The winter meetings were going rather quiet for the St. Louis Cardinals. Until today, that is. The Cardinals have agreed to terms on a $7.5 million, 3 year deal with 37-year-old veteran left hander Randy Choate pending a physical. The deal solidifies the bullpen from the left side as he will pair with 27-year-old Marc Rzepczynski.
Entering the offseason the Cardinals hadn’t spent good money on a left handed reliever in a few years, and it has shown. It was one of the primary issues that the organization needed to address in the offseason, if not the primary one (though I labelled it key #2 in a previous post). I had the feeling entering the offseason that John Mozeliak was as tired as I was at dumpster diving for a fringe left handed reliever and hoping you could work magic and squeeze a year or two of performance out of him. It was time to get a reliable arm.
Choate is not the player I was hoping the Cardinals would add, and after Sean Burnett went to the Angels on an $8 million, 2 year deal when I thought he’d get $12 million over 2 years, I’m even a little more frustrated. Burnett is one of those lefties that can pitch both ways. And yes, while we have our seventh, eighth, and ninth innings locked up, if an opposing manager tries to play matchups late in the game, Burnett is the kind of pitcher you can leave in there so you don’t burn through your bullpen in a single inning. However, if you are looking for a straight up Lefty-One-Out-GuY (or LOOGY), Choate was one of the best on the market this offseason.
The St. Louis Cardinals are just 85 days from playing baseball once again. The team released their 2013 Spring Training schedule that begins on February 23rd, 2013, as the visiting team in Jupiter against the Miami Marlins. Their preparatory slate of games will finish up in Port St. Lucie against the New York Mets on March 29th.
The Cardinals will play 32 games over the 35 day span and finish up with 9 straight as they prepare to begin the 2013 season against the Diamondbacks on April 1st.
Read on for the remainder of the schedule after the jump. Continue reading
It’s the end of the road in a Cardinals uniform for Kyle McClellan. Officially, anyway. We knew it for quite some time. In fact, even McClellan knew it, saying when he had surgery this summer that he figured his time with the organization was over.
GM John Mozeliak informed McClellan of his release today, a week ahead of the team’s deadline to tender offers to it’s arbitration eligible pitchers. McClellan, 28, is one of those players. There were a combination of factors that led to this point.
McClellan’s arm has caused him issues for the past year, culminating in a labrum repair in July. MLB rules prohibit McClellan’s salary from dropped more than 20%, meaning he would have been due at least $2 million this offseason. The team acquired Edward Mujica at the trade deadline and took the reins of the 7th inning role that was to be McClellan’s this year. And finally, the team could use that $2 million elsewhere this offseason as they are projected to once again surpass the $110 million mark in Opening Day payroll.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have outrighted catcher Steven Hill, catcher Bryan Anderson, and right handed pitcher Adam Reifer to Triple-A Memphis. With the moves they are removed from the organization’s 40 man roster. The 40 man roster currently stands at 36 players. The team added right handed pitcher Jorge Rondon earlier this week.
Teams have until November 20th to change their 40 man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft which will take place in December. Any players who are not on the 40 man roster and have been in the minors for more than 4 or 5 years (depending on the age when they signed with the organization) are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft. As a result of being outrighted, Hill, Anderson, and Reifer are now eligible to be claimed.
Hill, 27, was a 13th round pick of the 2007 draft for the Cardinals. He has had two separate stints with the Cardinals. In 2010 he made an appearance in an August game against the Chicago Cubs and homered for his first major league hit. He had 10 plate appearances this past season. The right handed hitter hit .266/.326/.488 with 17 HR and 52 RBI in 87 games for the Memphis Redbirds this year. He’s had most of his time in the minors at catcher or first base, but has time in left field, right field, and at third base as well.
“I love the smell of free agency in the morning.”
I don’t think anyone has actually said that. Maybe Scott Boras. Or Dan Lozano last November. But as the sun rose today, free agency officially opens and it begins that time of the year that gets referred to as the “Hot Stove League.” It doesn’t seem like anyone actually knows why it’s called the Hot Stove League either.
For the Cardinals there is some turnover in the coaching staff. Dyar Miller is out. Mark McGwire is leaving. Memphis Redbirds’ Pitching Coach Blaise Ilsley and Cardinals’ Assistant Hitting Coach John Mabry are expected to be promoted to fill those roles according to the Post-Dispatch.
Yesterday the Cardinals made the 1 year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to Kyle Lohse. Lohse now has a week to decide whether to accept that or test free agency for a bigger, multiyear deal. It was a move that was required in order for the Cardinals to get a compensatory draft pick for Lohse should he choose to sign elsewhere this offseason. Lance Berkman was not offered one as he would have likely accepted it wholeheartedly.