Tag Archive | "Springfield Cardinals"

Maybe St. Louis Cardinals discount rate suggests Aledmys Diaz isn’t worth the hype

St. Louis Cardinals officials said they wanted to make a “big splash” in the market for Cuban baseball players when they signed infielder Aledmys Diaz on Sunday, but their first signing might turn out to simply be a drop in the proverbial bucket.


The Cardinals signed Diaz, 23, to a four-year, $8-million contract and will likely send him to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals to begin his American baseball career.

However, the excitement Diaz generated when the Cardinals brought him to their spring training headquarters in Jupiter, Fla., nearly three weeks ago suggested they were about to sign a player more similar to Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder sensation Yasiel Puig rather than someone who would have to labor to take a spot away from utility players such as Pete Kozma or Daniel Descalso.

The organization’s interest and subsequent offer are not unfounded, to be sure. The $8 million it will pay Diaz in the next four years is substantially less than the $15-20 million many people thought it would take to sign Diaz with teams in play such as the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, San Franscisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays.

Those teams ultimately steered clear of Diaz and the Cardinals might have gotten him at a discount, which could be important if he never develops beyond the Kozma-Descalso level and yet another incredible Cardinals bargain if he becomes a starter in Major League Baseball.

But he has plenty of work to do to get there. Although he hit .315 and had 12 homeruns in 2012 in the Cuban professional league, he has not played since because he falsified his age when he defected after that season and Major League Baseball suspended him for a year before he could sign with an American team.

So the projected start in the minor leagues is well-founded, and the Cardinals have little reason to rush Diaz up to St. Louis after they signed Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $53-million contract in November to be the starting shortstop.

Yet the fact Diaz is now in spring training camp with the Cardinals does not mean fans should expect him, rookie second baseman Kolten Wong and outfield prospect Oscar Taveras to be the next Albert Pujols-Jim Edmonds-Scott Rolen trio that will carry the team to World Series championships.

That’s a possibility, but it’s a small one at this point.

While some reports say Diaz will be an impact righthanded hitter at the major-league level, others suggest he will be merely a utility infielder.

Of course, projections about former Cuban players are always difficult because the information on them is so scarce.

The Oakland Athletics lucked out in 2012 when they signed outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36-million contract. He has hit more than 20 homers and had 80 or more runs batted in, in each of his first two years although many people around baseball thought the A’s made a misguided move to sign an unknown player to such a large contract.

Other Cuban players such as Puig and Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman have also made big splashes in the big leagues within the past three years, but those three players signed contracts worth a combined $105.25 million.

Maybe the Cardinals have gotten away with one of the greatest steals in the history of the Cuban-American baseball, but any further hype about Diaz should probably wait until he at least gets to the top level of the minor leagues, much less the majors.

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A Quick Second With Stephen Piscotty

Since being chosen by the Cardinals with the 36th pick in the 2012 Draft, Stephen Piscotty has blazed a path through the Cardinals organization and become perhaps the most heralded bat in the system not named Oscar Taveras.


After a season where he hit .295 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles and drove in 59 runs in 112 games between Palm Beach and Springfield, he truly took a step onto the higher stage in the Arizona Fall League. To round out 2013, he hit .371 in the premier postseason league, and now is primed to get his first crack in the spring with the big league team.

At the Cardinals Care Winter Warm Up, I got a chance to have a few words with the rising Cardinal right fielder to touch on a few topics. From getting comfortable in the outfield, adjustments at the plate and his current teammates that we should know about, Piscotty describes what his coming of age has been during his first two professional years.


I-70: With the type of versatility that you have, having played third base and moving to the outfield now, do you see yourself approaching, say, a Matt Carpenter to prepare to play multiple positions to find your way onto the field?

Piscotty: Yes, absolutely. You try to keep your options open and there are a lot of guys out there that do a lot of different positions. I was on the (Cardinals) Caravan with Jermaine Curtis and he was telling me that he was playing in the Dominican this winter playing literally every position except catcher, so there are a lot of guys around to help prepare for that.

I-70: On all of the different levels you have played at so quickly in the organization and now going out to the Fall League, what has been the biggest difference in the pitching that you’ve seen so far between the levels?

Piscotty: The toughest jump was from High-A to Double-A definitely. The guys in High A had a lot of good “stuff”; a lot of good fastballs and sliders. But in Double A, the command was there, the stuff was there and it was more of a mental game. You really have to fine tune your approach there because pitchers know how to get you out. That was definitely the biggest challenge.

