Posted on: August 26, 2011 11:31 am
By Matt Snyder
The Cardinals fully expect to pick up Adam Wainwright's two-year, $21 million option following this season, according to general manager John Mozeliak (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Obviously it's not official yet and something could change, but it seems like a safe assumption. Wainwright is currently on the disabled list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, which he had in the spring. He's 29 and finished in the top three of Cy Young voting in both 2009 and 2010, so he's likely to return to ace form pretty soon.
The option was always in the Cardinals budget for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, so the only reason there was any question whatsoever was his injury. Still, when hearing about this option, the mind can't help but wander over to first base. As we all know, Albert Pujols is a free agent after this season.
I find it hilarious when people talk about Pujols having a down year in some sort of derogatory fashion. His numbers are the worst of his career, but saying it's a down year is actually a testament to how good he is. He leads the NL in home runs. He's hitting .290 with a .900 OPS. He's ninth in the NL with a 148 OPS-plus (to those unaware, that's 48 percent above the league average). This is a career year for most players in baseball history. And it's the worst of Pujols' career.
Basically, all Pujols' season has done is make "the best player in baseball" discussions into arguments. Before there was no question it was Pujols. Now, Pujols is simply on the short list of candidates. But he's still only 31 and very much in his prime.
With Pujols' ties to St. Louis and vice versa, there's every reason to believe a ballclub with the revenue stream the Cardinals have will do everything it can to keep him.
So then, the fallout is what kind of team can the Cardinals put around Wainwright, Pujols and Matt Holliday. The Cardinals are committed to just over $50 million in payroll for next season, but that's without Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Lance Berkman, Edwin Jackson, Rafael Furcal, five major-leaguers eligible for arbitration and several other pieces.
Let's assume the Cardinals give Pujols $25 million a season, which I feel like they'll do. That means they're up to around $75 million in player payroll for 2012. They're at around $110 million this season. Assuming they don't want to raise payroll, the Chris Carpenter option probably cannot be picked up.
Carpenter's player option is $15 million for next season. Molina's option is for $7 million and we've got to assume they'll grab that. The aforementioned arbitration-eligible players make around $8 million this season and usually arbitration lands raises. That jumps the payroll to $115 million range before even considering the players not yet eligible for arbitration, adding any free agents from outside the organization or retaining, say, Berkman. If the Cardinals wanted a similar team to this season, only having a healthy Wainwright in Edwin Jackson's rotation spot (Jackson is a free agent), the payroll might have to jump upwards of $15-$20 million. Maybe more, depending on myriad factors.
The Cardinals do make a lot of money, but are still in a relatively small market. If they don't want to raise payroll and still want to keep Pujols, the rest of the roster is going to take a hit in some form or another.
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Posted on: August 11, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2011 2:56 pm
By Evan Brunell
Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.
VERLANDER TIME: The Indians have taken the first two games of the three-game set between AL Central rivals, leaving Cleveland just two games behind the Tigers for the lead. Unfortunately, Cleveland only has one Ubaldo Jimenez, and he pitched on Wednesday. That leaves Fausto Carmona, he of a 5.9 ERA, to do battle against Justin Verlander. That's a tall task, what with Verlander's amazing season leaving him in contention for the AL Cy Young Award. Verlander can accomplish two things on Thursday: first, the righty can snap Cleveland's 13-game winning streak against Detroit in Progressive FIeld, and he can also become the majors' first 17-game winner. Tigers vs. Indians, 7:05 p.m. ET
GONE STREAKING: Another pivotal Central series comes to an end Thursday as well, except this one is over in the NL. The streaking Brewers are attempting to rip off a 6-0 road streak, their seventh straight win, push their MLB-best home record to 42-15 and extend their division lead to six games. Boy, that's a lot of accomplishments to reach in one game. The pitching matchup is pretty even, at least if you consider only ERA. Milwaukee has Yovani Gallardo with a 3.56 ERA toeing the mound, while St. Louis counters with a 3.75 figure. Brewers vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET
PITCHING DUEL: A pretty solid pitching matchup highlights this game, with Johnny Cueto taking the mound for the Reds and jockeying for the best ERA in in the game. Cueto's already qualified previously for the best ERA, but he fell out of consideration because he's right on the bubble to qualify for the lead. He's missed so much time, that even waiting five days for his next start can drop him out. All he needs is 4 2/3 innings and he reclaims his spot atop the ERA leaderboard. He won't have an easy time of it, as the Rockies will throw out Jhoulys Chacin, who has had a fine year in his first full season. He stumbled in July with a 4.97 ERA but has turned in two straight strong starts Rockies vs. Reds, 12:35 p.m. ET
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Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:27 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You've seen the video… and if you haven't, well, you must:
The NuttyBuddy may be able to take a direct shot from a pitching machine, but Marlins catcher John Buck says he's broken two this year alone. That said, a broken piece of plastic is better than a broken... well, a ball to the... OK, you know...
