St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of November 8-14

photo: Nolan Arenado (St. Louis Cardinals)

The St. Louis Cardinals dominated 2021 defensive awards as individuals and team. Other awards may be coming, a key reliever returns for another season and Winter Warm-Up 2022 has been announced. Our history feature looks back at prior Cardinals Rookies of the Year.

Arenado wins Platinum Glove; Cardinals win Gold Glove team award

The defensive accolades for the St. Louis Cardinals continued this week with the announcement of the winners of the annual Platinum Glove Award. The first-ever Rawlings Platinum Glove was awarded in 2011 and has been a staple of MLB’s collection of offseason awards ever since.

Since its inception, the Platinum Glove in the National League has been dominated by two players. Nine of the 11 winners since 2011 have either been catcher Yadier Molina or third baseman Nolan Arenado. Molina is a four-time winner, in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015.

Nolan Arenado

On Friday, Rawlings announced the NL winner of the Platinum Glove is Arenado. It is the third baseman’s fifth consecutive Platinum Glove and his first as a Cardinal. His first four came during his time with the Rockies.

Unlike the Gold Glove, the Platinum Glove is a fan award, voted online. For the first two years the award was 100% determined by the fan vote. In 2013, the SABR Defensive Index (SDI), the same as is used to determine Gold Glove winners, was added to the calculation.

When the Platinum Glove Award winners were announced, Rawlings also revealed that the Cardinals as a team were the recipients of the Gold Glove for the best overall defensive team in the NL. This team award was introduced last season, with the winners in its inaugural season the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs. The Astros were the AL winners in 2021.

As a team, the Cardinals led baseball with 86 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and the Astros came in second with 78 DRS. The Cardinals were also the leaders in Outs Above Average (OAA) with 50; the Astros came in second with 45 OAA.

Cardinals’ outfielder and former manager named award finalists

This coming week brings a panoply of offseason awards whose winners will be announced each night from Monday through Thursday. The first to be given out will be the recipient of the Rookie of the Year Award from each league.

The top three finishers for each award have already been released as “finalists”. Cardinals’ right fielder Dylan Carlson is up for the Rookie of the Year Award, along with favored Jonathan India of the Reds and Trevor Rogers of the Marlins.

Dylan Carlson

Carlson’s 2021 season was his first full season in the majors. He also played in more than half of 59 games in the pandemic shortened season in 2020. He struggled at the beginning and was sent down to the Alternate Site for a short while but came back and finished much stronger. In his 2021 campaign, he slashed .266/.343/.437 with 18 home runs and 65 RBI. He played at times at each of three outfield positions, with the most time in right. His totals were 78 games in right, 59 in center for the twice injured Harrison Bader, and eight in left.

Mike Shildt (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals have no finalists for either the Cy Young Award or the Most Valuable Player, but former manager Mike Shildt is among the top three finishers for the Manager of the Year Award. Shildt directed St. Louis through a rocky season that ended with a 17-game winning streak and a postseason berth as the second Wild Card. Shildt was fired shortly after the Cardinals were eliminated from the postseason in a loss to the Dodgers in the Wild Card game. The surprise dismissal was due to “philosophical differences” between the manager and the front office over the direction of the team.

Shildt’s competition is Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and Brewers skipper Craig Counsell. Shildt previously won it in 2019.

The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award will be disclosed on Monday, November 15 at 5 pm CT, and the Manager of the Year Award winner will be announced the next day, November 16, also at 5pm CT on MLB Network. The winners were chosen via voting by selected members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Cardinals make first offseason signing

In their first proactive move of the offseason, the Cardinals signed free agent left-handed pitcher T.J. McFarland to a one-year contract for 2022. The contract is reportedly for $2.5 million with $500,000 in performance incentives.

T.J. McFarland

The Cardinals signed McFarland on July 1, 2021, as an addition to a strained bullpen after he had been released by the Washington Nationals. The left hander pitched 38 2/3 innings for St. Louis and posted an ERA of 2.56.  McFarland’s ability to induce ground ball double plays proved decisive in many games for the Cardinals in the second half of the season. He was the pitcher when the Cardinals completed the noteworthy 3-2-5-4-2-8-6 double play in a September 25 game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Cardinals have almost certainly lost one left hander from the 2021 bullpen with the free agent departure of Andrew Miller. McFarland’s return boosts a bullpen with only one other lefty, Genesis Cabrera, currently slated for the 2022 season.

2022 Winter Warm-Up announced

The St. Louis Cardinals and Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation, announced that the 26th annual Winter Warm-Up will be held in person for 2022. The fan-focused event will be held in new venues – Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village – from January 15-17.

Three-day weekend tickets will be available for purchase starting Friday, November 26th. Single-day tickets and autograph tickets will be available at a later date. Check cardinals.com/wwu for further information.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

  • Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Cardinals are one of 10 teams interested in RHP Nick Martinez. Martinez was formerly with the Texas Rangers but has been pitching in Japan since 2018. He officially becomes a free agent in December.
  • Tim Healey of Newsday reported from the GM Meetings in Nashville this past week that free agent left handed pitcher Steven Matz attended the meetings to meet with teams interested in acquiring him. Healey stated the Cardinals were one of the teams showing interest.
  • Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reported from the GM Meetings in Nashville regarding the Cardinals plans for the offseason. President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak told assembled media that the team’s focus for the offseason will be on pitching. Mozeliak stated that the position players are “set” but that they are always open to opportunities. Goold mused in his articles about the free agent starting pitching market and speculated on whether the Cardinals might be interested in free agent starters like Max Scherzer or groundball specialist Marcus Stroman. Stroman in particular could be a fit for the Cardinals, says Goold, because of the elite defense that would play behind him.

