Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

While I was away…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I hope each of you had a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. As many of you know, I have been away the last few weeks while getting married and traveling on my honeymoon. But it’s back to the beat today, just a week ahead of the Winter Meetings, which could be a busy time for the Cardinals. I’m catching back up on all the relevant Cardinals news coming out during my absence, and in case you need a refresher as well, here is a recap of some of the more notable items of interest:

  • Will the rise of the NL Central dictate the urgency those teams have in making moves this winter? (link)
  • The Cardinals signed catcher Eric Fryer and right-hander Juan Gonzalez to minor league deals (link)
  • Jason Heyward, John Lackey rejected their qualifying offers; both remain unsigned (link)
  • Yadier Molina captures another Platinum Glove Award (link)
  • The Cardinals revealed their Spring Training schedule for 2016 (link)
  • As they did last season, the Cardinals will play the first game of the 2016 regular season — this time against the Pirates (link)
  • The Cardinals added Aledmys Diaz, Dean Kiekhefer and Charlie Tilson to their 40-man roster to protect all three from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft (link)
  • Randal Grichuk was named to the Topps All-Rookie Team for 2015 (link)
  • MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo cites Aledmys Diaz as one of the 10 breakout prospects from this year’s Arizona Fall League competition (link)
  • With Wednesday’s tender deadline looming, the Cardinals face some decisions regarding their arbitration-eligible players (link)
  • Stephen Piscotty, Alex Reyes and Austin Gomber earn organizational minor league honors (link)
  • A look back at the impact the Cardinals made in the community throughout the calendar year (link)

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Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes suspended for 50 games

Cardinals top prospect Alex Reyes, who was projected to crack the Major League roster at some point in 2016, will have that arrival delayed after being hit with a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Reyes, in a statement provided to MLB.com, acknowledged that the positive test was triggered by marijuana usage.

“I take full responsibility for my actions and apologize for disappointing my family, fans, teammates and the St. Louis Cardinals organization,” Reyes said in the statement. “I acknowledge my inappropriate behavior and will accept the consequences. Baseball is my passion, and I will do everything in my power to put this behind me and move forward.”

The suspension begins immediately, meaning that Reyes’ time in the Arizona Fall League comes to an abrupt end. He was scheduled to start in the AFL’s Rising Stars game on Saturday but instead headed back to the Dominican Republic to begin his offseason. Because the suspension does include games that Reyes’ club has remaining in the AFL season, he will miss only the first 40 games of the 2016 season.

Nevertheless, Reyes’ absence next April/May will hinder his development and hurt the Cardinals’ pitching depth. While Reyes was not expected to compete for a Major League roster spot in Spring Training, he was viewed as a candidate for a midseason summons.

Speaking of Reyes just three weeks ago, general manager John Mozeliak said: “He’s going to be knocking on the door next year. How soon really depends on need and opportunity at the Major League level.”

What was never in question is Reyes’ talent. This year, Reyes, 21, made 13 starts in High-A before earning a midseason promotion to Double-A, where he posted a 3.63 ERA. Over the full season, Reyes recorded a 2.49 ERA, 151 strikeouts and limited opponents to a .197 batting average in 101 1/3 innings. He missed the July All-Star Futures Game due shoulder fatigue, but returned without issue later in the month.

He continued to shine in the AFL, striking out 12 and allowing one run in his first three outings (11 2/3 innings) before allowing five runs in a 3 1/3-inning start on Monday. Reyes walked 10 in his four starts combined.

The Cardinals signed Reyes for $950,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2012, shortly after Reyes established residency on the island after playing high school baseball at Elizabeth (N.J.) High. By moving out of the United States, Reyes could sign as a free agent and was not constrained by amateur draft spending rules.

Reyes becomes the second Cardinals player suspended under baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program in the last two months. In September, catcher Cody Stanley was handed an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. It marked Stanley’s second PED-related suspension. He was with the Major League team as a backup catcher at the time the suspension was announced.

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Upcoming dates, notable announcements

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The end of the World Series has ushered in the start of the Hot Stove season. The Cardinals’ activity began on Monday, with the decision to exercise Jaime Garcia’s option, decline Johnathan Broxton’s option and remove three from the 40-man roster (full story). The Cardinals have some narrowly defined wants/needs this offseason, and you can review those here.

Over the next few weeks, the free-agent and trade markets will begin to take shape, and all sorts of end-of-season awards will be handed out. To help you keep it all straight, here is a list of important upcoming dates to keep as a reference:

Friday, Nov. 6: Teams must submit qualifying offers ($15.8 million) by 4 pm CT
A qualifying offer is a one-year deal that is binding if a free agent accepts. If the offer is declined, the team is assured a compensation draft pick if that player signs elsewhere. The Cardinals are expected to make a qualifying offer to outfielder Jason Heyward. John Lackey is also a candidate to receive a qualifying offer.

Saturday, Nov. 7: Free agency opens

Monday, Nov. 9: Players Choice Awards (7 pm CT on MLB Network)
The Cardinals do not have any finalists for these awards.

