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The Cardinals edged the Braves out for the National League Wild Card and are now preparing for their Division Series matchup against the Phillies. Here are some Cardinals-related links, as we await tomorrow's Kyle Lohse-Roy Halladay contest…
- Lance Berkman told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he doesn't question his durability the way others do. The switch-hitting slugger adds that he feels great about his resurgent season and recent $12MM contract extension.
- Everyone wants to know how the Cardinals completed a seemingly impossible comeback and GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch that the team succeeded because the starters pitched deeper into games and the bullpen became "more credible and more functional."
- Cardinals players told Strauss that they were impressed by the July trade that brought Edwin Jackson, Marc Rzepczynski, Octavio Dotel, and Corey Patterson to St. Louis. Here's a complete recap of Mozeliak's in-season trades.
Saturday afternoon linkage…
- Bengie Molina has had an immediate impact in Texas, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
- The Orioles won't sign Manny Machado before August 1st, Baltimore's director of scouting told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com (via Twitter).
- The Indians placed closer Kerry Wood on the disabled list with a blister on his right index finger according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. The move is retroactive to July 12th, so unless he needs more than the 15 days off, Wood will be back just before the trade deadline.
- Meanwhile, ESPN's Buster Olney says Wood's actual trade deadline is August 31st, because he will clear waivers next month given the $4MM still owed to him this season (Twitter links).
- White Sox GM Kenny Williams often approaches his veteran players to get their opinions about potential moves, but he has not yet pulled Paul Konerko aside to discuss scenarios according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun Times.
- Bernie Miklasz of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Cardinals' GM John Mozeliak was well-deserving of his contract extension.
- In a video on ESPN, Olney says the Yankees have determined that they would not trade catching prospect Jesus Montero for any player available on the trade market. They were willing to move him for Cliff Lee because it was a special case.
Brendan Bianowicz continues to update the GM Trade History series, covering the NL Central today. Click below to download Excel spreadsheets chronicling trades, free agent signings, and top draft picks for each GM.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted this morning that the Cardinals' payroll is down about $8MM heading into the 2009 season. In that article, GM John Mozeliak defended the cut, but provided no indication that the team is stocking up for an in-season acquisition.
Well, Mozeliak conveniently appeared on Bernie Miklasz's radio show this afternoon and gave Cards fans everywhere a bit more hope. The general manager said that his organization likes to have its "payroll parallel with revenue." Miklasz has the full synopsis over at the Post-Dispatch's website, but here's the basic gist:
If things go better they can adjust accordingly. If things go worse (economy, attendance) then it could go the other way. But he hopes to be able to make a move if they need it.
Ticket prices have gone up, and the new Busch Stadium is almost always full, so it's fairly safe to assume that the Cardinals will have some loose change in June or July. Plus, St. Louis is hosting the All-Star Game this season and that typically brings in gobs of revenue.
As reported by MLB.com’s Matthew Leach, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Wednesday that little progress has been made with arbitration-eligible outfielders Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.
"There’s not a whole lot to comment on," Mozeliak said. "Right now we’re just preparing. I think if there is a settlement before we enter in, it would be a [last-minute] type of thing."
Both players are pretty far apart in negotiations with the club. Ludwick asked for $4.25MM and was offered $2.8MM, while Ankiel asked for $3.3MM and the Cardinals countered with $2.35MM. The Cards haven’t required an arbitration hearing since 1999, but it looks like that’s about to change.
Links for Wednesday…
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak subjected himself to all kinds of questions from fans today in an online chat. It sounds like he might do a little spring tinkering.
- It seems that the Angels will go with internal options for the fifth starter job.
- The Rangers, Rays, and A’s are atop Keith Law’s farm system rankings, with the Tigers, Nationals, and Astros bringing up the rear.
- Orioles infielder Oscar Salazar is likely on the chopping block to make room for Gregg Zaun.
- Kyodo News reports that Edgardo Alfonzo will try out for the Yomiuri Giants.
- Dave Sheinin says Kevin Youkilis is a good comp for Ryan Zimmerman. The midpoint between Zimmerman’s and the Nationals’ arbitration submissions would be a $3.325MM.
- I sincerely appreciate all the submissions for the Saturday evening writer gig. I’m happy to welcome D.J. Blatter aboard as our newest blogger.
Matthew Leach of MLB.com believes the St. Louis Cardinals and right-handed starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer are close to a deal to avoid arbitration.
This from Wellemeyer himself: "I know it’s getting close, I’ll tell you that much."
Wellemeyer, 30, went 13-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 2008.
Leach notes that deals might be close for Chris Duncan and Brad Thompson, too. General manager John Mozeliak said he would like to avoid arbitration with Duncan and Thompson, as well as Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick.
Mozeliak is hopeful that none of the five players will actually go to arbitration. Ankiel is especially challenging given his short tenure as an outfielder, Leach writes.
I am currently evaluating Phil Hughes‘ playlist. Some of it is solid. Let’s get on to the odds and ends…
- Bill Conlin thinks it’s a mistake for the Phillies to pay Ryan Howard at a rate commensurate with his service time. It’s a slippery slope – shouldn’t Cole Hamels be earning $15MM instead of $500K, then? The system may be broken but it doesn’t make sense for the Phillies to start ignoring service time.
- John Mozeliak is not done yet. Meanwhile, Albert Pujols continued to direct his ire at KTVI-TV of St. Louis.
- The Orioles agreed to a minor league deal with 27 year-old righty Lance Cormier worth around $450K. Cormier doesn’t have much to show for his 244 big league innings, whether starting or relieving. He has a decent groundball rate, at least.
- The Padres signed Jody Gerut to a minor league pact that could be worth as much as $910K. He’s 30 now; his best season was an .830 OPS for Cleveland at age 25. Since then he’s had all sorts of knee problems and even had a grievance with the Pirates.
According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, negotiations with Chris Antonelli broke down and the Cards have instead hired John Mozeliak as their GM. He gets a three-year deal. Mozeliak has experience and familiarity with the organization. He’s said to have a solid relationship with Jeff Luhnow. Luhnow’s presence may have been a factor driving Walt Jocketty and Antonelli away from the job.
Mozeliak had already gotten down to business as interim GM, re-signing Joel Pineiro and Russ Springer while exercising Jason Isringhausen‘s option. Perhaps his next move will be to have a chat with Curt Schilling.