St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of October 21-27

photo: Kolten Wong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)

As the St. Louis Cardinals move into off-season mode, free agency approaches for five players and six others are competing for Gold Gloves. Our history feature looks back at St. Louis’ 2013 World Series loss to the Boston Red Sox.


Cardinals garner six Gold Glove finalists

The finalists for the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards were announced on Thursday, October 24, and six St. Louis Cardinals made the list of top three finishers in the National League at their positions. The awards honor one player at each position in each league for their defense during the season.  The Cardinals led the NL in the number of top three finishers.

The Cardinals’ six finalists:

  • C Yadier Molina
  • P Jack Flaherty
  • 1B Paul Goldschmidt
  • 2B Kolten Wong
  • SS Paul DeJong
  • CF Harrison Bader

Molina is a nine-time winner while Goldschmidt has received three Gold Gloves over his career.  Wong was a 2018 finalist but lost to D.J. LeMahieu.  DeJong, Flaherty, and Bader are first-time finalists.

The SABR Defensive Index rankings, courtesy of SABR.org, which are 25% of the final score in choosing the winners, are unavailable until the winners are announced.  However, other defensive stats, such as Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), can give insight into player defensive performance.  Kolten Wong led the NL in DRS with 14.  His competition, Ozzie Albies and Adam Frazier, had eight and six respectively.  Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is another such stat, and DeJong as well as Bader led the NL in UZR.

The winner from each set of finalists will be announced on Sunday, November 3 at 7 pm ET in a live show on ESPN.


Free Agency looming for five Cardinals

As the World Series nears its conclusion, the official start of the offseason and free agency is set to begin at 9 am ET on the day following the end of the World Series.  All potential MLB free agents will become official at that time.

The Cardinals have five 40-man roster players set to become free agents: Marcell Ozuna, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Matt Wieters, and Tony Cingrani.  All teams will have an exclusive window for negotiating with their free agents that ends at 5 pm ET on the fifth day following the end of the World Series.

Marcell Ozuna came to the Cardinals in a 2017 offseason trade with the Miami Marlins.  The Cardinals sent Sandy Alcantara, Zac Gallen, Magneuris Sierra and Daniel Castano to Miami in exchange for the outfielder.  In his two seasons in St. Louis, Ozuna posted a slash line of .262/.327/.451 with 52 home runs and 177 RBI.  The left fielder had a sluggish 2018 season for the Cardinals but bounced back in 2019 with better numbers.

Ozuna will turn 29 years old in a couple of weeks, and the Cardinals have a surfeit of young outfielders in the organization.  The likelihood that the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Ozuna is low.  It is probable that Ozuna will be offered the $17.8 million dollar qualifying offer which the outfielder will likely not accept.  Should he decline the offer and sign elsewhere, the Cardinals will receive a draft pick in compensation.

Marcell Ozuna

Adam Wainwright, 38, has been with the Cardinals since they acquired him in 2003 from the Atlanta Braves minor league system.  The pitcher made his MLB debut in September 2005 and played his first full MLB season in 2006 as a reliever.  Wainwright was signed to a one-year deal plus incentives in the 2018-2019 offseason.  Wainwright pitched very well and earned every one of his contractual incentives for a final 2019 salary of $10 million.

Wainwright has a decision to make as to whether he wants to pitch another year or retire.  Should he decide to continue to pitch, the Cardinals will more than likely work out a mutually acceptable deal with him.

Adam Wainwright

Michael Wacha, 28, was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 draft and made his MLB debut on May 30, 2013. Wacha was an integral part of the Cardinals World Series run that season.  The right hander posted a regular season ERA of 2.78 in 15 games, including nine starts.  Wacha was named the NLCS MVP in that postseason run.  In his seven seasons as a Cardinal, he has a record of 59-39 and an ERA of 3.91.

Wacha’s last several seasons were marred by recurring injuries including a stress reaction in his right shoulder.  It is unlikely the Cardinals will attempt to re-sign Wacha or issue him a qualifying, making him available to be signed without penalty by another team for 2020.

Michael Wacha

In February, the Cardinals signed Matt Wieters, 33, to a one-year free agent contract to serve as the back-up catcher to Yadier Molina.  A 10-year veteran, Wieters spent eight seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and moved to the Washington Nationals as a free agent in 2017.  He played two seasons in Washington and was granted free agency again in October 2018.  This season, Wieters posted a slash line of .214/.268/.435 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 67 games.  There has been no indication from the Cardinals as to whether a reunion with Wieters for 2020 is a possibility.

Matt Wieters

Finally, Tony Cingrani was acquired in a mid-season trade that sent Jedd Gyorko to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Cingrani came to the Cardinals along with minor league pitcher Jeffry Abreu in a trade widely considered a salary dump manuever.  Both Cingrani and Abreu were injured when they were acquired; Cingrani is recovering from Tommy John surgery and was immediately placed on the 60-day injured list.  Abreu was also placed on the minor league injured list.  Neither has thrown a pitch for the Cardinals.  It is not expected the Cardinals will make an attempt to retain Cingrani.

Tony Cingrani


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


Transactions 

There are no transactions to report.


Injury Report

All players on the injured list at the end of the season (minus any free agents) must be returned to the 40-man roster by November 20 if they are to be retained by the team.