Tuesday, Nov. 10: BBWAA Awards finalists announced (5 pm CT on MLB Network); Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (7 pm CT)
The Cardinals are unlikely to have any top three finalists in voting for the Rookie of the Year, Cy Young or MVP awards. Mike Matheny is a strong candidate to be a top-three finisher for NL Manager of the Year. Heyward and Yadier Molina have already been announced as finalists for Gold Glove awards at their respective positions.

Wednesday, Nov. 11: Wilson Defensive Player of the Year awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)
These defensive awards differ from the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards in that they go to the best defender at each position (not league specific). The top overall defensive player and defensive team is also recognized. Heyward represents the Cardinals’ best chance to be recognized.

Thursday, Nov. 12: Silver Slugger awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)
These are presented to the best offensive performer at each position in each league. The Cardinals may get shut out of these awards, though Jhonny Peralta should garner some consideration for NL shortstop honors.

Friday, Nov. 13: Deadline for players to accept or decline qualifying offers (4 pm CT)

Monday, Nov. 16: BBWAA Rookie of the Year awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)

Tuesday, Nov. 17: BBWAA Manager of the Year awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)

Wednesday, Nov. 18: BBWAA Cy Young Awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)

Thursday, Nov. 19: BBWAA MVP Awards (5 pm CT on MLB Network)

Friday, Nov. 20: 2015 Esurance MLB Awards (7 pm CT on MLB Network)
Fan voting for these awards is ongoing at MLB.com (click here to load the ballot). This expanded awards programs recognizes Major League players, baseball fans and memorable moments in unique categories and not limited by league affiliation. The Cardinals have nominees in seven different categories.

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NLDS Game 4: Cardinals @ Cubs

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Regular season records: Cardinals (100-62), Cubs (97-62)

Series: Cardinals (1-2), Cubs (2-1)

First pitch: 3:37 pm CT

TV/Radio: TBS, 1120 KMOX, ESPN Radio

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Stephen Piscotty (1B), Matt Holliday (LF), Jason Heyward (RF), Jhonny Peralta (SS), Randal Grichuk (CF), Kolten Wong (2B), Tony Cruz (C), John Lackey (RHP)

Cubs lineup: Dexter Fowler (CF), Jorge Soler (RF), Kris Bryant (3B), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Starlin Castro (2B), Kyle Schwarber (LF), Miguel Montero (C), Jason Hammel (RHP), Javier Baez (SS)

Reading material:

  • Cardinals allow a record six homers in a Game 3 loss to the Cubs (link)
  • The Cards executed their game plan against Jake Arrieta, but their pitching made it for naught (link)
  • With the Cardinals on the brink of elimination, John Lackey will get the ball in Game 4 (link)
  • It’ll be all hands on deck for the Cardinals on Tuesday as they try to stave off elimination (link)
  • Michael Wacha’s last two playoff appearances have ended with him allowing a home run. More on his Game 3 start (link)
  • A rookie home run record has been set this postseason — with Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk contributing (link)

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NLDS Game 3: Cardinals @ Cubs

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Regular season records: Cardinals (100-62), Cubs (97-65)

Series: Cardinals (1-1), Cubs (1-1)

First pitch: 5:07 pm CT

TV/Radio: TBS, 1120 KMOX, ESPN Radio

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Stephen Piscotty (1B), Matt Holliday (LF), Jason Heyward (RF), Jhonny Peralta (SS), Tommy Pham (CF), Yadier Molina (C), Kolten Wong (2B), Michael Wacha (RHP)

Cubs lineup: Dexter Fowler (CF), Jorge Soler (RF), Kris Bryant (3B), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Starlin Castro (2B), Kyle Schwarber (LF), Addison Russell (SS), Miguel Montero (C), Jake Arrieta (RHP)

Reading material:

  • Why do Cards believe they can beat Jake Arrieta? Because they’ve made their last four postseason runs by beating the best (link)
  • Can Michael Wacha rekindle the October magic of 2013? (link)
  • Chicago’s rookies may be getting all the attention, but don’t overlook the contributions the Cards continue to get from their youngsters (link)
  • Matheny keeping his starting pitching options open for Game 4 (link)
  • A look at some of the notable players to be on both sides of this Cubs – Cards rivalry over the years (link)
  • Tale of the tape: Michael Wacha vs Jake Arrieta (link)

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NLDS Game 2: Cubs @ Cardinals

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Regular season records: Cardinals (100-62), Cubs (97-65)

Series: Cardinals 1, Cubs 0

First pitch: 4:37 pm CT

TV/Radio: TBS, KMOX, ESPN Radio

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Stephen Piscotty (RF), Matt Holliday (LF), Jason Heyward (CF), Jhonny Peralta (SS), Brandon Moss (1B), Yadier Molina (C), Kolten Wong (2B), Jaime Garcia (LHP)

Cubs lineup: Dexter Fowler (CF), Jorge Soler (RF), Kris Bryant (3B), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Starlin Castro (2B), Austin Jackson (LF), Miguel Montero (C), Kyle Hendricks (RHP), Addison Russell (SS)

