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
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
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.
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.
Shildt is NL Manager of the Year
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.
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.
11/12: The Cardinals signed free agent RHP Adam Wainwright to a one-year contract.
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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