Tag Archive | "Calm Down"

Shortstop News Does Not Require Panic

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that shortstop Rafael Furcal would require Tommy John surgery, ending his season before it starts.

Rafael_Furcal

During the announcement, General Manager John Mozeliak seemed to throw his support behind young Pete Kozma as the immediate solution.  Fans took to Twitter to beg the team to make a trade and acquire someone immediately to fill the void.

Calm down, Cards fans.

Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, the Cardinals were not relying on Furcal as much as many fans felt they were.  They signed Ronny Cedeno to be the back up at that position due to the fear that he would not be able to patrol the field.  As Matt Whitener pointed out on last night’s UCB Radio, Cedeno was most likely signed as a back up no matter what.  Furcal’s news does not thrust him into the starting role, it simply means that he will be the backup to someone else.

That someone else, at least for now, is Pete Kozma.  Honestly, doesn’t he deserve the chance?

We all know the Kozma story: first round pick that couldn’t figure out how to hit in the minors, given multiple chances at different levels but never seemed to “click”, then suddenly figured something out on the biggest stage down the stretch in St. Louis last season.

Small sample size aside, those 72 at bats at the major league level last year should, at the very least, earn Kozma the opportunity to prove that it was a fluke.  His defense was suspect last year, but barely below league average, and his offense was suddenly solid with a ..333/.383/.569 slash line.  His strikeouts were high while his walks were low but that is a trend we see with many young players.  Patience comes with experience and experience comes with opportunity.

So far this spring, again small sample size, Kozma has proven that he can hit well, play decent defense, and he is showing an increased level of patience at the plate.  He looks like the first round pick that the Cardinals had so much faith invested in 2007.

Ultimately, we’re talking about the number eight hitter in the Cardinals lineup.  A position that will not be relied on for strong offensive numbers and be looked at to simply handle the position on the field.  The production in this lineup will come from left field, right field, catcher, first base, and third base.

Kozma is showing patience at the plate and the Cardinals are showing that patience with his development might just pay off.  Gaining experience requires an opportunity to present itself.

The opportunity is here.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by clicking here.

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King Felix Is Not Adam Wainwright

The Seattle Mariners extended Felix Hernandez‘s contract on Thursday and many St. Louis Cardinal fans reacted quickly, feeling Adam Wainwright‘s price tag just went up.  The problem with that thought is simple, Hernandez is no Wainwright, he’s much, much better.

Cardinals Spring Baseball

Hernandez agreed to a deal that will keep him in Seattle for a reported financial windfall to the tune of seven years and $175 million.

That is not to say that Adam Wainwright is not a very good pitcher, we all know that he is.  It is not to say that Adam Wainwright will not be a very wealthy man when his contract is resolved, he most likely will.  But to say that Wainwright’s price will be based off of Hernandez’s price is a bit absurd.

Both of them debuted in the same year for the team they still play for, the Mariners and Cardinals respectively, and both were due to hit free agency at the same time, after the 2013 season.  That is where the comparisons end, however.

We can start with the obvious point of age.  Hernandez (26) is five years a junior to Wainwright (31).  If you are giving a seven year deal to a pitcher, you would do so to a pitcher Hernandez’s age, not Wanwright’s.  Beyond that, Hernandez has not spent any significant time on the disabled list, has substantially better career numbers, and has earned many more accolades than his St. Louis counterpart.

Tale Of The Tape
Wainwright Hernandez
80 Wins 98
1 20 Win Seasons 0
3.15 ERA 3.22
908 Strikeouts 1487
1073 Innings Pitched 1620.1
214 Games 238
11 Complete Games 23
4 Shutouts 9
1 All Star Selections 3
0 Cy Youngs 1
1 Arm Surgeries 0
1 Missed Seasons 0

That graph shows two very good pitchers.  It also shows one with an injury history, that is older, and is not quite on the same level.

Hernandez translated his career into a $25 million a year payout.  Wainwright will probably look to translate his into $20 million a year for a much shorter period of time.

Calm down, Cardinal Fans, the price of King Felix had little to no impact on the cost of Adam Wainwright.  That price was set before and I highly doubt it moved at all with this news.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Everyone Calm Down – Royals Trade Reaction

The Kansas City Royals  traded away two high level prospects last night, bringing home a legitimate ace and another strong pitcher.  The trade provided the Royals with the one thing they had been looking for over the last two seasons, an improved pitching staff.

Naturally, the pulse of the Royals fan base raced.  Seemingly, it was not from excitement, it was from disappointment.  The fans seem to feel that the team came out a “loser” in the deal.

Everyone Calm Down.

The Royals had a very big need.  They needed an ace for this team and they got it.  Not only did they get a strong number one, they picked up a legit number three in the process.  The rotation has been overhauled this offseason and, going into 2013, this team looks poised for a playoff run.  Indeed, it may in fact be “Our Time” for the Royals fan base.

The cost of the acquisition is what seems to be bothering most people.  Trading away two strong prospects in one trade is steep no matter how you look at it.  That being said, these players were not ready to contribute in 2013 and may not track as great as they once did.

Jake Odorizzi is a firm pitching prospect that shows promise and will be a contributor to a major league pitching staff within the next few years.  Most scouts agree, however, that he will contribute as a number three or four guy, most likely solidifying the middle to back-end of a rotation.  His breaking stuff has not developed as well as many thought it would and his fastball, which clocks in the mid-90′s, is elevated more often than most would like.

Wil Myers was a hitting machine at Triple-A Omaha last year.  Most anyone you talk to will tell you that this young man will be a strong outfielder in the Major Leagues.  Projections have him hitting 25 home runs and driving in 85+ runs while playing consistent defense.  Those same projections figure his arrival in the Major Leagues in late 2013 and those numbers to become reality in 2015.

Mike Montgomery was included in the deal and may be the player that breaks out the quickest in Tampa.  He is a classic “change of scenery” guy and fans will need to remind themselves that whatever he does, in whatever uniform he does it in, he most likely would not have accomplished that wearing a Royals uniform in the first place.

So, the Royals traded away a potential big hitter, an average pitcher, and a guy that just couldn’t get traction within this organization.

What did they get back?

Wade Davis is a slightly better version of Odorizzi.  The biggest difference between the two is that Davis is ready to produce in the middle of the rotation now instead of two years from now.  He has been successful as a starter and a reliever and figures to make an impact on this rotation immediately.

James Shields is an ace pitcher that finished in the top three in Cy Young voting just a year ago.  He is also highly regarded as a mentor type player that will help the clubhouse chemistry around the young talent coming through the organization.  He is a total package player that will impact this team in 2013 and 2014 before reaching free agency.

The Royals still have some holes.  They have a need in the outfield and at second base.  But the biggest issue for this team was the pitching rotation and that is no longer an issue.

When it comes down to it, if you want to improve your team, you have to give something up in the process.  This team gained known commodities in exchange for potential.

I’ll take a known winner over a potential win any day of the week.  Not only that, I’ll take winning now over maybe winning later.

Maybe if everyone calms down, they will agree.

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