photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)
Front office, field manager and coach contract extensions were the first off-season business for the St. Louis Cardinals. Kolten Wong captures another defensive award and Ted Simmons again has a Hall of Fame opportunity. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals BBWAA Award winners.
Contract extensions for Mozeliak, Girsch and Shildt
In an end of season press conference at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, November 5, Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. announced that President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and Cardinals manager Mike Shildt were given new contracts and GM Michael Girsch’s contract option was exercised and two years were added on to his existing contract.
Mozeliak’s contract was set to expire after the 2020 season and the Cardinals gave him a new contract that added three additional years past 2020. Mozeliak has led the Baseball Operations Department since 2007, first as the General Manager, and since 2017 as the President of Baseball Operations.
Michael Girsch was made the GM in 2017 following the promotion of Mozeliak. His option for 2020 was exercised and two more years were added on to his contract to take him through 2022. Girsch has been part of the Cardinals organization since 2006.
Mike Shildt was given a brand new contract for three years, through the 2022 season, as his prior 2020 deal was voided. Shildt became interim manager in July of 2018 following the dismissal of Mike Matheny and then signed a two-year contract at the end of the 2018 season. Shildt is a top three finisher for the National League Manager of the Year Award, which will be given out on November 12.
It was also announced in the press conference that the entire coaching staff at the major league level will return for the 2020 season. The coaching staff consists of bench coach Oliver Marmol, hitting coach Jeff Albert, assistant hitting coach Jobel Jimenez, pitching coach Mike Maddux, first base coach Stubby Clapp, third base coach Pop Warner, assistant coach Wille McGee, and bullpen coach Bryan Eversgerd.
Also, at the press conference, Mozeliak informed the media that veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright wants to return for the 2020 season and that discussions for a new contract for Wainwright will begin in the coming days and weeks.
Wong adds another defensive award
On Wednesday, November 6, the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year Awards for 2019 were announced, and Cardinals second sacker Kolten Wong was named the winner of the award at second base. This award is given for the top defensive player at each position in MLB.
Wong is a first time winner of the Wilson Award and adds this honor to a growing list, which includes the 2019 NL Gold Glove Award at second base, and the Fielding Bible Award for the top defender at second base in MLB. Wong is a first-time winner of the Gold Glove as well, but the Fielding Bible Award was Wong’s second consecutive such honor.
Simmons a finalist on Hall ballot
Ted Simmons, catcher for the Cardinals from 1968-1980, was named as one of 10 finalists for the Modern Baseball Era ballot for the Hall of Fame. The announcement was made on Monday, November 4 and the vote will take place on December 8 at the Baseball Winter Meetings.
This will be the third time Simmons is considered for election to the Hall of Fame. Simmons first appeared on the BBWAA ballot in 1994 but he fell off after receiving only 3.7 percent of the writers’ vote that year. Players must receive at least five percent of the vote to be retained on the ballot for the following year.
Simmons was considered by the Modern Baseball Era Committee the last time it convened but fell one shy of the 12 of 16 votes needed for election. The case for his election may be stronger given how close he came in 2018, though nothing is certain because there is new competition on the ballot.
Simmons has the second most RBI among all catchers behind only Yogi Berra. That means he has more RBI than other current HOF catchers such as Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez.
Simmons amassed a WAR (wins above replacement) of 50.3 in his career. He is one of nine catchers with 50 or more career WAR in all of baseball. All of the other eight are in the HOF. His 50.3 WAR puts him ahead of six other catchers who are in the Hall.
The fact that Simmons was not considered a good defensive catcher may work against him. He also lags behind many of his catching peers in other offensive categories during the era in which he played, which is also a negative mark on his HOF case.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told the media in the organization’s end of season press conference on Tuesday, November 5, that the team is attempting to negotiate a new contract with veteran starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has expressed the desire to return for another season, and Mozeliak stated discussions will take place over the next couple of weeks to try to work out a mutually acceptable deal for the right hander’s return.
