St. Louis Cardinals Major League Notebook – November 14 – 20

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (Billy Hurst/USA TODAY Sports)

Paul Goldschmidt completes a very successful award season with the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award. From the rumor mill, the St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly looking into the top catching free agent on the market. Our history feature looks back at all 21 Cardinals MVPs.

Goldschmidt adds two more awards

As the baseball awards season winds down, this past week St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt added two more commendations to those he has received for the 2022 season. In addition to the Hank Aaron Award, the MLBPA Outstanding NL Player, and the Silver Slugger, Goldschmidt has added the National League Most Valuable Award and the MLB Retired Players Heart and Hustle Award.

Paul Goldschmidt

The Heart and Hustle Award is an annual honor created by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association in 2005.  It is given to an active player, regardless of league, who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball, and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game. Goldschmidt was chosen by the Alumni Committee for the 2022 season.

Goldschmidt was also named the National League Most Valuable Player for 2022. In the sportswriter balloting, he led teammate Nolan Arenado, who came in third, and San Diego third baseman Manny Machado who finished second. This was Goldschmidt’s first MVP award after several earlier close finishes while with Arizona.

Goldschmidt received 22 of 30 first place votes, defeating second place finisher Machado by a substantial margin, 380 votes to Machado’s 291. Arenado received one first place vote and 232 total points.

Albert Pujols was the last Cardinal to win the award, with his third and final career MVP in 2009. At age 35, Goldschmidt is the ninth oldest recipient of the award. He finished second in the voting twice before, in 2013 and 2015.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

National scribe Jon Heyman wrote in the New York Post that the Cardinals are “pursuing” free agent catcher Willson Contreras, formerly of the Cubs. Heyman said St. Louis is among the clubs “at the forefront” of those trying to sign the 30-year-old.

Contreras will carry a high price tag on a multi-year deal, not the kind of acquisition the Cardinals usually land. The club has also been speculated as a good trade match with Oakland and Toronto to source retired Yadier Molina’s replacement.

Transactions

  • 11/15 The Cardinals selected the contract of LHP Connor Thomas from the Memphis Redbirds.
  • 11/17 The Cardinals signed RHP Chris Stratton to a one-year contract.
  • 11/18 The Cardinals did not tender a contract to RHP Alex Reyes. Reyes has elected free agency.
  • 11/18 The Cardinals did not tender a contract to CF Ben DeLuzio. DeLuzio has elected free agency.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

The 2022-23 offseason has begun, and all unsigned eligible players across the game have elected free agency.

The deadline for tendering contracts to all unsigned players has passed. The Cardinals declined to offer contracts to RHP Alex Reyes and CF Ben DeLuzio. Both players are now free agents.

Cardinals Non-Tender Alex Reyes, Ben DeLuzio

The Cardinals finalized the 40-man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft, scheduled for December 7.  Fresh off a strong Arizona Fall League, LHP Connor Thomas joined previous addition, outfielder Moises Gomez, on the roster, which now sits at 37 players.

Connor Thomas

The next event on the offseason agenda is the annual Winter Meetings, scheduled to take place from December 4-7 in San Diego. The Winter Meetings are a key period where teams explore and make deals for players, either in trade or free agency.

The final day of the meetings are when the Rule 5 draft takes place. With three current roster openings, the Cardinals could choose to be active. Of course, they could also lose eligible non-40-man players, too.

Other dates on the offseason calendar involving the Baseball Hall of Fame take place in November and December. On November 21, the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot will be released. Members of the BBWAA have until December 31 to fill out and return their ballot.

In addition, on December 4, the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee will meet, reviewing a list of players who have fallen off the writers’ ballot. The results of that voting will be announced live that evening on MLB Network at 7 pm CT. On December 6 and 7, the recipients of the 2023 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters, and the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for writers will be announced.

Blast from the Past

Last week’s Blast from the Past took a look into the history of the Gold Glove Award and Cardinals players who have won it. This week the discussion turns to the Most Valuable Player Award in the same vein.

Bob Gibson’s 1968 National League Most Valuable Player Award

The Major League Most Valuable Player Award is an annual honor voted on and given out by the Baseball Writers’ Association of American (BBWAA) since 1931.  From 1922 until 1930 the award was called the “League Award “and was decided by a committee of eight baseball writers.

From 1944 until 2020 the award was known as the Kennesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, in honor of the first Commissioner of Baseball following his death in 1944. The BBWAA removed his name from the award in 2020 in response to complaints of former MVP winners who objected to the name because of Landis’ role in preventing the integration of baseball.

The award is voted on by two writers from each league city. From 1938 until 1961 it was three writers from each league city.

The position with the most all-time winners is first base, with 37. There has been only one tie in the award’s history, which occurred in 1979 between Cardinal Keith Hernandez and Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell, both first sackers.

The team with the most winners is the New York Yankees with 23. The Cardinals are second with 21. Three teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays, have never had a winner (though as noted above, Paul Goldschmidt finished second twice while with the Snakes)..

The Cardinals had three winners of the earlier League Award: Rogers Hornsby in 1925, Bob O’Farrell in 1926, and Jim Bottomley in 1928.

The first Cardinal to receive the MVP was second baseman Frankie Frisch in 1931. Three Cardinals pitchers were among the winners who followed: Dizzy Dean in 1934, Mort Cooper in 1942, and Bob Gibson in 1968.

Stan Musial

Two Cardinals have won the MVP three times. They are Stan Musial (1943, 1946, 1948) and Albert Pujols (2005, 2008, 2009). Musial won the award as both a first baseman and an outfielder.

The most Cardinal wins were at first base, one each for Bottomley (1928), Musial (1946), Orlando Cepeda (1967), and Hernandez (1979), three for Pujols (2005, 2008, 2009), and one for Paul Goldschmidt (2022), for a total of eight.

Four winners played in the outfield: Joe Medwick (1937), Musial (1943, 1948) and Willie McGee (1985).

Two second basemen won the award, Hornsby (1925) and Frisch (1931). Two were third basemen, Ken Boyer (1964) and Joe Torre (1971).

Only one catcher (O’Farrell in 1926) and one shortstop (Marty Marion in 1944) have received the award.

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