Important Offseason Dates

Here are some important dates to keep in mind this postseason as teams prepare. With Game 7 of the World Series tonight, players will be able to begin filing for free agency as the official start of the Major League Baseball offseason. Here are how the next few months will stack up.

October 29th – Offseason Begins; Free Agency Begins
When the last out of the 2014 World Series is made, players will be eligible to file for free agency in preparation for the off season. The next five days are a “quiet period” where teams have a last chance to negotiate with their players in an exclusive window before the players can begin speaking with all teams.

November 3rd – Qualifying Offers Due
Teams may make qualifying offers to their outgoing free agents. To be eligible for a qualifying offer, you must have played for the same team all season. So any pending free agent traded during the season is ineligible. This season’s qualifying offer is a 1 year deal worth $15.3 million. Teams must make the offer by the deadline in order to receive the compensatory draft pick next summer if that player signs with another team. Most teams won’t make an offer unless they know the player will turn it down in search of a multi-year deal. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Marco Gonzales

2014 Major League Stats: 4.15 ERA, 10 G, 34.2 IP, 1.53 WHIP
2014 Minor League Stats: 2.43 ERA, 21 G, 122 IP, 1.12 WHIP
2015 Role: Reliever for St. Louis

Marco Gonzales made it two years in a row that the Cardinals’ first round pick made their Major League debut the very next year. Gonzales, 22, happened to get an opportunity to make that debut at home in Colorado against the Rockies. His Dad, who is a minor league coach for Colorado, got flown in by the Rockies to see his son’s debut.

Gonzales’ starting record was pretty hit or miss during the season, posting a 4.56 ERA and 1.75 WHIP in five starts. But when shifted to the bullpen in September, Gonzales flipped a switch and had a 3.00 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP. He was one of the team’s better relievers in September and earned himself a couple high leverage spots and came through. He translated that into a spot on the postseason roster, and even made some tight appearances there. However, he did get tagged for three runs working back-to-back days in the NLCS. [click to continue…]

Aldrete headed to Oakland

St. Louis Cardinals’ bench coach Mike Aldrete will be headed to the Oakland Athletics to serve as their new bench coach under his old skipper Bob Melvin. The position opened up when former A’s bench coach Chip Hale took the managerial job for Tony La Russa in Arizona.

This is a move home for Aldrete as he has deep roots in northern California. He graduated from Stanford, played for both the Giants and the A’s during his career, was born there and he currently lives there during the off season.

Aldrete, 53, joined the Cardinals in 2008 as their assistant hitting coach under La Russa. He was promoted after the 2011 season to bench coach, replacing Joe Pettini, when Mike Matheny took over as manager. He has been rumored as a potential managerial or coaching candidate a few times over the last few years. One of the reasons the Cardinals made him a uniformed coach after the 2011 season was in an effort to retain him. [click to continue…]

Oscar Taveras, 1992-2014

A baseball team is a family. We learned this through the reaction in July to the trade of Allen Craig and Joe Kelly. It perhaps hits a team like the Cardinals a little harder than most because of the “build from within” philosophy as these players all developed through the minor leagues together. Now we’re reminded of that again. Except this time he won’t be coming around every so often with the visiting team.

Last night reports began circulating that Oscar Taveras, the Cardinals’ star outfield prospect, had died in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. He had been there playing in a winter league. The Cardinals confirmed it with a statement later in the night after it had already begun circulating the US media. Now there is a family without a son, another family without a daughter, and another family without its right fielder.

The cause of death was a car accident. Taveras was with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, driving his 2014 Chevrolet Camaro around Puerto Plata. Heavy rains are said to have contributed to the accident. [click to continue…]

Exit Interview: Shane Robinson

2014 Major League Stats: .150/.227/.200, 0 HR, 4 RBI in 47 G
2014 Minor League Stats: .304/.380/.398, 2 HR, 16 RBI in 53 G in AAA
2015 Role: Bench for St. Louis

When Shane Robinson was demoted in July, I said to myself, “There’s no reason Shane sees St. Louis again before September.” Then he was up in August again, called up after the John Lackey trade to balance out the roster with the loss of Allen Craig. He would play for a month, not meeting much more success than he had in his previous stints in the majors before his season was cut short while sliding into second base on a steal attempt on August 25th. He partially dislocated his shoulder and later had surgery to repair it.

Robinson had a career year in 2013, hitting .250 with a .345 OBP and playing solid defense at all three outfield positions. He failed to build on that in 2014 as his batting average came crashing down. He made the Opening Day roster, but hit just .100 in April before he was demoted while they tried out Randal Grichuk. [click to continue…]