"I felt like I was gonna throw up," Buck told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "That hurt really bad."
Yeah. I bet.
Buck didn't realize the cup cracked until he was talking to reporters before Sunday's game and noticed a crack.
"Broken cup number two," he said.
He also broke a cup in May in Cincinnati when he was hit by a Josh Johnson fastball -- Johnson signed the cup and Buck put it in his trophy room.
Buck stayed in the game Saturday, but is getting a regularly scheduled day off Sunday.
After May's incident, Buck was still a fan of the NuttyBuddy -- "I think it saved me [in May]," Buck told Tom D'Angelo of the Palm Beach Post days after the first incident. He said after he got his cup broken last year when a member of the Blue Jays, their clubhouse guy said Rod Barajas used the NuttyBuddy and suggested Buck try it.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 7:33 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
You know it's a big series for the Cardinals if Tony La Russa is complaining.
This time? The ribbon scoreboard at Miller Park. The Cardinals manager complained that the lights on the scoreboard near home plate were darker when the Brewers were batting than when the Cardinals were batting. La Russa filed a complaint with umpire Gary Darling on Monday night and the Brewers heard from the MLB on Monday.
In the end -- shocker -- it was much ado about nothing.
"We didn't change anything," Brewers general manager Doug Melvin told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "There was no reason to change anything. What was brought up, nothing had to be changed."
The Brewers are 40-14 at home and 21-35 on the road, so apparently it's all about the scoreboard.
There have been enough whispers about impropriety at Miller Park that Haudricourt said he asked manager Ron Roenicke "point-blank if the Brewers were cheating at home."
"If we are, I know nothing about it," Roenicke responded. "I would think I would be [in the loop.]"
Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:34 am
Edited on: July 10, 2011 1:07 pm
By Evan Brunell
BEST MATCHUP: There's a real nice game brewing in Milwaukee, with Johnny Cueto's breakout season going up against the stingy Shaun Marcum. While Cueto had an extended stint on the disabled list earlier this season, he's been nothing but incredible when on the mound, as his pristine 1.77 ERA in 11 starts indicates, with two complete games. The 25-year-old could finally be putting it all together. Meanwhile, Marcum has done all he can to keep the Brewers in contention despite an offense missing depth -- in addition to a brutal defense. Marcum has a solid 3.32 ERA and needs to win to avoid the potential eye-popping occurrence of the Pirates being tied for first place this late into the year. The Cardinals are also just a game behind while Cincy is trying to scrape itself out of a 44-46 hole that has them in fourth. Reds vs. Brewers, 7:10 p.m. ET (Watch live)
GONZALEZ DINGED: The Rockies will not have Carlos Gonzalez as he will sit out Saturday's game -- and possibly Sunday's -- with a sore right wrist, as the Denver Post reports. His wrist was originally injured this past Sunday and Friday was his first day back. The wrist started hurting when he turned on an inside fastball in Friday's game, and the pain hasn't dissipated. On Saturday, the Rockies will toss Ubaldo Jimenez against Jason Marquis. Despite similar ERAs and team records, Jimenez's record sits at 3-8 while the Nationals' hurler is 7-3. With a win and a Mets loss, Washington could move to within a half-game of third place while Colorado is in the midst of a losing streak that has them in danger of slipping to fourth place. Rockies vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET (Watch live)
HOT CARPENTER: Chris Carpenter stepped up during the absence of Albert Pujols and has pitched like the Carpenter we've become used to, allowing just two runs over his last three starts which comprise 24 innings. On Saturday, he'll go after Arizona, a team he last faced on April 12, surrendering eight runs in just four innings in what was easily his worst start of the year. For Arizona's part, it could possibly be one of the final games for either Juan Miranda or Xavier Nady, as GM Kevin Towers appears to be leaning toward making a move at first base, as the Arizona Republic reports. Unhappy with their production at first base, Brandon Allen or Paul Goldschmidt could get the call from the farm after the All-Star break. Daniel Hudson will oppose Carpenter. Diamondbacks vs. Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. ET (Watch live)
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Posted on: July 4, 2011 12:06 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 1:01 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
JETER RETURNS: You may have heard by now, but Derek Jeter is on his way back. The Yankee captain is expected to start at shortstop and leadoff for the Yankees today against Cleveland's Josh Tomlin (9-4, 3.86 ERA). Jeter is 2 for 6 lifetime against the right-hander. Jeter hasn't played since leaving a game against the Indians on June 13 with a strained right calf. On June 12, Jeter had two singles off of Tomlin, driving in two runs in a 9-1 Yankee victory. The Yankees are 14-4 in 18 games without Jeter. Yankees at Indians, 6:35 p.m. ET (Follow live)
BAD BLOOD: Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto makes his first start in St. Louis since his part in a benches-clearing brawl last August at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Not only that, he's facing off the same pitcher that started that game for St. Louis, Chris Carpenter. Cueto was suspended seven games after kicking at players after he was pinned against the backstop. Carpenter was among those on the other end of Cueto's spikes and showed off scratches and scrapes on his back. Carpenter said Cueto's actions would have consequences "on the street." We'll see if he goes all 'hood on Cueto when the Reds' pitcher has to bat. The two teams also had words the last time they met, May 15 at Great American Ball Park when Reds closer Francisco Cordero hit Albert Pujols in the ninth inning of the Reds' final game of a three-game sweep. Cardinals backup catcher Gerald Laird, bench coach Joe Pettini and pitching coach Dave Duncan took offense and screamed at Cordero and other Reds players from the bench. Reds at Cardinals, 6:15 p.m. ET (Follow live)
Rays ON TARGET: The Rays have won six of seven games against the Twins this season and all three games played at Target Field. Tampa Bay has won its last five games in Minnesota and have to feel good with David Price on the mound. The All-Star lefty is 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA and is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in four appearances all-time (three starts) against the Twins. The Twins counter with lefty Brian Duensing, who is 5-7 with a 4.69 ERA but hast the team's lone win against the Rays this season, allowing two runs on seven hits in seven innings on April 17 at Tropicana Field. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:41 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
BASEBALL TODAY: Just why did Jim Riggleman ditch his job? CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss Riggleman, Ubaldo Jimenez and more. Check it out.
Oswalt will not only likely miss his next start, he could also be done. He's already hinted at retirement and with a back injury, it may not be worth it for Oswalt to come back.
After Thursday's outing, Oswalt sounded anything but confident in his return. David Hale of the News Journal has a full transcript of Oswalt's postgame comments, and they don't sound like the comments of someone who is confident it'll be an easy road back.
Heres' the question and answer that says it all to me:
That sounds like someone who is content with walking away if he gets bad news soon.
We may know more Monday after his scheduled MRI.
HOT SEAT: Edwin Rodriguez didn't last a full calendar year as the Marlins manager and the Cubs' Mike Quade could follow that lead. Quade's on the hot seat (even if general manager Jim Hendry's seat should be hotter). [Chicago Tribune]
LI'L' GOOSE: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle compared closer Joel Hanrahan to Hall of Famer Goose Gossage, and after stifling a laugh, John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times takes a look at the comparison and sees some parallels.
SCOUTING DARVISH: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was scheduled to see Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish's start on Friday. Darvish may be the top free-agent pitcher this season if he comes to the United States, as expected. The Braves and Twins reportedly had scouts at his last start, when he picked up just his second loss of the season. It was one of his worst starts of the season and he still gave up just one earned run, allowing nine hits and striking out 10 in eight innings. [YakyuBaka.com]
A'S OPEN TO DEAL: The sharks are circling in Oakland, as scouts have been checking out outfielder Josh Willingham, infielder Mark Ellis and left-handed relievers Craig Breslow and Brian Fuentes. [San Francisco Chronicle]
NICE RIDE: The Toledo Mud Hens players are going to miss Brandon Inge, who was activated by the Tigers on Thursday. During his rehab trip with Detroit's Triple-A team, Inge sprung for a limo for several players to take them from Louisville, Ky., to Columbus, Ohio, skipping the planned bus ride. [Detroit News]
DEJA VU: A St. Louis ace 1-7 through June? (Well, now 2-7 after Thursday night's 2-7) It's been done before. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Dispatch compares Chris Carpenter's 1-7 start to that of John Tudor's 26 years ago.
