Carlos Beltran Rumors: Thursday

Carlos Beltran may choose his next team by the weekend and he has many suitors to consider. The Cardinals, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rays and Indians are all "seriously in the mix" for Beltran, according to Scott Miller of Here’s the latest on Beltran, who’s open to DHing part-time…

  • Though the Indians are in the mix for Beltran, they're more likely to obtain a first baseman, tweets Heyman.
  • The Cardinals view Beltran as the best, most cost-efficient option, according to Jon Heyman of The Cardinals are believed to have offered a two-year deal worth at least $8MM per season at one point, Heyman writes.
  • Beltran is down to the Cardinals, Indians and Blue Jays, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Miller names the same three teams and says the Beltran talks appear to be coming to a head. (Twitter link).
  • The Red Sox are out on Beltran, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
  • The Cardinals intensified their talks with Beltran last night and into this morning, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes. One of Goold's sources says the Cardinals are the "leading candidate" to sign Beltran.
  •'s Jordan Bastian hears nothing has changed regarding the Indians' projected 2012 payroll (Twitter links). This means adding someone like Beltran would likely require the club to shed payroll elsewhere, but Cleveland’s interest in Beltran is legitimate.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains how Beltran would fit on the Indians' roster. Cleveland jumped into the bidding for the switch-hitting free agent yesterday.
  • Jon Heyman of reminds us that Beltran declined to be traded to the Indians in July, when he said he’d only join the Phillies or Giants (Twitter link).

116 Responses to Carlos Beltran Rumors: Thursday Leave a Reply

  1. joeybw 4 years ago

    I didn’t want to raise my voice at you but CURSE WORDS you have enough money, Beltran! In Tampa, you can rest your knees, be closer to PR and there isn’t going to be any media pressure around you. CHOOSE TAMPA, CARLOS!

    • Douglas Hicks 4 years ago

      I know it’s a long shot…but, If we could get a good deal on Beltran, I’d be thrilled to see him come to Tampa.

      • diesel2410 4 years ago

        I think Tampa could win the AL with Beltran.

        1. Jennings LF
        2. Upton CF
        3. Longoria 3B
        4. Beltran DH
        5. Zobrist 2B
        6. Joyce RF
        7. Kotchman 1B
        8. Molina C
        9. Rodriguez SS

        SP: Shields, Price, Hellickson, Moore, Niemann/Davis/Cobb
        Closer: Trade for Bailey
        8th: Farnsworth
        7th: Peralta
        Other relievers: Gomes, Ramos, Howell, McGee, etc.

        • rikersbeard 4 years ago

          Still doesn’t look like an AL winning line up to me. They’ll be competitive, but I think they’d be beating the odds if they win.

          • diesel2410 4 years ago

            Won the wild card last year with a terrible offense and a depleted bullpen. How can we not win the East with that?

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            is there reason to expect better from the bullpen this year? that’s the biggest hole imo

          • Fernando O'Connor 4 years ago

            Our brand new bullpen had one of the better era’s in the al….

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            it was 6th in the AL and that was with every single significant contributor outperforming his FIP by at least half a run

          • josh 4 years ago

            They will continue to out pitch their FIP because the Rays have the best Defense in the AL

          • rikersbeard 4 years ago

            Because no team should (could?) win the AL with  Molina as a starting C. 

        • joeybw 4 years ago

          I love that team. Wonder what Bailey would take. First things first, we need to find money somewhere for Beltran.

          • Fernando O'Connor 4 years ago

            If we got Beltran…Couldn’t we convert Joyce or Fuld into a first baseman???? The Rays prefer a lefty at first too. both of those guys have potential to be great offensive pieces in the lineup if they could get more at bats. As we all know, we have a really crowded outfield as it is. Especially with all the guys We got from the Garza trade.

        • The_BiRDS 4 years ago

          How are the Rays going to pay for Beltran? He is going to at least get 10-12 Million a year. Thats half your playroll!

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            the rays payroll was $72M in 2010. they can spend a little, they just prefer not to

          • johnsmith4 4 years ago

            Yep…2014 & 2015 payroll is their issue.  That precludes anything more than 2 years to a vet free agent.

          • joeybw 4 years ago

            Exaggerate much? Are you a Sox fan?

