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Autograph details for the 2018 St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up have been posted on the team’s official website – prior to tickets going on sale Monday, December 11.
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 13 through Monday, January 15.
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.
There has been little change from last year’s Top Dogs, with two exceptions. Aledmys Diaz is not returning for obvious reasons. Dexter Fowler is noticeably absent from among the names on the initial list posted by the Cardinals. The only other player fetching $50 or more for an autograph last year who is not in the top tier for 2018 is Kolten Wong, a relative bargain at his lowered signing price of $35.
The lone new addition to the top tier for is one of MLB’s top surprises of 2017, Tommy Pham. Bargains compared to last year include Matt Carpenter, Carlos Martinez and Stephen Piscotty.
About half of those in the middle tier of autograph prices are new to this grouping. Additions for 2018 include Wong, Paul DeJong, Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly. Those with better deals this year compared to last include Jedd Gyorko and Brett Cecil.
Bargain major league signees at from $5 to $10 are prevalent, with my top choices prospects Sandy Alcantara, Jack Flaherty, Magneuris Sierra and Harrison Bader.
Another group of prospects yet to reach St. Louis is led by top power prospect Tyler O’Neill and two other recent 40-man roster additions Oscar Mercado and Austin Gomber.
The only noticeable absentees are Fowler, as mentioned above, and recent signee Miles Mikolas.
Of course, these and others may still join the lineup between now and the event.
|Yadier Molina||$150||$150||$125||$100||$100||$75||$75||$90||$75||$100||$90||The current face of the franchise turns 36 in July|
|Adam Wainwright||$75||$75||$100||$90||$80||$50||$50||$45||$50||$60||$80||Always one of most popular even as StL career winds down|
|Matt Carpenter||$60||$75||$60||$50||$40||$15||free||Even in a down season, he gets on base|
|Carlos Martinez||$60||$75||$35||$25||$30||Signing price of the ace of the staff surprisingly drops|
|Tommy Pham||$60||$10||$10||free||Major emergence in 2017 was huge for team|
|Stephen Piscotty (traded)||$50||$75||$35||$5||free||A pull-back in price after a disappointing 2017|
|Alex Reyes||$50||$60||One of baseball’s top prospects is ready to resume|
|Michael Wacha||$50||$50||$70||$70||$70||$5||Health questions dissipated last season|
|Middle of the pack||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Kolten Wong||$35||$50||$50||$40||$15||Quietly stepped up his performance nicely in 2017|
|Randal Grichuk||$35||$35||$35||$20||free||Likely slated to be a reserve in 2017|
|Paul DeJong||$30||$5||Move to shortstop increased his value – 2nd in NL Rookie of Year|
|Jedd Gyorko||$25||$35||$10||Team leader in home runs in 2016 is a top utilityman|
|Mike Matheny||$25||$25||$40||$40||$40||$30||$30||$10||$10||Missed playoffs 2x time in a row, price down last 2 years|
|Luke Weaver||$25||$10||free||Ready for a full year in St. Louis’ rotation|
|Brett Cecil||$15||$35||Uneven 1st contract year led to price drop?|
|Matt Bowman||$15||$15||Rule 5 pitcher gets heavy workload out of the pen|
|Carson Kelly||$15||$10||free||Still Molina’s clear heir-apparent, but needs patience|
|$10||Fireballer made St. Louis debut last September|
|Greg Garcia||$10||$10||$5||free||free||Returning to utility infielder role|
|Jose Martinez||$10||$5||free||Huge close to 2017 and could be top reserve in 2018|
|Jack Flaherty||$10||Might have been rushed up in 2017, but held his own|
|John Brebbia||$10||Quietly came up, pitched well and never went down|
|$10||Made huge step from Palm Beach to StL and impressed|
|Tyler Lyons||$10||$5||$5||$5||$5||Solid, steady left-handed relief|
|Sam Tuivailala||$10||$5||$5||$5||Hard-thrower’s up and down to Memphis days are over|
|Luke Voit||$10||$5||Power-hitting first baseman may return to Triple-A|
|Harrison Bader||$10||$5||Top hitting prospect closest to St. Louis made 2017 debut|
|Ryan Sherriff||$5||$5||free||Lefty reliever pushing for bigger role with St. Louis|
|Mike Mayers||$5||$5||MLB stints in 2016, 2017; now a reliever|
|John Gant||$5||$10||Acquired in Jaime Garcia trade with Braves|
|Josh Lucas||$5||Tall righty made StL debut, pitched in Arizona Fall League|
|Alex Mejia||$5||Made MLB debut, removed from 40-man, still in plans|
|Tyler O’Neill||$10||Seattle acquisition is system’s top power hope|
|Patrick Wisdom||$5||$5||free||Third baseman is Rule 5 eligible|
|Austin Gomber||$5||$5||free||Top lefty starting prospect in the system|
|Rowan Wick||$5||$5||Former slugger now 40-man roster reliever|
|Dakota Hudson||$5||Right-hander likely to make StL debut in 2018|
|Andrew Knizner||$5||C was fastest-rising prospect in system in 2017|
|Oscar Mercado||$5||OF added to 40-man, to compete for Memphis job|
|Missing in action?||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Dexter Fowler||$75||Will he play in left field in year two of five-year deal?|
|Luke Gregerson||Newest free agent signee was drafted by StL|
|Marcell Ozuna||$100||New cleanup hitter second to Molina in autograph price|
|Miles Mikolas||$25||Newest rotation member via Japan|
Here are some other interesting and important groupings.
