All posts by Jon Doble

Westbrook signs new deal

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed Jake Westbrook to a new deal. The deal is essentially a 1 year deal that gives Westbrook $250,000 more than he would have made on his 2013 option and gives both parties a mutual option worth $9.5 million for 2014.

Westbrook, 34, said earlier this month that he intended to exercise his half of his $8.5 million option for 2013 but admitted he wasn’t sure what the team was going to do. He got his answer.

He is certainly pitching worth it right now too. With a 12-9 record and a 3.50 ERA in 24 starts, he is enjoying the second best season of his career by ERA+. His best was 2004 where he got his only career All Star nod and finished at 14-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Continue reading

Descalso or Schumaker, that is the question

Last night Mike Matheny was left with a choice. Do you leave in Daniel Descalso to face Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer Joel Hanrahan? Or do you pinch hit using Skip Schumaker.

We all know the outcome. With Carlos Beltran on first with two outs, Matheny elected to leave Descalso out there and he hit a line drive to center field to end the Cardinals’ 21st loss in 1-run games.

Normally things like this may not make much news. However, when you have Skip Schumaker on the bench, hitting .314 on the season and finally playing slightly plus defense at second base, why aren’t you playing him? Why is Descalso out there? There are many reasons why Schumaker would have been the better choice over Descalso. Continue reading

Jackson to get the call

It was first reported, I believe, by Joe Strauss last night on Twitter. The Cardinals plan to call up short stop Ryan Jackson from Memphis to replace Tyler Greene on the active roster.

Jackson, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Miami. Jackson has shown a good glove in his time in the minor leagues. He currently has a .971 fielding percentage, pretty similar to the one that Rafael Furcal has put up in St. Louis.

So far in Memphis he’s been the every day short stop and is hitting .269/.331/.398 with 10 HR and 45 RBI in 113 games. He’s played 100+ games at the minor league level every complete season he’s had in the minors, so playing a lot of games isn’t new to him. But that also brings a concern on how he will do without the same amount of regular playing time. Continue reading

Happy trails, Tyler Greene

At first I thought it was a joke. Something I never thought would happen. Let alone in the middle of a season when he’s our only right-handed infielder who doesn’t already have a locked in starting job. A little more research confirmed the tweet I saw: Tyler Greene was traded to Houston.

After the struggling Greene lashed out at Cardinals’ fans following a 15-0 loss to the Giants where he went 0-for-3 and made a costly error in the 6th inning that led to the Giants posting a crooked number, it was only a matter of time. Likely frustrated at both his own inability to perform, the mistake he made being so costly, and the fans reaction, he responded to a question about it with, “Then don’t come to the game. Just cheer for your team. That’s all I can say about that.”

Word came this morning that the Astros claimed Greene off of waivers. Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ General Manager, was the Cardinals’ Vice President of Player Development when the team drafted Greene in the first round of the 2005 draft. They worked out a deal for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Prompted at least one person on Twitter to wonder out loud if it was like the Victor Marte deal where the Cardinals got him last April from Kansas City for $1 worth of cash considerations. Continue reading

Berkman to the DL again

For the third time this season Lance Berkman is headed to the disabled list. The move was made this afternoon as the team recalled outfielder Shane Robinson from Memphis to take his spot on the roster.

Berkman, 36, had just returned from the disabled list two weeks ago after having knee surgery. He was continuing to have inflammation in the knee that gave him trouble in the game last night. On July 24th against Los Angeles, Berkman took a line drive off his knee near where the cut was, which may or may not be related. He had hit .182/.341/.333 since his return from the disabled list.

In his place, Shane Robinson gets the call. Robinson started the season with the Cardinals and in 64 games is hitting .256/.304/.344 with 2 home runs. He was optioned to Memphis in July to make room for Berkman. He has hit .300/.388/.414 in 18 games for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate.

There were also some injury concerns around Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina who were examined by team doctors today. However, both are still in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Brewers.

Cards add RHP Mujica at the deadline

On a Tuesday afternoon where it seemed the like the St. Louis Cardinals were going to quietly let the deadline pass them by without doing anything to shore up the team, they didn’t. The Cardinals announced that they acquired RHP Edward Mujica for minor league 3B Zack Cox.

My knee-jerk reaction to the trade was “Is that all they could get for Cox?” After all, I saw a Mujica who had a 4.38 ERA in nearly 40 innings this season.

However, when I dug into Mujica’s numbers further, I found a pitcher that has me thinking this could really be the trade that solidifies that bullpen and helps stabilize this team going forward. Something to realize is that the new Marlins Ballpark in Miami is quite the hitter’s park. According to Baseball References’ Park Factor, Marlins Ballpark scores a 106 for hitters and a 107 for pitchers this year. Over 100 favors the hitter. Meanwhile, Mujica will move into a Busch Stadium that has multi-year Park Factors of 99 for hitters and 98 for pitchers. A far more neutral stadium. That should help greatly. Continue reading