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            yup. the red sox AKA the birds

        • Fernando O'Connor 4 years ago

          I agree with you 100% except…Is Bailey really that big of an improvement over Farnsworth? With the crowded rotation now, wouldn’t it be better to go ahead and just give Davis or Nieman the 9th inning gig?

    • diesel2410 4 years ago

      I honestly think it’s the best fit. If he takes around $8-9 million per year

      • 8 or 9 million!!! you wish.  more like 12 or 13

        • Fernando O'Connor 4 years ago

          No state or city tax in Tampa(unlike boston,mass which have both)….12 mil in boston comes down to like 9 mil after taxes…maybe less

          So if we offer around 9, I think he’ll bite. Especially since its close to his home in PR which is only like a 1.5 hour flight non stop.

          We did pay Pat Burrel a two year 16 million dollar deal. I think it’ll be something like that.

    • FamousGrouse 4 years ago

      I would love to see that happen.

    • The_BiRDS 4 years ago

      Sounds like you’re convincing him to come down to Tampa to retire…

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      Carlos Pena might be in your future.  Not so bad.

      • joeybw 4 years ago

        If we fix the holes with Pena and Damon, good enough.

        Price – Shields – Hellickson – Moore – Davis/Neimann/Cobb

        Hoping it’s a 1 year deal for Pena and we trade for Rizzo. Wow, I can’t wait for that big 4 to be in action.

        • johnsmith4 4 years ago

          I am thinking 1B & DH will be filled by Carlos Pena and Juan Miranda (instead of Damon).  Plus, Rays will pursue Rizzo.  I also expect BJ Upton to be traded by spring training.

  2. Tribefan15 4 years ago

    The Indians NEED a bat like Beltran!
    C’mon lets get it done!!!!

  3. Anywhere but the home the of the WLB’s

  4. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    Sounds like:
    Cardinals have a 3 year offer
    Jays have a 3 year offer
    Indians may have 3 year offer but he vetoed a trade there last year
    Rays have an offer but at a cheap cheap price but it is close to PR and he wants them to hike up the offer
    Bosox no idea

    Id say Cardinals or Rays have the best shot, that is if the Rays decide to make a ledgit offer 

    • joeybw 4 years ago

      Have you heard that or are those guesses? I agree with Boston, they seem set on just pitching.

    • Hermie13 4 years ago

      Most reports said he never vetoed a trade to cleveland….simply that his agent said he wouldnt accept. The mets said they never presented an offer to beltran to go to cleveland

  5. craigkimbrelfan 4 years ago

    I wish we had some money…*sigh*

  6. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, in an update a few moments ago, are now saying Cards are “leading candidate” with talks progressing this morning, and a possible deal “well before the weekend.”

  7. theguy17 4 years ago

    Damn you Sabean!!!

  8. Shawnthemon 4 years ago

    I still have no idea why the Jays want Beltran. He used to be my favourite player, during the killer bees, but that was a while ago. The Jays are trying to build their players around youth. Beltran will be taking time away from Snider and Thames. 

    This just doesn’t make sense, and is probably 100% Jon Heyman garbage aka Scott Boras garbage.

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      .389 wOBA (2011) switch hitter is not a bad idea for protecting Jose Bautista.  He is definitely a middle order hitter, a weakness for Jays last year.

      Bautista and Lawrie had wOBAs over .400 last year.  EE was in .340s.  Everyone else below .340.  MLB avg is .333.

      • Shawnthemon 4 years ago

        I’m not saying he won’t be good, but we don’t need his age.

        I would rather trade for protection, we have the depth in pitching prospects to get a hitter. Or sign Fielder, that would be the best option.

        • johnsmith4 4 years ago

          I am seeing the Jays being one or two years away from that position.  But, once there, your thinking makes perfect sense. AA probably shares your thoughts on what to do.  Just not on where they are presently.

    • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

      I’m not sure the Jays front office is sold on Snider or Thames either. 

  9. abbearden 4 years ago

    For Blue Jays and Rays fans out there. Would knowing that Beltran has had surgery on his knee and other knee related issues worry you about him playing a full season especially when your field surface is turf? I know the new turf is much better than the old AstroTurf but for a guy with knee problems he might end up playing the DH role more often than expected. Thoughts?

    • johnsmith4 4 years ago

      A solid hitting DH who can spot start in OF is good.