  • LHP Brett Cecil (carpal tunnel syndrome left wrist) continues on the 60 day injured list. Cecil had begun a throwing program but had a setback and did not return to the roster.
  • RHP Jordan Hicks (torn right UCL) underwent Tommy John surgery on June 26 and is out until mid-season 2020.
  • LHP Tony Cingrani (left shoulder labrum surgery) was acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31. Cingrani is out for the season and will become a free agent at the end of the season.  Cingrani will likely never throw a pitch for the Cardinals.
  • OF Lane Thomas (right wrist) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to August 28 for a right wrist fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch. Thomas was transferred to the 60-day injured list on September 1 to make room on the roster for C Joe Hudson.
  • Michael Wacha (right shoulder strain) was shut down from throwing for a week following an early exit from a game on September 25. Wacha was unavailable to participate in the NLDS and was not included on the NLCS roster.  He becomes a free agent after the end of the World Series and will likely not be returning to the Cardinals.
  • 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.

Looking Ahead

Looming free agency for several Cardinals is next on the Calendar for the offseason.  The Cardinals have the following players set to become free agents:  Marcell Ozuna, Matt Wieters, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Tony Cingrani.  (See details above.)

In addition to making decisions on free agency, the Cardinals must return all injured players they intend to retain to the 40 man roster on or before November 20.  Any non-roster minor league players the Cardinals want to protect from the Rule 5 draft in December must be added to the 40-man roster by the 20th as well.

Notable events occurring in November also include the General Manager Meetings on November 11-14, and the Owners Meeting on November 19-21.  Individual awards will be announced during the period November 3-14, beginning with the Gold Gloves on November 3.


Blast from the Past

As the 2019 World Series nears its conclusion, this week’s Blast from the Past reminisces about the last time the Cardinals played in the World Series.

The Cardinals’ run to the 2013 World Series began with a NL Central Division championship, then continued with a 4-1 defeat of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS and a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The Cardinals met the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic, which began on October 23, 2013 at Fenway Park.

The Cardinals lost Game 1 by a score of 8-1.  Starters were Adam Wainwright or the Cardinals and Jon Lester for the Red Sox.  Wainwright pitched five innings and gave up five runs, three earned, on six hits. Two errors by shortstop Pete Kozma and one by David Freese, plus a misplayed popup that fell between Wainwright and catcher Yadier Molina, added to the Cardinals’ woes.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was the Cardinals’ only score.

St. Louis fared better in Game 2, defeating Boston 4-2.  Michael Wacha opposed future Cardinal John Lackey for Boston.  St. Louis scored first on a ground out by Molina.  A sac fly by Matt Carpenter and a Boston error led to two runs scoring and that was immediately followed by an RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  Wacha earned the win and closer Trevor Rosenthal got the save.

The series moved to St. Louis for Game 3.  The Cardinals edged the Red Sox 5-4 to take a 2-1 series lead.  Starters were Joe Kelly for the Cardinals and Jake Peavy for the Red Sox.  Kelly went 5 1/3 innings and gave up two runs on two hits.  The Cardinals scored two runs in the first inning on singles by Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.  Holliday drove in two additional runs in the seventh inning on a double to left field.

In the ninth, an unusual play happened.  Molina singled, then Allen Craig doubled.  With Molina on third and Craig on second, Jon Jay hit a grounder to second and Molina was thrown out at home.  The Red Sox catcher then threw to third base to try to get the running Craig out. Craig slid into third as Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks lay on the ground in his path after attempting to grab a wide throw from the catcher.  Craig got up and attempted to run for home but made contact with the prone Middlebrooks, slowing him down.  The umpire called interference after Craig was initially tagged out at home, and the run was counted as the umpires ruled Craig would have scored safely but for the contact with Middlebrooks, who was obstructing his path.

Game 4 was a 4-2 loss for the Cardinals, tying the series 2-2.  St. Louis’ Lance Lynn faced Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz.  Lynn pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits.  The Cardinals scored first on a third inning RBI single by Carlos Beltran.  The Cardinals plated their second run on a single by Matt Carpenter in the seventh inning.  The game ended in the ninth when pinch runner Kolten Wong, running for Allen Craig, was picked off first base.  Wong wore the scorn of this pickoff for several years after, as it was the first time in MLB postseason history that a game ended on a pickoff.

The last game in St. Louis was also a loss for the Redbirds, as they went down 3-1 to give Boston a 3-2 Series lead.  The losing pitcher was Adam Wainwright, who also took the Game 1 defeat.  It was not a good World Series for Wainwright.  Wainwright went seven innings and gave up three runs on eight hits.  Jon Lester again pitched for Boston.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was again the only score for St. Louis.  Game 5 was basically the mirror image of Game 1 without the errors.

The teams went back to Boston for Game 6.  Once again it was Michael Wacha against John Lackey.  The Cardinals lost the game 6-1 and the Series.  Wacha pitched only 3 2/3 innings and gave up six runs on five hits.  The Cardinals intentionally walked Sox slugger David Ortiz four times, twice by Wacha and twice by Trevor Rosenthal.  The Cardinals’ only run came on a single by Carlos Beltran in the seventh inning.

The Cardinals were outscored by the Red Sox 27-14 in the Series.  The Cardinals would reach the postseason again in 2014 and 2015 but fell in the NLCS to the Giants in 2014 and in the NLDS to the Cubs in 2015.  They did not reach the postseason again until 2019, when they were swept in four games in the NLCS by the Washington Nationals.


Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation

TCN’s 2019 Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year


Not yet a member?

Join The Cardinal Nation for the most comprehensive coverage of the St. Louis Cardinals from the majors through the entire minor league system.

Follow Marilyn Green on Twitter @Marilyncolor.

© 2019 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.