An Unexpected Journey

The 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers Annual released yesterday on Amazon.com. It’s a good review of last year’s team and performance from some of the best of the UCB. It’s a good preparation for this year during this final two week stretch before spring training officially begins.

Last year we had hopes of selling the Annual as a full color magazine complete with pictures and heavy duty layout. It turned out well and was released as a PDF, but the Cardinals had an issue with their logos being in pictures that we were using. Rather than challenge them, we decided to play nice and not sell it. This year, no copyrighted logos in pictures and an eBook.

Yesterday it was briefly in the Top-100 Baseball Books sold on Amazon and has hung out in the Top-50 Baseball Kindle eBooks sold on Amazon almost since it’s release, which is really something. As I write this it is currently #36 of Baseball Books sold in the Kindle store.

I did not write for it, however, I did put the eBook together and designed the front cover.

So go check it out on Amazon. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you should be able to rent it as part of that program.

Link

Cardinals announce non-roster invites

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon the 16 players who will receive invitations to join the team in major league camp in Spring Training. Automatically all the members of the 40 man roster are expected to be in big league camp, but additional players can receiving invitations to work out with the big league club for the potential of earning a spot on the roster or impressing the right people.

RHP (3): Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha

LHP (2): John Gast and Tyler Lyons

Catchers (6): Adam Ehrlich, Rob Johnson, Jesus Montero, Audry Perez, Cody Stanley, and J.R. Towles

Infielders (3): Greg Garcia, Starlin Rodriguez, and Kolten Wong

Outfielders (2): Justin Christian, Oscar Taveras

No surprise for the number of catchers. Due to the high number of pitchers who are going to be in spring training, catchers are in high demand to catch bullpen sessions early in camp. By my count, the team has 24 on the 40 man roster and then have invited another 5. Unless there is an injury, I would say none of those six catchers will have a shot at cracking the major league roster.

Is Ronny Cedeno an upgrade?

Over the weekend there have been a couple reports out of Venezuela saying that shortstop Ronny Cedeno has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. When given an opportunity to comment on it this weekend, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said that the team wasn’t going to make any baseball related announcements this weekend out of respect for Stan Musial and his family. In other words, a subliminal “yes.”

But is Ronny Cedeno an upgrade over what we already have in house? Bernie Miklasz doesn’t think so and offers up ZiPS projections for Cedeno, Pete Kozma, and Ryan Jackson. So what do we have in house?

In 104 major league plate appearances, Pete Kozma has a batting slash line of .303/.373/.506. However, those numbers are a far cry from his career minor league numbers which has a slash line of .236/.308/.344. Safe to say that Kozma’s numbers will drop greatly at the plate this coming season.

Ryan Jackson, viewed by most as the organization’s best internal candidate, has a career minor league line of .267/.335/.370. That’s better than Kozma but not a huge improvement over him. Whether it was bad timing or something that turned Mike Matheny off of him last September, he only got 17 at bats and was able to muster just two hits as he didn’t even amass a full inning of playing time at his primary position, not even fielding a ball there in the majors. Continue reading

Motte avoids arbitration

The Cardinals announced yesterday that they had avoided arbitration with their closer Jason Motte. The deal, a two-year deal buying out his final arbitration year, is worth $12 million plus incentives.

After making just $1.95 million last year, Motte filed for $5.5 million in arbitration while the Cardinals filed at $4.5 million. But everyone knew that while this year would be a relative bargain at either of those prices, next year was going to be a big question mark. If Motte duplicated his 2012 season in 2013, the sky was the limit as far as potential earnings ability next year. So for an extra $500,000 this year, they locked him up at a discount rate for 2014 as well.

Motte, 30, led the National League last year with 42 saves, tied with Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel. Over the last three seasons, Motte has been fantastic out of the bullpen for the Cardinals. He’s made 201 relief appearances with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.988 WHIP. Among the 92 relievers who have thrown over 150 innings over the last two years, Motte’s WHIP is 6th. Continue reading

Long and expensive deal for Wainwright

“It’s going to be long,” he said. “It’s going to be expensive.”

That was a quote from John Mozeliak in regards to an extension for Cardinals’ starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. News about a potential extension for the team’s star pitcher started coming out over the weekend at the annual Winter Warmup festival.

The two sides began preliminary discussions near the end of last season and have continued to have a dialogue during the offseason. Mozeliak has come across positive about the results of the talks, saying that they haven’t had either side drawing a line in the sand. The discussion around it come in stark contrast to the last big renewal the Cardinals had come up for Albert Pujols.

Wainwright even publicly admitted that he decided to wait on closing the deal until the early part of this year, saying that seeing how free agency played out for other guys on the market wasn’t going to hurt his case. It didn’t. Zack Grienke signed a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $26 million per year, further elevating his open market price tag. Continue reading