Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Cardinals pick up where they left off

MLB.com Cardinals beat reporter Jen Langosch, who dominated the field in the MLB.com Blogs Latest Leaders rankings for March that we will be posting in the next day, wrote this in her post on Opening Night in Miami:

  • There was plenty of oohing and ahhing over the unique new park during Tuesday’s workout. Not today. For those in red, this is game No. 1 of 162. That’s it. Asked if there would be a different feel to the night given all the pregame ceremonies and build up in Miami, starter Kyle Lohse might have put it best: “It’s another game. Pitching in the World Series last year, that’s different.”

There was plenty of evidence of that, as Lohse shut down the Marlins and spoiled their opener, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning and settling for an impressive 4-1 decision. The defending world champs picked up where they left off, with David Freese driving in the decisive runs on a two-run single [WATCH video] in the first and collecting three hits.

Pretty fantastical opening ceremonies at new Marlins Park, which is getting rave reviews so far, especially if you like bright green. Not so sure about Jose Feliciano’s rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner” … at least we think that was the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Really didn’t sound anything like it. There will be many more National Anthems to come in Miami and they’ll go up from there. No doubt our fellow MLB.com Blogs voice Ozzie Guillen will expect the host’s performance to do the same.

Beltran deal done

The Cardinals have officially announced that they’ve agreed to a two-year deal with free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, pending a physical.

 

The deal is reportedly worth $25-26 million. That would be the largest outlay by the Cardinals to a free agent not already in the organization since Jason Isringhausen received a guaranteed $27 million before the 2002 season.

 

A switch-hitting outfielder, Beltran has one of baseball’s most well-rounded offensive games. He is a lifetime .283 hitter with both on-base ability (a career .361 average) and power (.496 slugging percentage). He’s one of the most efficient base-stealers in Major League history, with 293 steals in 334 attempts for an 87.7 percent success rate. In 2011, he put up a combined .300/.385/.525 line in 142 games with the Mets and Giants.

 

Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, moved to right field in 2011 as he made his way back to full strength from knee surgery. He will likely start the 2011 season in right field, with Lance Berkman moving to first base in place of Albert Pujols, while Allen Craig is out due to his own offseason knee operation.
Once Craig comes back, Beltran would probably still play plenty of right field. But he also could get more time in center field, spelling Jon Jay against left-handed pitchers and allowing new manager Mike Matheny a great deal of flexibility in making out his lineup.

 

–Matthew Leach

Rays in Hunt for Beltran

Tampa Bay is in the mix to sign Carlos Beltran according to CBS Sports, which said the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Red Sox also are vying for the veteran center fielder.

Tampa Bay could use the six-time all-star at either DH or in the outfield. The two biggest questions facing the Rays are: 1) Will he be affordable? (Remember, Beltran finished off a seven-year, $119 million deal in 2011. 2) Would he be able to adjust to playing DH? (All Rays fans remember Pat Burrell’s struggles while being used at DH full-time).

According to the story, Beltran hopes to make a decision by Christmas.

– Bill Chastain

Pujols’ message to Cardinals fans

New Angels first baseman Albert Pujols was asked while meeting with reporters on Saturday what he would say to Cardinals fans, who rooted for him in his first 11 years, are heartbroken with his decision to leave town and may have a hard time accepting why a player would decide to play somewhere else.

Here was Pujols’ response: “You know what, it was hard for me, too. It’s been hard for almost a year. Obviously, you don’t want to blame anything because I’m a guy that I don’t look for blame, how my first two months of the season were. But, you know, it was hard, and it was emotional, and obviously you’re going to have some people and friends and family that are agreeing with you, and fans, and you’re going to have other people that don’t like it. And you know what, at the end, you know what, that you can’t control. But what I want the fans to know is, I love them, I respect how they treated my family, I respect the support that they have given me for 11 years, and I thank them for helping me be the man that I am today, because if it wouldn’t be for that city, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Pujols’ 10-year, $254 million deal includes an extra 10 years for after he’s done playing, which will have him serve as a consultant to owner Arte Moreno.

– Alden Gonzalez 

Furcal returns to Cardinals

Rafael Furcal, a key player to the Cardinals down the stretch in their 2011 World Series championship run, has re-upped with St. Louis on a two-year deal on Saturday.

A baseball source confirmed to MLB.com that the deal is worth $14 million.

The 34-year-old Furcal was sent over to the Cards from the Dodgers in a Trade Deadline deal and hit .255 with a .316 on-base percentage in 50 regular-season games with his new club. Furcal had a rough time at the plate in the playoffs, hitting below .200 in both the National League Championship Series and World Series.

