Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

La Russa: Front office just needs to give its best effort

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa took a decidedly relaxed approach on Wednesday when asked about potential moves his club might make. With the non-waiver Trade Deadline 11 days away, La Russa was asked whether his team needed an injection of talent to make it to the postseason.

 

In some past years, La Russa has stumped for an addition to his team. On Wednesday, however, he acknowledged the difficulty of acquiring desirable players.

 

“All we need is the best effort,” he said. “And if nothing transpires, then win with what you have.

 

“Try. If there’s one guy you identify, I guarantee you there’s a half a dozen clubs going after him. … As long as they try, if they don’t do anything, then things could work out and we could win with this club.”

 

As for specific areas of addition, one that continues to draw attention is right-handed relief. La Russa acknowledged Wednesday that Eduardo Sanchez’s return from a shoulder injury is uncertain, but said that won’t necessarily affect the club’s approach.

 

“We’ve had [Lance] Lynn come up here, that wasn’t in the mix,” he said. “It’s what’s out there, what you realistically can get. Because there’s a lot of teams looking. I don’t know that you can send out your perfect list and expect it to get filled.”

 

The Cardinals have been repeatedly linked in trade speculation with the Padres, among other clubs. San Diego could move closer Heath Bell or top setup man Mike Adams.

 

–Matthew Leach

Padres have attractive pieces to move

San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer has been busy in recent weeks fielding calls from other teams about relievers who are expected to be available — three-time All-Star Heath Bell, Chad Qualls and, quite possibly, Mike Adams.

The Padres are also looking to move left fielder Ryan Ludwick to a team looking for a right-handed, middle-of-the-order bat.

But, make no mistake, the relievers are getting the most hits.

Bell will be a free agent after the season, so he might end up a rental for a team. If that’s the case, it won’t be easy to land a big prospect package.

Qualls, after a terrible 2010 season, has reestablished himself as a viable late-inning reliever as his hard sinker has returned.

Adams is a wild card here. Many view him as a future close, a spot he figures to land in if the Padres traded Bell.
He’s under team control through 2012 and would get the Padres the best package of prospects if they decided to deal him.

What are the Padres looking for?

Keep this in mind: Upside, impact players. Their farm system doesn’t have too many players ready to graduate to the Major League level. I would expect the Padres to ask for a shortstop/second baseman and catcher in return when they choose to make a deal.

The Phillies and Reds have more of these pieces than, say, the Cardinals. The Cardinals aren’t going to part with Shelby Miller and they don’t have a lot of prospects close to the Major Leagues.

The next two weeks should be interesting. Teams aren’t nearly as willing to part with prospects as they once were. Will the Padres land the upside/impact prospects they covet?

Stay tuned.

– Corey Brock

Garcia extension imminent?

Both the Cardinals and Jaime Garcia are refusing to confirm or deny reports that club and player are on the verge of agreeing to a four-year contract extension through 2015.

An employee of KTRS radio, which is partly owned by the club, posted Thursday on his personal Twitter page that Garcia and the club have reached agreement on a four-year deal worth a guaranteed $27.5 million with options for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The station has subsequently distanced itself from the tweet.

General manager John Mozeliak and Garcia both addressed reporters on Thursday afternoon. Neither would even confirm that discussions are ongoing.

“I can tell you that any contract discussions that we have with any player will be done privately, and when we have an announcement, we’ll have an announcement,” Mozeliak said.

Garcia echoed that sentiment, saying, “I’m focused on pitching right now. It feels like it’s a little more private. If there’s something going on, you guys will know when it’s time to talk about it.”

Such a deal would cover Garcia’s three years of arbitration eligibility, during which time he would have been under team control, as well as what would have been the first year he could have been a free agent. The option years would cover what potentially would be his second and third years of free-agent eligibility.

Garcia, who turns 25 on Friday, is in his second full year in the Cardinals’ starting rotation. He’s 8-3 this year with a 3.23 ERA, 95 strikeouts and 30 walks in 111 1/3 innings. For his career, he’s 22-12 with a 3.07 ERA, 235 strikeouts and 102 walks in 290 2/3 innings.

