .314/.409/.598.

Rolen missed most of 2005 with a shoulder injury incurred in a collision with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi on May 10.  Shoulder surgery ended his season. Rolen returned to the Cardinals in 2006 and contributed to that World Series Championship season.

His shoulder issues continued, however.  He went on the disabled list in August 2007 and had season ending surgery on September 11.  After a disagreement with manager Tony La Russa, he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Glaus on January 14, 2008.

Rolen continued to have injury issues during his time in Toronto.  On July 31, 2009 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds.  Rolen played his final major league baseball season in Cincinnati in 2012.

Rolen continues to reside in Indiana, and on July 18, 2018 he was hired as Director of Player Development for Indiana University baseball.  He was inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame in August 2019.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Increase 2019-2020 International Class to 32


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

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

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

photo: Mike Maddux and Mike Shildt (Brett Davis/Imagn)

In free agent moves by the St. Louis Cardinals, Marcell Ozuna may be gone, but Adam Wainwright is back. Yadier Molina wants to stay longer, too. Mike Shildt is the NL’s top manager, with our history feature looking back at prior Cardinals skippers.


Ozuna declines qualifying offer

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Major League Baseball’s deadline for accepting or declining qualifying offers extended to free agents came and went this past week.  The Cardinals had one free agent, Marcell Ozuna, to whom the team tendered the qualifying offer for a one-year contract for 2020 at $17.8 million.  The left fielder did not accept.  Ozuna is now available to all 30 teams to be signed for the upcoming season and beyond.

The Cardinals will receive a compensation selection in the 2020 June draft if Ozuna signs with another team before the draft.  It is still possible for the Cardinals to negotiate a new contract with Ozuna, should the team desire to do so.

Ozuna was acquired in trade from the Miami Marlins in the 2016-2017 offseason.  The outfielder posted a slash line of .262/.327/.451 in his two seasons as a Cardinal with 52 home runs and 177 RBI.

The Cardinals have other outfielders in the system vying for playing time including Tyler O’Neill, Lane Thomas, and Randy Arozarena.  Top prospect Dylan Carlson is expected to be MLB ready soon as well.  In other words, the Cardinals are not without options to replace Ozuna in the outfield should he move on to another team.


Wainwright returns for 2020

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

This past Tuesday, the Cardinals announced a contract agreement with veteran right-handed starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright had announced his desire to return for another season, and this new deal formalizes it.  The terms are one year with a base salary of $5 million plus another $5 million in appearance incentives.

The 38-year old signed a one-year deal last offseason for $2 million plus incentives.  Wainwright pitched well during 2019, posting a record of 14-10 with an ERA of 4.19 in 31 starts.  He met all of his $8 million in games-started incentives.

The return of Wainwright for 2020 brings the number of players on the 40-man roster to 38.  The starting rotation still has a spot open to fill, as free agent Michael Wacha will not be returning to the Cardinals.  Carlos Martinez is a possible candidate to fill that spot should he be healthy enough to start.  Martinez’ ongoing shoulder issues kept him in the bullpen in 2019.  Treatment to his shoulder in the offseason may enable him to return to the rotation.  Other possible candidates include Daniel Ponce de Leon, Ryan Helsley and Austin Gomber. John Gant and Genesis Cabrera could also join the starting scrum.

For more:

Cardinals, Wainwright Agree to 2020 Contract


Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Molina wants an extension

Wainwirght’s battery mate from the start, Yadier Molina, has expressed a desire to the Cardinals through his agent to continue to play beyond 2020, for one to two more seasons. The conversation between Melvin Roman and Cardinals front office personnel occurred during last week’s General Managers Meetings. The two sides plan to meet again in the spring.

Molina, 37, has been with the club since his 2004 debut and 2020 will be the final season of his current three-year, $60 million contract. The highly-decorated catcher has been his team’s highest-paid player.

For more:

Why Yadier Molina Should Not Receive an Early Contract Extension


Shildt is NL Manager of the Year

Mike Shildt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The National League Manager of the Year was announced this past Tuesday night and Cardinal Mike Shildt is the recipient, as voted upon by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.  Shildt was previously disclosed to be a top three vote-getter, aka “finalist”, along with Brewers manager Craig Counsell and Braves skipper Brian Snitker.

Shildt became the first Manager of the Year recipient who did not play professional baseball and it was only the second time a winner did not receive the most first place votes.  Counsell, who came in second overall, received the most first place votes, 13, to 10 for Shildt.

Shildt led the Cardinals to a 91-71 season and into the postseason.  The Cardinals won the NL Central title and defeated Snitker’s Braves in the NLDS before being swept by the Nationals in the NLCS.

Shildt, along with most of his coaching staff, were in Jupiter, FL, the site of the Cardinals’ Spring Training facility, at the time the award winners were announced.  They were reviewing the 2019 season and making plans for the upcoming season.  Shildt, appearing on MLB Network after the award winner was announced, said, “This is an award for having a good team and having a bunch of players do what they do.  No award gets accomplished in this regard without having a good team”.

The Cardinals have had two previous Manager of the Year winners.  Whitey Herzog took home the prize in 1985, and Tony La Russa was the recipient of the award in 2002.

Other BBWAA awards for both leagues given out during the week included the Rookie of the Year, the Cy Young, and the Most Valuable Player.  Though no Cardinals were finalists for these awards, pitcher Dakota Hudson finished in fifth place for the Rookie of the Year, and pitcher Jack Flaherty came in fourth in the Cy Young Award voting.

For more:

Mike Shildt is the 2019 National League Manager of the Year


Cardinals to remain on KMOX

Last Friday,  the Cardinals announced a five-year extension to their current radio rights agreement. With the extension, News Radio 1120 KMOX will continue as the flagship station for the Cardinals Radio Network through 2024, broadcasting all 162 regular-season games, any post-season contests, as well as select spring training games. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

11/12: The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract.


Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

The deadline for finalizing rosters prior to the December Rule 5 draft is November 20.  Following the re-signing of Wainwright, the roster stands at 38 players.  Should the Cardinals wish to protect more than two players from the Rule 5 draft by adding them to the 40 man roster, subtractions from the roster will need to occur.  Possible subtractions may include non-tendering one or more arbitration eligible players, John Gant and Dominic Leone.  The Cardinals could also remove current 40-man roster players through outright waivers.

The Winter Meetings are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego with the Rule 5 draft the final day.


Blast from the Past

Mike Shildt became the third Cardinals manager to win the BBWAA Manager of the Year award.  It has been in existence since 1983 and is given annually to one manager in each league.  Though Shildt is only the third Cardinal to receive this honor, he is the 64th manager in the history of the franchise.  The 64 is the most of any major league franchise.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a brief look at the history of Cardinals’ managers.

Though the current St. Louis Cardinals organization recognizes the beginning of the franchise as 1892 (the year the Cardinals moved to the National League) the franchise has actually existed as a professional baseball organization since 1882.  From 1882 through 1891 the Cardinals were part of the American Association.  The team was then known as the St. Louis Browns.

The first manager of the St. Louis Browns, in 1882, was a man named Ned Cuthbert. Cuthbert was born in Philadelphia PA in 1845 and began his baseball career there, first with the Keystone Club of Philadelphia in 1865, then two years later with the Philadelphia Athletics.  Cuthbert began playing with the St. Louis Brown Stockings in 1875, but the team folded two years later, and Cuthbert and several former Brown Stockings continued to play as a semi-professional reorganized team.  Cuthbert convinced St. Louis saloon owner Chris von der Ahe to invest in the Brown Stockings in 1880.  Von der Ahe changed the team name to the St. Louis Browns and they returned to professional status in 1882.  Cuthbert was the player/manager of the Browns in 1882 but relinquished that role the following season to another player/manager, Ted Sullivan.

Charlie Comiskey (Getty Images)

Charles Comiskey took over the managing duties in 1884 through 1889.  Comiskey is best known as the long-time owner of the Chicago White Sox, notably during the 1919 “Black Sox” game-fixing scandal.  The White Sox ballpark built in 1910 was named after him.

Many of the managers during the 19th Century and up through the first half of the 20th Century were player/managers.  Often the managerial position changed hands multiple times during a single season.  For instance, five player/managers were used during the 1890 season and five more in 1892.  This practice was phased out over time, and beginning in the early 20th Century, most player/managers maintained the dual role through at least a full season and many times multiple seasons.

Rogers Hornsby

Some notable managers of the Cardinals include Branch Rickey, Rogers Hornsby and Joe Torre.  Five managers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as Cardinals.  They are Hornsby, Billy Southworth, Frankie Frisch, Red Schoendienst, and Whitey Herzog.  Tony La Russa was inducted into the Hall without a team designation and Hornsby and Frisch were primarily known as standout players.

The longest tenured Cardinal manager is La Russa (16 seasons), with Schoendienst (14 seasons) next.  Nine managers have Cardinals World Series titles on their resumes – Hornsby, Frisch, Gabby Street, Eddie Dyer, Southworth, Johnny Keane, Schoendienst, Herzog and La Russa.  Southworth and La Russa have two World Series titles each.  La Russa leads all Cardinals managers in wins (1,408) and losses (1,182) and also has the most playoff appearances as manager (nine).


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

The Cardinal Nation’s 2019 Rule 5 Protection Picks


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

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

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Front office, field manager and coach contract extensions were the first off-season business for the St. Louis Cardinals. Kolten Wong captures another defensive award and Ted Simmons again has a Hall of Fame opportunity. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals BBWAA Award winners.


Contract extensions for Mozeliak, Girsch and Shildt

In an end of season press conference at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, November 5, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. announced that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt were given new contracts and GM Michael Girsch’s contract option was exercised and two years were added on to his existing contract.

Mozeliak’s contract was set to expire after the 2020 season and the Cardinals gave him a new contract that added three additional years past 2020.  Mozeliak has led the Baseball Operations Department since 2007, first as the General Manager, and since 2017 as the President of Baseball Operations.

Michael Girsch was made the GM in 2017 following the promotion of Mozeliak.  His option for 2020 was exercised and two more years were added on to his contract to take him through 2022.  Girsch has been part of the Cardinals organization since 2006.

Mike Shildt was given a brand new contract for three years, through the 2022 season, as his prior 2020 deal was voided. Shildt became interim manager in July of 2018 following the dismissal of Mike Matheny and then signed a two-year contract at the end of the 2018 season. Shildt is a top three finisher for the National League Manager of the Year Award, which will be given out on November 12.

Michael Girsch, Bill DeWitt Jr., Mike Shildt, John Mozeliak (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

It was also announced in the press conference that the entire coaching staff at the major league level will return for the 2020 season.  The coaching staff consists of bench coach Oliver Marmol, hitting coach Jeff Albert, assistant hitting coach Jobel Jimenez, pitching coach Mike Maddux, first base coach Stubby Clapp, third base coach Pop Warner, assistant coach Wille McGee, and bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd.

Also, at the press conference, Mozeliak informed the media that veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright wants to return for the 2020 season and that discussions for a new contract for Wainwright will begin in the coming days and weeks.


Wong adds another defensive award

On Wednesday, November 6, the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year Awards for 2019 were announced, and Cardinals second sacker Kolten Wong was named the winner of the award at second base. This award is given for the top defensive player at each position in MLB.

Wong is a first time winner of the Wilson Award and adds this honor to a growing list, which includes the 2019 NL Gold Glove Award at second base, and the Fielding Bible Award for the top defender at second base in MLB.  Wong is a first-time winner of the Gold Glove as well, but the Fielding Bible Award was Wong’s second consecutive such honor.


Simmons a finalist on Hall ballot

Ted Simmons, 1972 (Getty Images)

Ted Simmons, catcher for the Cardinals from 1968-1980, was named as one of 10 finalists for the Modern Baseball Era ballot for the Hall of Fame.  The announcement was made on Monday, November 4 and the vote will take place on December 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings.

This will be the third time Simmons is considered for election to the Hall of Fame.  Simmons first appeared on the BBWAA ballot in 1994 but he fell off after receiving only 3.7 percent of the writers’ vote that year.  Players must receive at least five percent of the vote to be retained on the ballot for the following year.

Simmons was considered by the Modern Baseball Era Committee the last time it convened but fell one shy of the 12 of 16 votes needed for election.  The case for his election may be stronger given how close he came in 2018, though nothing is certain because there is new competition on the ballot.

Simmons has the second most RBI among all catchers behind only Yogi Berra.  That means he has more RBI than other current HOF catchers such as Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.

Simmons amassed a WAR (wins above replacement) of 50.3 in his career.  He is one of nine catchers with 50 or more career WAR in all of baseball.  All of the other eight are in the HOF.  His 50.3 WAR puts him ahead of six other catchers who are in the Hall.

The fact that Simmons was not considered a good defensive catcher may work against him.  He also lags behind many of his catching peers in other offensive categories during the era in which he played, which is also a negative mark on his HOF case.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told the media in the organization’s end of season press conference on Tuesday, November 5, that the team is attempting to negotiate a new contract with veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.  Wainwright has expressed the desire to return for another season, and Mozeliak stated discussions will take place over the next couple of weeks to try to work out a mutually acceptable deal for the right hander’s return.

