The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have traded third baseman David Freese and relief pitcher Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in exchange for outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk.
The immediate effect of the deal is that it opens up third base for Matt Carpenter and, as a result, second base for prospect Kolten Wong. It also shores up their defense in center field with the addition of Bourjos.
Considering that Freese and Salas were widely thought to be non-tender candidates, this trade is believed to be quite the coup for Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak.
David Freese was the hero of the 2011 World Series and a St. Louis native, so his connection to the area made him a hard player to trade. Logically though it made sense. Freese is 30 years old and coming off his worst season in a Cardinals’ uniform and also stands to get a substaintial raise in arbitration. Because of that, the odds of him returning to the Cardinals in 2014 were slim. The question that Mozeliak had to ask himself was whether we’d get the 2012 Freese (.293, 20 HR) or 2013 Freese (.262, 9 HR) going forward. Continue reading
In a small move in comparison to what will happen in just a few hours, the Cardinals claimed outfielder Joey Butler off waivers from the Texas Rangers. Butler, 27, appeared in 8 games for the Rangers this season and went 4-for-12 with a pair of doubles, 3 walks, and an RBI. He notched playing time in both corner outfield spots.
Butler was drafted in the 15th round of the 2008 draft by the Rangers. He hit .291 with 12 homers, 51 RBI, and a .395 OBP in 119 games for Triple-A Round Rock this season. He has played 369 games in Triple-A over the last three seasons and is hitting an even .300 with 44 homers. He is a right handed hitter who has played all three outfield positions in his minor league career.
Butler is not eligible to play in the postseason with the Cardinals, but the team has long been searching for a right handed complement to Jon Jay in the outfield.
The second half of the baseball season is about to begin and the trade deadline is right around the corner. Already newspapers, blogs, message boards, and twitter feeds are rife with trade rumors as everyone has a keen eye on watching how their teams will perform in the second half. So where are the Cardinals and what could they be looking to add to shore up the team as they drive towards another playoff berth?
I think a good way to get an idea of where the team’s weaknesses lay can be found by a quick glance at the team statistics. With 462 runs scored in 93 games, the offense is currently ranked third in the majors and first in the National League. On the opposite side of the ball, the starting rotation finds themselves with a 3.33 ERA which is good for second in baseball behind division rival Pittsburgh. Their bullpen, on the other hand, has a 3.56 ERA and is only good for 16th.
So a quick glance points you towards the bullpen which has rebounded nicely from an atrocious start with thanks to Edward Mujica‘s step into the closer’s role which he has taken and held onto. Trevor Rosenthal settled into the 8th inning and has once again in the discussion for best relief pitcher in baseball. However, the rest of the bullpen has been a big question mark with most of the rebound behind fueled by great performances by rookie pitchers fresh out of Memphis. Continue reading
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.
The left handed hitter Chad Tracy was announced as the pinch hitter. Mike Matheny went to the mound and brought in Marc Rzepczynski, the only lefty reliever on the St. Louis roster. His last appearance, he allowed a double to Jason Heyward before getting out of the inning against a right hander. Of course, when Rzepczynski came into the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson went back for right handed hitter Tyler Moore.
As my Dad told me last night, “I was expecting a Wild Card Game, not a wild Cards’ game.” Major League Baseball’s first Wild Card Game, certainly lived up to the wild factor. The 94 win Atlanta Braves were facing off against the 88 game St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday evening with a National League Divisional Series berth on the line.
Facing off for the game was the Braves’ Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) and the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86).
Medlen was the starter of note, because the Braves had won 23 consecutive games that Medlen had started, dating back to May 29, 2010. The streak was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and he started this season in the bullpen for the Braves.
Lohse was the quieter of the pair, despite being one of the top pitchers in the National League all season. He led the Cardinals’ rotation in ERA this year. A rotation that was the fourth best in baseball. He had also never won a playoff start going into this game, having a career postseason ERA of 5.12 in 31 2/3 innings. Last year during the Cardinals’ playoff run, he allowed 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings.