Freese avoids arbitration

David Freese and the St. Louis Cardinals avoided arbitration, settling on a 1 year deal worth $3.15 million. That means the team continues it’s streak of not having a player case reach arbitration since Darren Oliver in 1999. It also puts the team’s projected Opening Day Salary Obligations at $113.9 million, up from $111.8 million last year.

Freese, the hometown hero of the 2011 World Series, had filed for arbitration at $3.75 million with the Cardinals filing at $2.4 million. They were due to meet up in a hearing over the next couple weeks to determine which salary Freese would earn in 2013, his first arbitration year. It ends the speculation of the team maybe being comfortable in their position going into the arbitration hearing and letting it get there.

After the news of the agreement came out, Freese told the Post-Dispatch that he wanted to be a Cardinal for life. That would entail a long-term deal for a player who will be turning 33 shortly after earning his first chance of free agency after the 2015 season. With Matt Carpenter, who will be where Freese is now, and a glut of third baseman picked in this past year’s draft, Freese’s future with the Cardinals is as questionable as ever. [click to continue…]

Carpenter likely out for season

The Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak announced this afternoon that he didn’t expect Chris Carpenter to pitch for the team in 2013. The issues surrounding his arm with stingers and tingling have returned. It may be the answer to the question I asked earlier this offseason of what do you do about Chris Carpenter.

While the “R” word wasn’t mentioned as many speculated it would be, it was pretty clear listening to Mozeliak and Mike Matheny that they believe that Carpenter has thrown his last major league pitch. I read some reports that Carpenter was close to calling it a career after the rib surgery last year, but was convinced to push and come back for a playoff run.

The team immediately loses a big part of their psyche. Wainwright can step up into the leadership position in the pitching staff and likely was there last year. Many may believe that losing Carpenter hurts the teams chances, I don’t think you’ll see a big difference on the field. I think at this point what you can get out of Shelby Miller or Trevor Rosenthal over 32 starts is the same as you’d be able to squeeze out of Carpenter. [click to continue…]

Meet the NRIs: C Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson began his professional career as a fourth round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft. He attended Saddleback College in California before transferring to the University of Houston where he played one season before entering the MLB Draft in 2004.

In the 2005 season, between A and high A ball, he posted a .280/.332/.432 slash line. The organization noticed and he earned the jump to Triple-A Tacoma the next season. He may have been promoted before he was ready though as he struggled with a line of .231/.261/.318. Over the next two seasons with Tacoma, his Triple-A numbers improved, posting a line of .305/.363/.441 with 9 HR in 2008.

In 2009, he spent the entire year in the majors with Seattle after cups of coffee in 2007 and 2008. He posted a slash line of .213/.289/.326 with 2 HR and 27 RBI in 80 games. After the season he would have two hip surgeries and a wrist surgery, similar to the hip surgeries that Alex Rodriguez has recently undergone. [click to continue…]

Meet the NRIs: OF Justin Christian

Justin Christian was signed by the Cardinals to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training as a free agent. He spent last season with the San Francisco Giants. He has played parts of three seasons in the majors since 2008, including 32 games and 61 plate appearances last year for the Giants where he hit .125/.197/.143.

Born in Nebraska, Christian, 32, attended high school in San Mateo, California. He would spend two years at Skyline College and then Auburn University. He missed most of the 2002 season with a torn before transferring to Southeast Missouri State University where he was an All-American. He would go undrafted in the 2003 Major League Draft.

In his second season of independent ball for the River City Rascals, he hit .450 with 26 steals in 30 games. The New York Yankees signed him, having never scouted him in person. He played 2004 in the Gulf Coast and Penn League for the Yankees. [click to continue…]

Cardinals get two spring games on ESPN

ESPN issued a press release today with their Spring Training television lineup. While every game features a team from the north east United States, two of them include the St. Louis Cardinals. Guess you figured that one out though, eh?

The first game ESPN will air is the Cardinals’ contest with the New York Yankees on March 11th. Jon Sciambi, Doug Glanville, and Jayson Stark are the scheduled on-air talent. It will be the Cardinals’ 12th game of Spring Training.

Their second game will be against the New York Mets on March 26th, just three days before the teams pack up to head north for the season. Karl Ravech, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe, and Tim Kurkjian are the scheduled on-air talent.

The Cardinals are the schedule away team for both contests. You can check out the complete schedule here.