The left-hander was a 22nd-round pick in the 2005 Draft. He finished third behind Buster Posey and Jason Heyward in balloting for the 2010 National League Rookie of the Year award.

–Matthew Leach

Franklin resolution imminent

The Cardinals will be making an announcement on Ryan Franklin’s status within the hour. One way or another, he is being removed from the active roster. Manager Tony La Russa said that the club expects to have someone in Baltimore to take Franklin’s roster spot for Thursday’s game.

A source familiar with the situation indicated that Franklin will be released, but the club has yet to confirm that.

The club is holding a meeting to discuss other matters at 4:45 pm ET, and at that time, players will also be notified of Franklin’s status.

–Matthew Leach

E equals W for Padres

An error by Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot in the 11th inning on Thursday helped the Padres to a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd of 46,368 at Busch Stadium.

Chase Headley scored from third base when Theriot botched the relay throw back into the infield after a single by Cameron Maybin. Nick Hundley drove in a run later in the inning for the final margin.

The Cardinals (0-1) took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning before Ryan Franklin allowed a home run to Maybin with two outs in the inning.

The Cardinals got three hits from Matt Holliday, including a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

– Corey Brock

Let’s get it started

The last time it counted – 149 days ago to be exact – Brian Wilson struck out Nelson Cruz swinging to give the Giants their first World Series title since 1954.

Hot Stove season came and went. Spring Training games were played.

Now, it’s time for a new season.

Opening Day 2011 features six matchups (all times ET): Braves-Nationals at 1:05 p.m.; Tigers-Yankees at 1:05 p.m.; Brewers-Reds at 2:10 p.m.; Angels-Royals at 4:10 p.m.; Padres-Cardinals at 4:15 p.m.; and Giants-Dodgers at 8 p.m. in the ESPN Opening Night game.

The Giants begin their quest to become the first repeat champion since the 1998-2000 Yankees, and the first in the NL to repeat since the 1975-76 Reds. But the Phillies added Cliff Lee, giving them a philthy rotation that could be the best in MLB history. Over in the AL, the Red Sox added some serious firepower in the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.

The 27 other MLB clubs begin today with the same record, the same hopes, the same dreams.  Follow us all day as we chronicle the dawn of a new season, from the first pitch on the East Coast, to the last out in SoCal. Who will rise in October? Buckle up and enjoy The Show.

Roundup: DH-types coming off the market?

The free-agent market has definitely thinned, now that less than one month remains before the start of Spring Training. But as of Friday, several big names remained in the veteran corner outfielder/designated hitter category.

That may change soon.

The Rays, an industry source told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, are nearing a one-year deal with Johnny Damon and are also in the mix for his former Red Sox teammate, Manny Ramirez

But Tampa Bay may have some competition for Ramirez’s services, since sources told MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that the Rangers and Angels are also interested. Sullivan notes that it’s the Rangers and Rays that are the front-runners at this point, with the Angels seemingly lagging behind.  

Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com heard from sources that Vladimir Guerrero, like Ramirez and Damon, could also be close to signing, saying the Orioles and Angels have interest. The Rangers, Sullivan added, also haven’t closed the door on bringing back Guerrero.
The problem is the soon-to-be-36-year-old — coming off a season in which he batted .300
with 29 homers and 115 RBIs as Texas’ full-time DH — may still be
trying to land an everyday job.

Here’s more from around the league…

* The Red Sox were trying to reel in free-agent closer Rafael Soriano
on a lucrative one-year contract, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com and
MLB Network. If they would have succeeded in that, they could’ve dealt
current closer Jonathan Papelbon to the Athletics or White Sox. Boston also made Yankees closer Mariano Rivera an offer this offseason, so there’s seemingly concern in Beantown about Papelbon.

* When Prince Fielder hits free agency at the end of the 2011
season, the slugging first baseman expects to yield a contract of at least eight
years and for about $200 million, Heyman added.

