Autograph details for the 2020 St. Louis Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up have been posted on the team’s official website – prior to tickets going on sale Monday, December 9.
The three-day Winter Warm-Up fan event – from which all proceeds go to charity – is held each January over Martin Luther King weekend. This year’s dates are from Saturday, January 18 through Monday, January 20.
In my annual just-for-fun endeavor, I look at rising and falling autograph prices from year to year. These values are set by someone within the Cardinals hierarchy, and apparently reflect at least some estimation of the expected supply and demand for the signatures.
One needs to remember that these lists are fluid up until the event itself. Players who are missing now could be added later, just as once in a while, a last-minute conflict arises.
There is little change from last year’s Top Dogs, with the names at the very top remaining identical – Yadier Molina followed by Paul Goldschmidt and Adam Wainwright.
Jack Flaherty and Kolten Wong join this group, with Flaherty’s price increasing the most over 2019. The autographs of Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong are up slightly with Matt Carpenter’s dropping.
|Yadier Molina||$150||$150||$150||$150||$125||$100||$100||$75||$75||$90||$75||$100||$90||The current face of the franchise turns 37 in July|
|Paul Goldschmidt||$100||$100||Newest team star is back for year two|
|Adam Wainwright||$75||$75||$75||$75||$100||$90||$80||$50||$50||$45||$50||$60||$80||Will 2020 be his last season as an active player?|
|Jack Flaherty||$50||$30||$10||Strong emergence as the team’s new ace|
|Matt Carpenter||$50||$60||$60||$75||$60||$50||$40||$15||free||Second straight uneven season in 2019|
|Paul DeJong||$45||$40||$30||$5||Long-term solution at shortstop|
|Kolten Wong||$45||$35||$35||$50||$50||$40||$15||Again stepped up his performance in 2019|
|Harrison Bader||$45||$40||$10||$5||No one can touch his defense in center field|
National League Manager of the Year Mike Shildt and rehabbing closer Jordan Hicks lead the mid-price group, with autographs topping the $20 to $40 range.
Highly-paid pitchers took the biggest hit from year to year. Carlos Martinez’ price fell for the third consecutive time, Andrew Miller’s price is cut by more than half and Miles Mikolas also had a big drop. So did another rehabber, Alex Reyes.
Risers in the mid-tier include 2019 rookies Tommy Edman and Lane Thomas, along with veteran Dexter Fowler. Tyler O’Neill is back, joined by another rookie, Randy Arozarena.
|Middle of the pack||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||Commentary|
|Mike Shildt||$40||$25||The 2019 National League Manager of the Year|
|Jordan Hicks||$40||$30||22-year old working his way back from Tommy John|
|Andrew Miller||$30||$65||Lefty reliever had an up and down first year with St. Louis|
|Tommy Edman||$30||$5||Infielder was the team’s top rookie in 2019|
|Dexter Fowler||$30||$25||$75||Rebounded somewhat last season after rough 2018|
|Carlos Martinez||$30||$50||$60||$75||$35||$25||$30||The hope is that he can return to past glory as a starter|
|Miles Mikolas||$30||$50||$25||Signed a two-year extension a year ago|
|Lane Thomas||$20||$5||Promising St. Louis debut shortened by injury|
|$20||Provided late season offensive boost|
|Tyler O’Neill||$20||$20||$10||May get another chance to claim a starting OF role|
|Alex Reyes||$20||$30||$50||$60||Long-time top prospect is rehabbing again|
Very reasonable $10 to $15 autograph opportunities are prevalent, led by starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon, reliever Giovanny Gallegos and catcher Andrew Knizner.
Rangel Ravelo and Junior Fernandez enjoyed their MLB debuts in 2019 and now will make their first Winter Warm-Up appearances in 2020.
|Andrew Knizner||$15||$10||$5||2020 role for Molina’s heir is unclear – StL or Memphis?|
|Daniel Ponce de Leon||$15||$10||One of many trying to break into the rotation|
|Giovanny Gallegos||$15||Former Yankees reliever became a valuable set-up man|
|Rangel Ravelo||$10||Well-proven Triple-A hitter trying to claim bench spot|
|John Brebbia||$10||$10||$10||Solidified bullpen role last season|
|Austin Gomber||$10||$10||$5||$5||free||Lefty looking to bounce back from injury-plagued 2019|
|John Gant||$10||$10||$5||$10||Great first half, but slowed after the break|
|Tyler Webb||$10||$10||Veteran lefty quietly pitched well with St. Louis|
|Ryan Helsley||$10||$5||One of the organization’s most promising arms|
|Junior Fernandez||$10||Hard-throwing reliever made his MLB debut in 2019|
This year’s initial group of prospects yet to reach St. Louis is star-studded. They are led by the top two prospects in the system – Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman – along with the organization’s Pitcher of the Year, Angel Rondon.
Recent 40-man roster addition Jake Woodford is included as are returning outfielder Justin Williams and relief prospect Seth Elledge.
|Dylan Carlson||$10||The organzation’s minors Player of the Year|
|Nolan Gorman||$10||Top prospect third baseman may be ready for Double-A|
|Angel Rondon||$10||The organzation’s minors Pitcher of the Year|
|Justin Williams||$5||$5||Strong finish after long absence from off-season injury|
|Seth Elledge||$5||Former Mariners draft pick may work into 2020 relief picture|
|Jake Woodford||$5||Starter just added to the 40-man and should debut in 2020|
The list of absentees is longer than usual, but it is still early. Brett Cecil skipped the last two events, so his omission was expected. Jose Martinez may still join from Venezuela, but Dakota Hudson’s absence is a surprise. Another veteran missing is Yairo Muñoz, who might begin to play winter ball.
