Posted tagged ‘St. Louis Cardinals’

Jhonny Peralta’s New Contract and its Implactions on the Next CBA

November 25, 2013

Last night the St. Louis Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta to a 4/$52mil contract. And the baseball world is furious about it.

Many people are upset that someone can be suspended because of PEDs for fifty games and still get a $52mil payday. The suspensions are supposed to be deterrents to using steroids. But if suspended players can still have the potential of earning millions of dollars then the suspensions will not stop players from using steroids.

If one really wants to tackle this issue they would look at why players use in the first place. At the top of the list is financial reasons. Maybe not to go from making $10mil to $20mil but to go from poor to rich. Most users are minor league players who make $10k or players who come from very, very poor areas and are willing on taking the 1% chance of going pro so they can provide for their family. If you do the risk-reward analysis- 50 games suspension or huge payday- the payday will win almost every time.

Players as well as fans are upset. One disgruntled player is Brad Zeigler who took his complaints to Twitter. A lot of players do want to clean up the sport because they are tired of the mess PEDs have created. After 2016 the current CBA will expire. And one can be sure that PEDs will be a major sticking point this time around.

Although it seems that both parties want to get rid of steroids I think there will be contentious debate. Although the MLBPA represents players who want to abolish steroids it still has to protect those players that do use. So increasing suspensions or penalties may be off the table for them. MLB will probably want to increase first time user suspensions or even have a one strike and your out rule. No way will MLBPA agree to that. Again, they need to protect its players so it won’t allow MLB to throw players out for one failed test.

The next labor negotiations will certainly be interesting and for everyone’s sake let’s hope they can resolve the issue peacefully.

Angels and Cardinals trade Bourjos, Freese

November 22, 2013

Today the Los Angeles Angels traded outfielder Peter Bourjos to the St. Louis Cardinals for past World Series MVP David Freese.  Through the deal the Angels are able to fill their hole at third base while the Cardinals pick up some outfield depth with the expected loss of Carlos Beltran.

When you look at why both teams made the deal I think it’s a fine trade for each team. I believe Peter Bourjos has more value but it’s still fine trade for LA. They needed a third baseman and Peter Bourjos was just a fourth outfielder in LA. St. Louis had depth in the infield so Freese was expendable while they pick up some needed outfield depth.

Peter Bourjos is a 27 year old outfielder with great defensive skills who has proven to a valuable player in the Brett Gardner mold when given a chance. In his only full season, 2011, he posted a 4.2 fWAR. He has posted less than 600 PA in each of his other three seasons combined. He has accumulated an impressive amount of fWAR over that time. Granted, WAR is just a framework and not an be-all end-all type of metric- but it is useful. In fact, his career WAR/650PA is 5.15. Now, that’s over four seasons with three of them as a backup outfielder so his rate WAR is inflated a little bit. But it still shows he is a good player and can be a valuable member of any team as a starting outfielder. With the trade St. Louis can shift Matt Carpenter to third, put Kolten Wong at second, and have an outfield of Bourjos, Craig, and Jay/Taveras.

As for LA, they needed a third baseman. Freese isn’t as valuable as Bourjos in general, but for the Angels he might be. LA already have Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout in the outfield, with a couple other youngsters in the mix. However, their third baseman was Chris Nelson. Freese, according to Steamer projections, expects to a be two win upgrade over Nelson. Moreover, while Steamer projects Bourjos to be worth over two wins, that’s with nearly 500 PA. If LA was only going to give him only 200 PA again, then Freese would project to be more valuable in LA than Bourjos.

Freese is entering is age 31 season and has more two years arbitration years. Bourjos will be 27 and has three more arbitration years. So again, I do think Bourjos is more valuable in a neutral context. In the perspective of each team though, the trade makes sense.

Jim Joyce Made the Right Call

October 28, 2013

Game 3 of the World Series was decided with an obstruction call. Despite being thrown out, Allen Craig was called safe and awarded home because Will Middlebrooks impeded his path to home plate. The umpires saw that the play at the plate was close and rightfully believed Craig would have scored if he had not been obstructed. It’s an ending almost no one liked or wanted, but it was the correct and only call to make in that situation.

 

MLB Rule 7.06:

“(a) When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal ‘Obstruction.’