I-70: Has there been a pitcher that you have played behind in the organization that you would say is going to be a factor in St. Louis soon?

Piscotty: Tim Cooney was absolutely lights out for us. He was one that can really hit spots well. He has a good tempo and great command, and was really fun to play behind.

I-70: Has it helped you to play behind a pitcher with a good pace while learning the outfield?

Yeah. I had that going to the outfield you have a lot of time to think about your previous at-bat, and if you strike out you have a lot of time to go through it, and that’s not always good. But if you have a guy on the mound that’s got a great pace, that stuff just sinks to the back of your mind and you’re just locked in and ready to perform.


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Springfield Cardinals To Honor Stan Musial

Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals, Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, have unveiled the design for their Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys, which the team will wear onSunday, June 16 for the 6:09pm game against the Tulsa Drillers.


The ultimate tribute to the greatest Cardinal of them all, the cream-colored Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys are exact replicas of the St. Louis Cardinals uniforms from 1941, the year that Stan “The Man” played in Springfield before making his St. Louis debut later in the season on Sept. 17.

On Sunday, June 16, every Springfield Cardinal will not only don the tribute jerseys, but the entire team will also wear #6, marking the first time in 50 years that a Cardinal has worn the revered number.

The Stan Musial Tribute Jerseys will feature the Stan Musial #6 Patch that both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Springfield Cardinals have been wearing on their left sleeves all season. The jerseys will also have a Stan Musial Tribute Jersey Patch on the bottom right, commemorating the day’s special celebration of the life and career of the Cardinals legend.

In line with both Musial’s excellence on the field and his dedication to the community, the game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off during the June 16 game to benefit the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.

For more information, visit SpringfieldCardinals.com or call (417) 863-0395.

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Westbrook To Make Rehab Start


Springfield, MO – The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook will make a rehab start for the Springfield Cardinals this Tuesday, June 4.

The Cardinals host the Arkansas Travelers at 7:09pm on Tuesday. Click below to get your tickets right now.

Westbrook, 35, got off to a great start to the 2013 campaign with St. Louis, posting a 2-1 record with a 1.62 ERA through six starts early this year. His finest outing came on April 10 when he dealt a complete game shutout against the Cincinnati Reds, striking out three and scattering only five hits in the dominant performance. Westbrook had limited opponents to one run or fewer in all but two starts this season, prior to being placed on the disabled list on May 12.

The 14-year Major League veteran has compiled a 100-96 record with a 4.24 ERA throughout his career, and helped the Cardinals win the 2011 World Championship with two scoreless relief innings in the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

Originally from Athens, GA, Westbrook was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the 21st overall pick in the 1st round of the 1996 Draft. He made his Major League debut on June 17, 2000 with the New York Yankees, before spending the next 10 years with the Cleveland Indians. Westbrook was acquired by the Cardinals in a three-team trade with the Indians and San Diego Padres on July 31, 2010.

Click here to get your tickets to see Jake Westbrook at Hammons Field this Tuesday!

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Matt Adams to join Springfield Cardinals this weekend


Springfield, MO – The St. Louis Cardinals have announced that Cardinals 1B Matt Adams will join the Springfield Cardinals on a rehab assignment this Friday through Sunday.

Springfield hosts the Tulsa Drillers at Hammons Field on Saturday and Sunday, both starting at 6:09 p.m. Click below to get your tickets right now.

Adams, 24, started the 2013 season in St. Louis and is hitting .542 (13-for-24) with three home runs and eight RBIs through eight games with the Cardinals. The Philipsburg, PA native made his Major League debut on May 20, 2012 and appeared in 27 games with the Cardinals last year.

Adams spent the entire 2011 season with the Springfield Cardinals, compiling a .300 batting average with 32 home runs and 101 RBIs through 115 games en route to being named the 2011 Texas League Player of the Year. He was originally selected by St. Louis in the 23rd round of the 2009 June Draft out of Slippery Rock University (PA).

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Cardinals Coach In Super Bowl Ad

Phillip Wellman, the hitting coach of the Springfield Cardinals, once had a monumental tirade on a baseball field.


That tirade has made it’s rounds on the internet and television for many, many years.  It resurfaced around the Cardinal corner of the internet a few years ago when Wellman was named the hitting coach for the Double A franchise.