MLB Network’s John Heyman reports that it is extremely unlikely free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna will accept the $17.8 MM qualifying offer tendered to Ozuna by the Cardinals. Nevertheless, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the 29 year old left fielder will return to the Cardinals on a new deal.  It has been reported that the Cardinals and Ozuna are expected to at least hold discussions on a multi-year contract.  Ozuna has until 4 pm CT on November 14 to either accept or reject the qualifying offer, the first step in the process.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

The General Manager Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday, November 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona and run through November 14.  The GM Meetings are held annually in November to kick off the MLB offseason.

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

November 14 is the deadline for free agents to either accept or reject qualifying offers made to them by their former teams.  The Cardinals made the QO to free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who is one of 10 free agents across MLB to have been tendered an offer.  The decision must be made by 4 pm CT on that day.

The deadline for finalizing rosters prior to the December Rule 5 draft is November 20.  The Cardinals have already begun making moves by returning three players to the roster who ended the season on the 60-day injured list.  Those players are pitchers Jordan Hicks and Brett Cecil, and outfielder Lane Thomas.  More moves on or off the roster are expected before the deadline, including the additions of any minor leaguers the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft.  As of this writing, the 40-man roster has 37 players.

Several offseason awards remain on the MLB calendar in November.  These include the Rookies of the Year Award to be disclosed on November 11, followed by the Managers of the Year on November 12, the Cy Young Awards on November 13, and the Most Valuable Players on November 14.

The Winter Meetings, which include the Rule 5 Draft, are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.


Blast from the Past

Winners of the annual BBWAA awards for the 2019 season will all be announced this coming week.  These awards are the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.  Manager Mike Shildt is the only Cardinal top three finisher “finalist” for any of these awards.

This week’s Blast from the Past looks back at previous winners in these categories who won while they were Cardinals.

Vince Coleman (Getty Images)

In the category of Rookie of the Year, past Cardinal winners were Wally Moon (1954), Bill Virdon (1955), Bake McBride (1974), Vince Coleman (1985), Todd Worrell (1986), and Albert Pujols (2001).  Moon was an outfielder who played for the Cardinals from 1954-1958.  Virdon was also an outfielder who was with the team for two seasons, 1955 and 1956.  McBride played in the Cardinals outfield from 1973-1977 and was a native of Missouri, born in Fulton, Missouri in 1949.  Most current fans know Coleman, who played left field for the Cardinals during the Whitey Herzog years and may be most notable for his stolen base ability and also for breaking his leg during the 1985 NLCS when the tarp rolled over his leg.  Coleman is now in the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Worrell was a relief pitcher for the Cardinals during the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and Pujols, of course, is known as one of the greatest Cardinals of all time.

Past Cardinals Manager of the Year recipients are Whitey Herzog, who won in 1985, and Tony La Russa, who received the honor in 2002.

Bob Gibson receives 1970 Cy Young Award (AP photo)

The Cardinals have two prior Cy Young Award winners.  Bob Gibson won two Cy Young Awards, one in 1968, and one in 1970.  The last Cardinal Cy Young winner was Chris Carpenter, who was honored in 2005.

The Cardinals have had an MVP 17 times in the past.  Two Cardinals won the MVP award three times.  Stan Musial was the MVP in 1943, 1946, and 1948.  Albert Pujols won MVP in 2005, and in back to back seasons in 2008 and 2009.

Additional MVP winners are Frankie Frisch (1931), Dizzy Dean (1934), Joe “Ducky” Medwick (1937), Mort Cooper (1942), Marty Marion (1944), Ken Boyer (1964), Orlando Cepeda (1967), Bob Gibson (1968), Joe Torre (1971), Keith Hernandez (1979) and Willie McGee (1985).

Prior to 1931, the National League gave out The League Award, which was the precursor to the MVP.  Three Cardinals won this award:  Rogers Hornsby (1925), Bob O’Farrell (1926), and Jim Bottomley (1928).

Only one Cardinal, Bob Gibson, won multiple BBWAA awards in the same year. Gibson received both the Cy Young and the MVP in 1968.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Kramer Robertson Learned in AFL Even When Not Playing


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 28-November 3

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

As MLB’s award season begins, St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong won two prestigious defensive honors. Our history feature looks back at prior St. Louis Gold Glove Award winners, starting with The Wizard.


First changes to 40-man roster

November is the first full month of Major League Baseball’s offseason and is the time when teams must finalize their 40-man rosters for the Rule 5 draft, which occurs in December.  Each year, teams have until November 20 to make necessary additions and subtractions to the roster to add non-roster players who the organization wishes to protect from the draft.  Teams must also make additions in the form of players who ended the season on the 60-day injured list and who must be returned to the roster.

The first wave of changes were made by the Cardinals this past week when Jordan Hicks, Brett Cecil, and Lane Thomas were returned to the roster after finishing the season on the injured list.  Pitcher Tony Cingrani had also been on the 60-day injured list, but he was not added back because he had elected free agency.

Four other Cardinals also elected free agency – Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Matt Wieters.  Two other players came off the roster as well.  Catcher Joe Hudson and reliever Mike Mayers were placed on outright waivers.  Hudson cleared waivers and was assigned to Memphis, and Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.  Hudson will likely elect minor league free agency rather than return in 2020.

Following the subtraction of the four free agents plus Hudson and Mayers, the roster contained 34 players.  The return of Hicks, Cecil, and Thomas brought the number up to 37.

Additional changes to the roster will occur prior to November 20.  The Cardinals are likely to add several non-roster minor league players to the roster for Rule 5 protection purposes.  Prime candidates are pitcher Jake Woodford and infielder Elehuris Montero.  Should the Cardinals decide to re-sign any of the free agents (Wainwright and Wieters may be the more likely players to return) then further subtractions from the roster may be required.

For more information

Mayers Leaves Cards via Waivers, C Hudson Dropped from 40-Man


Wong honored with two defensive awards

Kolten Wong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

This past week, Kolten Wong was announced as the winner of the Fielding Bible Award as MLB’s best defender at second base for 2019.  The Fielding Bible Award began in 2006 and recognizes the best defensive player at each of the nine positions for that season based on statistical analysis.  The award is given out regardless of league.  A panel of voters, consisting of baseball analysts and writers, make the selection and the winners are announced on the website, which is located at www.fieldingbible.com.

Wong also won last season, making this his second Fielding Bible award.  The choice of Wong was unanimous among the voters on the panel.

Wong is also the recipient of the 2019 Rawlings Gold Glove Award for second base in the National League.  The winners were announced on Sunday night, with Wong the only winner among six Cardinals finalists.  Wong led all of MLB and the NL in both Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 14 and Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) with a rating of 5.2.

Wong is a first time Gold Glove Award winner.  He was a finalist last season but lost out to D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies, who is now with the Yankees.

For more information

SDI Shows Why Only One Cardinal Won a 2019 Gold Glove


Shannon named Ford C. Frick Award finalist

Mike Shannon (AP)

Former Cardinals player and long-time radio broadcaster Mike Shannon is among eight finalists for the annual Ford C. Frick Award.  The award is presented by the Baseball Hall of Fame and recognizes a broadcaster for his or her “major contributions to baseball”.  The award is named after the Commissioner of Baseball from 1951 through 1955.

Though the award is given out by the Hall of Fame, winners are not inducted into the Hall.  Each annual winner gives a speech at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in July of each year, and their names are added to a plaque located in the library of the Hall.

Shannon, 80, has been one of the voices of the Cardinals on St. Louis radio for 48 years.  He worked with the legendary Jack Buck, and currently mans the booth alongside colleagues John Rooney, and former Cardinal Rick Horton. The latter covers road games during the season in place of Shannon, who no longer travels with the team.  Shannon played for the Cardinals for nine seasons back in the 1960s.

The other finalists for the award are Boston broadcasters Joe Castiglione and the late Ned Martin, Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes, former White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, Cleveland Indians play by play radio announcer Tom Hamilton, and former Montreal, and current Toronto Blue Jays French radio announcer Jacques Doucet.

The Frick Award winner will be announced on December 11 during Baseball’s Winter Meetings.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

  • 10/31 LF Marcell Ozuna, C Matt Wieters, RHP Adam Wainwright, RHP Michael Wacha, and LHP Tony Cingrani all elected free agency.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals activated RHP Jordan Hicks, LHP Brett Cecil, and OF Lane Thomas from the 60-day injured list.
  • 11/1 The Cardinals sent C Joe Hudson outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/1 RHP Mike Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.

Injury Report

  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

Five 2019 Cardinals became free agents this past week – Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Matt Wieters, and Tony Cingrani.  The team’s exclusive window for negotiating with free agents ends at 4 pm CT on Monday.  Any qualifying offers the Cardinals wish to tender to free agents must be made at that time.  It is likely only Marcell Ozuna will be offered the qualifying offer for a one-year contract from among the five free agents.  Qualifying offers must be accepted or declined by 4 pm CT on November 14.

The Cardinals have begun making moves to the 40 man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft.  The roster must be finalized by November 20.  The five free agents are no longer on the roster, and the Cardinals have added three players from the 60-day injured list back on to the roster – Jordan Hicks, Brett Cecil, and Lane Thomas.  The Cardinals outrighted C Joe Hudson from the roster, and RHP Mike Mayers was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.  The roster now stands at 37.

Further roster moves are almost certain to be made prior to the November 20 deadline.  Any non-roster players the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added by then.

Notable events occurring in November also include the General Manager Meetings on November 11-14, and the Owners Meeting on November 19-21.  Offseason awards will be announced during the period November 3-14, beginning with the Gold Glove Awards on November 3.  The finalists for all BBWAA awards will be announced on November 4.  The first of the BBWAA awards, the Silver Slugger, will be awarded to a finalist at each position in each league on November 7.


Blast from the Past

The annual Gold Glove Award winners were announced on Sunday night, November 3 on ESPN.  The Cardinals had six finalists – catcher Yadier Molina, pitcher Jack Flaherty, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Kolten Wong, shortstop Paul DeJong, and center fielder Harrison Bader.  Wong was the only winner.  This week’s Blast from the Past takes a look at some former Cardinal winners of the award.

The Cardinals have had 22 players win Gold Gloves over the history of the award, which was first given out in 1957.  The first year, the award was given to the top fielder at each position regardless of league.  Beginning in 1958, the award was given to the top fielder at each position in both leagues.

From 1957 to 1960, separate awards were given for each of the three outfield positions.  In 1961 through 2010, the award was given to three outfielders in each league irrespective of position (so it could be three right fielders or three left fielders, and so on).  In 2011, the original method of one award for each outfield position in each league returned.

Ozzie Smith

The player with the most Gold Glove Awards as a Cardinal is shortstop Ozzie Smith, with 11.  Smith won 13 Gold Gloves overall, with the first two coming when he was with the San Diego Padres.

First Baseman Keith Hernandez has won 11 Gold Gloves overall, six of which he received while playing first base for St. Louis.  The next highest number of awards while playing for the Cardinals is nine by current catcher Yadier Molina.  Molina was a finalist for this year’s Gold Glove but did not win.  Other Cardinal catchers with Gold Gloves are Tom Pagnozzi and Mike Matheny, each with three.

(Billy Hurst/USA TODAY Sports)

Current first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has three Gold Gloves received while playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  He was a finalist this year but lost out to Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

Current second baseman Kolten Wong won his first Gold Glove this season after losing out to Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu in 2018.  The only other Cardinal second sacker to win a Gold Glove was Fernando Vina, winner in 2001 and 2002.

Pitcher Jack Flaherty, shortstop Paul DeJong, and center fielder Harrison Bader were first time finalists.  Former Cardinal pitchers to win the award are Bobby Shantz with three, from 1962-64, Bob Gibson, who has nine Gold Gloves, Joaquin Andujar, who won in 1984, and Adam Wainwright, who has two Gold Gloves, one in 2009 and the other in 2013.

Along with Smith, shortstop Dal Maxvill won the award in 1968, and shortstop Edgar Renteria was selected in both 2002 and 2003.  Former St. Louis outfield winners are Curt Flood, with seven Gold Gloves, Willie McGee with three, Jim Edmonds with six, and Jason Heyward, who won in right field in 2015.  Flood and Edmonds were exclusively center fielders, while McGee played both center field and right field.

St. Louis did not have a third base finalist this season, but former Cardinals Ken Boyer, Ken Reitz, Terry Pendleton, and Scott Rolen have each won the award.  Reitz won only once, while Boyer has five Gold Gloves, Pendleton has two, and Rolen earned four Gold Gloves as a Cardinal.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Comeback Pitcher of the Year


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

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the St. Louis Cardinals move into off-season mode, free agency approaches for five players and six others are competing for Gold Gloves. Our history feature looks back at St. Louis’ 2013 World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.


Cardinals garner six Gold Glove finalists

The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Thursday, October 24, and six St. Louis Cardinals made the list of top three finishers in the National League at their positions. The awards honor one player at each position in each league for their defense during the season.  The Cardinals led the NL in the number of top three finishers.