    • joeybw 4 years ago

      I think in both cases, he would DH, he would get the random starts (probably always on the road) to give the other guys a day off but he’s a DH with Toronto and Tampa.

  10. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    out on beltran, in on gio gonzalez

    off the tobin bridge

    • Madraider 4 years ago

      Somebody in stats has gotta say, do we really want to give up top prospects for Dice K. 2.0?  Please please please, just keep the lines of communication open with either Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      But it’s Cafardo, so it’s probably more like the opposite of that is true.

  11. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    I’m not really sure why the Red Sox were in on Beltran. Offense wasn’t the problem last year. If they brought in a solid complementary right handed bat like a Reed Johnson to platoon with one of their younger guys, they wouldn’t be losing much production at the bottom of the order.

    Their main problem is closer/#3 starter.

    • MaineSox 4 years ago

      They don’t need offense, but they have an opening in RF and he would be a better option than Reddick.

    • Hermie13 4 years ago

      RF is a bit of a question mark though. Plus could use one (or both) of klish/reddick to get a #3 starter…..

      • Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

        The price on pitching is so steep prospect wise though. There’s plenty of guys like Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda, that would only cost cash.

        The Red Sox are very $$$ conservative this year, I’ve just got to think there’s a better way to spend money than on a bat they really don’t need.

  12. I don’t think there’s anything standing in the Cards way now. I bet what’s holding them up is the years. I can see 2 years with a club option. Hopefully we don’t include a NTC. Because after this year I’d like to deal him to give Craig starting RF. Assuming, of course, that Craig has a productive year.

  13. Randolph_Knackstedt 4 years ago

    If it’s out of those 3 teams he’ll go to the Cardinals. Beltran has been vocal that he wants to win a championship. I wish the Giants could afford him, but that’s not going to happen.

    • cardsfan1988 4 years ago

      If he doesn’t go to the Cardinals it will be about the money and not about winning, because he won’t do that on the Indians or Blue Jays. I’d be extremely shocked if the Cards don’t sign him if all reports are true

  14. joeybw 4 years ago

    Sigh, not a shock but still, this is getting incredibly frustrating. Are we gonna find a way to make this offense even worse?!

  15. I think jred is thinking in the right direction.  This is likely Berkman’s last year with STL.  If Beltran is picked up and Craig continues to produce, well it gets interesting.  Matt Adams is promising and wouldn’t be ready till 2013.  Oscar Taveras might be ready by 13′.  If that’s the case Craig, Adams or even convert Beltran to 1B if Taveras is ready.  Taveras is Harper caliber offense.

    • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

      It’s always nice to just see the Cards roll along…never seem to have a deep farm system…yet they produce valuable talent for the big league roster.

      • Cardinals06 4 years ago

        mmmm …. Cardinals do have a deep farm. if you looked at the 011 team, lots of their guys who they drafted helped them get there. Pujols, Molina, Chambers, Descalso, Boggs, Sanchez, Cruz, Motte, Schumaker, Garcia, Lynn, Craig, Jay, McClellan, Greene, and Dickson. All came up through the Cardinals minors as drafted by them in the past. And in the future … they have Miller, Carlos Martinez, Matt Adams, Oscar Taveras, and said to be future ss Ryan Jackson (if he keeps improving). Cards drafted him, knowing he had defense but, won’t sure about his offense. So far, Jackson has hit in the minors.

        • Red_Line_9 4 years ago

          That’s what I was getting at.  They get the “wrap” of having a thin farm, though.  What some don’t realize is that it isn’t the job of player development to set out to win minor league championships.  While having successful minor league teams can mean there is real talent on the roster, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that any of the players are MLB caliber.

          I’ll take 5 top level prospects over a AAA championship any season.

    • jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

      I actually think they only signed Berkman as Pujols insurance this year.  If Pujols resigned, Berkman plays the year in right and Adams would have been traded.  Without Pujols, Berkman plays the year at first, and the Cardinals judge at the end of the year whether to bring up Adamsor convert Craig.

      Berkman’s 2011 production was worth a two year deal, and had he pushed, he could have gotten it.  Cards were only looking for one.

  16. I think jred is thinking in the right direction.  This is likely Berkman’s last year with STL.  If Beltran is picked up and Craig continues to produce, well it gets interesting.  Matt Adams is promising and wouldn’t be ready till 2013.  Oscar Taveras might be ready by 13′.  If that’s the case Craig, Adams or even convert Beltran to 1B if Taveras is ready.  Taveras is Harper caliber offense.