* The Reds have been all about locking up their own players this
offseason, and they still may not be done. Regarding unsigned starter
Edinson Volquez, Reds general manager Walt Jocketty told the Cincinnati
Enquirer, “We’re looking at both — one-year and multi-year” deals.
Volquez, arbitration-eligible for the first time, made $445,000 in 2010. Bronson
Arroyo
, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto and Joey Votto have all inked
multi-year deals with the Reds this offseason. 

* The Cardinals signed veteran infielder Nick Punto
to a one-year contract. The 33-year-old switch-hitter will serve as a
utility infielder and an insurance policy at third base for David Freese.

* The Mariners reduced the signing bonus of Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero, from $2.9 million to $1.1 million, according to Baseball America.

– Alden Gonzalez

Report: Pujols’ agent targeting A-Rod deal

Both the Cardinals and Albert Pujols’ agent, Danny Lozano, are staunchly avoiding giving updates regarding Pujols’ contract negotiations. However, an SI.com report on Monday gave some impression as to what Pujols’ camp may be seeking — something in the neighborhood of Alex Rodriguez’s 10-year, $275-million pact with the Yankees.

According to a story at that site on Monday, “early word is that Pujols has used A-Rod’s contract… as the only comp.” The report goes on to suggest that the Cardinals have little stomach for terms such as those, and that they “are said to have initially suggested” a deal with a similar average annual value but over fewer years.
As the report suggests, it is difficult to envision the Cardinals guaranteeing 10 years to a player who will be 32 at the beginning of his next contract. However, if the sides are already talking about a similar average annual value to Rodriguez’s $27.5 million, that would seem to remove one major potential stumbling block.
Pujols is entering the final year of a contract that will end up paying him $111 million over eight seasons. He has told the club that he will not continue to negotiate once Spring Training starts.
–Matthew Leach

Spring Training deadline in Pujols talks

Albert Pujols has no interest in continuing contract negotiations once Spring Training starts, general manager John Mozeliak told reporters on Saturday.

Mozeliak said that he had been told by Danny Lozano, Pujols’ agent, that there is a deadline for getting a new deal done.
“We have been notified that Spring Training would be the deadline,” Mozeliak said.
The GM declined to give any further specifics regarding negotiations. Pujols is entering the final year of a contract that will end up paying him $111 million over eight seasons.
–Matthew Leach

Roundup: Thome returns to Twins, helps get Pavano

We are now exactly one month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training, but there is offseason work to be done. And several teams were busy on Friday.

The Twins made the most noise with one move, signing Jim Thome to a one-year, $3 million contract that includes performance incentives based on plate appearances. Now, not only do they have a productive, veteran lefty slugger — one who was critical for them while Justin Morneau went down for the final three months of the season — but they may have a nice recruiting chip.

Thome is back, but the Twins still want to resign right-handed starter Carl Pavano, who was big for the Twins rotation behind staff ace Francisco Liriano. Thome, of course, feels the same way. So on Friday, while addressing his own new contract, he said: “Trust me, when I get off the phone with you [reporters], I will definitely be recruiting him and be sending him some text messages.”

General manager Paul Smith said the Twins are continuing in their negotiations with Pavano’s representation and hope to get a decision one way or another next week. Bringing back Thome certaintly can’t hurt their chances.

Here’s more from around the league Friday…

* The Athletics beefed up a bullpen that was already brimming with talented young arms, signing righty Grant Balfour to a two-year deal
with a third-year club option. According to The Associated Press,
Balfour is guaranteed $3.75 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012.

* The Royals helped their thin rotation, signing left-hander Jeff Francis to a one-year contract that’s worth $2 million and includes performance bonuses.

* The Nationals introduced first baseman Adam LaRoche at a Friday afternoon

news conference at Nationals Park. It came after the two sides agreed
to terms a two-year deal worth about $16 million last week.

* The Mets and Cardinals dished out a few interesting Minor League contracts. New York inked Willie Harris, who’s all but guaranteed to be the backup outfielder and get somewhere between 250 and 400 plate appearances. St. Louis, meanwhile, brought in right-handers Miguel Batista and Ian Snell.

– Alden Gonzalez   

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