Transactions

  • 11/8 The Cardinals signed free agent LHP T.J. McFarland.

Injury Report

There are no new injuries to report.

Looking Ahead

The offseason has officially begun. 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 (since re-signed), 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.

November is MLB awards month. Following are dates for the announcement of the winners of the major remaining awards:

  • 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 free agents to accept or reject the Qualifying Offer, which is November 17 (which no Cardinals received).

Teams also must finalize rosters for the upcoming Rule 5 draft by November 19. Any player a team wishes to protect from the Rule 5 draft must be added to the 40-man roster by then.

Brian Walton dug into this for members of The Cardinal Nation.

The Cardinal Nation’s 2021 Rule 5 Protection Picks

Blast from the Past

The month of November is offseason awards month, and the first of the awards, the defensive ones, have already proved to be a boon for the Cardinals. Five Cardinals won Gold Gloves, Nolan Arenado also received the Platinum Glove, and the team won the overall best defensive team Gold Glove in the NL.

This coming week, major awards presentations will begin on Monday and conclude on Thursday. Blast from the Past will commemorate this with a four-part series remembering all Cardinal winners of the major awards from seasons past. We begin with the Rookie of the Year award. One current Cardinal, Dylan Carlson, is a finalist for the award, having finished among the top three vote-getters.

The Rookie of the Year Award was initially given out by the Chicago chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. MLB adopted it as a national award in 1947. The first winner was Jackie Robinson and the award was formally named the Jackie Robinson Award in 1987. For the first two seasons, it was given to one player regardless of league. In 1949, the award was separated by league.

The team with the most ROY awards is the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers with 18. Six Cardinals have won the award in its MLB history. The last St. Louis winner was Albert Pujols in 2001. A brief summary of each winner from the team follows.

  1. The first Cardinal winner of the ROY was Wally Moon in 1954. Moon was signed by the Cardinals as a free agent in 1950. He debuted with the Cardinals on April 13, 1954 against the Cubs, and hit a home run in his first at bat. Moon primarily played left field, but also had time in right and center, and at first base. In his rookie season, Moon hit .304/.371/.435, with 12 home runs and 76 RBI. He led the NL in plate appearances with 716. Moon played five seasons for the Cardinals before being traded to the Dodgers in 1958.
  2. Stan Musial, Bill Virdon, Wally Moon

    The next season, 1955, Bill Virdon was named ROY. It was the first of two times a Cardinal won the award in back-to-back seasons. Virdon had been acquired via trade with the Yankees in 1954 and major his major league debut with St. Louis on April 12, 1955. He was a center fielder, and when he arrived, the Cardinals moved Stan Musial to first base to accommodate him. Virdon slashed .281/.322/.433 with 17 home runs and 68 RBI in his rookie campaign. He played less than two seasons with the Cardinals. Virdon slumped to begin the 1956 season, and Frank “Trader” Lane quickly sent him packing to the Pirates in May 1956.

  3. The third Cardinal ROY recipient was Bake McBride in 1974. McBride is a native of Missouri and was drafted by St. Louis in the 37th round of the 1970 draft. He debuted on July 26, 1973 and played in 40 games that season. He retained his rookie status for 1974. McBride, an outfielder, slashed .309/.369/.394 with 30 stolen bases in 1974. He played parts of five seasons for the Cardinals and was traded to the Phillies mid-season 1977.
  4. Vince Coleman (Getty Images)

    Fast forward to 1985, when the first of two Cardinals again won the ROY in back-to-back seasons. First up was Vince Coleman. Coleman, another outfielder, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 10th round in 1982. He made his major league debut on April 18, 1985 against the Expos. Coleman slashed .267/.320/.335 and led the NL that season with 110 stolen bases. The future Cardinals Hall of Famer stayed with St. Louis until he reached free agency, signing with the Mets in 1990.

  5. Todd Worrell, the first and only pitcher to become ROY for the Cardinals, won the award in 1986. Worrell was the team’s 1982 first round draft pick. He made his debut on August 28, 1985 and retained his rookie status for 1986. Worrell was the pitcher who received the throw from first baseman Jack Clark in Game 6 of the 1985 World Series, a play that resulted in the infamous blown call by umpire Don Denkinger. Worrell posted an ERA of 2.08 as a reliever in 1986 and led the NL in Saves with 36. He was granted free agency in 1992 and signed with the Dodgers.
  6. Albert Pujols, spring 2001 (Getty Images)

    Albert Pujols was the ROY winner in 2001, the last Cardinal to win the honor. Pujols’ career is well known. He played with St. Louis until after the 2011 World Series season and then signed a 10-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels. In his rookie season, he slashed .329/.403/.610 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI. The future Hall of Famer was selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie year and won the Silver Slugger award as a third baseman.

Next week Blast from the Past looks at the Cardinals’ three Manager of the Year Award winners.

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