Tag Archive | "Cardinal Fans"

The Cardinals Will Have a Strong Left Side of the Infield for Years to Come

AledmysDiaz

 

Over the last week, the Cardinals have made two moves that have locked up and solidified the left side of the infield for years to come. It has also, for the first time in years, guaranteed strength at two positions that have not always been the strongest positions on the team.

The Cards have had a sort of rotating door at shortstop for years. For the short period when Rafeal Furcal was healthy, the team was getting production. But when he was hurt, they had to rely on the likes of Ryan Theriot and Pete Kozma. Those experiments did not pan out and SS has remained a weak spot on the lineup.

Somewhat similarly at third base, David Freese has been good when healthy, but Cardinal fans are very privy on his health issues and it became impossible to rely on a full season from Freese, regardless of what kind of production he gave when he was at a hundred percent.

Last week, the Cardinals signed Matt Carpenter to a 6 year, $52 million dollar extension. The contract particulars per year include:

  • 6 years guaranteed
  • $52 million guaranteed (including a $1.5 million signing bonus)
  • 2014:  $1 million
  • 2015:  $3.5 million
  • 2016:  $6.25 million
  • 2017:  $9.75 million
  • 2018:  $13.5 million
  • 2019:  $14.5 million
  • 2020:  Club option for $18.5 million or $2 million buyout

Last year, Carpenter put up MVP numbers. He is 28  years old and his current contract will carry him until he is 34 years old. Those are some prime years the Cards will get from the third baseman, and hopefully some career stats will come with it.

Along with the extension, the Cards signed Cuban free-agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a 4 year, $8 million dollar contract. Diaz is a very promising signing, but isn’t quite the guarantee that Carpenter is. There are some major questions surrounding him. Can he stick at SS? Is his bat good enough to transfer to another position? Where does he start next season?

The signing is ultimately a good risk for the Cardinals, and in comparison to other recent Cuban defectors, is a bargain for the team.

Another benefit of the Diaz signing was the prior signing of Jhonny Peralta in the off-season. By signing Peralta to a 4 year, $52 million year contract, they have locked up the position for years to come. And that hasn’t changed at all. It does make the Diaz singing slightly confusing. But it is definitely a good problem for the team to have.

Other safety nets on the left side of the infield

Greg Garcia

The minor leaguer has been in the wings for years, waiting for his chance to come up. Last year with Memphis he hit an impressive .281/.386/.403. The high on base pct and the ability to steal bases positions Garcia to be a solid top-of-the-order player.

Pete Kozma

Most Cardinals’ fans would be happy to never see Kozma be a regular-day starter again. But desperate times may call for desperate measures. And with DL stints inevitable, Kozma could fill in at times. He is also still young, so development and improvement are possible.

Oscar Mercado

Mercado was drafted 57 overall last year by the Cards. The 18 year-old is a slender 6’2, 175 pounds. He is an option later down the road, but has promising upside. A Bleacher Report scouting report ranks him on the 80-point scale at:

Hitting: 35/55

Power: 30/40

Speed: 50/50

Defense: 45/60

Arm: 50/55

So a lot of questions remained unanswered. But they are good questions to have. Along with having two proven All-Stars at third and shortstop next year, the Cardinals also have many more options in the future.

Posted in Cardinals, MinorsComments (2)

Matt Harvey Can Find Answers In Adam Wainwright

The following excerpt is from my latest article for Yahoo! Sports on the Yahoo Contributor Network.  You can read the entire article by clicking here.

MattHarvey

COMMENTARY | The New York Mets were delivered a substantial blow to their future when they found out that Matt Harvey has a partial tear of his UCL, an injury that may require the infamous Tommy John surgery. Surgery could put Harvey on the shelf for the entirety of the 2014 season and impact his effectiveness for even longer. The St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright can provide a solid road map for Harvey and the Mets to follow.

Wainwright has been down the road that Harvey now faces. A partial tear of the UCL does not ensure that Tommy John surgery is necessary. It can be handled through rehabilitation and surgery can be delayed. It is a slippery slope, but one that Wainwright’s career is familiar with.

The partial tear
Wainwright suffered a partial tear of the UCL very early on in his career. He was able to continue pitching at a very productive level for over five years from the initial diagnosis. Other pitchers have tried to go the route of rehab with little-to-no success but Adam Wainwright proves that it is not impossible. Harvey may not see any significant time lost beyond the 2013 season.

