photo: Harrison Bader (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
The St. Louis Cardinals’ week was busy with a new bench coach, free agents leaving, roster changes, Hall of Fame news and history-setting five Gold Gloves. Our history feature looks back on the career of homegrown Cardinal free-agent Carlos Martinez.
Former Cardinal Schumaker to become bench coach
According to multiple media reports, the St. Louis Cardinals are set to welcome a former team member back into the fold as part of the major league coaching staff. Rob Rains of STLSportsPage was first to share that the Cardinals plan to hire Skip Schumaker, a former outfielder/infielder as the new major league bench coach.
The bench coach position opened after the promotion of Oliver “Oli” Marmol to become the new manager of the Cardinals. Marmol replaced Mike Shildt, who was terminated last month. The official announcement of Shumaker’s hiring is expected within the next few days.
The 41-year-old Schumaker spent two seasons as the associate manager of the San Diego Padres but was allowed to seek new employment when manager Jayce Tingler was fired at the end of the team’s difficult 2021 season. Prior to that, Skip was the Padres first base coach, hired into that position in 2017.
His 11 seasons as a player began when he was selected by St. Louis in the fifth round of the 2001 draft. He made his MLB debut in 2005 and played eight seasons with the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers after the 2012 season. He played one season in Los Angeles, then signed a two-year contract with the Cincinnati Reds. His last major league season was 2015. Schumaker signed a minor league contract with the Padres in February 2016 but announced his retirement that March.
Schumaker returns to the Cardinals as the bench coach to a squad that still contains two of his former teammates from the 2011 World Series team, Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina.
Team declines options on two veterans
The end of the World Series signaled the beginning of the baseball offseason. Free agency is underway, and teams begin the process of adjusting rosters in anticipation of offseason transactions.
The first moves of the season start with player options, free agency, and Qualifying Offers. Teams and players had until Sunday, November 7 to exercise or decline contractual options for the next season. The Cardinals held 2022 team options on two veterans, Matt Carpenter and Carlos Martinez.
As expected, the Cardinals declined the options for both. The options came with a $2 million buyout for Carpenter and a $500,000 buyout for Martinez. Both players have elected free agency and will be available to be signed by other teams.
Carpenter’s departure ends an 11-season career with St. Louis that began in June 2011. Carpenter was a 13th round draft pick by the Cardinals in 2009. His career slash line with St. Louis is .262/.368/.449 with 155 home runs and 576 RBI. Carpenter’s 2021 was spent in a bench role as the 35-year old’s performance showed a marked decline in his final two seasons in St. Louis.
I love you, St. Louis. Thank you for everything! @PlayersTribune
— Matt Carpenter (@MattCarp13) November 8, 2021
Martinez missed the second half of the 2021 season with a torn ligament in his right thumb that required surgery. Up until the right hander was placed on the IL on July 9, his performance was underwhelming, with a record of 4-9 and an ERA of 6.23 in 82 1/3 innings pitched. Martinez leaves behind a nine-year Cardinals career with a final line of 62-53 and an ERA of 3.74. He will enter the free agent market at the age of 30 and will likely garner significant interest from other teams.
Free agents to test market
In addition to Carpenter and Martinez, seven other Cardinals, all pitchers, enter the free agent market. They are left handers Andrew Miller, Kwang-Hyun Kim, Wade Le Blanc, Jon Lester, J.A Happ and T.J. McFarland, as well as right hander Luis Garcia. All but Miller and Kim seem to have the potential to return to the Cardinals on either a major or minor league deal should they not find better deals elsewhere.
Teams had until Sunday, November 7 to make a Qualifying Offer to free agents. The QO for 2022 is $18.4 million for a one-year contract. The Cardinals did not make the offer to any of their nine free agents.
Three leave 40-man roster
The Cardinals made three other roster changes this past week. Outfielder Justin Williams and infielder Max Moroff cleared outright waivers, were outrighted off the 40-man roster and assigned to the Memphis Redbirds. Outfielder Austin Dean was claimed off outright waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
Williams started the 2021 season with the Cardinals as an extra outfielder. He played in 51 games in right field and left, due to IL stints by starters Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader, but struggled offensively. Williams went on the IL himself with neck stiffness on June 5 and was sent to Memphis after his activation. He played the remainder of the season in Triple-A.
Moroff started the 2021 season in Memphis but was called up on May 14. He played in six games with St. Louis before suffering a season ending shoulder injury while in the batting cage.
Dean, like Williams, began the season with St. Louis and played in 16 games in April. He was sent down to Memphis at the end of the month and dealt with injury from May until late August. He made a brief return to St. Louis in August for four games before returning to Triple-A, where he ended the season back on the IL.
