Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

Furcal deal will happen

The trade sending Rafael Furcal to the Cardinals is not fully completed yet, but it will be. A Cardinals source said Sunday morning that “it will get done,” and Furcal cleaned out his locker on Saturday night. It’s not yet clear what the Dodgers will receive in return.

-Matthew Leach

Cards may, or may not, be done

The Cardinals have of course made their big move already this month, moving Colby Rasmus and acquiring three pitchers in an eight-player deal. They are not necessarily finished dealing, however.

Multiple reports have suggested they may still be pursuing a closer such as San Diego’s Heath Bell, though it appears that other clubs are well ahead of them on that front. The club could also use some middle infield help. Ryan Theriot is slumping and has some of the poorest defensive numbers of any shortstop in baseball, and top backup Nick Punto has just gone on the disabled list for the third time in 2011.

Enter the Dodgers, with whom the Cards have had conversations regarding Rafael Furcal. The two-time All-Star has missed much of the year due to injury, but he’s been playing better lately. The Dodgers won’t give Furcal away, but if a deal could be struck, he could be a highly intriguing addition to a team that’s clearly playing to win this year. The Cardinals could conceivably take on some salary, if they elected to receive cash rather than three players to be named later as the completion of their deal with Toronto.

Manager Tony La Russa left open the possibility that the Cards could make another addition, though he certainly didn’t play it up.

“I don’t know how to rate that,” he said. “I think ‘Mo’ [general manager John Mozeliak] is the only one that has the knowledge and the experience. I know there’s still days [until the non-waiver Trade Deadline], and there’s conversations. But I don’t know how to rate it. … I think he’s still got conversations, because he’s started a bunch of stuff and they keep it going.”

–Matthew Leach

Mozeliak talks trades

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak addressed reporters on the field at Busch Stadium on Tuesday prior to his team’s game against the Astros. He declined to give any kind of percentage guess as to his club’s chances of getting a deal done by Sunday afternoon, but he did offer a few insights into where the Redbirds stand five days before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Cards have made it clear all along that pitching is their priority, without specifying what sort of pitching. Mozeliak said Tuesday that things may be narrowing a bit in that regard.

“We’re still exploring both [starters and relievers],” he said. “But when it comes down to it, I think the reliever market’s got more opportunities.”

He also acknowledged that left-handed relief is one specific area where St. Louis could upgrade, but warned reporters not to “overweight” that need.

As for money, the Cardinals certainly aren’t looking to take on extra payroll, but they’re in a position where they could. It’s something of a sliding scale, where the better the prospects a team gives up, the less money it may have to take on. But if it comes to it, and the Cardinals need to add to their payroll, they could.

“There’s a spectrum of things that are occurring, and that’s some of the equation,” Mozeliak said.

That could, conceivably, even include adding to the 2012 payroll, though that’s much more complicated than 2011, given the uncertainty surrounding Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter among others.

The Cardinals also have five starters (Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse, Jake Westbrook, Kyle McClellan and Adam Wainwright) under team control or under contract for 2012, plus the potential to bring back Carpenter. Still, Mozeliak said that doesn’t necessarily preclude them adding a starting pitcher who is under contract for ’12 — but reason dictates that it’s hard to envision that happening.

–Matthew Leach

Rumors Continue to Rumble for Rays

According to multiple reports, the Rays continue to listen to offers for B.J. Upton. Teams said to be interested include the Cardinals, Reds, Pirates, Royals, Nationals and Braves. However, while they are listening to possible deals, they aren’t willing to just give him away, which could lead to Upton finishing the season with the team.

Meanwhile, James Shields appears to be off the market, though according to CBSSports.com, right-handers Jeff Niemann and Wade Davis are in play.

–Bill Chastain

Rasmus could be on White Sox radar

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, trade talks between the White Sox and Cardinals centering on left-handed hitting outfielder Colby Rasmus have “accelerated” in recent days.

The report talked about right-handed starter Edwin Jackson, who will be a free agent after the 2011 season, or left-handed reliever Matt Thornton as potential St. Louis targets. Jackson could be moved without weakening the current rotation, as the White Sox are working with six quality starters, despite Philip Humber’s brief move to the bullpen.

Thornton agreed to a two-year, $12-million extension, with a 2014 club option, during Spring Training. The White Sox have three lefties in the bullpen, with Thornton, Chris Sale and Will Ohman, and were impressed with the work turned in by southpaw Hector Santiago during his short 2011 Major League stint. They already are loaded in the outfield, though, as shown by the lack of room to promote hot-hitting Dayan Viciedo from Triple-A Charlotte.

Adding a talent such as the 24-year-old Rasmus would not lessen the White Sox pursuit in a very winnable American League Central but also could help fortify their future base.

When asked for comment Sunday about the matter, general manager Ken Williams told MLB.com via e-mail he will be available to chat on Monday after Ozzie Guillen’s pregame press session. Jackson, who earned the win in Sunday’s 4-2 victory over the Indians, already had heard the rumor but took the trade rumblings in stride.

“My name is in trade rumors every year,” said Jackson, who has been traded four times. “It’s been like this for the last five years. It’s definitely nothing I worry about. I can’t control it. I just want to play wherever I’m wanted to play.”

The Cardinals know that even in a down year, Rasmus has significant value, and it’s difficult to envision them moving just to move him. His challenges in adjusting to the pressures of being the most hailed Cardinals prospect in ages are well-covered, but even so, he’s a young, high-ceiling, cost-controlled player at a premium position that has value.

Thus, while St. Louis is surely listening on Rasmus, actively shopping him is a separate question. And in any deal where Rasmus was moved, it’s hard to imagine the Cards wouldn’t get more than a rental starting pitcher. They would almost certainly need to get some kind of significant prospect or young, team-controlled player who could be a solution somewhere for a few years.

Still, Rasmus’ playing time has diminished as a result of his slump, and the Cardinals appear more and more comfortable with Jon Jay in center field. They also have Allen Craig on the mend from a knee injury, and though Craig is certainly not a center fielder, he would replenish the team’s outfield depth in the event of a move.

– Matthew Leach and Scott Merkin

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

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