World Series DVD set winners

I want to thank everyone for their entries in the first ever contest that we’ve held here at Redbird Dugout. Coincidentally it was on the first anniversary week of the blog as it was just a little over a year ago that I made my first post, a missive on why defense at short stop was important and trading Brendan Ryan was a mistake.

When I came up with the concept of the contest, I thought it was going to be easy determining who had the best Cardinals’ memory.After my first three stories and I had three really good ones, I realized it was going to be a lot harder than originally planned.

How I ran it is I took a blind system. I assigned each story a number and printed it out. This way I didn’t know who had written it since there were names that I recognized in the entrants. Out of the 15 entries that I received, I came up with a pile of 5 that I felt were above the rest. Then I sat down and over the next hour read and re-read each trying to come up with the best two. It really makes me wish that I could have given away sets to everyone.

The big winner of the best Cardinals’ memory story was Andy Leeser of Huntington Beach, CA. He shared a story about convincing his parents to take a trip to St. Louis for Games 6 and 7 of the World Series. He will be receiving the 8-disc Collector’s Edition that I posted my review of earlier today.

The runner-up of the best Cardinals’ memory story was Mike Wald of Ankeny, IA. His family has some correlation between births in the family and Cardinals’ World Series appearances.

Andy’s story will be scheduled for Tuesday with Mike’s appearing on Wednesday.

And the random draw took place yesterday afternoon and I video taped it, if you choose to watch it, you can find it on YouTube here. Or you can read on below to find out who won by the random draw.

The first random draw winner is Jocelyn Alegre of Granite City, IL. The second random draw winner was Jeremy Ellis of Mt. Vernon, IN.

Thank you all for your participation. It was a far greater success than what I expected. Hopefully I will be able to bring you all more contests in the future. Nothing better than putting Cardinals’ merchandise in the hands of Cardinals’ fans.

Review: World Series Collector’s Edition

Thanks again to A+E Networks, MLB Productions, and Foundry Communications for letting me review the World Series collections. A couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to review the 2-disc World Series film that included the film and Game 5 of the NLDS, you can find that review here. Today, however, I bring you my review of the 8-disc collector’s edition that I was giving away as the main prize of the Redbird Dugout Cardinals’ Memories contest.

First off, it’s 8 discs. After pulling out the discs I love the design and layout on the individual disc cases. The inside and outside covers include to give you all the box score information for the particular game as well as some trivia. Such as the Cardinals are now 11-2 in 13 career postseason starts by Chris Carpenter. That’s pretty impressive stuff right there.

Second, the 8th disc with all the bonus material is awesome. It has a montage of the Cardinals’ walk off hits from 2011. It also has a bunch of highlights from the season including Lance Berkman‘s 350th career home run, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel‘s debuts, and Jake Westbrook‘s Grand Slam. It also has post-season highlights that feature the NLCS Trophy presentiations as well as the World Series trophy presentations and the parade, which was my favorite feature since I missed that as I don’t live in St. Louis.

One of the best things I loved about this game was the ability to overlay the radio broadcast. There have been many times this season where I’d wanted to experience a game with the voice of Mike Shannon over the video, but could never get it lined up right with the online stream and my television. This allowed me to do it and it was great.

The games looked great and it’s fun getting to relive some of the great moments from the 2011 postseason and World Series. My only disappointment is that it did not include the World Series film itself.

The Collector’s Edition DVD set is available at the MLB.com shop here. It’s a great addition to a Cardinals’ fans DVD library.

Now some photos I took of it.

Cardinals agree with Furcal

As the press conference in Anaheim presenting Albert Pujols was under way, the news was reported from Rafael Furcal‘s agent that he has agreed to a $14 million, 2 year contract to return to the Cardinals. The contract will be finalized after a physical next week.

Furcal, 34, proved to be a vital glove man at short stop down the stretch for the Cardinals, however, his hitting left much to be desired. Spending his time in the leadoff spot, Furcal had a line of .255/.316/.418 in his 50 games in Cardinals red. He followed that up with a line of .195/.244/.325. However, without him the Cardinals probably don’t make the run they do. He was credited with the advent of the “Happy Flight” mantra that had the team winning getaway game after getaway game late in the season.

My personal opinion on this deal is that the Cardinals ended up paying way too much. My personal maximum would have been $4 million, but I can see why the team would have wanted to get this deal done quickly. They needed to move on after the departure of Pujols.

At 34 years old, Furcal has played 370 of a possible 648 games (57%). He has injury question marks all over him. His glove is no longer gold glove quality, but it is his biggest upside. Injury has deteriorated his bat and he could very likely go into next season as the worst hitter in the lineup, though that’s more of a statement about the rest of the lineup than Furcal himself.

It’s an understandable move for the team who needed to initiate Plan B immediately.

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Pujols to Anaheim. Now what?

I just got back from finishing up my Christmas shopping when I sat down at my desk to see a tweet talking about Pujols and the Angels. It piqued my curiosity and I decided to scroll backwards and see what the root of the talk was. Then I spotted it, Pujols accepting a deal valued in the $240-250 million over 10 year range with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. My jaw slightly dropped.

For one, I didn’t think any team was going to step up and offer that sort of money. Pujols has been amazing his last 11 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, but over the last three years his numbers have slipped. Many defended his slump this year saying that he was trying to prove himself worthy of a big contract with Alex Rodriguez-type money. But what’s he going to do this next year as he tries to prove himself worth of the contract he got.

