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. [click to continue…]

UCB Radio Hour – January 23, 2013

Kevin Reynolds and I host this week’s UCB Radio Hour. We’ll talk about his experiences at Winter Warm-Up, Stan Musial, Jason Motte, Adam Wainwright, and any other Cardinals’ developments we can think of. And if all else fails, I’m sure we’ll beat the Matheny horse a few more times.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ivieleagueproductions/2013/01/24/ucb-radio-hour

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. [click to continue…]

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. [click to continue…]

What Cardinals will play in the WBC?

The World Baseball Classic will once again be played this year with a handful of Cardinals players getting an opportunity to represent their country. The intriguing name, according to reports from December, was supposed to be Jaime Garcia, who intended to pitch for Mexico. However, his name is not on the rosters released today, though that may still change.

The question becomes did Garcia back out on his own accord or at the team’s urging? Or is it his injury continuing to be an issue? The answers really shape what happens in Spring Training. Right now there is only a single pitcher spot on the roster, for a right handed reliever. If Garcia is still down, that opens up a rotation spot for a number of candidates.

Jason Motte turned down an invitation to pitch for the United States because he and his wife are expecting their first child later this month. Mitchell Boggs will be on the only member of the team on the US roster.

Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina will play for Puerto Rico. Fernando Salas will pitch for Mexico. And Richard Castillo, who started in Double-A Springfield last year for the Cardinals, will pitch for Spain.