The Cardinals’ 40-man roster currently stands at 31 players. Two players, Junior Fernandez and Ryan Helsley, will need to be returned to the roster from the 60-day IL within the next two weeks.
Cardinals make MLB history with five Gold Glove winners
The winners of the 2021 Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Sunday night and the Cardinals had five winners. The Gold Glove is given to the best defensive player at each of the nine positions in each league.
The five winners are Paul Goldschmidt at first base, Tommy Edman at second, Nolan Arenado at third, Tyler O’Neill in left field and Harrison Bader in center field. The Cardinals’ five Gold Glove winners in one season is the most by any team in MLB history. Also, Yadier Molina finished among the top three catchers, losing out to Pittsburgh’s Jacob Stallings.
It is Arenado’s ninth consecutive Gold Glove and first as a Cardinal. Goldschmidt won his first since 2017 and it was his fourth Gold Glove overall and first as a Cardinal. The last Cardinal first baseman to win the award was Albert Pujols in 2010.
O’Neill was a back-to-back winner, having won the left field award in 2020. He is the first Cardinal with consecutive awards since Jim Edmonds won six straight from 2000-2005.
The award is the first for both Edman and Bader, though the latter finished among the top three at his position in 2019. O’Neill and Bader are the first pair of outfielders to win in the same season in franchise history.
Bader led all players in the NL in the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), with a 14.4 SDI score, which comprises 25% of the Gold Glove vote. He is the first Cardinals center fielder to win the award since Jim Edmonds in 2005.
Edman is only the third second baseman in Cardinals’ history to win the Gold Glove. He beat out former teammate Kolten Wong for the award, who won it the past two seasons as a Cardinal.
The Cardinals as a team led all 30 major league teams in Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) with 86.
All five are eligible for the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, to be awarded on November 12. The winner is determined by a combination of a fan vote and the SDI. Voting commences on Sunday, November 7 and runs through November 10 at Rawlings.com.
Hall of Fame Committee ballots for 2022 announced
On Friday, November 5, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced the 10-person ballots for the Early Baseball Era Committee and the Golden Days Era Committee. The 10 men on each ballot will be considered by the committees for election to the Hall of Fame Class of 2022. The Committees will meet at the Winter Meetings on December 5 to make their selections.
The Early Baseball Era ballot contains one former Cardinal. Vic Harris played for the team in 1976 as a utility player. In 97 games he slashed .228/.275/.309 in 282 plate appearances.
Five of the 10 players on the Golden Days Era ballot are former Cardinals. They are Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Roger Maris, and Minnie Minoso.
Allen, Maris, and Minoso were only briefly with the Cardinals. Allen was traded to the Cardinals as part of the Curt Flood trade with the Phillies in 1970. Allen earned a trip to the 1970 All-Star Game in his one season with the Cardinals.
As his career was nearing its end, Minoso played only the 1962 season in St. Louis. He came to the Cardinals in a trade with the White Sox and missed two months of the season due to injuries suffered in a crash with the outfield wall.
Maris played his final two seasons with the Cardinals, in 1967 and 1968. He came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Yankees and was a contributor to both pennant winning seasons.
Kaat pitched for the Cardinals in his final four seasons. The majority of Kaat’s 25-year career was spent with the Minnesota Twins. Kaat compiled a record of 19-16 with a 3.82 ERA with the Cardinals from 1980 through 1983 and also was known for his defensive prowess.
Boyer is the only candidate of the five to spend the majority of his major league career in St. Louis. Boyer began his MLB career with the Cardinals in 1955 and played for 11 seasons before being traded to the Mets at the end of the 1965 season. Boyer went to the All-Star Game in seven of his 11 seasons in St. Louis. He won five Gold Gloves and was the NL Most Valuable Player in 1964.
The results of the Committee’s votes will be announced live on MLB Network at 5pm CT on December 5.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Cardinals are one of four teams interested in free agent pitcher Andrew Heaney. The Yankees acquired Heaney in a mid-season trade with the Angels. Heaney pitched in 12 games with the Yankees, five as a starter. He was designated for assignment on October 5 and elected free agency two days later.
- 11/3 LHPs Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Wade LeBlanc, J.A. Happ, Jon Lester, and T. J McFarland and RHP Luis Garcia elected free agency.
- 11/4 Cardinals decline options on RHP Carlos Martinez and 3B Matt Carpenter and they become free agents.
- 11/5 The Cardinals sent 2B Max Moroff and OF Justin Williams outright to the Memphis Redbirds.
- 11/5 LF Austin Dean was claimed off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
There are no new injuries to report.