Joe Strauss is now reporting that the Angels’ offer is more likely closer to $255 million over 10 years and was comparable with the Marlins’ offer.

The Cardinals’ best offer bounced around quite a bit in the rumor mill. Their initial offer was reportedly the same as the $198 million over 9 year offer that they offered him back in January. Then they reportedly jumped to $220 million over 10 years after the Marlins went to 10 years. But it was later reported that they never officially went to 10 years.

Ultimately, only a few people know what happened in the negotiating room. And we are likely never to find out. But what does this mean to all involved.

For Albert, he turned down legend status in St. Louis for a payday.

I know baseball is a business and players today are always going to chase the money. Except over the last few years Albert convinced the people of St. Louis that he was a man of faith and of integrity. He said winning was more important to him and was willing to put a little bit of money where his mouth was on that if the need came. He consistently put off extension negotiation talks because he was under contract and the team had other priorities. He said that people who think he’s all about the money don’t know him very well. And how does it all add up?

He’ll be wearing an Angels uniform next season because they offered him more money.

It’s not because the Angels are a winning club. I still think the Rangers are a better team with more potential in the AL West. The Athletics could be contenders with the right pieces behind that pitching staff. And the Astros under new GM Jeff Luhnow will join the fray in 2013.

Meanwhile, you walked away from a team that is coming off of a World Series, with all it’s major parts returning, and adding a Cy Young contender to it’s rotation. Obviously it’s not about winning because you have a situation any player would kill for in St. Louis.

Only time will tell what this decision will do to his legacy in St. Louis. He’s still likely to go into the Hall of Fame as a Cardinal, but not only a Cardinal. Will he get the statue at the ballpark? Will he get trotted out in front of the crowds on Opening Days? One thing is for sure, his name won’t be mentioned in the same breath as Stan Musial and Bob Gibson.

He may not regret this decision today, but I think he will at some point wish that he’d never left St. Louis. It’s a better baseball town. It’s a town that would have let him decline without anger out of perspective of what he’s done the last 11 years. It’s a town that would have vehemently defended him against all opposers. It’s a town that would have celebrated his legacy for the rest of his life.

How much is that worth? $30 million?

For the Cardinals, they are a team that is in excellent position to deal with the loss of Albert Pujols. They have Lance Berkman signed for 2012. Once Allen Craig returns from his knee surgery, he will be more than capable in the outfield. They also have the young Matt Adams who has hit up a storm the last two years in the minor leagues who will get a Spring Training invite and probably end up in Memphis, but his chances of making the big league club exponentially increased.

Right now the Cardinals are in position for a team makeover. It’s probably a situation that John Mozeliak has quietly drooled over since he became the Cardinals GM. A chance to make the Cardinals his team, instead of holding onto the successful members of the past. Matt Holliday is the only offensive player signed beyond this season. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright have two more years left. Jaime Garcia is the only pitcher than goes beyond 2013.

The build from within philosophy is now completely dedicated to now that Pujols has left.

Pujols’ departure also opens up some serious payroll room. I am a fan of bringing back Skip Schumaker to play second base. He’s one of the better hitters on the team and made huge strides defensively last year, but it seems if he does come back he will be relegated to a utility role.

They will need to spend on one or two players, but who will it be. Most of your players who are considered top-tier candidates are on the decline of their careers, have been plagued by injury, or both. The best value players have already made their departure from the market.

The team will need to look at a corner outfielder or first baseman and will also need to look at a shortstop. Jimmy Rollins has appeared to be a favorite of the Cardinals’ according to the rumor mill, but I’m still on the fence about him (though I do like him more than Furcal or many of the other options). And a name I heard floated as a potential outfield bat was Ryan Ludwick.

It also frees up some cash for the impending free agency of Adam Wainwright. If I had to choose between Wainwright and Pujols, I’d take Wainwright every day of the week. It’s harder to find an elite pitcher than it is to find an elite hitter, and elite pitchers cost more too.

For me, I’d often thought that it was in the Cardinals’ best interests to let Albert walk if he was going to cost much more than $22 million a year. It seems that Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak agreed with me.

I’ll be sad that Albert is gone. I wanted to see him finish his career with the Cardinals. To be the legend that I can turn to my kids and say, “I watched him play his entire career with the Cardinals and he was amazing.” However, I’m a Cardinals fan whether Albert Pujols plays for them or not.

I believe this is a mistake for Albert. I also believe that the Cardinals will be more successful over the next 5 years than the Angels will be.

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Cardinals take Komatsu in Rule 5 Draft

This morning the annual Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft was held during the winter meetings in Dallas, Texas. The Cardinals selected Erik Komatsu from the Washington Nationals.

Komatsu, 24, was drafted in the 8th round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. The left handed outfielder was traded last season to the Nationals. In 124 games in Double-A, Komatsu had a line of .277/.367/.382.

Certainly not horrible, but not that much better than what we already have.

I don’t really see what the Cardinals saw in Komatsu. If anything, I think they have more than enough left handed outfielders. Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, Adron Chambers. Komatsu is a very good defensive center fielder who has some plate discipline. But I doubt he is a huge step above those three names that the Cardinals already controlled.

Because of the rules of the Rule 5 Draft, Komatsu will have to make the Cardinals’ roster and stay there the entire season or be offered back to Washington. I don’t see it happening with three other left handed center fielders on the roster and having to make him skip Triple-A.