For completeness, I included the final five members of the 40-man roster, even though they have yet to participate in Winter Warm-Up.
Of course, any of these and others may still join the lineup between now and the event.
|Missing in action?||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||Commentary|
|Brett Cecil||$15||$35||Three rough years behind and one to go on contract|
|Dakota Hudson||$15||$5||Emerged in 2019 as a solid starter|
|$25||$10||$5||free||Outfielder-pinch hitter already signed for 2020|
|Yairo Munoz||$10||Infield reserve may have to re-earn job|
|$10||Cuban native came up for first time in 2018, did not in 2019|
|Ramon Urias||40-man infielder is playing in winter ball in Mexico|
|Edmundo Sosa||Infielder made brief MLB appearances in last two Septembers.|
|Genesis Cabrera||Exciting LH now pitching in Dominican winter ball|
|Elehuris Montero||Third base prospect coming back from 2019 injuries|
|Alvaro Seijas||21-year old High-A pitcher just added to 40-man roster|
Here are some other interesting and important groupings.
The contingent of Cooperstown Hall of Famers is down to just three – Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith and Lou Brock – with none scheduled to attend in person. Tony La Russa
and Whitey Herzog were in this group in prior years, but are not yet listed among 2020 participants. Good health wishes are sent to all.
|Hall of Famers||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Bob Gibson||$50*||$50*||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$125||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Ozzie Smith||$50*||$50*||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$75*||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Lou Brock||$50*||$50*||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75||$75||$100||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
The group of ex-Cardinals signing for a fee has shrunk to none, with 2019 participants and Cardinals Hall of Famers Jim Edmonds and Mike Shannon plus first base coach Stubby Clapp not yet listed for 2020. Among other standouts who participated in the recent past are
Rick Ankiel and another team HOFer, Ray Lankford.
At least seven Cardinals have moved on to new organizations from last year, six of whom signed at 2019 WWU. Most notable departees are Marcell Ozuna, Michael Wacha and Jedd Gyorko.
|Mike Mayers||$10||$5||$5||Claimed by the Angels off waivers|
|Chasen Shreve||$10||Lefty could never settle in, signed with Mets|
|Dominic Leone||$10||Reliever recently non-tendered|
|Jedd Gyorko||$25||$25||$35||$10||Veteran utilityman was traded to the Dodgers|
|Michael Wacha||$25||$50||$50||$70||$70||$70||$5||Free agent was never the same after shoulder issues|
|Marcell Ozuna||$100||One of the top free agent outfielders on the market|
|Drew Robinson||$10||LHH utilityman acquired from Texas was let go|
Finally, the 15 individuals who will be signing for free follow. Free autograph tickets will be available online or at the Busch Stadium box office only. As always, check the website for further details.
A notable returnee is former catcher Tom Pagnozzi, back for the first time since 2012, according to my records. Same with Bo Hart, who last participated in 2014.
If you want to discuss Ballpark Village, Bill DeWitt III is back to sign. So is President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak among the no-charge group.
|Bill DeWitt III||Randy Flores||Bernard Gilkey||Bo Hart|
|Rick Horton||Al Hrabosky||Kyle McClellan||Bengie Molina|
|Jason Motte||John Mozeliak||Tom Pagnozzi||Kerry Robinson|
|Ted Savage||Brad Thompson||Bill DeWitt Jr.|
Update 12/9: Scott Terry was scratched from the initial free list, with Bill DeWitt Jr. added.
Update 1/6: Three former Cardinals greats have been added to both the free and pay lists.
|free||Alan Benes||Danny Cox||Ken Dayley|
|Rick Ankiel||$15||$20||$20||$60||$55||Plan to pitch again couldn’t beat Father Time|
|Tom Herr||$15||First WWU appearance at least in the last decade|
|Hall of Famers||2020||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Whitey Herzog||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$60||$60||$40||$50||Glad his health allows his return to WWU|
Three new additions have been made, all first-timers (at least since 2008). They are new Hall of Famer Ted Simmons (pre-signed balls only), ex-outfield star Andy Van Slyke and the newest Cardinal, left-handed pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore.
Of the two traded outfielders, Jose Martinez was not on the original WWU list, but Randy Arozarena has been removed, of course.
|Hall of Famers||2020||Commentary|
|Ted Simmons||$50 *||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Andy Van Slyke||$10||Popular ex-OF makes first WWU visit since at least in recent years|
|Matthew Liberatore||$10||Newest Cardinals LHP acquisition from Tampa Bay|
On the free side, there are two more later additions.
|free||John Costello||Bill Lyons|
All proceeds go to Redbird Rookies and charitable grants to other non-profit organizations that help kids, so the needy are the true winners. Autograph tickets are to go on sale online at cardinals.com on Monday, December 9 at noon Central time and at the stadium box office the next day. Each individual typically signs for just one or two hours on one of the three days only, so check the detailed event schedule and any limits carefully before buying your tickets.
The 24th Annual Winter Warm-Up, a three-day event, will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, January 18-20, 2020. Three-day event passes are already on sale for $40 for adults and $10 for children 5-15 years of age, same prices as at least the last nine years.
For full WWU information, including signing schedules and ticket ordering, follow this link.
The article will be updated periodically as changes are made to the event participants and schedule.
Many of the event participants also appear at the St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner, always held on WWU Sunday night. Tickets are $250. and $150. each. Details here.
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