“If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

“Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls ‘Time,’ with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.

 

“(b) If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call ‘Time’ and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.

“Rule 7.06(b) Comment: Under 7.06(b) when the ball is not dead on obstruction and an obstructed runner advances beyond the base which, in the umpire’s judgment, he would have been awarded because of being obstructed, he does so at his own peril and may be tagged out. This is a judgment call.

When Craig went to run home, not play was being made on him at the time. The play is allowed to proceed. After the play is when the umpire can impose penalties. He decided there was obstruction. And that’s that.

It makes no difference whether there is intent or not. Once the ball gets by the defender, the defender is no longer considered to be in the act of fielding and would be eligible to obstruct a base runner. That is exactly what happened. Moreover, Craig did not run into Middlebrooks outside of the baseline. He got straight up and made a direct path to the plate.

So the ultimate decision is in the hands of the ump- did the time lost in the obstruction result in an out? To ump and any reasonable viewer, yes the obstruction clearly hampered Craig’s ability to race home in time.

Again, no one likes this ending. But it had to be done. Some people suggested the umps should have let it go. That is not right because the ump would not be doing his job and instead of angry Red Sox fans there would be angry Cardinals fans.

In a time when umps are often scrutinized for their mistakes, it’s time to lavish them with praise for a tough, but right call in a critical World Series game.

Rafael Furcals to St. Louis

July 31, 2011

In a small move, the Cardinals traded Alex Castellanos for Rafael Furcal.

Castellanos is an okay hitter. His AA line this year is .319/.379/.562/.408. But he’s also 24, about to turn 25, making him old for the league. He’s never had a good walk rate, and his K rates are extremely high. I have a tough time believing he’ll amount to anything in the majors, if even given the chance.

Furcal on the other hand, looks cooked. He had a 4+ fWAR in 2010, but he has been abysmal so far in 2011. So the Dodgers should be glad to get rid of him and the $4mil left on his contract, which for that organization, is a big amount of money right now. The Cardinals are hoping Furcal turns it around, and if not, Castellanos isn’t someone to fret about losing in a trade.

 

First big trade of trading season

July 27, 2011

In pretty big news this early afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays traded Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart to the Chicago White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen. From there the Blue Jays will trade Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, and Mark Rzepczynski to the St. Louis Cardinals for Colby Rasmus. Wowzers. So let’s break this down.

St. Louis gets:

BUT…as of now both Edwin Jackson and Dotel are Type B free agents. So if St. Louis lets them go, they get an additional $5mil in value, bringing their net value return to $7.31mil. However, they did trade Colby Rasmus.

So the Cardinals lose about double the value they gain. For them, Rasmus figures to be worth about $21-$22mil, but they only get about $10mil of value in return through two rentals, and a middling relief pitcher. A dumb, dumb trade for the Cardinals, unless they truly believe whoever they pick with their presumed compensation picks will turn out better than Rasmus- a long shot bet to make.

Also, for 2012-2014 I projected Rasmus would accumulate about 11 WAR and be worth around $52mil while being paid around $31mil in arbitration.

Now, let’s look at the Jays. We know they are getting about $21-$22mil of value in Rasmus, but what about what they traded away.

So here we see they gave away about $14.5mil in value, mainly because of top pitching prospect Zach Stewart. But, both Dotel and Frasor are type B FAs, so add about $5mil to that. In the end, the Jays come out slightly in the black, and get a young, good center fielder who is under team control for another three seasons. The only person they might miss is Stewart- when that’s the case, it’s a good deal.

Time to see how Chicago did

Nice, so they get about $16mil in value because of prospect Zach Stewart. Also, I have his value at $15.9mil because according to Victor Wang, a top 26-50 pitching prospect is worth that much. I know he has 3 ML starts already, but for this sake I am treating like a prospect still.



So the Sox really are getting a steal here. They get $16mil in value, when they should have gotten -$3mil in value because that’s what they are giving up. Mark Teahen is so bad that just by giving him up, they shouldn’t expect anything in return. But instead  they get Stewart- not bad. So it essentially comes down to Jackson v. Stewart. Jackson has done well in Chicago, but for them they’d rather go with the cheap, younger Stewart over the proven commodity. Can’t blame them.