The Cardinals’ six finalists:

  • C Yadier Molina
  • P Jack Flaherty
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B Kolten Wong
  • SS Paul DeJong
  • CF Harrison Bader

Molina is a nine-time winner while Goldschmidt has received three Gold Gloves over his career.  Wong was a 2018 finalist but lost to D.J. LeMahieu.  DeJong, Flaherty, and Bader are first-time finalists.

The SABR Defensive Index rankings, courtesy of SABR.org, which are 25% of the final score in choosing the winners, are unavailable until the winners are announced.  However, other defensive stats, such as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), can give insight into player defensive performance.  Kolten Wong led the NL in DRS with 14.  His competition, Ozzie Albies and Adam Frazier, had eight and six respectively.  Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is another such stat, and DeJong as well as Bader led the NL in UZR.

The winner from each set of finalists will be announced on Sunday, November 3 at 7 pm ET in a live show on ESPN.


Free Agency looming for five Cardinals

As the World Series nears its conclusion, the official start of the offseason and free agency is set to begin at 9 am ET on the day following the end of the World Series.  All potential MLB free agents will become official at that time.

The Cardinals have five 40-man roster players set to become free agents: Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Matt Wieters, and Tony Cingrani.  All teams will have an exclusive window for negotiating with their free agents that ends at 5 pm ET on the fifth day following the end of the World Series.

Marcell Ozuna came to the Cardinals in a 2017 offseason trade with the Miami Marlins.  The Cardinals sent Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Magneuris Sierra and Daniel Castano to Miami in exchange for the outfielder.  In his two seasons in St. Louis, Ozuna posted a slash line of .262/.327/.451 with 52 home runs and 177 RBI.  The left fielder had a sluggish 2018 season for the Cardinals but bounced back in 2019 with better numbers.

Ozuna will turn 29 years old in a couple of weeks, and the Cardinals have a surfeit of young outfielders in the organization.  The likelihood that the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Ozuna is low.  It is probable that Ozuna will be offered the $17.8 million dollar qualifying offer which the outfielder will likely not accept.  Should he decline the offer and sign elsewhere, the Cardinals will receive a draft pick in compensation.

Marcell Ozuna

Adam Wainwright, 38, has been with the Cardinals since they acquired him in 2003 from the Atlanta Braves minor league system.  The pitcher made his MLB debut in September 2005 and played his first full MLB season in 2006 as a reliever.  Wainwright was signed to a one-year deal plus incentives in the 2018-2019 offseason.  Wainwright pitched very well and earned every one of his contractual incentives for a final 2019 salary of $10 million.

Wainwright has a decision to make as to whether he wants to pitch another year or retire.  Should he decide to continue to pitch, the Cardinals will more than likely work out a mutually acceptable deal with him.

Adam Wainwright

Michael Wacha, 28, was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 draft and made his MLB debut on May 30, 2013. Wacha was an integral part of the Cardinals World Series run that season.  The right hander posted a regular season ERA of 2.78 in 15 games, including nine starts.  Wacha was named the NLCS MVP in that postseason run.  In his seven seasons as a Cardinal, he has a record of 59-39 and an ERA of 3.91.

Wacha’s last several seasons were marred by recurring injuries including a stress reaction in his right shoulder.  It is unlikely the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Wacha or issue him a qualifying, making him available to be signed without penalty by another team for 2020.

Michael Wacha

In February, the Cardinals signed Matt Wieters, 33, to a one-year free agent contract to serve as the back-up catcher to Yadier Molina.  A 10-year veteran, Wieters spent eight seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and moved to the Washington Nationals as a free agent in 2017.  He played two seasons in Washington and was granted free agency again in October 2018.  This season, Wieters posted a slash line of .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 67 games.  There has been no indication from the Cardinals as to whether a reunion with Wieters for 2020 is a possibility.

Matt Wieters

Finally, Tony Cingrani was acquired in a mid-season trade that sent Jedd Gyorko to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Cingrani came to the Cardinals along with minor league pitcher Jeffry Abreu in a trade widely considered a salary dump manuever.  Both Cingrani and Abreu were injured when they were acquired; Cingrani is recovering from Tommy John surgery and was immediately placed on the 60-day injured list.  Abreu was also placed on the minor league injured list.  Neither has thrown a pitch for the Cardinals.  It is not expected the Cardinals will make an attempt to retain Cingrani.

Tony Cingrani


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

All players on the injured list at the end of the season (minus any free agents) must be returned to the 40-man roster by November 20 if they are to be retained by the team.

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and did not return to the roster.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out until mid-season 2020.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  He becomes a free agent after the end of the World Series and will likely not be returning to the Cardinals.
  • P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season.  Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.

Looking Ahead

Looming free agency for several Cardinals is next on the Calendar for the offseason.  The Cardinals have the following players set to become free agents:  Marcell Ozuna, Matt Wieters, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Tony Cingrani.  (See details above.)

In addition to making decisions on free agency, the Cardinals must return all injured players they intend to retain to the 40 man roster on or before November 20.  Any non-roster minor league players the Cardinals want to protect from the Rule 5 draft in December must be added to the 40-man roster by the 20th as well.

Notable events occurring in November also include the General Manager Meetings on November 11-14, and the Owners Meeting on November 19-21.  Individual awards will be announced during the period November 3-14, beginning with the Gold Gloves on November 3.


Blast from the Past

As the 2019 World Series nears its conclusion, this week’s Blast from the Past reminisces about the last time the Cardinals played in the World Series.

The Cardinals’ run to the 2013 World Series began with a NL Central Division championship, then continued with a 4-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS and a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Cardinals met the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic, which began on October 23, 2013 at Fenway Park.

The Cardinals lost Game 1 by a score of 8-1.  Starters were Adam Wainwright or the Cardinals and Jon Lester for the Red Sox.  Wainwright pitched five innings and gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits. Two errors by shortstop Pete Kozma and one by David Freese, plus a misplayed popup that fell between Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, added to the Cardinals’ woes.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was the Cardinals’ only score.

St. Louis fared better in Game 2, defeating Boston 4-2.  Michael Wacha opposed future Cardinal John Lackey for Boston.  St. Louis scored first on a ground out by Molina.  A sac fly by Matt Carpenter and a Boston error led to two runs scoring and that was immediately followed by an RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  Wacha earned the win and closer Trevor Rosenthal got the save.

The series moved to St. Louis for Game 3.  The Cardinals edged the Red Sox 5-4 to take a 2-1 series lead.  Starters were Joe Kelly for the Cardinals and Jake Peavy for the Red Sox.  Kelly went 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on two hits.  The Cardinals scored two runs in the first inning on singles by Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.  Holliday drove in two additional runs in the seventh inning on a double to left field.

In the ninth, an unusual play happened.  Molina singled, then Allen Craig doubled.  With Molina on third and Craig on second, Jon Jay hit a grounder to second and Molina was thrown out at home.  The Red Sox catcher then threw to third base to try to get the running Craig out. Craig slid into third as Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks lay on the ground in his path after attempting to grab a wide throw from the catcher.  Craig got up and attempted to run for home but made contact with the prone Middlebrooks, slowing him down.  The umpire called interference after Craig was initially tagged out at home, and the run was counted as the umpires ruled Craig would have scored safely but for the contact with Middlebrooks, who was obstructing his path.

Game 4 was a 4-2 loss for the Cardinals, tying the series 2-2.  St. Louis’ Lance Lynn faced Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.  Lynn pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits.  The Cardinals scored first on a third inning RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  The Cardinals plated their second run on a single by Matt Carpenter in the seventh inning.  The game ended in the ninth when pinch runner Kolten Wong, running for Allen Craig, was picked off first base.  Wong wore the scorn of this pickoff for several years after, as it was the first time in MLB postseason history that a game ended on a pickoff.

The last game in St. Louis was also a loss for the Redbirds, as they went down 3-1 to give Boston a 3-2 Series lead.  The losing pitcher was Adam Wainwright, who also took the Game 1 defeat.  It was not a good World Series for Wainwright.  Wainwright went seven innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.  Jon Lester again pitched for Boston.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was again the only score for St. Louis.  Game 5 was basically the mirror image of Game 1 without the errors.

The teams went back to Boston for Game 6.  Once again it was Michael Wacha against John Lackey.  The Cardinals lost the game 6-1 and the Series.  Wacha pitched only 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on five hits.  The Cardinals intentionally walked Sox slugger David Ortiz four times, twice by Wacha and twice by Trevor Rosenthal.  The Cardinals’ only run came on a single by Carlos Beltran in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals were outscored by the Red Sox 27-14 in the Series.  The Cardinals would reach the postseason again in 2014 and 2015 but fell in the NLCS to the Giants in 2014 and in the NLDS to the Cubs in 2015.  They did not reach the postseason again until 2019, when they were swept in four games in the NLCS by the Washington Nationals.


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TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 26, 2019

photo: Roel Ramirez (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Outfielder Conner Capel, infielder Kramer Robertson and pitcher Roel Ramirez were in the starting lineup for Glendale in Friday’s AFL finale. Capel went 1-for-3, a single, and Robertson went 2-for-2, both singles, plus a walk, and scored. In three innings, Ramirez gave up one run on two hits to earn the win.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 25.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Surprise Saguaros 3

Kramer Robertson (Arizona Fall League)

St. Louis Cardinals position players Conner Capel and Kramer Robertson and pitcher Roel Ramirez started Friday’s game for Glendale against Surprise.  This was the finale of the regular AFL season.

Capel played in left field and hit seventh in the lineup, going 1-for-3.  Capel flied out to center in his first at bat, then struck out swinging, and hit an infield single to first base.  He posted a slash line of .266/.330/.418 in 22 AFL games.

Kramer Robertson was the second sacker and batted ninth.  He went 2-for-2 with a walk and run scored.  Robertson singled to center in his first at bat, walked, and hit an infield single to short. The infielder posted a slash line of .269/.424/.385 in eight AFL games.

Roel Ramirez (Arizona Fall League)

Roel Ramirez was the starting pitcher for Glendale.  The right-hander went three innings and gave up one run on two hits while fanning three and walking one to earn the win.  One of the hits was a solo home run and he also had a wild pitch.  Ramirez threw 43 pitches, 32 for strikes.  He posted an AFL record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.03 in nine AFL appearances, including three starts.

The Desert Dogs scored twice in the first and held a 2-1 lead into the fifth, when they pulled away with three runs.

No other Cardinals saw action.

By going 8-2 over their last 10 contests, Glendale ended with a 14-15 record for the AFL season and crawled out of last place, tying Peoria for second place in the AFL West.

The AFL Championship game between the winners of the AFL East (Salt River) and AFL West (Surprise) will take place on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday’s game:  No game scheduled.  End of AFL season for Glendale.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Montero Making Up for Lost Injury Time in the AFL


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 25, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Catcher Ivan Herrera and second baseman Kramer Robertson played in Glendale’s 2-1 AFL win over Peoria on Thursday night. Herrera went 2-for-4 with two singles and an RBI, but Robertson was 0-for-4, including two strikeouts.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Thursday, October 24.


Glendale Desert Dogs 2, Peoria Javelinas 1

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players were in the starting lineup for the Glendale Desert Dogs in their 2-1 home win over the Peoria Javelinas on Thursday night.

Ivan Herrera (Arizona Fall League)

Kramer Robertson was the second baseman and hit second for Glendale.  He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  The second baseman lined out to right field in his first at bat, then struck out looking, struck out swinging and grounded into a double play.

Ivan Herrera was the starting catcher for Glendale and hit sixth in the lineup.  The backstop went 2-for-4 with an RBI.  Herrera grounded out to second in his first at bat, lined out to left field, and singled to center field twice.  He drove in the first of Glendale’s two runs in the seventh inning, when all three of the game’s tallies occurred.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 12-15 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, four games back of Surprise.

Friday’s game:  at Surprise, seven-inning regular season finale, Roel Ramirez (1-0, 1.74) 2:30 CT.


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Ivan Herrera is both Very Young and Very Good


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

photo: Harrison Bader (Brad Mills/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals fell to the Washington Nationals in four straight in the Championship Series as the offense struggled. At least four Cards may have played their last game with the team. Our history feature looks back at key moments in past St. Louis playoff contests.


Postseason recaps

NLCS Game 3 – Monday, October 14 – Cardinals 1 at Nationals 8

Jose Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The National League Championship Series moved to Washington, DC for Game 3, following two Cardinals losses to the Nationals in St. Louis.  The offense-deficient Cardinals once again were the losers, falling behind 3-0 in the series.

The offense pushed its lone run across the plate in the seventh inning on a single by Paul DeJong that plated Jose Martinez.  The inning started with singles by both Martinez and Yadier Molina.  The offense managed seven hits against Nats starter Stephen Strasburg, with only one going for extra bases, a double by Marcell Ozuna.  Ozuna and Martinez were both 2-for-4.  DeJong was 2-for 3.

Jack Flaherty pitched four innings and gave up four runs on five hits.  The right hander fanned six and walked two.  The starter was not helped by a crucial missed catch in left by Marcell Ozuna and a wild pitch that Yadier Molina would stop most times, both of which occurred with two out in the fateful four-run third inning.

