The St. Louis Cardinals have made clear the final moves that the team will make to craft this year’s Opening Day roster. They left Memphis last night with 26 players as they headed to Cincinnati for Monday afternoon’s game.
Keith Butler, Daniel Descalso, and Shane Robinson won their respective roster battles for the last bullpen spot, the last infield bench spot, and the last outfield bench spot.
Pete Kozma, who will travel with the team to Cincinnati while they continue to check on Mark Ellis‘ knee, will turn around and catch up with Memphis if Ellis doesn’t require a trip to the disabled list. Continue reading
The St. Louis Cardinals have added reliever David Aardsma to the bullpen competition with just days left in spring training. Aardsma spent the rest of the spring with the Cleveland Indians, but after being told he wasn’t going to win a roster spot, opted for his release so he could pursue other options. One of those was with the Cardinals.
He arrived in Florida today and already has a jersey with the #53 hanging in his locker. The team has said he is likely to get two pitching appearances to make his case for the bullpen. He is signed on a minor league contract.
Aardsma, 32, spent last season with the New York Mets where he had a 4.31 ERA over 39.2 innings. He spent 2009 and 2010 as the closer for the Seattle Mariners, accumulating 69 saves.
The addition of Aardsma creates some interesting scenarios for the Cardinals going forward. Continue reading
MLB Trade Rumors was reporting last night based on information from ESPN New York that the Cardinals have made shortstop Pete Kozma available on the trade market. With Jhonny Peralta set to take over for him at shortstop this year, Pete Kozma looks like he may not even make the major league club this spring and be relegated to Triple-A Memphis.
What might Kozma net in a trade? The answer is not much.
Consider that Brendan Ryan was coming off a very similar offensive campaign in 2010 when the Cardinals traded him to the Mariners for Maikel Cleto. Ryan’s OPS+ that season was 57, compared to Kozma’s 54 OPS+ this last season. Meanwhile, Ryan is easily the better defensive shortstop. Continue reading
The St. Louis Cardinals and Cuban free agent infielder Aledmys Diaz agreed to terms today on a four year deal. While the financial terms weren’t readily available at signing, there have been numerous reports that it is worth less than $20 million in value. (Edit: Derrick Goold reports on Monday that the total value is 4 years, $8 million.) That’s a far cry from the five year, $25 million deal that Diaz’s agent had been publicly aiming for.
Diaz, 23, defected from Cuba last year but was suspended by Major League Baseball for an age discrepancy on his paperwork. He made himself older so that he wouldn’t qualify under the new international signing caps for younger players. That pushed him back to this year’s international signing period. After drawing interest from several teams, the two that seemed the most interested in him were the Cardinals and the New York Yankees. Both teams had Diaz come do private workouts for them in Florida this spring, but after theirs, the Yankees announced they weren’t planning to offer him a contract. That potentially opened put the door for the Cardinals to grab a good deal.
Diaz hit .315 with 12 home runs in a little over 200 at bats in his last professional season in Cuba. But just how does that translate into US baseball? Viva El Birdos tried to answer this when they talked with Joe Kehoskie earlier in spring training. Kehoskie has been an agent and a baseball consultant and he likens the Cuban leagues to equivalent to a high A ball team. Continue reading
According to media reports today the St. Louis Cardinals have inked deals with center fielders Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos to avoid arbitration hearings. The deals, which haven’t been announced yet by the club, leave infielder Daniel Descalso as the only pending arbitration case for the Cardinals.
Jay’s deal is reported to be a 1 year, $3.25 million contract that comes in just less than his $3.4 million arbitration estimate from MLB Trade Rumors. Jay, who will turn 29 in March, struggles last year posting a .276 batting average along with a 102 OPS+. His defense also struggled as he went from one of the better rated defenders to one of the NL’s worst in center field. Those struggles likely cost Jay some money in arbitration.
Bourjos’ deal is reported to be a 1 year, $1.2 million contract with an additional $150,000 in plate appearance incentives. Bourjos, who will be 27 in March, is widely expected to be the Cardinals’ starting center fielder in 2014. He is coming off an injury shortened year that saw him hit .274 over just 196 plate appearances. However, he was hitting well over .300 when he broke his wrist in June. He is also regarded as the best defensive center fielder in baseball. Continue reading
The Cardinals confirmed this afternoon that they have signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta. According to reports, the deal is a four year contract worth $53 million. The 31-year-old Peralta was a free agent after a three-year stint in Detroit where he hit .278/.334/.438 with 45 HRs and 204 RBI.
His stay there was capped off by a 50 game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. He would return during the playoffs for Detroit and hit .333/.353/.545 in 10 playoff games with the Tigers.
Despite the scandal, he was one of a few heavily courted free agents because of the shortages of quality shortstops. He had drawn interest from the Mets, Yankees, and Orioles.
Peralta is clearly an offensive improvement over the guy he is replacing, Pete Kozma, who hit .217/.275/.273 last season while Peralta hit .303/.358/.457 in an abbreviated career year. Even if he regresses to his career averages of .268/.330/.425, he is still a marked improvement for the Cardinals offensively at the shortstop position. Continue reading