The offseason has officially begun, and free agency is underway. Nine Cardinals have elected free agency. They are LHPs Kwang-Hyun Kim, Andrew Miller, Wade LeBlanc, J.A Happ, Jon Lester and T.J McFarland, RHPs Carlos Martinez and Luis Garcia, and 3B Matt Carpenter. Some of these players could return to the Cardinals on either a major or minor league deal.
The annual MLB General Manager Meetings begin on Tuesday, November 9 and end on Thursday, November 11. The meetings cover mostly off field matters but can include some early-stage work on potential deals.
November is MLB awards month. Following are dates for the announcement of the winners of the major awards:
- November 7 – Gold Glove
- November 11 – Silver Slugger
- November 15 – Rookie of the Year
- November 16 – Manager of the Year
- November 17 – Cy Young Award
- November 18 – MVP
Other important dates include the release of the Hall of Fame ballot on November 15, and the deadline for players to accept or reject the Qualifying Offer, which is November 17.
Teams also must finalize rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft by November 19. Any players a team wishes to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added to the 40-man roster by this date.
Blast from the Past
Last week Blast from the Past looked back at the 11-year Cardinal career of Matt Carpenter, who became a free agent this past week and is not expected to return to St. Louis in 2022. The Cardinals declined their 2022 option, making him a free agent. This week we review the career of Carlos Martinez, who along with Carpenter had a 2022 option declined by the team and is also now a free agent.
Martinez came to the Cardinals in 2010 as an international free agent. He had previously signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2009, but that contract was voided by Boston due to discrepancies with his name and date of birth. The issue was eventually cleared up and the Cardinals signed him.
Martinez spent his first three professional seasons in the minor leagues. He was called up to St. Louis on May 3, 2013. and pitched in 21 games, one as a starter. He also appeared in the postseason against the Pirates in the NLDS, the Dodgers in the NLCS and the Red Sox in the World Series. In 12 2/3 postseason innings out of the bullpen he gave up five earned runs in 12 games with an ERA of 3.55.
Martinez pitched in 57 games in 2014, seven as a starter. His record was 2-4 with an ERA of 4.03. He returned to the postseason in the NLCS in 2014, again out of the bullpen. He pitched four innings and gave up one earned run and had an ERA of 2.25.
In October 2014, Cardinals outfielder and Martinez’ best friend Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Martinez honored his friend by changing his uniform number from 44 to 18, the number Taveras wore as a Cardinal.
Carlos became a starter in 2015. He made 29 starts for St. Louis with a record of 14-7 and an ERA of 3.01. Martinez was selected to his first All-Star Game, winning the fan Final Vote. He suffered a shoulder injury on September 25 and missed the postseason as the Cardinals lost in the NLDS to the Chicago Cubs.
Martinez had a successful 2016 season, pitching to a record of 16-9 with an ERA 3.04 in 31 starts. Martinez’ year was marred by off field issues, including a civil suit filed against him in Florida.
The right hander signed a contract extension with the Cardinals in February 2017 for 5 years and $51 million. The extension ran through the 2021 season, with the team holding options for 2022 and 2023. In 2017, Martinez had a record of 12-11 with an ERA of 3.64 in 32 starts. He led the NL in complete game shutouts with two. Martinez was selected for the All-Star Game for a second time, via the player vote.
In the 2018 season, Martinez spent time on the disabled list twice, once with a lat strain and a right oblique strain. After Martinez was activated from the DL the second time he was moved to the bullpen. Carlos pitched in 33 games that season, 18 as a starter. He finished with an 8-6 record and an ERA of 3.11. Off-field issues again plagued Martinez, as he was party to a second civil suit alleging he injured a man in a fight outside an East St. Louis bar. The suit was eventually dismissed.
Carlos began the 2019 season on the injured list with a rotator cuff strain. He returned to the team on May 18 and pitched in 28 games out of the bullpen, mostly as the closer. He had an ERA of 3.17 and a record of 4-2 with 24 saves.
In the COVID shortened 2020 season Martinez was hit among the hardest of Cardinals players, including a hospital stay. Upon his return, he made five appearances, all as a starter, going 0-3 with an ERA of 9.90.
Carlos returned to the starter role full time in 2021 but made it only to mid-season before suffering a season ending injury to his right thumb that required surgery. He made 16 starts and had the worst outing of his career on June 2 against the Dodgers. Martinez gave up 10 runs in the first inning and was relieved after securing just two outs. His final line for the season was 4-9 with a 6.23 ERA.
In his nine seasons as a Cardinal, Martinez has a record of 62-52 and a career ERA of 3.74. The 30-year-old will finish his major league career with another team and his Cardinals time can at best be looked at as successful but marred by inconsistency, tragedy and erratic behavior off the field. Cardinals fans should wish him good luck and good health.
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