Not sure what I am talking about?  Here you go:

Fast forward a few years and, thanks to Volkswagen and a Super Bowl Ad, and Wellman has found new life for an old tirade.

The following commercial ran during the 2013 Super Bowl.  At the :20 mark, we see a brief clip of the above “highlight” and by the 1:08 mark, he’s tossing bases around the grassy hill.

Don’t worry, I will always keep a look out for a little Cardinal baseball, even during the Super Bowl.

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

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Cardinals Urge Fans To Support “Gloves 4 Troops”


ST. LOUIS, January 13, 2013 – The St. Louis Cardinals are urging fans attending this weekend’s Winter Warm-Up (#WWU) to donate a baseball glove in support of the “Gloves 4 Troops” effort organized by Cardinals minor league infielder Vance Albitz who hopes to collect at least a thousand baseball gloves and balls by Spring Training 2013.

“This is a great opportunity to support our troops while also helping kids in our community,” said Michael Hall, Vice-President of Community Relations and Executive Director of Cardinals Care. “We are inspired by Vance’s selfless efforts and want to do our part to help him achieve his goal.”

Cardinals Care, with the help of Rawlings, will have a number of collection bins set up as fans enter the 17th Annual Warm-Up at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.  Fans are encouraged to donate gently used gloves and balls.  Cardinals Care has enlisted the support of the local chapter of Hope for Heroes of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha organization at Scott Air Force Base to assist with the delivery of the gloves to the troops deployed oversees.

“Gloves 4 Troops” (#Gloves4Troops) is a volunteer effort organized by Albitz, an infielder with the Springfield Cardinals, who has already collected over 200 gloves.  Fans can learn more at www.gloves4troops.com .

The highly-anticipated annual Winter Warm-Up takes place Saturday, January 19 through Monday, January 21, 2013 (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day).  The event times are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday.  Fans may still purchase passes for the three day event at www.cardinals.com/winterwarmup.

Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the Cardinals organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field.   Since it was established 16 years ago, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in neighborhoods in both Missouri and Illinois.  For nearly a decade, Cardinals Care has run the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.

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Springfield Cardinals Named Team of the Year

Springfield Cardinals Named Team of the Year
Baseball America Tabs Springfield as Top Minor League Team in 2012

November 30th, 2012

Springfield, MO – The Springfield Cardinals have been named by Baseball America as the Minor League Team of the Year in 2012.

Springfield captured their first Texas League Crown by defeating the Tulsa Drillers in the North Division Finals in five games before besting the Frisco RoughRiders in four games.

The St. Louis Cardinals Double-A Affiliate was littered with talent including seven of the Top 30 prospects according Baseball America and Texas League Player of the Year, Oscar Taveras. The 20-year-old outfielder was the first Springfield player to lead the league in batting average (.321), doubles (37), extra-base hits (67) and total bases (273) while finishing in the top five in home runs (23), RBI (93), runs scored (83), triples (7) and slugging percentage (.572).

The Cardinals boasted five Post-Season All-Stars including Taveras, second baseman Kolten Wong, and pitchers Trevor Rosenthal, Keith Butler and Seth Maness.

“We are honored to be named the 2012 Team of the Year by Baseball America,” Vice President and General Manager Matt Gifford said. “This is a tremendous honor for arguably one of the best teams in Springfield Cardinals history. It’s a tribute to player development and the coaching staff for putting together a great club and to the players for their hard work throughout a long season.”

First year Double-A Manager Mike Shildt guided the Cardinals to a 35-35 record in the first half before the team hit their stride in the second half, winning the North Division Second Half crown with a 42-26 record. Overall, Springfield finished a franchise best 77-61, the best record in the North and third best record in the league. For Shildt, the 2012 title was his third straight after capturing back to back Appalachian League titles in 2010 and 2011 with Johnson City.

Springfield will open up the 2013 season on the road in Corpus Christi April 4th before returning home to Hammons Field April 11th for a six-game homestand against the Hooks and San Antonio Missions.  Season Ticket Packages are on sale now. Please call (417) 863-0395 or visit www.springfieldcardinals.com for more details on how you can become a season ticket holder.

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Video: Springfield Cards manager loses his cool

The Springfield Cardinals have been down more than up this year and frustrations are not far behind.