Recovery time varies
It was early 2011 when Wainwright realized he did not feel right and was headed for surgery. The typical diagnosis can project almost a year-and-a-half recovery time for most pitchers. Wainwright surprised everyone when his rehabilitation from surgery was moving forward at a pace that had him throwing from a mound by the end of 2011. He showed up to spring training in 2012 ready to go and opened the season as a member of the rotation, just over 12 months removed from surgery.

That first season back is different
Once Wainwright was back on the mound, expectations were high and Cardinal fans were convinced that their ace had returned. While Wainwright’s first season back was successful by most accounts, it was not the season he is capable of that we are seeing in 2013. In 2012, Wainwright was able to throw over 198 innings and strikeout hitters at a pace similar to his career numbers before the surgery. He walked more hitters than normal, did not work as deep into games, and struggled with his command occasionally. He was back on the mound but he wasn’t completely back to normal.

Finish reading how the Wainwright Road Map can help Mets fans know what’s ahead by clicking here.

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Ichiro Reaches Musial Numbers

The New York Yankees’ outfielder, Ichiro Suzuki, reaches an amazing plateau last night.

StanIchiro

With a single to left field, Ichiro had his 4,000th hit of his professional career.  That’s a number that has only been accomplished in Major League Baseball by two individuals, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb.  The problem is, Ichiro did not reach that level in the big leagues.

The 4,000 hits of Ichiro’s professional career span his time in Japan as well as his time in Major League Baseball.  When you combine his 2,722 hits in his MLB career with his 1,278 hits in Japan, Ichiro has reached that mystical 4,000 hit mark.  When you look at it that way, and The Hall Of Very Good did just that here, Ichiro is not the third man to reach that number.  He’s the seventh.

There are some names of importance and some names that beg the question “Who?”, but most importantly to Cardinal fans, there’s a name of historical proportions.

Stan “The Man” Musial had 4,001 hits in his professional career.

That’s a career that started with three minor league seasons as a pitcher before moving to the outfield.  It’s a career that saw an entire season lost while he served his country proudly in World War II.

One of the game’s greatest hitters, and the Cardinals’ greatest ever, achieved 4,001 hits in his career while spending four seasons not hitting.

It is hard to say what Musial would have achieved with those four seasons back.  Even harder to predict what he would have done in today’s environment.  None of this is to say that Ichiro is anything less than a Hall Of Fame outfielder.  Maybe it’s to say just how good he has been.

With his next hit, Ichiro will tie Stan Musial for number of hits in a professional career.

That is the epitome of elite company.

Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.
You can find his work on Yahoo!, InsideSTL, and here on i70.
Talk baseball with him on Twitter @poisonwilliam

Posted in Cardinals, MLBComments (0)

Yahoo: Albert Pujols Deserves Respect

I am well aware that the headline to this article puts me in the minority and will cause me to face the ire of Cardinal Nation, but I cannot help it.

AlbertPujols9

I wrote over at Yahoo! tonight about the facts behind my standpoint that Albert Pujols deserves respect from Cardinal fans.

He gave the St. Louis Cardinals, their fans, and myself 11 years of amazing baseball memories.  Meanwhile, he made one bad choice – to leave the team.

I don’t feel the choice outweighs the memories.

There was a commercial that aired a few years back that pointed out that the generation of fans before myself got to watch Bob Gibson pitch, Lou Brock run, and Ozzie Smith field.  My generation?  We got to watch Pujols do…everything.

That’s the player he was.  Dominant, game changing, something never seen before, and the guy that you knew could do something you never thought possible on any given day.

Fans will react in many different ways when the see Albert on their screens this week wearing a uniform other than a Cardinals one in a game the Cardinals are a part of.  Some will shrug it off.  Some will be full of hatred and spit whatever vile phrases that come to mind.

I’ll choose to take a page from Jack Buck.

Pardon me while I stand and applaud.

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

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If Tyler Greene Homers In Chicago, Will Cardinal Nation Hear It?

St. Louis Cardinal fans are seemingly obsessed over former players.  Brendan Ryan, Rick Ankiel and Lance Berkman have all been on fans’ minds throughout the season.

Tyler Greene?  Not so much.

White Sox Mets Baseball

The middle infielder, who many believe cracked under the pressure that Tony LaRussa placed on him while they were both in uniform for the Cardinals, found himself on the outside looking in after a weak spring training with the Houston Astros.  He was released from his contract prior to opening day and he drifted off into oblivion.  Or Chicago.  Same thing in most people’s minds.