  17. theguy17 4 years ago

    2 years for 8M per?  And the Giants can’t afford that?  Way to spend 9.5 mil on Affeldt and Lopez instead Sabean.  Job well done. 

  18. theguy17 4 years ago

    2 years for 8M per?  And the Giants can’t afford that?  Way to spend 9.5 mil on Affeldt and Lopez instead Sabean.  Job well done. 

  19. joeybw 4 years ago

    If Beltran signs for 2 years at 8 mil per, it’s going to be the first time in a while I will be very upset with Friedman and think he missed a great opportunity. He’s just gonna resign Damon and Kotchman, watch. I want Pena now but he would just be the next let down.

    • jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

      Gotta agree there.  When I saw 2 years and only 8 per year, my first thought was “how the **** are the Rays out?”

      • theguy17 4 years ago

        If he signs for that I hope Brian Sabean gets fired immediately. 

  20. joeybw 4 years ago

    If Beltran signs for 2 years at 8 mil per, it’s going to be the first time in a while I will be very upset with Friedman and think he missed a great opportunity. He’s just gonna resign Damon and Kotchman, watch. I want Pena now but he would just be the next let down.

  21. dc21892 4 years ago

    At that price, I’m not sure why Boston is said to be out. They should be drooling for him at around 8M. Maybe they have other things falling into place.

  22. 8 over 2 is a good deal for both IMO.

  23. Tko11 4 years ago

    The Cardinals most likely win the NL Central anyway…but signing Beltran would help them a lot. Not to mention they get Wainwright back this year, who I hope will return to form because he was great to watch prior to the injury. 

    • dc21892 4 years ago

      Don’t count out the Reds. Latos could blossom this year.

      • CardsEagles1489 4 years ago

        Latos is a very good young pitcher, there’s little doubt about that. I think they gave up a little too much for him, though. Not sure they have enough offense to win the Central..

        • johnsmith4 4 years ago

          This year, Reds Cards & Brewers will be in a dog fight for divisional pennant.

          • jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

            I agree completely.  Brewers got worse, Cards are close to the same, and Reds got better.  All three look like 90 win teams to me.

          • Tko11 4 years ago

            Brewers lost the majority of their offense…Fielder is gone and Braun will probably be suspended 50 games. The Reds got a bit better but I dont think they are good enough to beat the Cardinals. The Cardinals got Wainwright back and assuming he returns to form, he was a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball. I see it as Reds vs Cards for the division but the Cards are still highly favored in my opinion.

          • jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

            Typically, you don’t return to form until the year AFTER you return to pitching.  Waino is not likely to be a top 5 pitcher this year.  He is an improvement over the black hole of 5th starter last year, but he’s probably not going to match his old self quite yet.

            Berkman is good, but last year was far better than he should have performed.  He is likely to regress, though not to his 2010 level.

            You are depending on continued good performance from a host of young players, including Freese (with injury history), Craig, Motte, Garcia, and John Jay (who wasn’t highly rated).  While there is no evidence that they won’t continue to perform, there also is no evidence that they will.

            I’m a Cardinals fan, and would love to see them win, but “heavily favored” is beyond absurd.  They are no better than last year, and they won 90 games last year.  While 90 wins has a good shot at the Central, it is far from a guarantee, which “heavily favored” implies.

          • Tko11 4 years ago

            Well he is returning to pitching…he has been rehabbing since like March and was even contemplating returning for the playoffs. Hes not going to be the 5th starter if thats what you are trying to say. Most of the time pitchers come back just fine from Tommy John. Cincy was 79-83 last season…I dont think by getting Latos they got that much better. They also have no closer as of now…You said it yourself thier young players have no reason to not keep performing well or even better. The Brewers are clearly a worse team, Cincy only really added Latos while the Cards in a sense added Wainwright. Beltran should help relieve the loss of pujols a bit and same with the emergence of Freese. 

  24. Beltran can’t handle the pressure of playing in Boston.  He’ll fold…

  25. josh 4 years ago

    They will continue to out pitch their FIP’s because we have the best defense in the AL.