So in the end, I like the deal for Toronto and Chicago. In the short-run, Jackson might help St. Louis win the division more in 2011 than Rasmus, but down the line it’s a terrible deal for them.

UPDATE: Apparently Trevor Miller, Brian Tallet, and PJ Walters are also in the deal going from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays, with Miller then going to Chicago. Corey Patterson is going to the Cardinals with three PTBNL. That doesn’t change much. The most important aspects of the trades are Stewart to Chicago, Rasmus to Toronto, and Jackson to St. Louis. Everyone else is a filler pretty much. I mean, if the PTBNL are nice prospects than it will be a decent deal for St. Louis, but that’s probably not the case.

Jaime Garcia extended by St. Louis

July 13, 2011

Today the St. Louis Cardinals announced they signed pitcher Jaime Garcia to a 4/$27.5mil deal. So the deal will run from 2012-2015, covering Garcia’s age 26-29 seasons. There are also two club options. Also, the contract buys out his remaining arbitration years, while the options would buy out two years of free agency.

I really like this deal. Garcia had a 3.41 FIP in 2010 and has a 2.98 FIP in 2011. Moreover, he is a ground ball pitcher and is on pace for another 3+ WAR season. He’s also in his mid-twenties and has plenty of good years ahead. The AAV of this deal is $6.876mil. At that level of pay, Garcia doesn’t even need to be an average pitcher (2.0 WAR) to earn his paycheck. Chances are though he will perform much better than 1.5-2.0 WAR.

So in 2012, in what would have been another pre-arbitration year, Garcia will make about $7mil- or at least that’s what I presume since I don’t believe they announced per year figures yet. There St. Louis will overpay compared to what they would have given him, BUT, it’s still less than his market value. Through his arbitration seasons, I’d say by his second one he would have earned about $7mil, and then in the final year of the contract, the Cardinals would begin saving money and would keep doing so if they pick up his options.

So- short term Cardinals will not save money, but will do so in the long run. Moreover, they lock up a young arm on the cheap (compared to his actual value), as they look to the future and decide what to do with Albert Pujols.

For Garcia it’s a no-brainer since he’ll be paid money sooner rather than later and gets nice security and at early stage in his career.

Divisional Preview: NL Central

March 19, 2011

Last year the turnaround Reds took the division after pulling away from the St. Louis Cardinals in September, the Pirates and Astros took up the rear, and the Cubs stunk as usual. There were a few minor moves in the division, but nothing too drastic to really up the division.

1) Cincinnati Reds (86-76)

Looking to improve upon a 90+ win season and their first playoff appearance in some time, the Reds return just about all their everyday players and the same rotation. Defense should be a strong point with Drew Stubbs and Jay Bruce in the outfield, while Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Joey Votto roam the infield. Joey Votto, the MVP of 2010, should lead the offensive attack, which also features Scott Rolen, Brandon Phillips, and Jay Bruce. They  may not be the Big Red Machine, but the Reds should put some runs on the board.

The Reds will turn to a young, talented staff which could be good or bad. Players like Johnny Cueto and Edison Volquez have all the potential in the world, but have yet to harness it all. If they can turn it on, the Reds will runaway with the division. If not, they’ll be fighting all year with mediocre pitching. One good thing is the depth. Between Homer Bailey, Travis Wood, and Mike Leake fighting for the last couple spots, there won’t be any problems in-season when injuries arise.

Cincinnati is a young team with lots of potential. Whether or not that potential is tapped at once or not can go a long way for the Reds.

Players to watch: Joey Votto, Aroldis Chapman

2) Milwaukee Brewers (84-78)

After trading for Zack Greinke, the Brewers have become a sexy pick to win the NL Central. But I would hold my horses. Yes, their rotation has an incredible trio of Zack Greinke, Yovanni Gallardo, and Shaun Marcum. But that’s it. They have no depth. Randy Wolf is okay, but Chris Narveson is currently their fifth option. Besides, Greinke could miss the first month of the season, and in what seems to be a tight race, missing him for a month and replacing him with a scrub could cost the Brewers a few games.