Tyler Webb and John Brebbia each pitched 2/3 of an inning, with Webb surrendering one run and Brebbia giving up two.  Genesis Cabrera followed, collecting two outs.  Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched the final two frames, yielding the final Nats run on two hits.


NLCS Game 4 – Tuesday, October 15 – Cardinals 4 at Nationals 7

Kolten Wong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals entered Game 4 with a slightly different lineup, but the result was the same.  The Redbirds lost 7-4, despite scoring more runs than in the previous three combined.

After falling behind 7-0 in the first inning, the Cardinals got on the board in the fourth on a solo home run by Yadier Molina.  Three more runs were added in the fifth inning.  Harrison Bader, in his first NLCS start, drew a walk and Kolten Wong singled to right, moving Bader to third.  Dexter Fowler walked, and Tommy Edman grounded out to plate Bader.  Jose Martinez doubled to score Wong and Fowler.  Wong was 2-for-4 as the only Cardinal with multiple hits.

Starter Dakota Hudson lasted only 1/3 of an inning, and gave up seven runs, four earned, on five hits.  The right handler issued one walk.  Following Hudson’s exit, Adam Wainwright, Ryan Helsleyy, Giovanny Gallegos, and Andrew Miller combined to pitch the remainder of the game in scoreless fashion.

Wong made a fielding error.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals’ season ended on Wednesday, October 15, the result of a four-game sweep by the Nationals in the NLCS.

The lack of offense was the predominant issue in the poor showing, a weakness all season.  The Nationals pitchers completely shut down the offense, as the Cardinals scored only six runs over four games.

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Only Jose Martinez, who did not start every game, had an OPS above .800 during the NLCS.  The next highest OPS was .702 from Yadier Molina.  Middle of the order bats Marcell Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt had OPS’s of .438 and .125 respectively in the NLCS after leading the way in the Division Series win.

Starting pitching faltered somewhat. Dakota Hudson had a disastrous start in Game 4.  Jack Flaherty gave up four runs in Game 3, hurt by defensive lapses.  Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright were fine, as was the bullpen.

The major issue was the offense.  With the season now over, the Cardinals have decisions to make about next year’s roster.  Marcell Ozuna is likely leaving in free agency, so a middle of the order bat may once again be the Cardinals’ offseason goal.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Mark Saxon of The Athletic reports that the Cardinals will not be making an offer to re-sign Marcell Ozuna prior to his reaching free agency.

All potential free agents officially become free agents as of 9 a.m. ET the day following the end of the World Series.  The Cardinals will have exclusive rights to negotiate with Ozuna until 5 p.m. ET on the fifth day following the end of the World Series.

Saxon further writes that the Cardinals are likely to make Ozuna a qualifying offer, which is $17.8 million. If Ozuna turns down the one-year deal to return, St. Louis will receive a compensatory 2020 draft pick when the outfielder signs elsewhere.

According to MLB.com’s Adam Berry, following the NLCS Game 4 loss to the Nationals, Adam Wainwright said that he hasn’t been thinking about his future plans for the 2020 season, but stated that he and the Cardinals will talk about it over the next couple of weeks.  Wainwright is set to become a free agent on the day following the World Series.

Last year, the Cardinals signed Wainwright to a one year contract with incentives, which the 38-year old right hander met with his 2019 performance.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

Carlos Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

RHP Carlos Martinez had a platelet-rich injection in his pitching shoulder this past week and is expected to have a normal off-season. St. Louis president of baseball operations John Mozeliak shared the details with KMOX Radio.

All injured players on the injured list at the end of the season (minus any free agents) must be returned to the 40-man roster by November 20 if they are to be retained by the team.

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and did not return to the roster.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 missed the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  He becomes a free agent after the end of the World Series and will likely not be returning to the Cardinals.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals 2019 season ended with the four-game sweep by the Nationals in the NLCS.  All potential free agents become official on the day following the World Series, including Marcell Ozuna, Matt Wieters, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Tony Cingrani.  Cingrani was part of a trade of Jedd Gyorko to the Los Angeles Dodgers and was injured and unable to play when he was acquired.  It is likely the Cardinals will not make a move to retain him.  Marcell Ozuna and Michael Wacha will also likely not be retained, though Ozuna may be given a qualifying offer.  Adam Wainwright has not yet announced his plans for 2020 and it possible the 38-year old pitcher will choose to retire.  Whether the Cardinals will re-sign Wieters is unknown, but prospect Andrew Knizner is ready in the wings.

In addition to making decisions on free agency, the Cardinals must return all injured players they intend to retain to the 40-man roster on or before November 20.  Any non-roster minor league players the Cardinals want to protect from the Rule 5 draft in December must be added to the 40-man roster by the 20th as well. Prime candidates include pitcher Jake Woodford and third baseman Elehuris Montero.


Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past looks at notable events from Cardinals postseasons past.

    • October 14, 1985 – Ozzie Smith hits the first left-handed home run of his career in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Broadcaster Jack Buck gave his famous “Go crazy folks” call about this home run.
Enos Slaughter’s Mad Dash
  • October 15, 1946 – Enos Slaughter streaked home from first base on a Harry Walker single in Game 7 of the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. This event is known as the “Mad Dash”
  • October 15, 1964 – in Game 7 of the World Series against the New York Yankees, the Cardinals won 7-5 and became the first team with a losing record at the All-Star Break to go on to win the World Series. Bob Gibson was selected as the MVP, having struck out 31 hitters in three games.  Also, in this game, the Boyer brothers, Ken and Clete, hit home runs, Ken for the Cardinals, and Clete for the Yankees.  Both long balls were hit in their last at bats of the game.
  • October 15, 1982 – Willie McGee became the first rookie to hit two home runs in the same World Series game. The long balls were hit in the fifth and seventh innings off Brewers starter Pete Vuckovich.
  • October 16, 1985 – St. Louis first baseman Jack Clark hit a three-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning for the comeback win in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Dodgers. Via that win, the Cardinals were crowned National League Champions.
  • October 17, 2005 – Albert Pujols accomplished the same feat as Clark in 1985 by hitting a ninth inning, two out, three-run home run in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Astros’ pitcher Brad Lidge. The celebration was short lived, however, as the Astros won Game 6 and moved ahead on to the World Series.
  • October 19, 2006 – NLCS Game 7 against the Mets included several notable events. First was a catch by Mets outfielder Endy Chavez that robbed Scott Rolen of a two-run home run.  Then, in the ninth inning, Yadier Molina hit a two-run home run to make up for the robbed home run.  Finally, the famous curve ball from rookie reliever Adam Wainwright that froze Met Carlos Beltran to strike him out for the last out of the NLCS.  The Cardinals went on to win the World Series over the Detroit Tigers.

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TCN’s 2019 Memphis Redbirds Player of the Year


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 20, 2019

photo: Elehuris Montero (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Three St. Louis Cardinals saw action in Glendale’s 5-2 victory over Scottsdale on Saturday.  Elehuris Montero went 1-for-4, a double, and an RBI.  Roel Ramirez pitched the first two innings and gave up two runs. Kodi Whitley tossed the final two scoreless frames for his third AFL save.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 19.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Scottsdale Scorpions 2

Elehuris Montero (Arizona Fall League)

One St. Louis Cardinals position player and two pitchers saw action in Saturday night’s game between Glendale and Scottsdale.  Glendale was the winner in the road contest by the score of 5-2.

Elehuris Montero played third base and hit sixth in the Glendale starting lineup and went 1-for-4, a double, and an RBI.  Montero reached on a throwing error in his first at bat in the second inning, then doubled to right in the fourth plating teammate Devin Mann. He popped out to first in the sixth and struck out swinging in the seventh.  Montero is hitting .214/.353/.333 in 13 AFL games.

Kodi Whitley (Arizona Fall League)

Swingman Roel Ramirez got the start and pitched two innings, gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits, struck out two and walked one.  Ramirez also made a throwing error.  The right hander threw 45 pitches, 31 for strikes.  Ramirez has appeared in eight AFL games, including two starts, and has an ERA of 1.74.

Kodi Whitley pitched the eighth and ninth innings in scoreless fashion, striking out three to earn his third save.  He threw 25 pitches, 18 for strikes.   Whitley has appeared in eight AFL games and has an ERA of 0.90.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 10-14 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, six games back of Surprise. The Desert Dogs are the first team to have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Scottsdale, Bernardo Flores (CWS) (1-3, 6.62) 2:30 CT.


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Seth Elledge Increases Prospect Stock in AFL


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 19, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Four St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in Glendale’s 3-1 loss to Surprise on Friday night. Elehuris Montero and Ivan Herrera were hitless, but Herrera walked and scored his team’s only run. Conner Capel and Kramer Robertson each singled. Reliever Seth Elledge took the loss, allowing all three Surprise runs in the eighth inning.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Friday, October 18.


Glendale Desert Dogs 1 at Surprise Saguaros 3

Four St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in Friday’s contest between Glendale and Surprise.  The Desert Dogs lost to the Saguaros 3-1.

Elehuris Montero was the designated hitter and hit fifth.  Montero went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  He struck out on a foul tip in his first at bat, then popped out to first base, struck out looking, and grounded out to the shortstop.  Montero is hitting .211/.362/.316 in 12 AFL games.

Ivan Herrera (Arizona Fall League)

Ivan Herrera hit sixth in the lineup.  The backstop was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.  Herrera grounded out to short in his first at bat, walked and scored in the fifth inning, grounded out to third in the seventh, and was hit by a pitch in the ninth.  Herrera is hitting .269/.424/.346 in 8 AFL games.

Conner Capel hit seventh and played left field, going 1-for-4 with a strikeout.  The outfielder struck out looking, singled to center, grounded out to second, and popped out to short.  Capel is batting .234/.306/.266 in 18 AFL games.

Kramer Robertson played at second base and hit eighth, going 1-for-3.  Robertson grounded out to second, flied out to center, and singled on a ground ball to center.  Robertson has posted a slash line of .235/.381/.353 in five AFL games.

Capel and Robertson had two of Glendale’s three team hits.

Seth Elledge pitched the eighth inning and had his worst AFL effort, yielding all three Surprise runs on four hits. The reliever walked two and was tagged with a blown save and the loss.  Elledge threw 27 pitches, 12 for strikes, and also had a wild pitch.  The three earned runs charged to Elledge were the first earned runs he has allowed in the AFL season.  The right hander has appeared in seven AFL games and now has an ERA of 3.38.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 9-14 on the AFL season and is in last place in the AFL West, seven games back of Surprise.

Saturday’s game:  at Scottsdale, Jordan Johnson (0-2, 3.86) 8:30 p.m. CT.

Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Seth Elledge Increases Prospect Stock in AFL


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

photo: Jack Flaherty (David Kohl/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals are down two games to none to the Washington Nationals in the Championship Series as the offense struggles mightily. The Cards need the hitters and ace Jack Flaherty to step up again in Game 3. Our weekly history feature looks back at the 2012 NLDS between the same two clubs – the Pete Kozma Series.


Postseason recaps

NLDS Game 4 – Monday, October 7 – Cardinals 5, Braves 4 (10 innings)

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals eked out an extra innings one run victory to force Game 5 in Atlanta.  St. Louis scored two runs in the first inning as Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna hit back to back solo home runs. After the Braves put one on the board in the third, the Cardinals added a run in the fourth on a second Ozuna solo home run.

The Braves took the lead with three runs in the fifth, but the resilient Redbirds knotted it up again with a fourth run on a single by Yadier Molina in the eighth. The game went into extra innings, and in the 10th, Molina was again the hero.  After Kolten Wong hit a ground rule double and advanced to third on a ground out, Molina’s sac fly to left field brought Wong home for the walk off victory.

Goldschmidt went 3-for-4 with an RBI, two doubles and two runs scored.  Ozuna was 2-for-5 and Tommy Edman was 2-for-3.

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, one earned, on five hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked two.  Seven pitchers combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  They were Tyler Webb (2/3 inning), Giovanny Gallegos (1/3 inning), John Brebbia (2/3 inning), Andrew Mlller (2/3 inning), Ryan Helsley (one inning), Carlos Martinez (one inning) and Miles Mikolas (one inning).  Mikolas got the win.

In the field, Matt Carpenter made a fielding error and Molina had a passed ball.


Wednesday, October 9 – Cardinals 13 at Braves 1

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Faced with a win or go home scenario in Atlanta for Game 5, the Cardinals chose the former in the biggest way possible.  The Redbirds came out swinging in the first inning and didn’t stop for air until 10 runs crossed the plate.

The scoring went like this.  Dexter Fowler walked, Kolten Wong bunted him to second. Paul Goldschmidt singled, Marcell Ozuna singled to plate Fowler.  Yadier Molina reached on an error, Matt Carpenter walked, Tommy Edman doubled to score Ozuna and Molina.  Paul DeJong was intentionally walked, Jack Flaherty walked, and Carpenter scored.  There were still no outs.  Fowler doubled to plate Edman and DeJong.  Wong doubled to score Flaherty and Fowler.  Then Goldschimidt lined out, Ozuna struck out, and Molina grounded out and the inning was over.

