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
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have traded third baseman David Freese and relief pitcher Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.
The immediate effect of the deal is that it opens up third base for Matt Carpenter and, as a result, second base for prospect Kolten Wong. It also shores up their defense in center field with the addition of Bourjos.
Considering that Freese and Salas were widely thought to be non-tender candidates, this trade is believed to be quite the coup for Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak.
David Freese was the hero of the 2011 World Series and a St. Louis native, so his connection to the area made him a hard player to trade. Logically though it made sense. Freese is 30 years old and coming off his worst season in a Cardinals’ uniform and also stands to get a substaintial raise in arbitration. Because of that, the odds of him returning to the Cardinals in 2014 were slim. The question that Mozeliak had to ask himself was whether we’d get the 2012 Freese (.293, 20 HR) or 2013 Freese (.262, 9 HR) going forward. Continue reading
Mike Matheny announced today that Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn will start games one and two, respectively, of the National League Divisional Series. The Cardinals are home in St. Louis where they await the winner of tonight’s NL Wild Card between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. It represents a change in the order of the rotation as we enter the playoffs as Lynn had been scheduled to start on days preceding Wainwright’s turn in the rotation.
There’s been some surprise that the Cardinals announced their starters early, ahead of finding out who they will play in Thursday afternoon’s game one.
Wainwright, 32, finished up the season with a 19-9 record and a 2.94 ERA. He led the league in wins, starts (34), complete games (5), shutouts (2), innings pitched (241.2), and batters faced (856). He is the ace of the Cardinals rotation and they had previously moved him to make his last start on Saturday so that he could start game one on regular rest. Wainwright is 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his last five starts. Continue reading