MLB Network’s John Heyman reports that it is extremely unlikely free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna will accept the $17.8 MM qualifying offer tendered to Ozuna by the Cardinals. Nevertheless, it is not out of the realm of possibility that the 29 year old left fielder will return to the Cardinals on a new deal. It has been reported that the Cardinals and Ozuna are expected to at least hold discussions on a multi-year contract. Ozuna has until 4 pm CT on November 14 to either accept or reject the qualifying offer, the first step in the process.
There are no transactions to report.
- P Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had a “small procedure” that consisted of a platelet rich plasma injection in his right shoulder to address persistent shoulder soreness and weakness. His recurring issues with the shoulder kept Martinez out of the starting rotation and in the bullpen for the 2019 season. Martinez is expected to have a normal offseason and Spring Training and also be back in the mix for the starting rotation in 2020.
The General Manager Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday, November 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona and run through November 14. The GM Meetings are held annually in November to kick off the MLB offseason.
November 14 is the deadline for free agents to either accept or reject qualifying offers made to them by their former teams. The Cardinals made the QO to free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna, who is one of 10 free agents across MLB to have been tendered an offer. The decision must be made by 4 pm CT on that day.
The deadline for finalizing rosters prior to the December Rule 5 draft is November 20. The Cardinals have already begun making moves by returning three players to the roster who ended the season on the 60-day injured list. Those players are pitchers Jordan Hicks and Brett Cecil, and outfielder Lane Thomas. More moves on or off the roster are expected before the deadline, including the additions of any minor leaguers the Cardinals wish to protect from the Rule 5 Draft. As of this writing, the 40-man roster has 37 players.
Several offseason awards remain on the MLB calendar in November. These include the Rookies of the Year Award to be disclosed on November 11, followed by the Managers of the Year on November 12, the Cy Young Awards on November 13, and the Most Valuable Players on November 14.
The Winter Meetings, which include the Rule 5 Draft, are scheduled for December 9-12 in San Diego.
Blast from the Past
Winners of the annual BBWAA awards for the 2019 season will all be announced this coming week. These awards are the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award, and Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Manager Mike Shildt is the only Cardinal top three finisher “finalist” for any of these awards.
This week’s Blast from the Past looks back at previous winners in these categories who won while they were Cardinals.
In the category of Rookie of the Year, past Cardinal winners were Wally Moon (1954), Bill Virdon (1955), Bake McBride (1974), Vince Coleman (1985), Todd Worrell (1986), and Albert Pujols (2001). Moon was an outfielder who played for the Cardinals from 1954-1958. Virdon was also an outfielder who was with the team for two seasons, 1955 and 1956. McBride played in the Cardinals outfield from 1973-1977 and was a native of Missouri, born in Fulton, Missouri in 1949. Most current fans know Coleman, who played left field for the Cardinals during the Whitey Herzog years and may be most notable for his stolen base ability and also for breaking his leg during the 1985 NLCS when the tarp rolled over his leg. Coleman is now in the Cardinals Hall of Fame. Worrell was a relief pitcher for the Cardinals during the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and Pujols, of course, is known as one of the greatest Cardinals of all time.
Past Cardinals Manager of the Year recipients are Whitey Herzog, who won in 1985, and Tony La Russa, who received the honor in 2002.
The Cardinals have two prior Cy Young Award winners. Bob Gibson won two Cy Young Awards, one in 1968, and one in 1970. The last Cardinal Cy Young winner was Chris Carpenter, who was honored in 2005.
The Cardinals have had an MVP 17 times in the past. Two Cardinals won the MVP award three times. Stan Musial was the MVP in 1943, 1946, and 1948. Albert Pujols won MVP in 2005, and in back to back seasons in 2008 and 2009.
Additional MVP winners are Frankie Frisch (1931), Dizzy Dean (1934), Joe “Ducky” Medwick (1937), Mort Cooper (1942), Marty Marion (1944), Ken Boyer (1964), Orlando Cepeda (1967), Bob Gibson (1968), Joe Torre (1971), Keith Hernandez (1979) and Willie McGee (1985).
Prior to 1931, the National League gave out The League Award, which was the precursor to the MVP. Three Cardinals won this award: Rogers Hornsby (1925), Bob O’Farrell (1926), and Jim Bottomley (1928).
Only one Cardinal, Bob Gibson, won multiple BBWAA awards in the same year. Gibson received both the Cy Young and the MVP in 1968.
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