The Cardinals added one run in the second on a DeJong double.  In the third, Harrison Bader pinch hit for Carpenter and singled in a run, and DeJong did the same to make the score 13-0.  The Cardinals did not score again, but they didn’t need to, as the Braves were held to only one run in response to the onslaught.

Jack Flaherty pitched six innings and gave up one run on four hits while fanning eight and walking one.  Giovanny Gallegos, John Brebbia, and Genesis Cabrera each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.


NLCS Game 1 – Friday, October 11 – Cardinals 0, Nationals 2

The Cardinals entered the NLCS at home against the Nationals having won Game 5 of the NLDS in Atlanta in a slugfest. Perhaps the Redbirds were exhausted, as the team was certainly sluggish in Game 1 of the NLDS on Friday.  They were blanked by the Nationals 2-0 and nearly no-hit by Anibal Sanchez.  A pinch hit single by Jose Martinez in the eighth ended the no-hitter and was the only Cardinal hit in the game.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched six innings and gave up one run on seven hits.  The right hander struck out seven and walked two.  Giovanny Gallegos started the seventh and surrendered one run. Andrew Miller and John Brebbia finished the seventh without further damage.  Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless eighth.  Tyler Webb and Carlos Martinez combined to pitch a scoreless ninth.

Kolten Wong and Randy Arozarena each stole a base.


NLCS Game 2 – Saturday, October 12 – Cardinals 1, Nationals 3

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

The Cardinals managed to scratch one run across the plate, but the offense remained sluggish and the game was lost 3-1 to the Nationals, who now take a 2-0 lead in the series back home to Washington.

Again, the Cardinals were nearly no-hit, this time by Max Scherzer.  The Cardinals had previous success against Scherzer this season, winning both games he pitched against them in the regular season.  Postseason Scherzer, however, befuddled them.  Paul Goldschmidt finally got to the Nationals’ hurler with a single in the seventh inning.  Pinch hitter Jose Martinez drove in the Cardinals’ only run on a double in the eighth after Paul DeJong singled for one of the three Cardinal hits in the game.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched very well, but received no run support for his efforts.  Wainwright hurled 7 1/3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits.  Two of the three runs scored in the eighth.  Andrew Miller got the final two outs of the eighth and Ryan Helsley pitched a scoreless ninth.

Kolten Wong stole his second postseason base.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals won the NLDS with a whirlwind final two games to dispatch Atlanta. The Cardinal Nation named Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna co-Most Valuable Players.

Goldschmidt and Ozuna – TCN’s NLDS Co-Most Valuable Players

All that scoring meant nothing in the NLCS as the offense seemed to have nothing left.  St. Louis scored only one run in two games and most of the offense came from a pinch hitter.  There were two hits in Game 2 from regulars, singles by Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong.  Jose Martinez had a pinch hit single in Game 1 and a pinch hit double in Game 2.

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Solid pitching kept the scores in both games from getting out of hand.  Miles Mikolas and Adam Wainwright pitched very well but received no help from the offense for their efforts.

The offense struck out a combined 18 times over the two games and had four hits total.  The defense, while on paper showing one error and one passed ball, was not the best the Cardinals had to offer.  The Cardinals put out their best offensive lineup while diminishing the defense, and the effort has so far failed in the NLCS.  Whether that strategy will continue and bear some fruit remains to be seen.

The Cardinals hope to play three games in Washington starting on Monday afternoon.  They must win two of the three to force the series back to St. Louis.  Jack Flaherty will pitch on Monday against Stephen Strasburg and Dakota Hudson will face Patrick Corbin on Tuesday.  No pitchers have been announced for a possible Wednesday Game 5.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report. The Cardinals kept the same roster for the NLCS as they had in the NLDS. Michael Wacha was deemed not quite ready to go.


Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and will return next season.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60 day injured list on Sept 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.  Thomas is out for the season.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  His status for the World Series, should the Cardinals advance, is uncertain.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals are set to play Game 3 of the NLCS in Washington on Monday.  The Cardinals lost the first two games at home and will play at least two games in Washington.  The Cardinals must win 2 of the 3 games in Washington to force a return to St. Louis for Games 6 and 7, which would be played on Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19.

The postseason schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

The Cardinals will play Game 3 of the NLCS against the Nationals in Washington on Monday.  The Nationals lead the series 2-0 after defeating the Cardinals in the first two games in St. Louis.  This week’s blast from the past remembers the only other time these two teams met in a postseason series.

The Cardinals met the Washington Nationals for the National League Division series beginning on October 7, 2012 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The Cardinals were a Wild Card team, while the Nationals were the NL East Division Champs.  The first game was played in St. Louis due to a new format introduced because 2012 was the first year of two Wild Card teams.  The NLDS format was 2-3, instead of the prior 2-2-1 format.  The format would return to 2-2-1 the next season.  The second Wild Card was implemented in March 2012 after the regular season schedule had already been set.  The Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in the first Wild Card Game prior to entering the NLDS against the Nationals.

The Nationals won Game 1 3-2 in St. Louis.  Adam Wainwright started for the Cardinals and Gio Gonzalez took the mound for the Nationals.  The Nationals took the initial 1-0 lead but the Cardinals went ahead 2-1 with two runs in the bottom of the second inning on a wild pitch and a sac fly by Jon Jay.  Cardinals reliever Marc Rzepczynski gave up a two run single in the eighth inning to give the Nationals the 3-2 lead, but both runs were charged to reliever Mitchell Boggs.

The Cardinals roared back from the Game 1 loss with a 12-4 Game 2 win.   Jaime Garcia started for St. Louis against Jordan Zimmerman for the Nationals. Allen Craig and Daniel Descalso each hit a solo home run.  Carlos Beltran had two home runs, a two run and a solo shot.

Game 3 moved to Washington and the Cardinals blanked the Nationals, 8-0.  Chris Carpenter got the start while former Cardinal Edwin Jackson started for the Nationals.  Carpenter pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.  Pete Kozma hit a three-run home run off Jackson in the second inning.  Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, and Yadier Molina all drove in runs.

The Nationals tied the series with a 2-1 win in Game 4.  Kyle Lohse started for the Cardinals while Ross Detweiler got the start for the Nationals.  Carlos Beltran drove in the only St. Louis run in the third inning on a sac fly.  The Nationals hit two solo home runs, one off Lohse and the other off Lance Lynn.

Pete Kozma (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The deciding Game 5 was played on Friday, October 12.  Adam Wainwright got the start facing Gio Gonzalez for the second time.  The start did not go well for Wainwright, as he gave up six runs in the first three innings and exited with one out in the third inning.  The Cardinals offense was not discouraged, however, as they began chipping away at the 6-0 deficit.  Matt Holliday doubled in the fourth to drive in the first run.  Two more came home in the fifth on a wild pitch and a walk to make it 6-3.  Jon Jay scored on a Holliday ground out in the seventh and Daniel Descalso hit a solo home run in the top of the eighth to make it 6-5.

The Nationals scored in the bottom of the eighth to increase the lead to 7-5.   Then, in the top of the ninth, magic happened.   Carlos Beltran doubled and both Yadier Molina and David Freese walked, and Descalso singled to score Beltran and pinch runner Adron Chambers to tie the game at 7-7.  After Descalso stole second base, Kozma singled to right to plate Freese and Descalso and give the Cardinals the 9-7 lead.  Jason Motte pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth to send the Cardinals to the NLCS.  This game forever cemented Kozma as enemy number one to Nationals fans.

With the Nationals in the driver’s seat in the current NLCS, one must hope magic can again happen for the Cardinals.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals 2019 Arizona Fall League Mid-Season Update


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 13, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera and Seth Elledge (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Both St. Louis Cardinals representatives, catcher Ivan Herrera and pitcher Seth Elledge, appeared in Saturday night’s AFL Fall All Stars Game.  Herrera entered in the sixth inning and finished behind the plate. The backstop had one at bat and struck out swinging.  Elledge retired his two batters in the eighth with one strikeout.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 12.


AFL West 2 at AFL East 4

Both St. Louis Cardinals representatives saw action in Saturday’s AFL All Star Game.  Catcher Ivan Herrera and pitcher Seth Elledge played for the AFL West, which lost to the AFL East 4-2.

Herrera was not in the starting lineup but came into the game in the sixth inning to replace starting catcher Tyler Stephenson, his Glendale Desert Dogs teammate.  The catcher had one at bat, in the seventh, and struck out swinging.  Herrera has played in six AFL games and has hit .300/.417/.400.

Elledge came into to pitch the eighth inning.  He retired both batters he faced on a strikeout and a ground out and left with two outs and no runners on as the managers made non-traditional moves to get everyone in the game.  Elledge has appeared in six AFL games and has not allowed an earned run.  He has pitched seven total innings and struck out 11 while keeping hitters to a .200 average against him.  Elledge has also posted one save.

Minnesota’s no. 1 prospect, outfielder Royce Lewis of the East, was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after homering on the first pitch he saw.

Sunday’s game:  No game scheduled.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Coach Allen on Cardinals AFL Fall Stars Elledge and Herrera


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 12, 2019

photo: Kramer Robertson (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Three St. Louis Cardinals position players appeared in Glendale’s 8-3 Friday Arizona Fall League loss to Peoria. Kramer Robertson went 1-for-3 with a single, a run scored and plated the other two Desert Dogs runs. Conner Capel and Elehuris Montero went hitless.

Results for the game played on Friday, October 11.


Glendale Desert Dogs 3 at Peoria Javelinas 8 (seven innings)

Kramer Robertson (Arizona Fall League)

Three Cardinals position players saw action in Friday’s contest between Glendale and Peoria. The 8-3 loss by Glendale was the team’s 13th of the AFL season. As the Desert Dogs starting pitcher Bobby Wahl (MIL) was knocked out after getting just two outs, the visitors fell behind in the bottom of the first inning and trailed the rest of the way. Friday’s AFL games were all limited to seven innings because of Saturday’s Fall Stars Game.

Kramer Robertson played second base and led off for Glendale. He was 1-for-3 with two RBI, plus drew a walk in his first at bat and later scored on a passed ball.  In the second inning, Robertson singled on a line drive to center to plate Glendale’s second run, and in the fourth he drove in his club’s third and final run on a ground out.  He grounded into a double play in the seventh.  Robertson either scored or drove in all three Glendale runs.

Elehuris Montero started at third base and hit fifth in the lineup.  He was 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.  In his other two plate appearances, Montero flied out to right field and popped out to third.  He is hitting .194/.375/.290 in 10 AFL games.

Conner Capel was the center fielder and hit sixth for Glendale. He went 0-for-3, including a strikeout, a fly out to right field and line out to second.  He is hitting .204/.271/.222 in 15 AFL games.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 6-13 in the season and is in last place in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  AFL Fall Stars Game, 7:08 CT. The Cardinals have two players on the West Division roster, catcher Ivan Herrera, and pitcher Seth Elledge.


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Coach Allen on Cardinals AFL Fall Stars Elledge and Herrera


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 11, 2019

photo: Griffin Roberts (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Pitcher Griffin Roberts was the only St. Louis Cardinal to appear in Thursday’s contest between the Glendale Desert Dogs and the Peoria Javelinas.  Glendale won the road game 5-2.  Roberts pitched four innings and gave up one run on three hits and no walks while fanning four.

Results for the game played on Thursday, October 10.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Peoria Javelinas 2

Griffin Roberts (Arizona Fall League)

One St. Louis Cardinals pitcher saw action in Thursday’s 5-2 victory by Glendale at Peoria.  Griffin Roberts took the mound as the starter for the Desert Dogs and pitched four innings, giving up one run on three hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked none.

The run scored via a solo home run in the third inning.  The other hits yielded were a double and a single in the fourth inning.  Roberts threw 61 pitches, 36 for strikes.  The right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.07 in four AFL starts.

Despite the solid outing, Roberts was in line for a 1-0 loss when he departed, but was taken off the hook when the Dogs plated a run in the sixth. The home squad recaptured the lead with a run in the eighth, but Glendale roared back with four in the ninth, two unearned after the Peoria first baseman dropped a popup, to seal the win.

No other Cardinals, pitchers or position players, appeared in Thursdays contest.

Glendale is 6-12 in the season and is in last place in the AFL West.

Friday’s game:  at Peoria, TBA 2:30 CT.


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TCN’s 2019 Peoria Chiefs Starting Pitcher of the Year


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of September 30-October 6

photo: Adam Wainwright (Jeff Curry/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals are down two games to one to the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series as the bullpen and offense struggle. Adam Wainwright’s gutsy Game 3 start was wasted. Our weekly history feature looks back at the 2012 Wild Card between the two clubs, remembered as the Pete Kozma Infield Fly Rule Game.


National League Division Series game recaps

Thursday, October 3 – Cardinals 7 at Braves 6

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals pulled out the one-run victory in Game 1 of the NLDS with a late inning offensive surge.  St. Louis scored its first run and tied the score in the fifth inning when Harrison Bader led off with a single, advanced to second on a bunt, stole third base, and scored on a Dexter Fowler ground out.