But if the pitching holds up, this team could be dangerous. Despite the presence of Yuniesky Betancourt, the Brewers have a tantalizing lineup. Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, Case McGehee. That IS a formidable heart of the order. The team will score runs, and if they can limit runs, this team will be good.

Players to watch: Rickie Weeks, Yovanni Gallardo

3) St. Louis Cardinals (82-80)

At first I was intending to pick St. Louis to finish on top, but losing Adam Wainwright is huge. That dropped them to third place in my book. I still think the rotation will be alright with a healthy Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, but losing a Cy Young candidate pitcher hurts.

The reason I still believe St. Louis will put up a good fight is the offense. For one, they still have Albert Pujols. As long as you have Albert Pujols and some okay players, you’re going to contend. Albert Pujols is out of this world good, but you already know that. However, they don’t  have all scrubs surrounding him. The lineup still boasts Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus. Yadier Molina remains one of the best catchers in baseball and I am a big supporter in David Freese, so long as his ankle is healthy. The everyday players will keep them competitive, but in the end, their loss of Wainwright will derail their playoff run.

Players to watch: Colby Rasmus, Jaime Garcia

4) Chicago Cubs (78-84)

Ah, the poor old Cubs. Over 100 straight years and counting of not winning a championship. 2011 will be no different. While I do think they will lose this season, I think the Cubs will be better than most people realize. They actually have a decent staff with a real good bullpen. They lack a true ace, but between Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza, and Randy Wells, the Cubs do have an above average rotation that can eat innings and keep the team in most games. From there, the bullpen has the lights out Carlos Marmol, Sean Marshall, Kerry Wood, and prospect Andrew Cashner. The Cubs could be dominant in close games because of the pen, and if they play in a lot of those close games, they could be 2011’s surprise team.

The reason I don’t think that will be the case if the offense. They are old. Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Fukudome. They were once good and still are okay, but to rely on those players for 162 games is not good enough. Starlin Castro can be a star and Soto is a good offensive catcher. But as a whole this is an old, unreliable offense that won’t help win games.

Players to watch: Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol

5) Pittsburgh Pirates (70-92)

Yes, yes, the team everybody always picks to finish last, I have coming in FIFTH. AN UPSET, I KNOW!

Look, the pitching is shit. I am a James McDonald believer, but he is a #3 starter, tops. Besides him they have guys like Ross Ohlendorf, Brad Lincoln, Scott Olsen, etc. Yeah, it’s not good. The Pirates will be giving up a lot of runs and will be losing a lot of games as a result.

The one redeeming quality in my mind is their young talent on the offensive side of the ball. Neil Walker, Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata, and Andrew McCutchen. Andrew McCutchen is a stud and one of my big breakout candidates for 2011. He can hit, field, and run. Once the talent around him starts to develop, the Pirates will slowly start to creep back up to .500 baseball. Pedro Alvarez is another breakout candidate. He may never be good with the leather, but he can hit. Once the bat fully comes around, he will be one of the premiere power hits in the NL. To compliment these two in 2011 are Tabata and Walker. Both aren’t great hitters, but they are above average and help Pittsburgh be a middle of the road offensive team in 2011.

Things are still bleak in Pittsburgh, but the sun is starting rise.

Players to watch: Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez

6) Houston Astros (64-98)

The Astros suck. Plain and simple. Their rotation will be okay, maybe. The “stud” pitcher is Bret Myers. Granted, his 2010 was awesome. He also won’t be likely to repeat it. JA Happ and Wandy Rodriguez are okay. But after them? They’ll be giving 60+ starts to the likes of Nelson Figueroa, Bud Norris, and Ryan Rowland-Smith. Ouch. The pen isn’t any better.

The lineup does have Hunter Pence, a nice, young outfielder, and Brett Wallace could potentially emerge as a pretty good hitter at first. Michael Bourn has also been a total 8 WAR player the best couple seasons. That’s all nice and well. But you wanna hear the names of the other starts? Yes? Okay:

Humberto Quintero, Bill Hall, Clint Barmes, Chris Johnson, and one Brian Bogusevic. Yeah. Crap. And Carlos Lee may play first base instead of Brett Wallace.

