Earlier this week the Chicago Cubs unveiled their first official team mascot in history, Clark the Cub. General response on the Internet has been predictably humorous and unpredictably angry. Stuff like that it’s the Cubs’ biggest offseason addition and that all lovable children’s characters have no pants. Or you rib Cubs fans for a century of futility like Dennis Lawson or whip out Photoshop like Matt Sebek.
Beyond all the humor and general fun poking that was done by baseball fans there was a rather vitriolic response to the mascot that surprised me. I’ve read people calling it stupid. That the Cubs lost their dignity by adopting an official mascot. That it’s turning their back on tradition.
I think some people are missing the point. Continue reading
I’m sure by now most know the story. A couple months ago, the website Deadspin set out to make a point about the voting process of baseball’s Hall of Fame. They put out a story in which they offered to buy a vote from someone and they would then poll their readership to produce the ballot. They reportedly came close to sealing the deal with a donation to charity, but that fell through. Then came Plan B, ESPN’s Dan Le Batard had offered to volunteer his ballot, free of charge.
The Deadspin readership voted and produced ten candidates for the Hall of Fame and the ballot was cast. Wednesday after the Hall of Fame announcement was made, Deadspin and Le Batard revealed themselves. Le Batard said he wanted to draw attention to the farce of a voting system. And in an unsurprising move, the Baseball Writers Association of America have taken efforts to protect the sanctity of their system and have taken away Le Batard’s voting rights and suspended his membership for a year.
There have been many complaints levied at Le Batard. Continue reading
I was doing some reading earlier this afternoon during a slow stretch at work and it was talking about how the Braves’ GM Frank Wren would like to trade Dan Uggla this offseason. Uggla, 33, has been a disaster for the Braves, being left off last season’s postseason roster because of his .179 batting average, in spite of his 22 home runs.
The problem for the Braves is that he’s owed $26 million through the 2015 season, $13 million per year.
So here’s my crazy idea: If you could get him fairly cheap and get the Braves to foot some of the bill, would it be worth having Dan Uggla on the bench in St. Louis?
Last season Uggla hit .179 with 22 home runs. By the time the season ended he’d lost his starting job at second base. The Braves would likely be willing to give him away for some salary relief. That’s where the Cardinals come in. Continue reading
Thanks to last night’s arbitration tender deadline, there are 43 new free agents hitting the marketplace. Those would be 21 pitchers, 10 infielders, 9 outfielders, and 3 catchers. With the Cardinals keeping a close eye on a right handed second baseman to pair up with Wong and perhaps play around the infield, lets take a look at those who may fit the Cardinals’ needs.
There were 10 infielders that I’ve qualified based on positions played and handedness. We’re looking for right handed hitting or switch hitting infielders who can play second base and I won’t begrudge them if they can play shortstop either.
That left me six new additions to the market that could be worth the consideration of Cardinals’ brass as they look to make an addition to the bench over the next few weeks. Starting in no particular order: Continue reading
This weekend Cardinals’ fans were able to give thanks that most of their team’s offseason shopping list were checked off thanks to the brilliant moves of John Mozeliak. Rather than slow playing the offseason, Mozeliak struck quickly as he dealt David Freese and Fernando Salas, acquired Peter Bourjos, and signed Jhonny Peralta.
So what now?
The moves that Mozeliak made were huge for the Cardinals organization as far as the team they put on the field for 2014. While the 2013 edition of the Cardinals got some coverage for being the best defensive team in the National League, they came up short in the range department. Carlos Beltran was limited in right field. Jon Jay just wasn’t the same this year. Matt Carpenter was playing a whole new position. And Pete Kozma is, well, Pete Kozma.
The moves that he made allow Matt Carpenter to move to third base where he is a better defender than Freese. The move opens up second base for Kolten Wong, who should have the tools to be a gold glove candidate in the future. They also acquired Peter Bourjos who is the best defensive outfielder in baseball and you can make the case for best defensive player in baseball since he arrived in 2010. Continue reading
Each and every off season I like to ask myself what I would do if I were the GM of the St. Louis Cardinals. I look at what I perceive to be the team’s weaknesses and find ways to go about reinforcing those weaknesses.
Going into this offseason, I see two main priorities for the Cardinals as they attempt to return to the World Series for the third time in four years. First, find a starting shortstop. Second, remodel the bench.
FIND A STARTING SHORTSTOP
I know it’s joked that I must be Clint Barmes’ agent, because nobody has ever campaigned harder for their team to acquire him than me. I’ve banged his drum the last couple times he’s been a free agent as I looked for ways for us to improve at shortstop. Coming off a rough year with the Pirates, Barmes still was impressive defensively at shortstop, which is enough for me. Continue reading