  26. Kendall Adkins 4 years ago

    8 million a year for a top 15 bat in the Majors? Yes, please. I would consider Beltran a bargain at 10 million.

  27. mickblue66 4 years ago

    While I agree that the Cardinals certainly need Beltran but to suggest they still won’t be a legitimate contender w/o him is ridiculous. They would still be favored to win the division going into the season even w/o Beltran. Getting Beltran makes them a serious threat for a repeat though.

  28. Which I LOVE..

  29. cardsfan1988 4 years ago

    Yes, bc it’s not like they still have Holliday, Berkman, Molina, Freese, Carpenter, Waino, and Gracia…not to mention a good young bullpen. 

  30. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    Its no secret MO is trying for this guy.. he knows he has to do all he can to sign him at this point. After Albert walked and now these Beltran teases, he is going have some enemys in the LOU.

  31. Hermie13 4 years ago

    Disagree. They didnt win the division WITH Pujols. The Reds have to be the early favorites right now IMO. Cards needed a miracle run to get the wild card. They will be banking on berkman to repeat his 2011 output….something that seems unlikely. They are banking on furcal staying healthy….and hopeing Wainwright comes back 100%. Even with Beltran the Cards will struggle to make the playoffs IMO. New manager cant be overlooked either.

  32. The_BiRDS 4 years ago

    well YODM… (your opinion doesnt matter)

  33. jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

    So the addition of Latos and removal of Pujols (less any additional support Beltran and/or Wainwright can add), accounts for more than an 11 game swing between the Reds and Cardinals?

    Note, Pujols was only a 5.4 WAR last year.

    I think the Cardinals, Brewers and Reds all have similar outlooks for the year.  It’s anybody’s game, and any fan that tells you otherwise is drinking their team’s koolaid.

  34. mickblue66 4 years ago

    Wow is all I can really say.  Did you really just use the fact that the Cardinals won’t win b/c they didn’t win the division last year and won the WC but then go on to say that the Reds are the early favorite who didn’t even finish .500 last year??????? That makes a bunch of sense

    The Reds added Matt Latos who you can’t even be close to sure he will be an Ace at GABP, while the Cardinals added Adam Wainwright who has consistently been one of the top 3 pitchers in baseball in the couple years prior to his surgery last year. TJ has become fairly routine and there is no evidence supporting Wainwright not returning to form. 

    Adding Beltran makes the Cardinals the absolute clear cut favorite going into the season in the Central. Every aspect of their team is better on paper than Cincy from the Starting Rotation to the Lineup to the Bullpen. Any one can win the division and it’s by no means a guarantee the Cards will win but to not call them the clear cut favorite going into the year when adding Wainwright and Beltran just isn’t a very intelligent analysis. The Reds might very well win but to call them the favorite is a stretch

  35. sdsny 4 years ago

    You have to think the Cards would be the favorites to win that division without Pujols.  The NL Central right now is not looking very strong.  The Reds have added some pieces, but did they add enough? And Milwaukee is in big trouble without Braun for 50 games (likely) and without Fielder at all.  Strong contenders to repeat as WS Champs?  That’s unlikely with OR without Pujols.  The last team to repeat as WS Champs was the Yankees back in 2000.   

  36. walrusgod 4 years ago

    Reds fans think they’ll win, Brewers fans think they’ll win, Cards fans think they’ll win.  It’ll be a three team race, but to say the Cards have such little chance seems foolish.  Sure, we’re hoping people stay healthy…but the Reds are really, really hoping that Latos stays healthy (and effective), too.  Although the Cards needed a “miracle run” at the end of the season, here’s my admittedly biased take on the upcoming year:

    – The expected difference in WAR going from Pujols at first and Berkman in right to Berkman at first and Craig in right is about the same as the expected WAR difference between the combo of McClellan/Jackson in the starting rotation and Waino.  Sure, this assumes Wainwright doesn’t struggle in his return, but I think most projections have him coming back fairly well.
    – Carlos Beltran was worth around 4.4 WAR last season.  That’s only one less than Pujols was worth.  Sure, Pujols had the worst year of his career and Beltran had a nice bounce back from a couple of injury plagued seasons, but even if Beltran is only worth about 3.5 WAR this season, platooning him with Craig and Jay should be a marked improvement over what we were doing last year.
    – A semi-full season from Furcal (let’s say 100 games) should be an improvement over having Theriot there on a regular basis.  In just 50 games with STL last season, Furcal was worth 1.4 WAR.  Theriot, over the entire season, was worth 0.  Assuming Furcal can be worth 1.5 WAR over the season, that’s still a substantial improvement (although I am worried that he’ll suffer a serious injury). 
    – The Cardinals have a much improved bullpen.  Our bullpen pieces aren’t necessarily “great,” but not having Ryan Franklin, Miguel Batista and P.J. Walters around to give up tons of runs is more of an “addition by subtraction” situation.  

