Posted on 18 January 2014.
To follow this year’s Cardinals Care Winter Warm Up, we will be posting a three way interaction experience, through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and most notably, the Progressive Blog here on site.
The blog will note the comments from the media sessions, including current Cardinals, select minor leaguers, management and Hall of Famers. Check back regularly to see new content, and follow on Twitter and Facebook for unique in the moment comments and notices on new additions to the blog.
For more info, follow us on Instagram at @I70Baseball and myself directly at @CheapSeatFan, and on Instagram at the same name. Send questions for players and about the event to any of those outlets, and we will do the best we can to work them in. Notices for new additions will be sent through those outlets as well.
So, here goes….
9:45—Players to be expected: Daniel Descalso, Yadier Molina, Chris Carpenter, Pete Kozma, Greg Garcia, Trevor Rosenthal, Adam Wainwright, Randal Grichuk, Seth Maness, Oscar Taveras, Jhonny Peralta, Kevin Siegrist.
Stated he would not discuss the status of his pending arbitration situation, deferring to John Mozeliak.
On the offseason, he said a short offseason is a good thing, and “good price to pay.” He said he took a month off post season, and said its “the norm” for this club now, due to its regular success.
“We’ll see where I fit. I’ll show up to spring training ready to compete. We made a big signing with (Jhonny) Peralta and added a good veteran in Mark Ellis, so we’ll go out there and see where I fit.” In regards to preparation for the new infield parts, “I’ve done the same things I’ve done in years past, and just get ready to for the middle part of February when we all get down to Florida.”
In regards to his home team 49ers chances in tomorrow’s NFC Championship Game, he has “no predictions.”
(More in-depth post to come on Mozeliak’s comments later—especially concerning Oscar Taveras. But here is an outline of various topics)
“I don’t think we have ever had a time where we know what we look like at this point,” regarding the readiness of the overall roster.
“It was not an easy decision to come to…but that it is such an competitive market that if a move is solid and not seen as a Band-Aid, you have to do it.” He continued on that adding minor league outfielder Randal Grichuk “sealed the deal”.
Regarding arbitration case with Descalso, “We are far apart; a hearing could be a possibility”
I don’t anticipate any contract activity here, but something could happen before Opening Day
On the impact of Peter Burjos: “From a defensive perspective, he one of those few guys you think of in the Gold Glove conversation. You combine that speed and that aggressiveness, and you have to haraness it. That is part of the reason why he bangs himself up a little bit. Having him on the field is critical.” Mo adds that while he doesn’t make lineups, he would be reluctant to move him to the top of the lineup.
In the same vein, he sees Peralta as having potential to hit in both the top of the lineup and in the middle, and that his success against left-handed pitching is critical.
In comparison to Taveras and Albert Pujols emergence, he doesn’t see similarities necessarily because of the higher profile of Taveras coming in. There is no surprise element.
Mo stated that Chris Carpenter is looking to stay involved with the organization immediately and that he is developing a job description to utilize him. “We are looking to find something that isn’t too overwhelming the first month or first year.” Any role would be out of uniform, and that scouting could be a factor. “Scouting is a critical part of the front office, and maybe getting him experience on both sides of that, amateur and the pros.”
Regarding the health of Allen Craig, he stated he hasn’t seen him but that all reports are good regarding his health moving ahead. Similarily, he expects for the Jaime Garcia to be fully ready to contribute as a starter as well.
On the Clayton Kershaw contract, he views “the bar as being risen, and that it will pull other things up as it goes.” He stated that the Wainwright negotiations take on a good value, and that negotiations this year would like be impacted by that deal. “If Adam wanted to go to market, he would have done better”, but that it was his decision to finish the deal as he did and at the time that he did.
Also, the team will be having meetings this week to work on addressing the recent expansion of instant replay, and any personnel that may need to be added to accommodate it.
