Thursday, October 27, 2011

Redbird Roundup

Jon Heyman writes why he thinks Albert Pujols will stay a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
One person who knows Pujols well suggested he could not envision the superstar leaving St. Louis for even $20 million more in total dollars. Pujols, who attended high school and community college in the Kansas City area, has his home and his foundation in St. Louis and perhaps most important of all, he has his legacy wrapped up in being a Cardinal. (He also wants to win and couldn't reasonably make the case he's going somewhere else to win more, as the Cardinals have more postseason wins than any National League club since he arrived.)

"If he stays, he's Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock and Red Schoendienst all wrapped up in one," one National League executive said, naming four other Cardinals icons. The person who knows Pujols agreed, saying he's not giving that up for 10 or 15 percent more money, which could only amount to $1-to-2 million dollars more per year after taxes.
Meanwhile, Chris Carpenter has called himself available to start a potential Game 7 for the St. Louis Cardinals. It's amazing just how many fans prayed for a rainout for the sole reason to see Carp start a Game 7.

Bernie writes that the delay has a mixed effect.

Albert Pujols has defended the botched hit-and-run play.
"I don't have a problem with that play," Pujols said during an impromptu news conference at his locker. "I know there was a lot of discussion about 'If he put the play on why didn't he swing?' Look at the pitch. It was high and away and I wouldn't have been able to touch it. If I would have been able to put the bat on it, I would have swung at the ball.''

Pujols called the play on an 0-1 pitch and recognized that flailing at it would have left him in an inferior count.

"You don't want to be in that situation with a great pitcher on the mound," he said. "It was one of the things that didn't go our way. If he had thrown the pitch down, I probably would have put a good swing on it and it would have been a different story."
Dan O'Neill notes that there are a number of Cardinals who may not be playing for the team next season.
Albert Pujols stands foremost in a crowd with an uncertain future, a shadow that has been discussed at length, a topic that will get more attention in the days ahead. Pujols' pending free agency also is integral to a conversation regarding the rest of the group.[...]

Besides Pujols, the Cardinals will make hard decisions on whether to retain or abstain on pitchers Edwin Jackson, Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel and Kyle McClellan, infielders Rafael Furcal, Nick Punto, Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker, catcher Gerald Laird and outfielder Corey Patterson. If a 25-man roster is the denominator, and Pujols is included, that represents a 44 percent slice of the pie.

The particulars involved vary from player to player. The Cardinals have options to honor contracts on some, such as Furcal, Rhodes and Dotel. They can choose to tender or non-tender arbitration offers to others, such as McClellan and Schumaker. They would have to negotiate new deals with others, such as Jackson, Punto, Theriot, Laird and Patterson.[...]

"But with that said, our rotation should be intact. You have two young pitchers that might look to compete for a spot, with (Marc) Rzepczynski and Lance Lynn in the rotation. In terms of just dramatically reshaping this club, I think we're pretty fortunate as we look to 2012 that we have a lot of the key components that we can just put into play."

Mozeliak made preemptive strikes to extend veteran pitcher Chris Carpenter and slugging outfielder Lance Berkman before winter arrived. The Cardinals are sure to have Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina, David Freese, Allen Craig, Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs and comeback-minded Adam Wainwright aboard. Reliever Jason Motte is first-year arbitration eligible, but his salary scale will not be prohibitive.[...]

Dotel, who turns 38 in November, is completing his 13th big-league season with his 12th big-league team. Only 29 of his 695 major league games have been spent as a Cardinal but they have been some of the most rewarding games of his career. He'd like a few more.

"I do want to come back," said Dotel, who was 3-3 with two saves and a 3.28 earned-run average for St. Louis. "I love it here; it's great. I feel good that I helped this team to be where we're at now. It makes me proud."
If I'm Mo, I'd want to field the best possible team to contend next season. I would pick up the option on Furcal and Dotel for sure. Dotel has shown that he can take care of Ryan Braun.

Whether or not they do play for the Cards next season, I especially thank them for their time spent wearing the Birds on the Bat. Especially this past season, which has taken one of those turns that nobody saw coming. Not with Wainwright out for the year.

Adam Wainwright looks back on the past and looks ahead to the future.
"I feel like I'm the guy who only has one job and that is to make sure the bench doesn't go silent," Wainwright said Wednesday, a few hours after Game 6 had been postponed to tonight because of the threat of rain. "I have to make sure we're up for every moment of the game. I haven't had to do that much because everybody was top-stepping (standing at the dugout rails) the entire time.

"I've tried to be a motivator," he said. "I've tried to be inspirational."

During this postseason run, the Cardinals officially notified Wainwright and his agent that the options for 2012 and 2013 on the righty's contract have been exercised. The promised move recently became an official move, general manager John Mozeliak confirmed Wednesday, and it will pay Wainwright $21 million over the next two seasons. The club expects Wainwright to have a normal offseason and be cleared for full workouts come next spring training.

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