About to enter his 13th Major League season, Furcal is a lifetime .282 hitter with a .348 on-base percentage. He’s twice been an All-Star.

Dipoto not concerned about Pujols’ age

Upon signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year deal that’s reportedly worth $254 million and will take the first baseman through his age-41 season, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto was asked about Pujols’ age, which is listed as 31 but has come under scrutiny because of a history of age fraud in the Dominican Republic.

“I will say that Albert Pujols’s age to me is not a concern,” Dipoto responded. “He’s an honorable man. I think he’s a very respectful man, and I’m not a scientist. I can’t tell you where he is. But I can tell you he hits like he’s 27.”

– Alden Gonzalez 

Angels reach a deal for Albert Pujols

The Angels have signed Albert Pujols, arguably the greatest player of this era, sources told MLB.com on Thursday morning.

The deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Jon Heyman of MLB Network, is for 10 years and could be worth at least $250 million. It also includes a reported no-trade clause.

The previous night, the Angels had surprisingly popped up in rumors linking them to Pujols for the second time in 24 hours, with a baseball source confirming to MLB.com that their intentions were indeed serious.

– Alden Gonzalez, Matthew Leach 

Cards may have clearer line on Pujols — UPDATED

The Cardinals’ path toward retaining Albert Pujols may be getting clearer. Multiple reports have indicated that the Miami Marlins are out of the pursuit for the three-time National League Most Valuabe Player, and while signs are that it’s not quite that cut-and-dried, it does appear that recent developments favor St. Louis.

A Major League source said flatly on Wednesday that the Marlins are not out of the bidding, and a second source said that “the door is not closed.” But Miami’s front office has begun pursuing other options, including an aggressive push for free-agent left-hander Mark Buehrle.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Marlins will not sign Pujols, but it has been clear for some time that Miami desired a quick resolution and is willing to move on if it is not able to reel in the superstar.

It’s unclear exactly how many clubs are in seriously on Pujols. Reports Tuesday night indicated the presence of a third team in the bidding, with a 10-year offer, but that team has not been identified publicly.

St. Louis presented a new offer to Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Tuesday. That offer reportedly reached 10 years, but a Major League source indicated that a deal of that length was never presented by the Cardinals.

–Matthew Leach

Cardinals make offer to Pujols

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday evening that his team has tendered a new contract offer to Albert Pujols. Mozeliak declined to provide any specifics on the offer, or to illuminate how or whether it differs from the club’s offer last winter to Pujols.

Still, it’s movement, and is believed to be the first offer the club has made since the season ended. Asked whether the ball was in the Cardinals’ court or that of Pujols’ camp, Mozeliak simply said: “theirs.”

The Marlins have reportedly made a 10-year offer to Pujols, and the two clubs appear to be the only serious suitors for the three-time National League Most Valuable Player at this time. Florida has aggressively stepped up its pursuit of Pujols since the Winter Meetings began.

Mozeliak told reporters that he has the impression that resolution on Pujols’ situation could well come sooner rather than later.

–Matthew Leach

Lohse on the block? Possible but hard to figure

If the Cardinals are looking to trade Kyle Lohse, it would be news to the right-hander. And that’s an issue.

According to a Twitter post by a Chicago Tribune reporter, St. Louis is “shopping” the veteran right-hander. The goal, it is claimed, would be to create room so that the Cards could sign St. Louis-area native Mark Buehrle. The Cardinals have five starters under contract for 2012: Lohse, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook.

Reached on Monday night, Lohse indicated that no trade discussions had been brought to his attention. That might not be newsworthy in some circumstances. But in Lohse’s case, the club would need to consult him before dealing him. The four-year deal that Lohse signed following the 2008 season includes blanket no-trade protection.

So while it’s conceivable that the Cards could follow through with that course of action, it would be exceedingly difficult. First they’d need to get Lohse to approve a trade, which is unlikely. Then they’d need to find an agreeable trade partner for Lohse and the $11.875 million he is owed. And even if they pulled all of that off, they would then still not be guaranteed of signing Buehrle, who has drawn quite a bit of interest this winter.

And they’d have to pull of this off while also trying to sign Albert Pujols, address their middle infield and upgrade their bullpen and bench. It’s not impossible. But it certainly wouldn’t be easy.

For what it’s worth, general manager John Mozeliak said Monday evening that starting pitching would not be a priority for the Cardinals this winter, whether or not they signed Pujols. He said that if the club needed to add a pitcher to its rotation, it would likely work from within, moving Lance Lynn or Marc Rzepczynski to starting work and then adding a reliever.

–Matthew Leach

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