photo: Matt Wieters (Kim Klement/Imagn)
This past week, the St. Louis Cardinals added two players with two other moves long-rumored but not yet happening. Our history feature highlights the late team Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Forsch.
Cardinals reunite with backstop Wieters
On Sunday, the Cardinals reached a deal with catcher Matt Wieters for a return as backup catcher to Yadier Molina, according to national reporter Jon Heyman. It had been rumored for much of the offseason that the Cardinals and the Oakland A’s were competing for the services of the switch hitter.
The terms for Wieters, 33, are reportedly one year for $2 million with incentives worth an additional $1 million. In 2019, Wieters played in 67 games with a slash line of .214/.268/.435. The catcher hit 11 home runs and drove in 27.
Cardinals catching prospect Andrew Knizner, no. 5 in TCN’s 2020 rankings, may begin the season with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds or the Cardinals could use the new 26th roster spot on a third catcher.
The team has not confirmed the move yet, perhaps waiting until a physical has been taken.
Cardinals acquire outfielder from Miami
The Cardinals announced this past Tuesday that outfielder Austin Dean was acquired from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league outfielder Diowill Burgos. This move follows the trade of two from the Cardinals outfield depth in the trade of Jose Martinez and Randy Arozarena to the Tampa Bay Rays for LHP prospect Matthew Liberatore. Earlier in the off-season, Adolis Garcia was traded and Marcell Ozuna became a free agent.
The 26 year old Dean played 64 games with the Marlins in 2019 and slashed .225/.261/.404 with a .665 OPS. Dean put up better numbers in Triple-A, slashing .337/.401/635 with a 1.036 OPS in 73 games with Miami’s Triple-A affiliate in New Orleans. The right handed outfielder was the Marlins Minor League Player of the Year in 2018.
Dean was added to the Cardinals 40-man roster and will compete with other outfielders for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Burgos, 18, was a 2017 international signing by the Cardinals. The young outfielder played in 58 games between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast Cardinals in 2019 and slashed .316/.420/.579.
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Cardinals Winter Warm-Up
The Cardinals annual Winter Warm-Up began on Saturday and continues through Monday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in St. Louis. The event features individual autograph signings by current and former Cardinals players and coaches as well as interviews, live and silent auctions, and question and answer sessions with Cardinals staff.
The Cardinals Caravans are operating in conjunction with the Winter Warm-Up. In them, current players, alumni and media personalities travel to a number of cities in the Midwest to meet and answer questions as well as sign autographs for young fans. TCN’s Derek Shore recapped the events at the Friday stop in Springfield, MO.
You can view full coverage of the Warm-Up at TCN, with daily summaries of the events as well as photos and audio interviews.
MLB Network’s documentary on the Whiteyball Era
A new documentary entitled “Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals” is a film which highlights the successes of the Cardinals teams of the 1980s, a/k/a “Whiteyball”, after the Cardinals manager of that time, Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog.
The film will air on MLB Network on January 28, but Cardinals fans were treated to an early screening of the film at Ballpark Village on Saturday.
Following the viewing, Herzog, as well as former players Ozzie Smith, John Tudor, and Tom Herr conducted an onstage Q&A.
The documentary features the hiring of Herzog as manager in 1980, and how he put together the roster. It includes the 1982 trade for Ozzie Smith, acquired by the Cardinals from the San Diego Padres in exchange for Garry Templeton.
The film also includes interviews with Herzog, Smith, and former Cardinals first baseman Keith Hernandez, as well as other former Cardinals. Broadcasters Bob Costas and Al Michaels, Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel, author Doug Feldman, and actor and Cardinals fan Jon Hamm, are also showcased in the film.
The film will air on MLB Network at 7 pm CT on January 28.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals continue to explore outside additions, but no move is imminent. Free agent Marcell Ozuna remains on the Cardinals’ radar, though Goold states that sources have indicated that the Cardinals would have to increase their offer for Ozuna to sign.
As for the possibility of trading for Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, his availability is uncertain, as he would have to waive his no trade clause. Further, the opt out in his contract after 2021 may remain as a road block. Further, acquisition of Arenado means Matt Carpenter may have to be traded to make room. Carpenter also has a no trade clause in his contract, but Carpenter told Goold this weekend that he “wouldn’t stand in the way of doing what I thought was right for the organization”. However, the rumors of a trade of Arenado to St. Louis have lost steam in recent days, making a trade of the All Star third baseman seem more unlikely.
- 1/14 The Cardinals acquired OF Austin Dean from the Miami Marlins for OF Diowill Burgos.
There are no new injuries to report.
TCN’s Winter Warm-Up coverage on Sunday includes injury updates on Cardinals Austin Gomber, Lane Thomas, Jordan Hicks and more.
Spring Training is less than 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
Over the weekend a new documentary celebrating the St. Louis Cardinals teams of the 1980s was shown to Cardinals fans at Ballpark Village on Saturday. The film, entitled “Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals” showcases the era of “Whiteyball” a decade during which the Cardinals appeared in three World Series and won one.
This week’s Blast from the Past remembers one pitcher who was instrumental in the success of that decade. His name was Bob Forsch and were he still alive, he would have celebrated his 70th birthday this past week.
Robert Herbert Forsch was born January 13, 1950 in Sacramento, California. He attended Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento and went on to attend Sacramento City College. Forsch was selected by the Cardinals in the 26th round of the 1968 draft. He was drafted as a third baseman but was converted to a pitcher while in the minor leagues.
Forsch made his major league debut on July 7, 1974. His most memorable performance of his rookie season was in a game against the Montreal Expos on September 30, when he carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning.
Forsch pitched his only 20-win season in 1977, in which he went 20-7 with a 3.48 ERA.
Forsch reached the postseason for the first time in 1982. He started Game 1 of the NLCS against the Braves, striking out six and limiting the Braves to three hits. Forsch pitched two games in the World Series but lost both. The Cardinals nevertheless won the Series in seven games over the Milwaukee Brewers. Forsch pitched in the postseason two more times in that decade, in both 1985 and 1987.
One notable postseason event for Forsch was in the 1987 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. In Game 3, Forsch hit Giants outfielder Jeffrey Leonard in the back with a fastball. Leonard was nicknamed “One Flap Down” for his habit of trotting around the bases after a home run with one arm down at his side. This stunt enraged Cardinals fans, and after Forsch plunked Leonard, the St. Louis media began calling Leonard “Both Flaps Down”. Forsch was unrepentant, insisting that he was “only trying to come inside”.
In 16 seasons with the Cardinals, Forsch posted a record of 168-136 with an ERA of 3.76. Forsch had two career no-hitters, both at Busch Stadium. He also won two Silver Slugger Awards as a pitcher. Forsch was one of the better hitting pitchers in the league, with 12 career home runs on his resume.
Forsch was the author of a book entitled Bob Forsch’s Tales from the Cardinals Dugout. Forsch passed away on November 3, 2011 from an aortic aneurysm, less than a week after he threw out the first pitch in Game 7 of the 2011 World Series at Busch Stadium. He was named to the Cardinals team Hall of Fame in 2015.
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