    Now, I’m not saying we’ll definitely win the division.  I think it’ll be a tough battle between Milwaukee, STL and Cincy.  But to immediately write us off as not winning also seems a little presumptuous.

  37. Matt Talken 4 years ago

    So the Cardinals are out because last year they didn’t win the division, but you say the Reds, who haven’t done anything significant to improve and who only won 79 games last year, are totally going to blow right by everyone else to win the division?  That makes no sense.

    The Brewers will be diminished greatly, with Fielder gone and Braun out the first 50 games.

    The Reds haven’t had any marked improvement.

    The Cubs, Pirates and Astros haven’t done anything and are all more than 1-2 players away from being able to contend.

    Meanwhile, the Cardinals will put Adam Wainwright back into the rotation, who even at 80% would be an improvement over their bottom-of-the-rotation guys.  They have Furcal for the full season (and I know you question his ability to stay healthy, but they’ll almost definitely have him for more than the 60 or so games they had him in 2011), and of course, they’ll also have more at bats for Allen Craig once he’s healthy again, who will certainly help the offense from losing much with Pujols in Cali.

    With Beltran and Furcal, I think they may actually have a more balanced lineup than last year, even if it will be at the cost of the one tremendous bat of Pujols (this isn’t saying they’ll be better, just that with Furcal and Beltran, they’ll have fewer holes in the lineup).

    Ultimately, unless Beltran is going to be able to still play CF, I’m not sure how Allen Craig and Lance Berkman is enough of a downgrade from Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols to say that the Cardinals won’t be the favorites going in when their prime competition will be without its two best bats from the previous season for either 50 or 162 games (and 2 of the top 3 MVP guys, to boot).

  38. Hermie13 4 years ago

    Never thought i would say this….but wow is Pujols being VASTLY underrated here. He made everyone in that Cards lineup better. This isnt the same as the Rays losing Crawford….the Cardinals are likely in for a major wakeup call. Hell, the brewers could still be favored over the cards right now. Yeah they are losing fielder but added aramis. Loing braun for 50 gakes will hurt but acting like the cards would be the favorites t that competiive division without beltran is pretty ridiculous. Could they win it? Sure…but favoilrites? Doubtful

  39. jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

    You had me for a while there, but “clear cut favorite” is a bit too far for the Cardinals, even with Beltran. 

    Berkman overperformed last year.  While I doubt he regresses to 2010 levels, he isn’t going to repeat what he did. 

    Wainwright is back, but he’s not likely to be at his peak for another year.  Much better performance than out of the 5th spot last year, but as great as TJ recovery is of late, “Top 3″ is extremely unlikely this year.

    Cardinals are banking on continued production from young pitchers and position players, including Freese, Craig, Garcia, Motte, Jay and others.  While there is no evidence that they won’t match their performance next year, there is also no evidence that they will.

    Overall, I think Milwaukee takes a step back, because their offense took a big hit.  Cardinals are likely to take a small step back, as a decline in Berkman’s performance and the loss of Pujols is largely offset by the addition of Wainwright and possibly Beltran.  Cincinatti takes a step forward, as they underperformed last year and added Latos.  I think it is a three horse race, and we’ll have to wait to see which step was biggest.  There is no clear favorite in this race.

  40. Hermie13 4 years ago

    Just to clarify, i did NOT say the Cards “won’t” win the division because they didnt last year. Said they wouldn’t be the favorites. Theres a difference

  41. jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

    Quite frankly, I think there is no favorite.

    That being said, I don’t see why there’s so much explosion over another team being the favorites.  As I recall, the Cardinals were widely predicted to finish third in the NL Central last year, and they came away WS champs.

  42. Matt Talken 4 years ago

    And then you identified the 79 win Reds who have only added Latos (according to fangraphs worth about 3-4 wins) as the favorites instead, after saying since the Cardinals didn’t win the division last year, they can’t win it this year.

