Cardinals release 2013 Spring Training schedule

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

McClellan released, Johnson signed

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.
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Hill, Anderson, and Reifer outrighted

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.
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The keys to the offseason

“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.
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Lohse receives qualifying offer

The St. Louis Cardinals made a 1 year, $13.3 million qualifying offer to Kyle Lohse today, the final day to make such an offer. The Cardinals had to make an offer in order to receive a compensatory draft pick if Lohse opts to sign with another team this offseason, which he is expected to do. Either way, Lohse now has until next Friday to accept the offer if he wants to return to the Cardinals for 2013.

The qualifying offer concept is a change under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement which replaces the old Type A/Type B free agent compensation system. Something that I’m sure relieves General Manager John Mozeliak, who told the United Cardinal Bloggers in September about his indecision about offering arbitration to Octavio Dotel last November. He said he got a mystery call from baseball that they were simply going to give them the compensatory pick without the need for arbitration and he said, “Sweet!”

The qualifying offer is determined by the average of the top-125 salaries in baseball from the previous season. That means a $13.3 million average from the 2012 for qualifying offers this offseason.
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Giants knock Cardinals out

It’s been less than a week since the St. Louis Cardinals were removed from the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants winning Games 5, 6, and 7 of the National League Championship Series. What seemed on the morning of October 19th as inevitable, that the Cardinals would be playing for their 12th World Series championship in 2012, failed to come to pass thanks to shaky starting pitching and a slumping offense.

Over the final three games of the NLCS, the Giants outscored the Cardinals 20-1. They did exactly what they’d done just a series earlier to the Cincinnati Reds. In the National League Divisional Series against the Reds, the Reds won the first two games of the best of five series in San Francisco. Over the final 3 games of the series in Cincinnati, the Giants won all three games. They’d survived with their backs against the wall once, they could do it again.

Going into Game 7, the media portrayed the game as two teams who refused to give up. The Cardinals rode a six game winning streak in games where a loss would have eliminated them from the playoffs. The Giants had won five straight, all in 2012. But unlike Game 5 of the NLDS where the Cardinals got down 6-0 to a young and inexperienced Washington Nationals club, the Giants are a veteran team whose key players had been there before. They weren’t likely to collapse like the Nationals did. And they didn’t.
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