Results tagged ‘ Cardinals ’

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 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 on Thursday morning.

The deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of 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 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

Cardinals Monday tidbits

A few Cardinals tidbits:

* John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt met with Dan Lozano for about an hour, and Mozeliak expects to speak with him again tonight. Mozeliak did not go into much detail as to the pace or results of the talks, but acknowledged that he wouldn’t be surprised if things pick up with Albert Pujols and various teams in the next few days.

* Per Mozeliak, the club is not assuming it has any “last right of refusal” for another team’s offer to Pujols. He said he has not asked and team Pujols has not indicated.

* Jesse Sanchez reported earlier today that the Cardinals are one of five teams in the hunt for Octavio Dotel. However, Mozeliak indicated that there’s really not much movement with Dotel right now.

* Mozeliak reiterated that the Cardinals will not be adding a starting pitcher, even if they do not sign Pujols.

* The Cardinals have spoken with Pujols directly since the season ended, not just with Lozano.

* Mozeliak acknowledged that it’s unlikely — “not inconceivable,” but unlikely — that the club has BOTH Skip Schumaker and Ryan Theriot next year. One or the other could well return, but probably not both.

–Matthew Leach

Low-cost pitching options abound for Angels

The question is how long they’re willing to wait out the likes of C.J. Wilson and Ryan Madson. As The Los Angeles Times pointed out on Monday — Day 1 of the Winter Meetings — new general manager Jerry DiPoto plans to meet with Wilson’s agent here in Dallas. Frankly, why wouldn’t he? The real question is whether it’s possible — or even practical — for the Angels to fork over most of their remaining payroll on one arm, to address the best aspect of the team no less.

If they don’t want to go that route, or commit to Madson — remember, the Phillies reportedly offered four years at $44 million — there are a few low-cost options to be had.

Starting pitcher-wise, Mark Buehrle is the logical fit. Problem: A lot of teams want him, and he’s said to be looking for a no-trade clause as part of at least a three-year deal. Some other lefties to keep in mind: Jeff Francis (4.82 ERA in 31 starts for the Royals last year), Erik Bedard (3.62 ERA in 24 starts for the Red Sox and Mariners) and Paul Maholm (3.66 ERA in 26 starts for the Pirates).

As for the right-handed bullpen arms, there are plenty from which to choose. The most intriguing may be Octavio Dotel, because of how well he pitched down the stretch for the World Series-champion Cardinals and because of his experience as both a setup man and closer. Dotel (38) shifted from a Type A free agent to a Type B under the new CBA, so he won’t cost the team that signs him a Draft pick.

Some others: LaTroy Hawkins, Francisco Cordero, Takahashi Saito, Frank Francisco, Mike MacDougal, Scott Linebrink and Luis Ayala, among a host of others.

— Alden Gonzalez

Cards to meet with Team Pujols

Everyone has arrived in Dallas and it’s time to get down to business. That means, among other things, that the Cardinals will be meeting with Albert Pujols’ agent, Dan Lozano, on Monday afternoon. An industry source confirmed the scheduled meeting.

It’s unclear whether an offer will be tendered at this point, and in fact it’s not entirely clear whether any offer is currently on the table from the Cardinals to their signature player. The club offered a nine-year deal before Spring Training, and it is believed that no improvement upon that offer has been tendered since the season ended, but it’s not even certain that the original offer is still good.

The market for Pujols may gain clarity this week. The Marlins reportedly still intend to pursue the slugger despite significant expenditures on Jose Reyes and Heath Bell, and other clubs will have the opportunity either to make their interest known or to make it clear they are standing on the sidelines.

Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. told reporters on Monday morning that the club still hopes to sign Pujols.

“Obviously we’re going to make every effort to sign Albert and we hope we can make it happen,” DeWitt said. “This week seems to be the week that a lot of these things develop. We should know where we stand and if we don’t have a firm answer.”

–Matthew Leach