    And for the difference between the Cardinals and Brewers last year?  6 games.

    The number of blown saves and separate losses by Ryan Franklin alone?  6.

    I know you can’t count on closers to close out 100% of their games, but Franklin only pitched 27 innings and blew saves in 4 games (all eventual Cardinal losses) and came in twice in tied games where he took the loss.

    I tend to agree with jred that “clear cut favorite” is WAY to strong.

    I do think the Cardinals will be seen as the favorite in the NL Central still though, with the Brewers and Reds lurking.  

    With an improved bullpen (most of the pen is returning), Wainwright back at even 80%, Furcal in for a full season at SS and Allen Craig getting a larger portion of the burden with his .900+ OPS, the Cardinals have the potential to be just as good during the regular season as in 2011, despite the departure of Albert Pujols.

    If Wainwright comes back 100% (not counting on this, since it usually is the 2nd year back when they’re at or close to 100%), and if we get Beltran, we could be slightly better over a full season.  

    Remember how many black holes were in the lineup early on and how bad the bullpen was.  Albert Pujols was great, but he couldn’t take at bats away from Ryan Theriot or Tyler Greene and couldn’t pitch in place of Ryan Franklin.

    This more balanced lineup could actually be better.  I’m not saying it will be, but it could.

  43. mickblue66 4 years ago

    And then went on to say the Reds would be the favorites when they finished 14 games below .500 last year. You discounted the Cards b/c they didn’t win the division but won the WC then went on to say the Reds were the favorite. Your reason had no validity for the Cardinals after then choosing the Reds

  44. Hermie13 4 years ago

    Well said

  45. mickblue66 4 years ago

    While I agree that Berkman could certainly take a step back, I believe a healthy Matt Holliday will make up that difference. Losing Pujols hurts the Cardinals but he wasn’t that great last year and they still had the best offense in the NL. Beltran actually had a better OPS than Pujols last year and outside of the 3 HR game in the WS, Pujols did nothing in the playoffs. Going by Fangraphs Pujols had a 5.1 fWAR last season while Beltran had 4.8 fWAR. The difference isn’t very substantial by any stretch and I expect Beltran to do much better in the power department at Busch than San Fran and Queens. Craig will also get more AB’s and I believe he is the real deal with production coming over a full season. Freese I have more concern about but if he stays healthy I suspect a solid line from.

    While Wainwright isn’t guaranteed to be a top 3 pitcher in baseball like he was in 09-10, he is still likely  going to outperform Matt Latos. And the Cardinals still clearly have the overall better rotation and also have an edge in the bullpen. Neither Latos or Cueto have ever even pitched 200 innings. When a teams top 2 starters have never even pitched 200 innings, calling them a favorite is hard to fathom.

    IF the Cards add Beltran they are no doubt the clear cut favorite going into the season and I still think a case could be made that they would still have a slight edge even w/o him. Adding Beltran and Wainwright more than makes up for the loss of Pujols.

    The Reds simply are horrible in the pitching department and even adding Latos will not make them that much more than a .500 team. Even if Cueto stays healthy I don’t see him keeping up the line he had going last year. Their offense performed fine last year so I don’t see them taking a step forward in that department. They also lose Cordero most likely in an already shaky bullpen. Adding Latos just doesn’t take a sub .500 team to the favorites to win the division especially in that ball park for him.

  46. jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

    Let me preface this by saying that I am a life long Cardinals fan, and will remain so until the day I die.

    The Cardinals are not the “clear cut favorites” and will not be “clear cut favorites” even if they add Beltran.

    The Cardinals are NOT better in 2012 than they were in 2011, even if Beltran is added.  They won 90 games last year, and with Beltran, look like a 90-92 win team this year.

    Cincinatti IS better in 2012 than in 2011.  They underperformed in 2011.  Based on the talent they had last year, they should have been a little above .500 instead of below.  An 85-88 win team (I think that’s where there talent really is – somewhere between 2010’s overperformance and 2011’s underperformance) + Latos and an improved bullpen puts them around 90 wins as well.

    Remove Fielder from Milwaukee, and their 96 wins become… wait for it…. 90-92 wins!

    I am all for rooting for your team.  I will certainly root for mine.  I can understand the optimism, but I would prefer to keep it real.