Tyler Greene is a Chicago White Sox infielder.  That news was a surprise to me as I read a recent article over at the St. Louis Sports Page about former Cardinals and how they are performing.  I had not heard anyone talking about him.  No fans rumbling about his arrival in the big leagues when Gordon Beckham went down hurt.  No sudden jubilation when he signed a contract with the pale hose on April 1st.

Surprisingly, not even a blurb on the internet when Greene went yard on April 26.

Greene is playing well in Chicago in very limited duty.  He has produced a .276/.323/.483 slashline in 29 at bats, producing a single home run and two runs batted in while scoring four times.  He has entered the game as a pinch runner or pinch hitter almost as many times (5) as he has on the field as a second baseman (6).  He has yet to attempt to steal a base and has committed one error in 29 chances.

Tyler Greene is a bench player in major league baseball, continuing to patrol the middle infield and run the base paths.  Leaving St. Louis has not injected his career with a sudden level of success.  The absence of Tony LaRussa has not allowed Greene to improve to the level that everyone thought.

Even so, it appears that no one cares.

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

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Wainwright Talks Progressing

The St. Louis Cardinals entered this off season with a glaring need: Adam Wainwright‘s contract will expire after this season.

wainwright-Aug-10-cropped

The Cardinals have been down this road before and, while the results were a little less then ideal, they have shown that they can continue to be successful after losing a superstar type player.  The situations are obviously not identical, but they are similar enough that many fans have kept a skeptical eye on the situation this spring.

Both the Cardinals and Wainwright have expressed no desire to put a deadline on these talks.  At the same time, Wainwright has been very candid that his increased health and productivity is not likely to drive his price down anytime soon.  The team has expressed a desire to see him in action and there seems to be a sticking point surrounding the length of the contract according to many people close to the negotiations.  Both sides have expressed recently that having a deal complete before Opening Day is ideal, though not a hard and fast deadline.

A brief silver lining has found it’s way through, however.  Recently, Wainwright’s agent, Steve Hammond, was out of the country and unavailable to the negotiations.  He recently returned from his vacation and it appears that the two sides have reopened the discussion.

Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak was on MLB Network Radio on SirusXM recently and had the following to say to Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin:

“Right now, I feel pretty optimistic that we’re going to find a way to get things done, but there are still challenges. But from my end of things, the fact that Steve Hammond and I are speaking is a good thing.”
Thanks to MLBTR for the quote, originally seen here.

It appears that the conversations are fluid and growing closer to a resolution.  As long as the sides continue to have conversations, it is fair to say that they are making progress towards a new contract.

For Cardinal fans, that would seem to be a real good thing.

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

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Not So Quick – Cards Miller Cleared To Throw

St. Louis Cardinal fans and beat writers jumped quickly to the conclusion that Shelby Miller was “out of the competition” for a spot in the opening rotation due to reported shoulder stiffness on Wednesday.

Shelby Miller is showing up in shape to compete for the opening in the rotation.

News broke across the internet out of Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday that 22 year old Cardinal prospect Shelby Miller had sat out throwing drills on Wednesday with “shoulder tightness” according to the team.  Fans held their breath and pundits declared that the three way competition between Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Joe Kelly for the final rotation spot was now down to two.

It did not seem to matter that manager Mike Matheny downplayed the problem saying that the team was not concerned about it.  No matter that the tightness appeared overnight and the righty did not feel any pain when he was throwing on Tuesday.  Never mind that the pitcher himself said that he would be back by the end of the week.  A fanbase that is still reeling from the loss of Chris Carpenter was ready to hit the panic button.

Thursday morning came and the team announced that Miller had been cleared to throw.  While they would continue with a conservative path and not push the hurler into games this weekend, there are no restrictions on the young man at this point and they expect him to be in game action early next week.

The fifth spot in the rotation is still up for grabs and is still locked into a three-way battle between some very exciting, young arms.

Don’t count Shelby Miller out just yet.

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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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Tub-slumping

The six-hour, 19-inning marathon that took place on Sunday was just another kink in the chain that is the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals’ season. The Cardinals’ heart of the order, the one so dominant when they are all hitting well, was a combined 2 for 22.Matt Holliday was 0 for 7, Carlos Beltran 2 for 7 and David Freese 0 for 8.   A game that saw Jaime Garcia dominate in his return from an arm injury, looking like the Garcia of 2010, was marred by poor offense and some strange decision-making.