Reading material:

  • Game recap from the Cardinals’ 4-0 Game 1 win over the Cubs on Friday (link)
  • Fitting that in the year of the rookie, two keyed the Cardinals offense in Game 1 (link)
  • On John Lackey’s growing postseason resume and the intensity that helps him thrive on the October stage (link)
  • Manager Mike Matheny makes all the right moves late to help his team to a Game 1 win (link)
  • Columnist Phil Rogers, on the Cards reminding the Cubs of who has division supremacy (link)
  • Stephen Piscotty held his own at an unfamiliar position before Matheny’s timely move pushed him to the outfield (link)
  • 10 cool facts from Game 1 of the NLDS (link)
  • Pitching in the postseason for the first time since 2012, Jaime Garcia is ready to continue his comeback story (link)
  • Though he wasn’t needed, Lance Lynn was available in relief on Friday night (link)
  • Tale of the Tape: Kyle Hendricks vs. Jaime Garcia (link)
  • Reggie Sanders returned to St. Louis to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Friday (link)

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NLDS Game 1: Cubs @ Cardinals

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Regular Season Records: Cardinals (100-62), Cubs (97-65)

NLDS Records: Cardinals (0-0), Cubs (0-0)

First pitch: 5:45 pm CT

TV/Radio: TBS, 1120 KMOX, ESPN Radio

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Stephen Piscotty (1B), Matt Holliday (LF), Jason Heyward (CF), Jhonny Peralta (SS), Randal Grichuk (RF), Yadier Molina (C), Kolten Wong (2B), John Lackey (RHP)

Cubs lineup: Dexter Fowler (CF), Kyle Schwarber (LF), Kris Bryant (3B), Anthony Rizzo (1B), Starlin Castro (2B), Chris Coghlan (RF), Addison Russell (SS), David Ross (C), Jon Lester (LHP)

Reading material:

  • Cardinals announce 25-man NLDS roster (link)
  • Yadier Molina, given green light to play, talks about pain tolerance and playing with a splint (link)
  • Examining three key decisions that the two managers will likely have to make in this series (link)
  • How manager Mike Matheny proved to be the right man to navigate the Cardinals through so much adversity (link)
  • The Cardinals brought John Lackey to St. Louis largely because of his postseason resume. Now, they’re counting on it (link)
  • Game 1 NLDS Preview: It’s Cubs-Cards in October. For the first time (link)
  • Long before they were NLDS opponents, Matt Carpenter and Jake Arrieta were teammates and fast friends (link)
  • Brock-Broglio. McGwire-Sosa. The Ryne Sandberg game. A look at the most compelling moments of a longtime Cubs-Cards rivalry (link)
  • A position-by-position breakdown of the Cardinals and Cubs (link)
  • Friends John Lackey and Jon Lester will square off in Game 1 (link)

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Cards announce NLDS roster, rotation order

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Following the Cardinals’ workout on Thursday, manager Mike Matheny announced his 25-man National League Division Series roster, which will feature an 11-man pitching staff and 14 position players, including Yadier Molina. The roster breakdown is as follows:

Starting pitchers: John Lackey, Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn

Relievers: Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Jonathan Broxton, Adam Wainwright, Seth Maness, Carlos Villanueva, Tyler Lyons

Catchers: Molina, Tony Cruz

Infielders: Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Kolten Wong, Mark Reynolds, Brandon Moss, Greg Garcia

Outfielders: Matt Holliday, Jason Heyward, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, Jon Jay

Matheny, who had previously announced Lackey as his Game 1 starter, also confirmed the rest of his rotation order. Garcia will start Game 2 at Busch Stadium on Saturday, while Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn will start Games 3 and 4, respectively, at Wrigley Field.

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NLDS Game Times Announced

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Major League Baseball released start times for postseason games through Sunday. The Cardinals will open their National League Division Series against the Pittsburgh/Chicago Wild-Card winner on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 5:45 pm CT. Game 2, also at Busch Stadium, has a scheduled first pitch of 4:37 pm CT.

Start times for Games 3-5 will be announced at a later date.

Wednesday’s Wild Card game between the Cubs and Pirates will begin at 7:08 pm CT. The Pirates are hosting that winner-take-all affair.

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October 4: Cardinals @ Braves (Game 2)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Records: Cardinals (100-61, +3.0 in NL Central), Braves (66-95, -23.0 in NL East)

First pitch: 3:05 pm CT

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Midwest

Cardinals lineup: Jon Jay (CF), Tommy Pham (RF), Randal Grichuk (LF), Matt Adams (1B), Mark Reynolds (3B), Greg Garcia (SS), Pete Kozma (2B), Ed Easley (C), Lance Lynn (RHP)

Braves lineup: Michael Bourn (CF), Daniel Castro (SS), Hector Olivera (3B), Adonis Garcia (LF), Jace Peterson (2B), Pedro Ciriaco (1B), Todd Cunningham (RF), Ryan Lavarnway (C), Matt Wisler (RHP)

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