Is Ronny Cedeno an upgrade?

Over the weekend there have been a couple reports out of Venezuela saying that shortstop Ronny Cedeno has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. When given an opportunity to comment on it this weekend, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said that the team wasn’t going to make any baseball related announcements this weekend out of respect for Stan Musial and his family. In other words, a subliminal “yes.”

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Motte avoids arbitration

The Cardinals announced yesterday that they had avoided arbitration with their closer Jason Motte. The deal, a two-year deal buying out his final arbitration year, is worth $12 million plus incentives.

After making just $1.95 million last year, Motte filed for $5.5 million in arbitration while the Cardinals filed at $4.5 million. But everyone knew that while this year would be a relative bargain at either of those prices, next year was going to be a big question mark. If Motte duplicated his 2012 season in 2013, the sky was the limit as far as potential earnings ability next year. So for an extra $500,000 this year, they locked him up at a discount rate for 2014 as well.

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Long and expensive deal for Wainwright

“It’s going to be long,” he said. “It’s going to be expensive.”

That was a quote from John Mozeliak in regards to an extension for Cardinals’ starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. News about a potential extension for the team’s star pitcher started coming out over the weekend at the annual Winter Warmup festival.

The two sides began preliminary discussions near the end of last season and have continued to have a dialogue during the offseason. Mozeliak has come across positive about the results of the talks, saying that they haven’t had either side drawing a line in the sand. The discussion around it come in stark contrast to the last big renewal the Cardinals had come up for Albert Pujols.

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What Cardinals will play in the WBC?

The World Baseball Classic will once again be played this year with a handful of Cardinals players getting an opportunity to represent their country. The intriguing name, according to reports from December, was supposed to be Jaime Garcia, who intended to pitch for Mexico. However, his name is not on the rosters released today, though that may still change.

The question becomes did Garcia back out on his own accord or at the team’s urging? Or is it his injury continuing to be an issue? The answers really shape what happens in Spring Training. Right now there is only a single pitcher spot on the roster, for a right handed reliever. If Garcia is still down, that opens up a rotation spot for a number of candidates.

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Why not Punto?

Exactly one month ago today the St. Louis Cardinals traded Skip Schumaker to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman. It wasn’t a trade of necessity for the Cardinals, but rather a trade of accomodation. Under new manager Mike Matheny, Schumaker saw his playing time and role on the team diminish down the stretch.

Meanwhile, Schumaker was still hitting over .300 for the season entering September and was holding his own in the defensive metrics with Daniel Descalso. He was by far the Cardinals’ best option at second base last year, but he didn’t get regular playing time. He made 8 pinch hitting appearances in the playoffs and got a chance at second base in the playoffs for the 9th.

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