In the eighth and ninth innings, the Cardinals offense put up six runs.  Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo home run, and Matt Carpenter added an RBI single in the eighth.  In the ninth, doubles by Marcell Ozuna and Kolten Wong brought four runs home.  Tommy Edman, Goldschmidt, Ozuna, and Wong each had two hits.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched five innings and gave up one run on three hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked two.  Tyler Webb started the sixth and surrendered two runs, one earned.  Giovanny Gallegos finished the inning without further damage.  John Brebbia, Andrew Miller, and Ryan Helsley combined for the next 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Carlos Martinez gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings to finish the game and despite the rough performance, was awarded the win.

Bader stole his first postseason base.  Wong and Paul DeJong each made throwing errors.


Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Friday, October 4 – Cardinals 0 at Braves 3

In Game 2, the Cardinals were blanked 3-0 by the Braves to tie the series at 1-1.  St. Louis’ offense managed just six hits, all singles.  Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina were each 2-for-4.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched seven innings and gave up three runs on eight hits, while fanning eight and walking one.  Two of the three runs given up came in Flaherty’s final inning on Adam Duvall’s back-breaking pinch-hit home run.  Tyler Webb tossed a scoreless eighth, but the offense was unable to come back.


Sunday, October 6 – Cardinals 1, Braves 3

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final inning of Sunday’s Game 3 at Busch Stadium.  Adam Wainwright pitched a gem, going 7 2/3 scoreless innings while allowing four hits, striking out eight and walking two.  Andrew Miller got the last out of the eighth, escaping a bases-loaded jam created by Wainwright.  The game was lost in the ninth inning by poor pitching from closer Carlos Martinez, who gave up three runs on three hits.

The Cardinals scored their lone run in the second inning.  Marcell Ozuna doubled, advanced to third on a ground out by Yadier Molina, and came home on a sac fly by Matt Carpenter.  St. Louis missed other chances and took a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning, but the bullpen couldn’t hold on.

Harrison Bader, pinch running for Carpenter, was caught stealing third base.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals are on the brink of elimination from the Division Series after two consecutive losses to the Braves, in which the offense scored only one run combined.  The offense appears flummoxed by Braves pitching, which has a collective 0.96 ERA, and the lack of offense has been the primary reason for the current predicament.

Marcell Ozuna has been the bright spot, while Paul Goldschmidt has provided some offense but not enough.  Dexter Fowler has gone 1-for-12 in the series. Kolten Wong and Yadier Molina are 2-for-12, and Paul DeJong is 2-for-10.  Harrison Bader, who has also struggled, was benched on Sunday, and Matt Carpenter was inserted into the lineup.  Carpenter, who is 1-for-1 in the series, drove in the only run on Sunday on a sac fly, drew a walk, and struck out.  The offense was just not there in the last two games and it has brought the Cardinals to the brink of elimination.

Good starts by Jack Flaherty and Adam Wainwright were wasted and closer Carlos Martinez has allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Monday’s game is a must win or go home.  The offense has to show up.  If the Cardinals win, they go back to Atlanta for the final game of the series.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and missed the remainder of the season.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60 day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.  Thomas is out for the season.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) is shutdown from throwing for several days. Wacha is uncertain for the NLDS but could return at some time in the postseason.

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals enter Game 4 of the NLDS on Monday behind 1-2 in the series.  Game 4 will be played in St. Louis and if the Cardinals win, the series moves back to Atlanta for Game 5 on Wednesday. Dakota Hudson will be starting on Monday with Miles Mikolas likely available in relief. Jack Flaherty is ready to start Game 5 if needed.

If the Cardinals advance to the NLCS, the first game will be played on Friday, October 11 against the winner of the Nationals-Dodgers series. LA is currently up 2-1.

The postseason schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

Last week’s Blast from the Past looked at the last time the Cardinals played the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series.  This week’s article discusses the last time the Cardinals played the Braves in the postseason.

The infamous 2012 Wild Card game between the Cardinals and the Braves was the first Wild Card game played under the current format of two Wild Card teams per league.  The Wild Card was introduced in 1994 and was one team per league, with that Wild Card team playing in the Division Series against a Division champion.  In 2012, with two Wild Card teams per league, the two teams played each other in a single game to determine which team would go on to play in the Division Series.

This game between the Cardinals and the Braves was held in Atlanta on October 5.  The starting pitchers were Kyle Lohse for the Cardinals, and Kris Medlen for the Braves.  It turned out to be the final game in the career of Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.

The Braves scored first on a two-run home run by catcher David Ross in the second inning.  The Cardinals went ahead 3-2 in the fourth on a double by Allen Craig, a groundout by Yadier Molina, and a sac fly by David Freese.

The Cardinals added a fourth run in the sixth inning on a solo home run by Matt Holliday.  Two more runs to make it 6-2 came in the seventh on a fielder’s choice by Pete Kozma, and a single by Matt Carpenter.  The Braves scored in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-3.

In the eighth inning, the Braves had two men on first and second with one out.  Andrelton Simmons hit a pop fly to shallow left which inexplicably dropped between left fielder Matt Holliday, and shortstop Pete Kozma.  Instead of the pop fly being a single, umpire Sam Holbrook signaled the infield fly rule, and called Simmons out.  Had the pop fly been a hit, the bases would have been loaded with one out.

Matt Holliday/Pete Kozma (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

The Braves, both the fans and the team, were unhappy with the call.  Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez filed a protest.  Braves fans, meanwhile, began throwing bottles, cans, and whatever else was available out onto the playing field.  The game was stopped and the players ordered to leave the field.  An announcement over the public address system was made that the Braves would forfeit the game if the debris throwing continued.  The field was cleaned of trash and the game resumed after the 19-minute delay.

The Cardinals won the game 6-3 and the Braves’ protest was denied by MLB Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre immediately after the game.  Torre stated it was a judgment call and could not be overturned.

The Cardinals advanced to the NLDS against the Washington Nationals, won that series, and played the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, where they lost.  The Giants went on to win the 2012 World Series.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 6, 2019

photo: Elehuris Montero (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

Three St. Louis Cardinals position players saw action in Glendale’s Saturday afternoon shutout of Surprise. Conner Capel, Ivan Herrera and Elehuris Montero all went hitless, though the latter drew a walk.

Results for the Arizona Fall League game played on Saturday, October 5.


Glendale Desert Dogs 2 at Surprise Saguaros 0

Three St. Louis Cardinals position players were in the staring lineup for Glendale on Saturday afternoon.  Glendale blanked Surprise 2-0 for the Desert Dogs’ fifth AFL win, on solo home runs from Jonathan India (CIN) and Blake Rutherford (CWS).

Conner Capel played right field and hit sixth in the Glendale lineup.  Capel went 0-for-4 with one strikeout. The right fielder popped out to third, flied out to left, struck out swinging, and grounded out to first.  The left handed hitter is slashing .205/.262/.205 in 11 AFL games.

Elehuris Montero (Arizona Fall League)

Elehuris Montero was the designated hitter and hit in the seventh spot in the order.  Montero was 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.  Montero drew a free pass in his first at bat, struck out swinging, flied out to right, and grounded out to the shortstop.  The third baseman/DH is slashing .158/.333/.316 in six AFL games.

Ivan Herrera was the Desert Dogs’ catcher and hit ninth, going 0-for-3.  The backstop grounded out to third, flied out to right, and grounded out to short.  Herrera is slashing .263/.300/.316 in five AFL games.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale improved to 5-9 in the season but remains in last place in the AFL West, four games behind Surprise.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Scottsdale, Gerardo Carillo (LAD) (0-1, 2.53) 2:30 CT.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Attendance Declines as MiLB Grows


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – October 5, 2019

photo: Griffin Roberts (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Four St. Louis Cardinals appeared in Glendale’s Friday extra-inning win – one position player and four pitchers. Shortstop Kramer Robertson went 1-for-4 with a triple, walk and an RBI. Starter Griffin Roberts went four scoreless innings, striking out five. Roel Ramirez and Kodi Whitley each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.  Seth Elledge pitched the final inning and gave up an unearned run but received his first AFL save.

Results for the game played on Friday, October 4.


Kramer Robertson (Arizona Fall League)

Glendale Desert Dogs 7 at Surprise Saguaros 6 (11 innings)

One St. Louis Cardinal position player and four pitchers saw action in Friday’s extra inning contest between Glendale and Surprise.

Kramer Robertson hit leadoff for Glendale.  He went 1-for-4 with a walk, a triple and an RBI.  The triple came on his first at bat of the game.  The shortstop also grounded out, flied out and drove in a run on a fielder’s choice.  Robertson has a slash line of .182/.357/.364 in three AFL starts.

Griffin Roberts (Arizona Fall League)

Griffin Roberts was the starting pitcher for Glendale.  Roberts pitched four scoreless innings, allowed two hits, fanned five and walked one.  The right-hander threw 60 pitches, 36 for strikes, and has an ERA of 3.38 in three AFL starts.

With the score tied 4-4, Roel Ramirez added a scoreless eighth, allowed no hits, and struck out one.  He threw 17 pitches, 13 for strikes.  The reliever has an ERA of 1.42 in five AFL appearances.

To send the game into extra innings, Kodi Whitley pitched a scoreless, hitless ninth inning an struck out one.  The right hander threw 13 pitches, 10 for strikes.  Whitley has not yet given up a run in five AFL appearances.

In the top of the 11th, Jonathan India (CIN) drove in the eventual
game-winning run on a sacrifice fly, scoring Tyler Stephenson (CIN).

Seth Elledge (Arizona Fall League)

Given a two-run lead to protect, Seth Elledge pitched the bottom of the 11th and surrendered one unearned run (batter placed on second base) on two hits.  The right-hander struck out one to collect his first AFL save in support of winning pitcher Clayton Andrews (MIL).  Elledge threw 18 pitches, 11 for strikes and has an ERA of 0.00 in five AFL appearances.

No other Cardinals saw action in the first extra-innings game of the 2019 AFL season.

Glendale is 4-9 and in last place in the AFL West, five games back.

Saturday’s game:  at Surprise, RHP Victor Castaneda (MIL), 2:30 CT.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Minors Attendance Declines as MiLB Grows


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of September 23-29

photo: St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals won Game 162 to finally clinch the Central Division – for the first time since 2015. The Atlanta Braves await in the Division Series. Our weekly history feature looks back at the last time the two teams played in the NLDS, in 2000.


Game recaps

Monday, September 23 – Cardinals 9 at Diamondbacks 7

Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

St. Louis began the last week of the regular season with a three-game series at the Diamondbacks.  The Cardinals took Game 1, 9-7.

The Cardinals offense scored nine runs on nine hits, including home runs by Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, and Harrison Bader.  Edman hit a solo shot in the first inning and Goldschmidt blasted a two-run home run in the third.  Molina thumped a two-run homer in the fifth, and finally, Bader smacked a solo shot in the eighth.  Molina drove in four runs and was 2-for-4.  Goldschmidt was also 2-for-4, while Edman and Marcell Ozuna were each 2-for-3.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched five innings and gave up five runs on eight hits.  The right hander struck out six and walked two.  Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos each tossed a scoreless inning of relief.  John Brebbia surrendered two runs in the eighth, before Carlos Martinez tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his 24th save.  Wainwright earned his 14th win.

Ozuna made a fielding error.


Tuesday, September 24 – Cardinals 2 at Diamondbacks 3 (19 innings)

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The second game of the series was a grueling 19-inning marathon that ended in a loss for the Cardinals.  The offense managed only two runs on 13 hits.  Dexter Fowler hit a solo home run in the first inning, and Paul Goldschmidt smacked a solo shot in the 13th.  Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina, and Harrison Bader were each 2-for-8.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched seven scoreless, one hit innings while striking out 11 and walking two.  Giovanny Gallegos added a scoreless eighth.  Andrew Miller surrendered one run in the ninth to blow the save opportunity.  Tyler Webb and Ryan Helsley combined to toss two scoreless innings.  Genesis Cabrera pitched a scoreless 12th.  John Gant surrendered one run to begin the 13th and was replaced by Junior Fernandez, who completed the 13th. Fernandez was charged with a blown save for allowing an inherited runner to score.  Daniel Ponce de Leon followed Fernandez with three scoreless innings.  Dominic Leone tossed the next two scoreless innings. John Brebbia surrendered the winning run in the 19th.

Molina stole his sixth base of the season.


Wednesday, September 25 – Cardinals 7 at Diamondbacks 9

The Cardinals fell to the Diamondbacks in the final game of the series, 9-7.  Starter Michael Wacha lasted only 1 2/3 innings, leaving the game with a shoulder injury.  Wacha gave up two runs on four hits while striking out three and walking two.  Mike Mayers followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings. John Gant pitched 1 2/3 scoreless.  Genesis Cabrera surrendered three runs in the fifth.  Junior Fernandez started the sixth and allowed four runs while recording only one out.  Tyler Webb added 1 2/3 scoreless innings, but the damage was done.  Dominic Leone tossed a scoreless eighth.  Fernandez was tagged with the loss and a blown save.