 

St. Louis had chance after chance to end the game with a W. The biggest opportunity came in the 17th. Skip Schumaker‘s single to center, the one that Andrew McCutchen bobbled, turned out to be the deciding moment of the game. Had Schumaker seen McCutchen fumble the ball and advanced to 2nd as Cutch threw to 3rd, Jon Jay”s base hit likely would’ve been the game-winning hit.

But, instead of a wild and entertaining 17-inning win, Cardinal fans find themselves talking about a heartbreaking 19-inning loss. Instead of being tied for the second Wild Card spot, St. Louis remains two games back of Pittsburgh.

Manager Mike Matheny is right when he said earlier this week that the team is struggling to get the one timely hit that can get the Cardinals a victory. The Cardinals’ offense may be the best in the league statistically, but it also one of the streakiest in baseball. Take the 8-2 win over San Francisco on August 6th, for example. Two days later, the Cardinals were embarrassed by the Giants in a 15-0 loss.

The Cards have had a string of rough losses as of late. The blown save by closer Jason Motte on Thursday and struggling offense on Friday led to two very frustrating one-run losses. St. Louis is 13-21 in one-run games in 2012. By comparison, Cincinnati is 20-17, while Pittsburgh is 25-20. With Sunday’s extra inning loss, the Cardinals’ record in such games fell to 3-9. The Pirates are now 4-0 in extras, while the Reds are 4-5.

Starting with tonight’s game against the Astros, the Redbirds will play 16 straight games before their next off day. Ten of them will be on the road – against the division-leading Reds, Pirates, and NL East-leading Nationals respectively. This stretch – particularly the games on the road – will likely determine whether the team will have what it takes to make the playoffs, or roll over and be watching from home once the regular season ends.

In order for the Cards to prove themselves, they must get everything clicking at once. That means that the heart of the order must get out of their respective slumps, the bullpen must right the ship, the offense must be consistent, and Motte needs to return to his old self. In addition, the team must win more one-run ballgames and win more in extras. It might be too much to ask at this point in the season. The Cards were able to find their way late last year, however, and have to do that if they want to play baseball in October.

Last year, St. Louis pulled off an improbable feat. The circumstances in 2012 are not near what they were a season ago, but some of that magic needs to rub off on this team. It’s not necessarily time to panic just yet, but time is running out. The good news is, the Cards have all the tools. All we can do now is just watch and wait.

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Cardinal fans team up to beat human trafficking

Cardinal fans team up to beat human trafficking
Every time the Cardinals win a game, fans now have a new way to make a difference in the world. A new donation platform called Snoball is uniting baseball fans to fight human trafficking.

The idea is simple. Every time the Cardinals win a game, a fan donates $0.25. The money benefits Not For Sale, an organization that exists to end present day slavery.

There are more victims of human trafficking today than any other point in history–nearly 30 million. These victims are raped, abused, and even murdered by their abductors.  Of the victims, 70 percent are women and 50 percent are children.

It’s easy to give. Just visit http://tinyurl.com/gostlcards, click the donate now button, and sign in with your Facebook account.

After donating, fans are encouraged to share the “Let’s Re-Abolish Slavery” snoball on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cardsunite.  Cardinals fans can prove, once and for all, they are the greatest baseball fans on the planet.

Imagine the difference we can make just by cheering on our favorite baseball team. Every quarter donated makes a dent in the world’s third largest illegal industry–human trafficking. If 1000 fans donate $0.25, just one Cardinals win would represent enough money raised to free 3 people from slavery.

Baseball fans can also help Not For Sale by joining Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals. They are part of a special Facebook application called Free2Play.  It allows users to create donations based on statistics of their favorite players. All money raised helps Not For Sale prevent the human trafficking of children.

For additional questions or comments, contact jason@snoball.com (Twitter: @jasonpoemusic)

About Snoball:
Snoball is a micro-donation platform that makes charitable giving easy, social, and fun.  Users can instantly donate to over 1.7 million nonprofits through customizable “snoballs.” Snoballs are automated donations based on a user’s interests.  An example snoball could be defined as:  “When Matt Holliday hits a home run, I will donate $1 to the American Red Cross.”

For more information about Snoball, visit https://snoball.com

About Not For Sale:
Not for Sale creates tools that engage business, government, and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities.

For more information about Not For Sale, visit http://notforsalecampaign.org

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