Cardinals add Aardsma to bullpen mix

The St. Louis Cardinals have added reliever David Aardsma to the bullpen competition with just days left in spring training. Aardsma spent the rest of the spring with the Cleveland Indians, but after being told he wasn’t going to win a roster spot, opted for his release so he could pursue other options. One of those was with the Cardinals.

He arrived in Florida today and already has a jersey with the #53 hanging in his locker. The team has said he is likely to get two pitching appearances to make his case for the bullpen. He is signed on a minor league contract.

Aardsma, 32, spent last season with the New York Mets where he had a 4.31 ERA over 39.2 innings. He spent 2009 and 2010 as the closer for the Seattle Mariners, accumulating 69 saves.

The addition of Aardsma creates some interesting scenarios for the Cardinals going forward. Continue reading

The fifth starter “competition”

Entering this spring, the Cardinals made it out like there was a competition to be had in their starting rotation with Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly, and Carlos Martinez. Those six pitchers were battling it out for four spots. That was the narrative at Winter Warm-Up anyway. One that I dismissed at the time.

Adam Wainwright is locked in. Shelby Miller? How do you tell a top-3 Rookie of the Year finisher that he’s being demoted to the bullpen. Michael Wacha? The guy took two no-hitters into the ninth inning last year and outdueled the $30 million man twice in the same playoff series. Lance Lynn? He’s only the winningest starting pitcher in the NL since the beginning of the 2012 season. Jaime Garcia? Well, you’re paying him like a starter. He better be a starter.

The rotation was set. Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez were looking at the St. Louis bullpen or the Memphis rotation if everyone stayed healthy. Continue reading

To trade Pete Kozma

MLB Trade Rumors was reporting last night based on information from ESPN New York that the Cardinals have made shortstop Pete Kozma available on the trade market. With Jhonny Peralta set to take over for him at shortstop this year, Pete Kozma looks like he may not even make the major league club this spring and be relegated to Triple-A Memphis.

What might Kozma net in a trade? The answer is not much.

Consider that Brendan Ryan was coming off a very similar offensive campaign in 2010 when the Cardinals traded him to the Mariners for Maikel Cleto. Ryan’s OPS+ that season was 57, compared to Kozma’s 54 OPS+ this last season. Meanwhile, Ryan is easily the better defensive shortstop. Continue reading