This weekend Cardinals’ fans were able to give thanks that most of their team’s offseason shopping list were checked off thanks to the brilliant moves of John Mozeliak. Rather than slow playing the offseason, Mozeliak struck quickly as he dealt David Freese and Fernando Salas, acquired Peter Bourjos, and signed Jhonny Peralta.
So what now?
The moves that Mozeliak made were huge for the Cardinals organization as far as the team they put on the field for 2014. While the 2013 edition of the Cardinals got some coverage for being the best defensive team in the National League, they came up short in the range department. Carlos Beltran was limited in right field. Jon Jay just wasn’t the same this year. Matt Carpenter was playing a whole new position. And Pete Kozma is, well, Pete Kozma.
The moves that he made allow Matt Carpenter to move to third base where he is a better defender than Freese. The move opens up second base for Kolten Wong, who should have the tools to be a gold glove candidate in the future. They also acquired Peter Bourjos who is the best defensive outfielder in baseball and you can make the case for best defensive player in baseball since he arrived in 2010. [click to continue…]
Some readers may remember last year I wrote about Cardinals’ minor league shortstop Vance Albitz and his Gloves 4 Troops drive. This morning I got thinking about it wondering if he’s doing it again this offseason. So I headed over to his site and it sure looks like he is.
What Albitz does is collect gloves and baseballs (or money to help buy/ship them) and then he sends them overseas to troops.
If you are interested in seeing how you can help, you can check out more information at his website gloves4troops.com and follow him on Twitter at @VanceAlbitz.
Kevin Reynolds and I host this week’s UCB Radio and discuss the Jhonny Peralta signing, the David Freese trade, and other things related to Cardinal baseball. Listen to the podcast here:
Cardinals Care announced today that tickets for the 2014 edition of Winter Warm-Up will go on sale on Friday. The 18th annual Winter Warm-Up will be held January 18th through 20th at the Hyatt Regency in St. Louis. Passes can be purchased online, at the official team store in Busch Stadium, and Cardinals Clubhouse stores around St. Louis.
Tickets are $40 for people 16 and older, $10 for children 5-15, and free for kids under the age of 5. Members of the military, police and fire departments can receive one free pass, but must be obtained in person at Busch Stadium or the event.
Many players’ autographs are free with admission, but some require a special donation to Cardinals Care. Autograph tickets will be sold between January 6th and 15th.
You can get more information at cardinals.com/winterwarmup.
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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. [click to continue…]