New manager Mike Shildt, who took over for Ron “Pop” Warner after Pop was promoted to Memphis to manage the Tripe-A Redbirds, took exception to a call in a game against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals on 5/11.  An argument ensued and Shildt would not let it die for a good while.  Unfortunately, before all was said and done, he flipped his helmet into the field of play.  The bigger problem was that the umpire stood between him and the location he was flipping the helmet to.

Very seldom does throwing equipment come out as a good idea.  Check out the video below, provided by our friends at Rambling Morons.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Double-A no hitter

The Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, experienced the joy of participating in one of baseball’s truly rare moments, the no-hitter.  The Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals experienced the agony of being on the receiving end.

The following press releases were sent in to the i70 mailbox from the two teams.

Naturals No-Hit Cardinals
Holland, Dwyer, Lafferty, Volz combine to throw gem

SPRINGDALE, AR- The Northwest Arkansas Naturals (17-16) got the second no-hitter in franchise history topping the Springfield Cardinals 2-0 on Thursday night at Arvest Ballpark.  The no-hitter was the first in the history of Arvest Ballpark, and the second for the Naturals, the last coming on July 19, 2011 at North Little Rock.

Greg Holland was brilliant in his second major league rehab start.  He used just 14 pitches to strikeout the side in order.  The Naturals offense wasted not time getting to Cardinals (14-19) starter Trevor Rosenthal (2-4) getting three consecutive singles to start the game.  The last one was an RBI single from Wil Myers to give the Naturals a 1-0 lead.  Rosenthal was able to get Mario Lisson to ground into a force out and strike out Eric Duncan to strand runners on second and third.  The Naturals offense tacked on a second run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Julio Rodriguez smacked an RBI single to right field to score Duncan making it 2-0.

Chris Dwyer (2-4) came in the second inning and picked up right where Holland left off.  Dwyer worked six and two thirds inning without allowing a hit walking two and hitting one batter.  Brendan Lafferty came on and kept the no-hit bid alive getting Kolten Wong to fly out to Paulo Orlando just one step in front of the fence.

Kendal Volz got Jermaine Curtis to line out to Colon at short to get the first out of the ninth inning.  Cardinals top prospect Oscar Taveras grounded out to second base for the second out.  Kyle Conley stepped to the plate as the last chance for the Cardinals and he grounded out to shortstop to complete the no-hitter.

Naturals No-Hit Cardinals in 2-0 Loss
Springfield Suffers First No-Hitter in Franchise History

Springfield, MO – After a tremendous eight-game homestand which saw the Cardinals go 6-2, the Springfield squad embarked on yet another eight-game road trip beginning with four in NW Arkansas against the Naturals.

The last time away from Hammons Field the Cardinals went 0-8 and set a franchise record for most consecutive road losses in a row; they looked to snap that stretch Thursday night with Trevor Rosenthal on the mound. The Naturals countered with Major League Rehabber Greg Holland for an inning then lefty Chris Dwyer, coming off a start in which he allowed 10 runs to Springfield.

After a quick top of the first, Rosenthal battled through to bottom of the inning.  After allowing three straight singles, including an RBI single by Wil Myers, the Naturals had a 1-0 lead.  The righty settled down however to retire the next three batters to limit the damage to just the one run.

The Naturals added another run in the 4th as former Springfield Cardinal Eric Duncan singled, stole second with two outs and scored on an RBI single by Julio Rodriguez to grab a 2-0 lead.  Rosenthal would leave after just 4.1 innings and gave way to Kevin Thomas with a runner at second and one out.  Thomas would strikeout the next two batters to keep the game 2-0 after five.

Springfield had their first real scoring chance in the 6th with two outs after a hit by pitch and a walk brought Oscar Taveras to the plate, but the Cardinals’ centerfielder flied out to shallow center field to retire the side.

Chris Dwyer was dominant for the Naturals pitching 6.2 innings of no-hit ball while striking out five and walking just two.  After a two out walk in the 8th, Dwyer gave way to Brendan Lafferty.  Kolten Wong was able to get good wood on the ball, but flied out to the wall in right field keeping the Cardinals out of the hit column.

In the 9th, closer Kendal Volz retired the Cardinals in order to complete the second no-hitter in Naturals history.  It was the first time in Springfield’s history that they were no-hit.

The Redbirds will continue their four-game set against the NW Arkansas Naturals Friday night at 7:30pm.  Michael Blazek will start for Springfield against Jake Odorizzi of the Naturals. 

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