The Astros are bad and will finish in last place. Yes, even behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Players to watch: Brett Wallace, Hunter Pence

Milwaukee Brewers acquire Zack Greinke

December 19, 2010

What a crazy off-season. The next piece of shocking news is that the Kansas City Royals have traded ace pitcher Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers for Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, Odorizzi, and a PTBNL. Wow. I know the Brewers name came up in trade rumors, but this is still shocking. I didn’t think a trade would happen this fast and I didn’t think Milwaukee would actually land him.

This is a real good deal for Milwaukee, imo. Despite having a stud in Yovanni Gallardo, their starting pitching sucked in 2010. But within a matter of weeks they picked up a solid #3 starter in Shaun Marcum and now add Zack Greinke, who is in the running for best pitcher in all of baseball. A trio of Greinke, Gallardo, and Marcum is quite good. Now, the back-end of the rotation still isn’t good, but if they can add a “project” pitcher, they could have a very good overall rotation. They have a lot of pitching depth, but the pitcher’s aren’t very good. So I would take a risk on a Jeremy Bonderman, a Ben Sheets, etc. If they don’t work out, it’s not like you don’t have someone else who can step in. It may not be a good pitcher, but it’s better than no pitcher.

The Brewers, right now, are my favorites to win the NL Central. Their starting pitching matches up with St. Louis, and the Brewers still have a good lineup. Prince Fielder is still at first. Rickie Weeks is at second. Ryan Braun and Corey Hart are still patrolling the corner outfield. Milwaukee has a good team that should compete with St. Louis and Cincinnati.

As for Kansas City, I am underwhelmed with their return. They got some solid players, but it was in return for Zack Greinke. They could have done better. Alcides Escobar could be a solid player for the Royals down the line. He isn’t much of hitter, but he is a defensive star. His glove should make him a capable everyday player and contribute to a solid KC defense. Lorenzo Cain is an athletic center fielder and a good fielder, but is not a star player in the making. I do think he has a small probability of becoming a star, but I don’t think he’ll get there. He’ll just be an okay, everyday player for KC. Now, Jake Odorizzi is a very good prospect. He’s young and has dominated the low levels of the minors so far. He could become one of the Royals best prospects in a very short time.

So yeah, Kansas City did get good players for Zack Greinke, but they could have done better. I mean, from the Yankees they wanted Jesus Montero. None of the players KC got from the Brewers is on Montero’s level as a player/prospect. The Brewers came out really good in this trade, and Kansas City’s return is just “eh”. I mean, they trade two, relatively cheap years of an All-Star pitcher in his prime, for two okay players and one good prospect (plus a PTBNL). But at least they got rid of Yuniesky Betancourt. So I guess it’s a win.

 

St. Louis Cardinals sign Lance Berkman

December 5, 2010

1/$8mil.

I like, but don’t like this deal.

Pros:

1) Offense. Berkman isn’t the player he was in the past, but I am still a believer that he can be a productive hitter- better than his production last season. Outside Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, the Cardinals have no offense. So he Berkman provides an upgrade there.

2) It’s a fair deal. I think he will earn about 2 WAR. So that will probably come to a little more than $8mil.

Cons:

1) Defense. He will be playing left field. It’s been three seasons since Berkman has played outfield and he was never great there to begin with. With the way his lower body has treated him lately, I can only imagine the nightmare he will be. He might generate a lot of value hitting, but he could give it all away with the glove. Plus, it means Holliday will move to right. Holliday should handle right field, but you know he is a good fielder in left so why chance it? If Berkman doesn’t hit, this could be a major sunken cost for St. Louis.

 

The amazingness of Albert Pujols

October 3, 2010

The stats that follow are from BEFORE today’s game.

Albert Pujols has a 7.3 WAR. It’s his lowest since 2002 (5.7 WAR).

Albert Pujols has a .313 BA. It’s the lowest of his career.

Albert Pujols has a .415 OBP. It’s his lowest since 2002* (.394 OBP).

Albert Pujols has a .598 SLG. It’s his lowest since 2007 (.568 SLG). His next lowest SLG was in 2002.

Albert Pujols has a .420 wOBA. It’s his lowest since 2007 (.414 wOBA).

Albert Pujols had a Fld. rating on FG of 0.8. It’s his lowest since 2002 (-3.8).

Albert Pujols is amazing.

*He had a .415 OBP in 2004 as well