St. Louis offense, minus most of the regular starters, scored seven runs on 10 hits.  Randy Arozarena hit a sixth inning solo home run.  Jose Martinez was 3-for-5 with two runs scored.  His hits included a triple and a double.  Tommy Edman was 2-for-4, as was Arozarena.

Arozarena stole his second base, and also had an outfield assist at third base.  Edman and Matt Wieters committed fielding errors.


Thursday, September 26 – Off day


Friday, September 27 – Cardinals 2, Cubs 8

The Cardinals ended the regular season with a three-game weekend series at home against the Cubs.  The team entered the series with a magic number of three to win the division.  It didn’t come easy as the Cardinals lost the first game of the series, 8-2, despite the Cubs sitting many regulars.  Fortunately for St. Louis, the surging Brewers lost the first game of their series in Denver.

The offense only scored two runs on nine hits.   Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run in the fourth inning.  Their second run came home in the seventh on a single by Yadier Molina.  Tommy Edman went 3-for-4.  Marcell Ozuna was 2-for-4, Molina was 2-for-5, and Carpenter was 2-for-3.

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched five scoreless innings, allowed two hits, fanned 10 and walked five.  Giovanny Gallegos surrendered one run in the sixth.  Andrew Miller and Ryan Helsley yielded seven runs between them in the seventh, while Genesis Cabrera got the last out of that inning.  Mike Mayers tossed a scoreless eighth, and Junior Fernandez pitched a scoreless ninth.

Edman stole his 15th base of 2019 with St. Louis.


Saturday, September 28 – Cardinals 6, Cubs 8

The Cardinals made taking the Division more difficult by losing the second game of the Cubs series on Saturday.  Once again, the Brewers lost in Denver to keep the Cardinals Division lead intact.

St. Louis fell behind early and had to play catch up.  The fifth inning began with a solo home run by Harrison Bader, his 12th of the season.  Tommy Edman later hit a two-run triple and the Cardinals cut the lead to 6-3.  The offense added two more in the seventh on an Edman single and a double play ball by Paul Goldschmidt.  Paul DeJong hit a solo home run in the eighth, but rally fell short, as the Cubs had added two more in the top of the eighth.  Edman was 2-for-4 with three RBI.

Starter Adam Wainwright had a tough go of it in his final start of the regular season.  Wainwright pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up six runs on 12 hits, including a career-high four long balls.  The right hander struck out three.  Dominic Leone got the final two outs of the fifth before Tyler Webb followed with two scoreless innings.  John Brebbia surrendered two runs to begin the eighth before Andrew Miller got the final two outs.  Carlos Martinez tossed a scoreless ninth.


Sunday, September 29 – Cardinals 9, Cubs 0

With the Division title on the line, and a Cardinals win or a Brewers loss needed in the final game of the regular season, the Cardinals came out with guns blazing and blanked the Cubs 9-0.  The win came behind a stellar pitching performance by Jack Flaherty, who pitched seven scoreless, two-hit innings, striking out six and walking one. It took Flaherty only 69 pitches.  Giovanny Gallegos and Carlos Martinez each tossed a scoreless inning to complete the shutout.

Home runs by Dexter Fowler, Matt Carpenter, and Paul Goldschmidt accounted for six of the nine runs scored.  Fowler’s long ball was a two-run shot in the second inning.  Carpenter blasted a three-run home run in the third, and Goldschmidt thumped a solo home run in the fourth.  Fowler was 2-for-3, Goldschmidt was 3-for-4, and Marcell Ozuna was 2-for-5.

Goldschmidt stole his third base of the season.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals lost four in a row in the middle of the final week of the regular season, losing 2 of 3 to both the Diamondbacks and the Cubs. Despite the final sputtering, the Cardinals had built up a cushion that kept them in first place until the end, finally clinching the Division in Game 162 on Sunday.

The loss in the 19-inning marathon in Arizona on Tuesday didn’t help the situation.  The Cardinals played the third game of the series with most of the starters on the bench due to the long game the night before.  Though the B team gave it a valiant effort, the Diamondbacks prevailed in the end.

Bullpen issues and a poor start by Adam Wainwright also figured into the mix.  Unlike most of the season, the offense was not the primary issue in the losses, it was pitching.  Only the 19-inning game on Tuesday and the first game of the Cubs series were a result of low offensive output.

Tommy Edman (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Tommy Edman continued to perform at the plate, with an OPS of 1.266 over the last seven days.  Paul Goldschmidt improved to an .804 OPS for the week, not counting Sunday’s game. The rest of the starters had an OPS in the .700s or lower for the week, minus Sunday.  Runs were scored with contributions across the board by different players on different days.  Contributors with the long ball were Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong and Harrison Bader, each with multiple home runs during the week.

Defense remained the team’s strength and baserunning was also a plus.  Pitching, especially by the bullpen, was the weakness.

The Cardinals will begin the National League Division Series against the Braves on Thursday.  The first two games will be played in Atlanta, followed by two games, if necessary, in St. Louis.  A potential Game 5 would be played in Atlanta.


NL Central Standings (Final)

Team W L Pct GB
St. Louis 91 71 0.562
Milwaukee 89 73 0.549 2
Chicago 84 78 0.519 7
Cincinnati 75 87 0.463 16
Pittsburgh 69 93 0.426 22

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and will return in 2020.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60 day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.  Thomas is out for the season.
  • 2B Kolten Wong (left hamstring) injured his hamstring on September 19. A subsequent MRI revealed a Grade 2 strain of the hamstring.   Wong may possibly return to the roster for the NLDS.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) is shutdown from throwing for several days. Wacha is unlikely for the NLDS but could return later in the postseason if the Cardinals advance.

Looking Ahead

The Cardinals finished the regular season on Sunday with a 9-0 win against the Cubs to take the NL Central Division title.  St. Louis concluded the regular season with a record of 91-71 and a two-game division lead over Milwaukee.

They begin NLDS play against the Braves on Thursday, October 3 in Atlanta.  Games 1 and 2 will be in Atlanta, before the clubs head to St. Louis to play Game 3 and possibly Game 4 on Sunday, October 6 and Monday, October 7.  Should the series go to Game 5, it will be held in Atlanta on Wednesday, October 9.

If the Cardinals advance to the NLCS, the first game will be played on Friday, October 11 against the winner of the Wild Card (Brewers or Nationals) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.

The postseason schedule can be viewed here.

Update

Initial game times have been announced.


Blast from the Past

As the Cardinals head to Atlanta to begin the National League Division Series on Thursday, this week’s Blast from the Past looks at the last time the Cardinals played the Braves in a Division Series.

In 2000, the Cardinals won the Central Division and played the NL East champion Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.  The 95-win Cardinals had home field advantage, so Game 1 was played in St. Louis.  The 2000 NLDS was mercifully short, as the Braves were no match for the Cardinals, losing to St. Louis in a three-game sweep.

Rick Ankiel (Getty Images)

Game 1, played on October 3, was a 7-5 Redbirds win.  Rick Ankiel faced Greg Maddux on the mound.  Neither starter pitched particularly well.  In his game, and Game 2 of the NLCS, Ankiel lost control that ultimately led to the end of his pitching career.  Ankiel threw five wild pitches in this game and had to be removed in the third inning.  Maddux also did not last more than four innings for the Braves.  Despite the issues with Ankiel, the Cardinals won the game, 7-5.  Reliever Mike James was the winning pitcher.  Jim Edmonds’ fourth-inning home run was the only long ball by either team.

Game 2 was played in St. Louis on October 5 with starters Darryl Kile for the Cardinals and Tom Glavine for the Braves.  Kile pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six and walking two.  Will Clark, Carlos Hernandez, and Mark McGwire all hit home runs for St. Louis.  Clark’s home run was a three-run shot, while the other two were solo home runs.  The Cardinals won the game 10-4.

Jim Edmonds (Getty Images)

The third and final game of the NLDS was played on October 7 in Atlanta, with Garrett Stephenson opposing Braves starter Kevin Millwood.  St. Louis won 7-1 behind long balls by Fernando Vina and Jim Edmonds.  Vina’s home run was a solo, while Edmonds hit a two-run shot.  Stephenson pitched only 3 2/3 innings and gave up one run three hits.  Reliever Britt Reames was the winning pitcher with 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  Mike James, Matt Morris, and Dave Veres pitched the final four innings of relief.

In 2000, while both teams had identical regular-season records of 95-67, the Cardinals were clearly the dominant team.

The 2019 Cardinals enter the NLDS against the Braves with a 91-71 record, while the Braves are 97-65.  Atlanta has the better record, but that doesn’t always result in the better team coming out on top.  Still, a three-game sweep, as in 2000, is unlikely.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

Cardinals Sign 16-Year Old Australian Catcher Jake Burns


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

Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – September 29, 2019

photo: Ivan Herrera (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Four St. Louis Cardinals prospects played in Glendale’s loss to Peoria on Saturday. Third sacker Elehuris Montero went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Center fielder Conner Capel and catcher Ivan Herrera each singled and Herrera drove in a run. Roel Ramirez closed the game for Glendale with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

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


Ivan Herrera (Arizona Fall League)

Glendale Desert Dogs 4, Peoria Javelinas 9

Three St. Louis Cardinals position players and one pitcher saw action in Saturday’s home game between Glendale and Peoria.  Glendale took the loss in the 9-4 contest.

Elehuris Montero hit second and played third base for Glendale.  Montero had a rough night, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts.  The infielder reached on an error in the second of his five at bats.  Montero has not fared well in the AFL to date, posting a slash line of .077/.250/.154 in four games for Glendale.

Roel Ramirez (Arizona Fall League)

Conner Capel played in center and hit third in the lineup.  He was 1-for-4 with a single and a strikeout.  The single was a popup to the shortstop in the sixth inning.  Capel also grounded out twice.  He has posted a slash line of .192/.276/.192 in seven AFL games.

Ivan Herrera was the catcher and hit eighth for Glendale.  Herrera went 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. The backstop singled on a line drive to right in the sixth to drive in one of Glendale’s two runs in that inning.  In his other at bats, he grounded out to first in the third inning, grounded into a force out in the fifth, and drew a walk in the ninth. Herrera has posted a slash line of .333/.385/.487 in three AFL games.

Roel Ramirez pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to end the game for Glendale.  The right hander allowed no hits, no walks, and fanned three.  Ramirez has an ERA of 1.69 in four AFL appearances, including one start.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 3-6 in the season and in last place in the AFL West.

Sunday’s game:  vs. Salt River, Gerardo Carrillo (LAD) (0-0, 0.00) 8:30 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – September 28, 2019

photo: Seth Elledge (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

In Glendale’s 5-2 loss to Peoria on Friday, four St. Louis Cardinals saw action – two position players and two pitchers. Conner Capel and Kramer Robertson each went hitless, but Robertson drove in one of Glendale’s two runs.  Griffin Roberts was the starting pitcher and took the loss and Seth Elledge pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

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


Kramer Robertson (Arizona Fall League)

Glendale Desert Dogs 2, Peoria Javelinas 5

Two St. Louis Cardinals position players and two pitchers appeared in Friday’s contest between Glendale and Peoria.  The home Desert Dogs fell to the Javelinas, 5-2.

Conner Capel played in right field and hit fifth in the lineup, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.  Capel has played in six AFL games to date and is hitting .182/.280/.182.

Kramer Robertson was the second baseman. The eighth-place hitter was 0-for-3 with strikeout and an RBI, which came on a ground out in the fifth inning. Robertson has played in two AFL games and his line is .143/.333/.143.

Seth Elledge (Arizona Fall League)

Griffin Roberts was Glendale’s starting pitcher, going 3 2/3 innings and gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits. The right hander fanned six.  Roberts had one wild pitch and hit one batter.  He threw 68 pitches, 45 for strikes. Roberts took the loss, his first decision in two starts.

Seth Elledge pitched a scoreless ninth for Glendale on one hit and two strikeouts.  Elledge threw 19 pitches, 12 for strikes and has yet to surrender a run in AFL action. He has allowed just two hits, no walks and fanned six in four innings.

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 3-5 in the season and in last place in the AFL West.

Saturday’s game:  vs. Peoria, Victor Castaneda (MIL) (0-0, 0.00) 8:30 CT.


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Cardinals Arizona Fall League Notebook – September 27, 2019

photo: Kodi Whitley (Springfield Cardinals FANatic Photos)

In Thursday’s night’s AFL game between Glendale and Salt River, three St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers played – one position player and two pitchers. Elehuris Montero was hitless but scored one of Glendale’s five runs after reaching base on a second inning hit by pitch. Pitchers Roel Ramirez and Kodi Whitley made appearances in the eighth and ninth innings.  Ramirez gave up a run, and Whitley tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his second save.

Results for the game played on Thursday, September 26.


Glendale Desert Dogs 5 at Salt River Rafters 4

One Cardinals position player and two Cardinals pitchers saw action in Thursday’s contest between the Glendale Desert Dogs and the Salt River Rafters.