Five Cooperstown Hall of Famers continue – Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith, with Lou Brock back on the list after a year absence due to a health problem. Unfortunately, the latter three are not scheduled to attend in person, but it is worth noting pre-signed ball prices have dropped from $75 to $50.
It is exciting to see very popular ex-Cardinals Rick Ankiel and Ray Lankford returning to WWU for the first time in at least five years. They join a first-timer in John Tudor and stalwart Mike Shannon among a list of former Cardinals with prices for their signatures.
The Cardinals who have moved on since last year’s WWU includes a long list of 15 individuals, including 12 who signed last year. Most notable are long-time Cardinals Trevor Rosenthal, Lance Lynn and Matt Adams, as well high-dollar value signers Diaz and Jhonny Peralta.
Along with Red Schoendienst, for whom I hope his health is holding up, two other former players are not among this year’s signees after participating in 2017.
|Hall of Famers||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Whitey Herzog||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$60||$60||$40||$50||One of the most popular – for good reason|
|Tony La Russa||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$40||$40||$30||$30||$30||$30||His job is with Boston, but still admired in StL|
|Bob Gibson||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$125||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Ozzie Smith||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75*||$75*||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Lou Brock||$50*||$75*||$75*||$75||$75||$100||* Pre-signed balls for sale only|
|Mike Shannon||$30||$30||$25||$20||$10||$10||$10||Joined team Hall of Fame in 2014|
|Rick Ankiel||$20||$60||$55||His book is well worth the read|
|Ray Lankford||$10||$5||$10||$10||Fan favorite Cards Hall of Fame hopeful|
|John Tudor||$10||“Cranky Yankee” may be making 1st WWU stop|
|Brian Jordan||$5||$5||$10||$5||$15||Braves’ broadcaster brings back great memories|
|Ray King||$5||$5||$5||Burger time returns once again!|
|Aledmys Diaz||$75||From penthouse to traded for a minor leaguer|
|Jhonny Peralta||$35||$35||$30||$25||Decent MLB career may be over|
|Mike Leake||$30||$40||Traded to Seattle|
|Trevor Rosenthal||$25||$45||$45||$35||$15||Free agent rehabbing after Tommy John|
|Matt Adams||$25||$25||$25||$20||$5||$5||Not retained by Atlanta, now free agent|
|Lance Lynn||$20||$20||$40||$20||$15||One of top free agents on market|
|Jonathan Broxton||$20||$10||Another career likely over|
|Zach Duke||$20||Free agent lefty will definitely land somewhere|
|Marco Gonzales||$15||$15||$15||Will fight for rotation spot with Mariners|
|Miguel Socolovich||$5||Removed from 40-man, declared free agency|
|Mitch Harris||$5||$5||Guessing former Naval officer hung up cleats|
|David Bell||$5||$5||$5||Moved to Giants farm director|
|Kevin Siegrist||DNP||$15||$15||$15||Traded to Philadelphia|
|Seung-hwan Oh||DNP||Fell from closer to unwanted. Now free agent|
|Eric Fryer||DNP||Reserve catchers have at least nine lives|
|Not back for 2018||2018||2017||2016||2015||2014||2013||2012||2011||2010||2009||2008||Commentary|
|Orlando Cepeda||$100||Cha-Cha was apparently one and done|
|Red Schoendienst||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$75||$60||Hoping the Cardinal treasure’s health is ok|
|Bill Mueller||$5||$5||$5||Assistant hitting coach is former Cubs 3B man|
Finally, those who will be signing for free follow. Notice there is a change this year. Free-player autograph tickets will now be available online or at the Busch Stadium box office only, which is way better than having to wait in line in another building across the street from the Hyatt as in 2017. As always, check the website for further details.
Among the first-timers is President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak with former closer Ryan Franklin returning after a three-year absence. Popular Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year Stubby Clapp is back for a second year and former slugger Jack Clark moves from the fee to free autograph group.
For the vast majority who have no hope of ever getting a Bill DeWitt signature on a payroll check, you can secure the next best thing – on a piece of paper, for free. Choose father, son or both!
|Alan Benes||Andy Benes||Stubby Clapp||Jack Clark|
|Scott Cooper||John Costello||Danny Cox||Bill DeWitt Jr.|
|Bill DeWitt III||Ryan Franklin||Rick Horton||Al Hrabosky|
|Tom Lawless||John Mabry||Kyle McClellan||John Mozeliak|
|Cliff Politte||Kerry Robinson||Ted Savage||Scott Terry|
|Brad Thompson||Todd Worrell|
All of the proceeds go to charity, Cardinals Care, so the needy are the true winners. Autograph tickets are to go on sale online at cardinals.com on Monday, December 11 at noon Central time. Each individual typically signs for just two hours on one of the three days only, so check the detailed event schedule carefully before buying your tickets.
The 22nd Annual Winter Warm-Up, a three-day event, will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, January 13-15, 2018. Three-day event passes are already on sale for $40 for adults and $10 for children 5-15 years of age, same prices as the last seven years.
For full WWU information, including signing schedules and ticket ordering, follow this link.
January 4 Update
The Cardinals have announced Marcell Ozuna and Miles Mikolas will be participating and signing autographs. That leaves only Dexter Fowler and Luke Gregerson as absent players.
The above tables have been updated to reflect these changes.
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