The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed Jake Westbrook to a new deal. The deal is essentially a 1 year deal that gives Westbrook $250,000 more than he would have made on his 2013 option and gives both parties a mutual option worth $9.5 million for 2014.
Westbrook, 34, said earlier this month that he intended to exercise his half of his $8.5 million option for 2013 but admitted he wasn’t sure what the team was going to do. He got his answer.
He is certainly pitching worth it right now too. With a 12-9 record and a 3.50 ERA in 24 starts, he is enjoying the second best season of his career by ERA+. His best was 2004 where he got his only career All Star nod and finished at 14-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Continue reading
On a Tuesday afternoon where it seemed the like the St. Louis Cardinals were going to quietly let the deadline pass them by without doing anything to shore up the team, they didn’t. The Cardinals announced that they acquired RHP Edward Mujica for minor league 3B Zack Cox.
My knee-jerk reaction to the trade was “Is that all they could get for Cox?” After all, I saw a Mujica who had a 4.38 ERA in nearly 40 innings this season.
However, when I dug into Mujica’s numbers further, I found a pitcher that has me thinking this could really be the trade that solidifies that bullpen and helps stabilize this team going forward. Something to realize is that the new Marlins Ballpark in Miami is quite the hitter’s park. According to Baseball References’ Park Factor, Marlins Ballpark scores a 106 for hitters and a 107 for pitchers this year. Over 100 favors the hitter. Meanwhile, Mujica will move into a Busch Stadium that has multi-year Park Factors of 99 for hitters and 98 for pitchers. A far more neutral stadium. That should help greatly. Continue reading
Chuckie Fick was placed on waivers two days ago when the team called up Brian Fuentes, and now he has been claimed by the Houston Astros.
Fick, 26, made his major league debut for the Cardinals’ this year. He made his debut on May 26th against Philadelphia where he allowed 1 hit over an inning. He made his second appearance a day later, throwing 2/3rds of an inning where he allowed two hits, a walk, and an earned run. That would be his final appearance for the Cards as he was optioned back to Memphis on the 31st.
Last year in Memphis, Fick had a banner year, posting a 2.30 ERA in 54 appearances and 70 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. However, he struggled to find the same success in 2012, with a 4.68 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before being placed on waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster.
Jeff Luhnow, who was the team’s Director of Scouting and Player Development when the Cardinals’ drafted Luhnow in the 15th round of the 2007 draft, claimed Fick to bring him to Houston. He looks like he will be placed in the Astros bullpen.
Fick probably isn’t a huge loss for the team, but I would have liked to see him get a longer look in the majors. He had some success, but for some reason was struggling mightily this year. In the end, he was expendable for the Cardinals especially if they felt that Fuentes could play a key role in the bullpen down the stretch.
The Cardinals announced today that Brian Fuentes would be making the trip to St. Louis ahead of schedule, skipping his intended appearance tonight for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Fuentes, 36, was signed by the Cardinals on July 15th with the hopes that he can be the pitcher he was when he was one of the top closer candidates on the free agent market in years’ past.
Fuentes was downright horrible this season with Oakland. He had a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings along with a 1.60 WHIP. He was Designated For Assignment (DFA) by the Athletics on July 3rd and received his release on July 11th.
He signed a minor league deal just four days later. He pitched two appearances for the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League Rookie level team, going two innings while allowing a hit and striking out one. He then pitched an inning for Springfield, striking out two. The team was under a deadline to move him to the majors as he could opt out of the contract on July 31st if he wasn’t with the big league club. Continue reading