Elehuris Montero was the designated hitter and hit seventh in the lineup for Glendale.  He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a hit by pitch.  Montero came home to score in the second inning following the hit by pitch.

Elehuris Montero

Roel Ramirez pitched the eighth inning and surrendered one run on two hits while fanning two.  Ramirez threw 13 pitches, 12 for strikes.  The two hits he yielded were doubles, one of which resulted in the run.

Roel Ramirez

Kodi Whitley closed out the win in the ninth to earn his second AFL save.  Whitley pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit, a single, and striking out two.  The right-hander threw 17 pitches, 15 for strikes.  Whitley has yet to allow a run in his three AFL appearances of one inning each on two hits, no walks and four strikeouts.

Kodi Whitley

No other Cardinals saw action.

Glendale is 3-4 in the season and is tied with Peoria in second place in the AFL West.

Friday’s game:  vs. Peoria, TBA 8:30 CT.


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St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of September 16-22

photo: Cardinals clinch playoffs, 09/22/19 (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals won four straight one-run games in Chicago to clinch a playoff berth and all but eliminate the Cubs, as well. The Cards’ next goal is to win the Central Division. Our weekly history feature looks back at the team’s last four-game sweep in Chicago – in 1921.


Game recaps

Monday, Sept 16 – Cardinals 4, Nationals 2

Marcell Ozuna (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals began a three-game series at home against the playoff-contending Washington Nationals, and the opener ended in a victory for the Redbirds.  St. Louis’ offense scored four runs on five hits against Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg.  Marcell Ozuna blasted a two-run home run in the first inning and he finished it off for St. Louis with a two-run double in the seventh for a four RBI night.  Ozuna was a one-man show with the only extra base hits in the game.  Tommy Edman was 2-for-4.

Starter Dakota Hudson won his 16th game of 2019, pitching seven innings and giving up two runs on five hits.  The right hander struck out one and walked two.  John Brebbia, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez combined to pitch a scoreless ninth.

On the base paths, Yadier Molina, Kolten Wong, Dexter Fowler, and Edman stole one bag each. Ozuna had an outfield assist at home.


Tuesday, Sept 17 – Cardinals 2, Nationals 6

The Cardinals offense couldn’t get it done against Nationals lefty starter Patrick Corbin on Tuesday.  They managed six hits, but none resulted in scoring.  The first Redbirds run came home in the third inning on a fielder’s choice by Paul DeJong.  The next came in the sixth with Jose Martinez at the plate. With Harrison Bader on first base and Tommy Edman on third, Bader stole second base and Edman scored on a throwing error by the Nationals catcher.  The only extra base hits were doubles by Paul Goldschmidt and Yadier Molina, who went 2-for-4.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched six innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.  Giovanny Gallegos followed with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.  John Gant and Ryan Helsley gave up one run in each in the eighth.  Genesis Cabrera surrendered a run in the ninth.

Bader stole his 11th base of the season.


Wednesday, Sept 18 – Cardinals 5, Nationals 1

Adam Wainwright (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were the winners in the rubber game of the series on Wednesday.  The offense knocked Nationals starter and St. Louis native Max Scherzer around for five runs on eight hits.  Tommy Edman kicked it off with a solo home run in the third.  In the seventh, Edman plated a run on a single, and Matt Wieters hit a two-run blast.  Edman went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored and Kolten Wong was 2-for-4.

Starter Adam Wainwright pitched seven innings and gave up one unearned run on eight hits. The right hander struck out three and walked one.  Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez combined to toss the final two scoreless innings.  Wainwright earned his 13th win and Martinez his 21st save.

Wong both stole a base and was caught stealing.  Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler committed fielding errors.  Edman had an outfield assist at home.


Thursday, Sept 19 – Cardinals 5 at Cubs 4 (10 innings)

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

In the opener of a crucial four-game series at Wrigley Field, the Cardinals pulled off a one-run win in extra innings against the Cubs.  The Cardinals scored first against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks on a bases loaded double play by Dexter Fowler.  Another run was added in the fifth on an RBI single by Harrison Bader.  In the sixth, Yadier Molina plated a run on a single, and Bader followed with an RBI double for his second run driven in.

The Cubs battled back in the ninth against Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez, scoring three runs to tie the score and send it into extra innings.  In the 10th, Matt Carpenter’s solo home run gave the Cardinals the winning edge.  Paul Goldschmidt went 2-for-5, Tommy Edman went 2-for-4, and Bader went 2-for-3 with two RBI.

Starter Jack Flaherty pitched eight innings and gave up one run on three hits.  The right hander struck out eight and walked one.  After Martinez surrendered three runs in the ninth, Andrew Miller finished the inning and later received the win, but was charged with the blown save for allowing the inherited runners to score.  Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless 10th to earn his first save.

Kolten Wong was caught stealing for the fourth time.


Friday, Sept 20 – Cardinals 2 at Cubs 1

Yadier Molina (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

On Friday, the Cardinals beat the Cubs in the second one-run win of the series.  St. Louis was behind 1-0 until the sixth inning, when Yadier Molina came through with a two-run single.  Molina went 3-for-4 in the game and Tommy Edman had the only extra base hit, a double.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched four innings and gave up one run on five hits.  The right hander struck out one and walked two.  Ryan Helsley tossed a scoreless fifth.  Tyler Webb, John Brebbia, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez combined to pitch the final four scoreless innings. Helsley earned the win, his second, and Martinez logged his 22nd save.


Saturday, Sept 21 – Cardinals 9 at Cubs 8

Paul DeJong (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals continued the one-run trend with a 9-8 win over the Cubs on Saturday.  St. Louis’ offense scored nine runs on 13 hits in this see-saw battle.  Dexter Fowler went 2-for-5 with two RBI.  Tommy Edman went 2-for-4.  Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run home run in the seventh.  Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong hit crushing back to back solo home runs against Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth and were 2-for-5 and 2-for-4 respectively.  Matt Carpenter was 2-for-3.  Other extra base hits included a double by Carpenter and a triple by Edman.

Starter Dakota Hudson pitched three innings and gave up three runs on three hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked four.  Dominic Leone surrendered two runs to begin the fourth before  Junior Fernandez finished the inning.  Genesis Cabrera tossed a scoreless fifth.  Ryan Helsley gave up one run in the sixth.  Giovanny Gallegos allowed two runs in the seventh and was replaced by Tyler Webb, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings.  John Gant and Carlos Martinez combined for a scoreless ninth. Gant got the win, his 11th, and Martinez earned his 23rd save.

On the base paths, pinch-runner Randy Arozarena was caught stealing.


Sunday, Sept 22 – Cardinals 3 at Cubs 2

Paul Goldschmidt (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals completed a historic four-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sunday with another one-run victory, via another comeback in the ninth inning, this time from a 2-1 deficit.

Paul DeJong got St. Louis on the board with a solo home run in the third inning to tie the game 1-1.  The Cubs took the 2-1 lead in the sixth, while the Cardinals failed to add on until the ninth.  In that inning, pinch hitter Jose Martinez got a fly ball just past the glove of Cubs center fielder Albert Almora for a triple.  Dexter Fowler’s sac fly to center scored Martinez and knotted the game.  Following Tommy Edman’s single, Paul Goldschmidt skipped a low pitch into the left field corner for a double that plated Edman.  Edman and Goldschmidt each went 2-for-4.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched 7 2/3 innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on eight hits.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.  Lefties Tyler Webb and Andrew Miller combined to toss the 1 1/3 final scoreless innings. Webb earned the win, Miller the save.

Edman stole his 14th base of the season.  In the field, Yadier Molina had a passed ball.


The Big Picture

The Cardinals ended the week with a record of 6-1, having won 2 of 3 from the Nationals, and executing a four-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.  The Cardinals have clinched a postseason berth but have not yet clinched the division.  The also-hot Milwaukee Brewers refuse to lose and hang on at three games back of the Cardinals with six games left.  The Cardinals’ magic number is four, in any combination of St. Louis wins and Milwaukee losses.

The four-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley was historic, having not occurred since May of 1921.  At times during the series, it seemed like the offense wasn’t going to come.  The Cardinals offense has frustrated fans all season, and this weekend series continued in that mold.  Two of the four games were won with three runs or less.

Hot hitters for the week were Matt Carpenter, Tommy Edman, and Yadier Molina, with OPS’s of 1.318, 1.256, and .839 respectively.  Yet other players contributed with situational hitting, including Paul Goldschmidt, with the double to score the winning run on Sunday.  Paul DeJong has struggled for weeks but contributed crucial home runs on Saturday and Sunday.  Marcell Ozuna had a .596 OPS for the week but drove in all four runs against the Nationals on Monday.  Harrison Bader drove in two of the five runs on Thursday yet put up an OPS of .739 over the last seven games.  Contributions have been spread around the lineup in different games.   The offense has been inconsistent as usual but has come through with just enough when it mattered.

Jack Flaherty (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Pitching and defense are what have put the Cardinals on top.  Base running has also contributed much to the winning effort.  Jack Flaherty has had a Cy Young Award-caliber second half.  Adam Wainwright continues to pitch well.  Miles Mikolas has been decent, while Dakota Hudson and Michael Wacha had indifferent starts this past week, but it ended up not mattering.  The bullpen, sans a bad inning by Carlos Martinez on Thursday, continues to be a plus.

The team will finish the regular season with three games against the Diamondbacks and three games with the Cubs in the final weekend at Busch Stadium.  With the Brewers still hot on their heels, the Cardinals need to win four of their final six without a loss by the Brewers to clinch the Division.  A loss or two by Milwaukee while on the road at Cincinnati and Colorado this week will ease that burden. The Brewers’ magic number to clinch a playoff berth is three.


NL Central Standings 

Team W L Pct GB Elim #
St. Louis 89 67 0.571
Milwaukee 86 70 0.551 3 4
Chicago 82 74 0.526 7 E
Cincinnati 73 83 0.468 16 E
Pittsburgh 65 91 0.417 24 E

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and is done for this season.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out for the rest of the season.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10 day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60 day injured list on Sept 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.  Thomas is out for the season.
  • 2B Kolten Wong (left hamstring) injured his hamstring in Thursday’s game against the Cubs. A subsequent MRI revealed a Grade 2 strain.   Wong’s return to the lineup is uncertain at this time.

Looking Ahead

To begin the last week of the regular season, the team travels to Arizona for a three game series with the Diamondbacks.  Adam Wainwright is scheduled to make the Monday start in Phoenix, followed by Jack Flaherty on Tuesday, and Michael Wacha on Wednesday.

After a travel day on Thursday, the Cardinals return home to play the final series of the regular season against the Cubs for three games.

The Cardinals clinched a postseason berth with the win against the Cubs on Sunday.  Should the Cardinals fail to win the division, they would play in the NL Wild Card game on October 1.  If they win the division, they will play the first game of the NLDS on October 3, likely against the NL East-winning Atlanta Braves. In the current leading scenario, the Wild Card winner would face the NL West’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be viewed here.  The postseason schedule can be viewed here.


Blast from the Past

The Cardinals executed a four-game sweep over the Cubs at Wrigley Field this past weekend to clinch a postseason berth, and eliminate the Cubs as contenders for the division title.  This week’s Blast from the Past looks at the last time in franchise history a similar event occurred.

On May 27-29, 1921, the Cardinals swept the Cubs in four games at Wrigley Field (called Cubs Park at that time).  The two teams played a doubleheader on the 28th.  The Cardinals won the four games – 10-7, 8-7, 9-2, and 6-1.

Bill Doak

On May 27, St. Louis starter Bill Doak pitched 4 2/3 innings and gave up six runs, three earned, on nine hits.  Relievers Roy Walker pitched the last out of the fifth, and Bill Sherdel tossed the final four innings and earned the win.

The Cardinals hit no home runs, but pinch hitter Burt Shotton delivered a three-run triple. Right fielder Joe Schultz and third baseman Milt Stock each drove in two runs.  Center fielder Jack Smith and left fielder Austin McHenry had one RBI each.

In Game 1 of the doubleheader on the 28th, reliever Roy Walker was the winning pitcher.  Walker pitched five innings and gave up two unearned runs on three hits. First baseman Ray Grimes went 3-for-4, including a home run.  Left fielder John Sullivan also contributed a long ball. Second baseman and future Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby went 3-for-5 with three RBI.

Jesse Haines

In the nightcap, Jesse “Pop” Haines pitched a complete game and gave up two runs on seven hits.  McHenry hit a long ball and had three RBI.  Third baseman Jack Fournier tripled; Schultz doubled twice and catcher Verne Clemons once. Stock went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

In the final game of the series, pitcher Marv Goodwin pitched a complete game, giving up one run on seven hits. Smith and SS Doc Lavan homered.  Smith also doubled, as did Schultz.  McHenry went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

The 1921 Cardinals went 87-66 that year and finished third in the National League.  Against the Cubs they were 14-8.  Five years later, in 1926, the Cardinals would win their first World Series title with Hornsby as player-manager.


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