CABRERA'S CASE POSTPONED: The hearing for Detroit first baseman Miguel Cabrera's DUI arrest has been postponed again and rescheduled for July 12. That's the day of the All-Star Game. Cabrera, however, isn't required to be present for this hearing, though, so he can still go to the All-Star Game. [Detroit News]
NO DECISION: Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said he'd prefer not to negotiate during the season (and that doesn't make Jim Riggleman happy), but said it's not a rule. Pittsburgh starter Paul Maholm has said he'd like to sign an extension to stay in Pittsburgh. [MLB.com]
BUCCO FEVER: If you haven't noticed, the Pirates (yes, the team in Pittsburgh) are in a pennant race. Sure, it's not even July yet, but we're talking the Pirates. The folks in Pittsburgh are beginning to take notice. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]
LAWRIE DELAYED: Blue Jays prospect Brett Lawrie was all but set to be called up at the beginning of the month, but before he could get the call, he was hit by a pitch and broke his left hand. Now he's having trouble gripping the bat and may not be ready until August. [CBCSports.ca]
FIGGINS DILEMMA: If you're following the Mariners, there's plenty of positives around the team -- including a record just a game under .500. But there's one big concern, Chone Figgins. The question for the Mariners is what to do with Figgins, who has two years and $17 million left on his contract. [Seattle Times]
RETURN OF THE SPITTER: Here's an interesting theory (that I'm pretty sure I don't buy, but still interesting to think about) from Mat Kovach of the Hardball Times -- is the rise of pitching because of the return of the spitball?For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: AL Central, AL East, AL West, Athletics, Blue Jays, Brandon Inge, Braves, Brett Gardner, Brett Lawrie, Brian Fuentes, Cardinals, Chone Figgins, Chris Carpenter, Clint Hurdle, Craig Breslow, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Don Mattingly, Goose Gossage, Japan, Jim Riggleman, Joel Hanrahan, John Tudor, Jon Daniels, Jonathan Broxton, Josh Collmenter, Josh Willingham, Mariners, Mark Ellis, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Quade, Nationals, Neal Huntington, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Paul Maholm, Phillies, Pirates, Pirates, Rangers, Rockies, Roy Oswalt, Tigers, Tigers, Twins, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yankees, Yu Darvish
Posted on: June 24, 2011 1:25 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:12 am
By Evan Brunell
Chris Carpenter, Cardinals -- Chris Carpenter hasn't been able to figure out how to win a game all season. Who knew the solution was to take Albert Pujols out of the lineup? Carp dropped the Phillies by a score of 2-2, rolling for seven innings and giving up just one run on five hits, walking one and striking out seven. It's just his second win of the season, taking his record up to 2-7. We'll revisit this game again in a minute.
Jason Marquis, Nationals -- Marquis now has the honor of being the starting pitcher of record on the day Jim Riggleman seemingly killed his career (more on this in a bit). Kind of funny, given Riggleman and Marquis had a public spat a few weeks ago. The righty was dazzling, limiting the Mariners to just three hits and three walks while punching out four and lowering his ERA to 3.54. It's an impressive bounceback season for someone many left for dead last season.
Tim Lincecum, Giants -- Yeah, it was the night of the pitcher, apparently. There were several other strong pitching performances on the five-game night, but Lincecum grabs the final spot with a dazzling performance that sent Minnesota to its second-straight loss. He threw gas for seven innings, whiffing 13 and giving up zero runs, limiting the Twinkies to just five baserunners on three hits and two walks. San Francisco ended up winning the game 2-1.
Wily Mo Pena, Diamondbacks -- The more things change... Pena, who was recalled by Arizona to serve as the team's DH, blasted a home run in his first game. His second game was an 0-for-3 outing, and now his third game has a 1-for-4 performance, but no home run and... wait for it... three strikeouts. Yep, that's Wily Mo, who laid waste to Triple-A but seems right back to his old habits in the bigs. Still, what he did in Triple-A deserves more rope. He'll have to start hitting more if he hopes to stay with the club when Arizona ends interleague play.
Danys Baez, Phillies -- Roy Oswalt didn't do himself any favors by allowing four runs in two innings. Kyle Kendrick was able to stave off the bleeding with a two-run, four-inning effort, then Juan Perez got through a scoreless outing. At this time, the score was 6-1 and Philly at least had some home for a comeback. Not when Baez was finished, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks and just one K. But hey, this is Danys Baez, after all.
Jim Riggleman, Nationals -- By now, you probably know the story. Riggleman abruptly resigned as manager on Thursday as he was unhappy with his contract. On one hand, his actions were understandable. He did not feel wanted, felt shut out and was doing a fine job in this, his lame-duck last season. But the backlash has been rather severe, and Riggleman probably will get frozen out of any job of significance from hereon out, ala Mike Hargrove when he tendered his own resignation, saying he was just fatigued by baseball. (Riggleman actually ended up replacing John McLaren the next season; McLaren replaced Hargrove in Seattle and is replacing Riggleman for the weekend series coming up.)
Hargrove went on to manage a semipro team and is a special advisor to the Indians. It seems Riggleman will be lucky to get such a cushy gig, but things will probably blow over given time. But even if Riggleman was upset over his contract status, he should have had the foresight to manage the rest of the season, then either extract some serious security from the Nationals or walk away. And if he walked away, he wouldn't have had any issues finding a coaching job, and probably coud have interviewed for some manager's gig. But all that's probably gone now. It's a shame, as Riggleman is a good guy by all accounts. You wish he could have found a way to stick it out. To his credit, though, Riggleman seems to know exactly what type of repercussions his actions will have and was at peace with it. That's all you can really ask for.
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