About the team’s loss in the World Series, he says it differs from the loss in the 2012 NLCS, because “we got beat. It felt like we let the Giants off the hook. The games were there for us to win. Last year, (the Red Sox) pitchers didn’t give runs and they got timely hits.” He said the loss was much more painful the year before.
Regarding 2013, he said that while he felt good after last season’s heavy workload, he still pushed back his usual training regime by two weeks: “Sometimes you talk yourself into being tired when you aren’t.”
In regards to the talent and competitiveness of the emerging young starters around him, he expresses comfort in being the standard bearer for the staff. “I used to tell Carp that I was coming for him, and I always welcome that.” He continued, “If anyone else ends up being the ace of the staff, we’re going to be really, really good team because I’m going to continue being me.”
He said he has a good relationship with Clayton Kershaw and speaks with him regularly throughout the offseason. Regarding his new contract, he texted him to congratulate him, but it doesn’t change his stance on his decision to resign in St. Louis early. “I love the city and I love going to work every day. I love pulling up and seeing the stadium every day, but mostly I know our front office is going to give us a chance to win every year. Could I have gotten more money elsewhere? Sure, but there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. What I want to do is look back at this contract and say that I did what the team signed me to do, like I did at the end of the last one.”
About finishing as runner-up for the Cy Young for the second time, he said he did not expect to win. “This time I knew I was not going to win (laughing). The first time I was runner up, I had no chance to win either.” He went on from there to speak to his consistency and the quality of his seasons: “If you take my three really good seasons, and put them in any other year I probably win.”
Going further into his rotation mates, he was quick to specify between the two top names. “I was more impressed with Shelby’s season as a whole, but if Michael does what he did down the stretch for a whole season, he’ll be in the Cy Young talks.” Going on, Wainwright touted the virtues of both further. “But what’s lost in the shuffle is Shelby winning 15 games and Joe Kelly as well. Michael may be one of the most talented pitchers I’ve ever seen. I’m very impressed with his game, but I want to see it across a full season. Sometimes we forget was Shelby was able to do with us.”
On returning back to working with his staff, he is enthusiastic.
On the increased usage of defensive shifts the team could employ, and its impact on how he calls his game, he is indifferent. “I don’t follow that too close, I just try to call my same game I do every day. That is more on the coaches than for me.”
He states he prepared the same for this season as he did last year, when he participated in the World Baseball Classic. He states that the knee injury from last August is not a factor any longer, and did not bother him even as late as last season. “It was a long season for me. We started early with the WBC and went all the way to the World Series. Right now, I am rested as much as I can be.” He expressed that he gets bored in the offseason and is ready to get back to the ballpark.
Regarding the departure of David Freese and Chris Carpenter, he said it is sad for the loss of an extended teammate, but will continue to communicate with both.
On his status entering the season, “I’ll have a little bit more of a comfort level with this being my second big league camp, but I’m going to go in and do my best. I’ve worked on all parts of my game.” He anticipates working out at shortstop, second and third base. “The work ethic of the guys there is the main thing, and seeing some of the best players in the game still work hard at it.
While injuries hampered him early last year, he said that consistency is his primary goal this year. “Trusting myself and not changing things mechanically is the goal. It’s about squaring up pitches and playing baseball.”
He said he is refining his existing pitches, and while the team has discussed him coming to camp as a starter, he always prepares as such. “It’s easier to transition pitches into the bullpen from a starting perspective.” Despite this, he does anticipate being a late inning reliever only.
His name is pronounced “Gree-Chick”
On Peter Bourjos, who was traded along with: “He’s the best defensive centerfielder in the game. A great teammate.”
States Matt Holliday texted him a day following the trade and that he grew up playing with Shelby Miller in the Area Code Games. He recalled splitting two at-bats in the minors versus him, doubling once while striking out on another.
He expects to get playing time in centerfield with the club this spring.
A Houston native, he states growing up a big Astros fan and being “crushed” by Pujols home run in the 2004 NLCS.
Come back tomorrow for the Day Two news and media session info, and continue to follow for new posts on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.