  47. Red_Line_9 4 years ago

    It’s also possible that Milwaukee overperformed in 2011 as well.  come to think of it…it’s USUALLY the team that overperforms that wins.  Most teams are close enough in basic talent.  I guess that’s what they call the breaks.

  48. Matt Talken 4 years ago

    Don’t forget two things:  Braun’s out 50 games, and it’s a lot easier to walk a guy when the next batter is Aramis Ramirez than when it’s Prince Fielder.

    If Braun comes back after 50 games and mashes the way he has the last couple seasons, he’s going to see a lot of pitches out of the strike zone, especially considering A-Ram’s perceived inability to knock in meaningful runs.

  49. mickblue66 4 years ago

    You keep saying Cincy is better but you have failed to show me that they are better in any aspect of the game. St. Louis clearly has a better rotation than Cincy, they have a better lineup especially with Beltran and their Bullpen is better. So how can they not be the favorite. 

    To say a team whose only starting pitcher to pitch 200 innings is Bronson Arroyo is the favorite to win the division over the Cardinals is laughable.

    I’m harder than anyone on the Cardinals and I keep it very real but in the NL Central next year they are the CLEAR CUT FAVORITE if they add Beltran. The team St. Louis ended with was much better than the one they started the season with so they are actually better than a 90 win team. You keep down playing Wainwright but even at 80% he’s better than Latos. The Reds bullpen is also a huge question mark without Cordero. You keep saying they’re not better in 2012 than they were in 2011 when that’s not true if you go by the whole season. If you say they’re not better than the team they ended with, I could maybe believe that but they certainly aren’t any worse if Beltran is added along with Wainwright, I will take Beltran and Wainwright together over Pujols alone any day of the week.

    Not to mention that St. Louis has the financial flexibility to make deals at the deadline to improve their club unlike Cincinnati if necessary.

    I just fail to see how a team that is superior to Cincinatti in every aspect of the game from the Rotation to the Lineup to the Bullpen, how they can not be considered favorites going into the year. It makes zero sense

  50. jhfdssdaf 4 years ago

    I think Milwaukee overperformed on offense and underperformed on pitching.  I think Grienke and Marcum are better than they showed last year.  Overall, I had them around 94 wins, and they finished with 96, so I’m not calling it overperforming.

    I also didn’t include that they partially replaced Fielder with Ramirez, and upgraded SS by losing Bettancourt.

    All told, I still think all three teams are roughly equal.  You could call any of the three the favorite, and any of the three the underdog, and have an argument.  “Clear favorite” or “clear underdog” would be a stretch at best.

  51. Red_Line_9 4 years ago

    I totally agree, but outside the statbook..I was in Milwaukee in August and saw the Pirates hand them a 3 game sweep.  Never seen a team as inept at that point as the Pirates were.  That was 3 easy victories for the Brewers.  I’ve truly never seen anything like it.  It’s like the Pirates were shell shocked. They were in the midst of their cliff-dive.

  52. Red_Line_9 4 years ago

    If Greinke underperformed it was only marginally.  I’d say who we saw last season is very close to who he really is as a pitcher.  I realize that he missed some starts, but I’m basing that on his peripherals.  Of course, he could be who he was in KC when he won a Cy Young…but I do think that 2011 was a solid baseline for him.

  53. mickblue66 4 years ago

    Can’t believe how VASTLY under-rated Wainwright is being viewed here. The guy had virtually identical stats as Roy Halladay the last season he pitched. 

    You continue to talk about what the Brewers and Reds have added but mention only what the Cardinals lost. The Cardinals have added more than any team in the division by simply getting Wainwright back and signing Beltran. It’s amazing this is so difficult to comprehend, it’s beyond clear that you simply hate the Cardinals like a lot of non-Cards fans do for some reason

  54. Hermie13 4 years ago

    Um…when these posts started Belttan was NOT a member of the Cardinals. Original post i responded to said the cards were the favorites without beltran. Sorry, but no baseball person would have agreed with that…

  55. Hermie13 4 years ago

    O and for the record…i actually hope the Cardinals WIN THE DIVISION this year. I hate seeing franchise players leave small and mid market teams. Would be nice if the cardinals can win without him. Believ me i know the feeling of losing a franchise player……cleveland fan here…

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