Cardinals third baseman Nolan Arenado has watched several teammates play into their age-40 seasons in recent years, but he tells MLB.com’s John Denton that as things stand right now, he’s not planning to follow Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols and Adam Wainwright down that path. Arenado tells Denton he’d like to play until age 38 — long enough that his infant daughter can eventually watch him play in the Majors. Calling it quits at 38 would also give Arenado an earlier path to spending more time with his young family, of course. As you’d expect, Arenado qualifies that the age-38 plan is subject to change, noting that his body, on-field performance and other factors will play sizable roles in the decision as time passes.
On a surely related note, Arenado talks with Denton about the intensity with which he prepares for and plays the game, acknowledging that it can take a toll on him. Arenado wonders whether that intensity can be “too much” for both his own psyche and, at times, his teammates, adding: “I actually need to relax more.” It’s an interesting look at Arenado’s personality, mentality and place within the organization. Cards fans — and, more broadly, fans of Arenado in general — will want to check it out in full.
A few more items pertaining to the Cards…
- Infielder Jose Fermin has a strained quadriceps and will be shut down for at least the next two weeks, manager Oli Marmol announced to reporters this morning (Twitter link via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Acquired in a November trade with the Guardians, the 23-year-old Fermin (24 late this month) has been competing for a bench spot, but this injury all but eliminates the possibility of him landing on the Opening Day roster. He’s out to a 1-for-8 start thus far in Grapefruit League play and is coming off a shaky .215/.336/.322 showing in 330 Triple-A plate appearances a year ago. Even while struggling in Triple-A, however, Fermin fanned at a tiny 13.9% clip against a hearty 12.7% walk rate. He’s long drawn praise for his bat-to-ball skills, above-average speed and above-average defensive potential. He has very little power, but a healthy Fermin could seemingly make the Cardinals as a versatile utility player with a knack for putting the ball in play. He’s in the first of three minor league option seasons and is already on the 40-man roster, so he could potentially impact the team’s bench mix for several years.
- Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat takes a thorough look at the Cardinals’ pitching depth, noting that this is the deepest staff of arms the Cards have carried in some time. A few items of particular note include that righty Drew VerHagen and lefty Zack Thompson, both of whom have been rotation options in the past, have been brought along on reliever schedules this spring. Sophomore righty Andre Pallante started 10 games for the Cards in 2022, but it seems the team is monitoring his workload even as he preps to pitch for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic; the Cards have asked that Team Italy not push him beyond 45 pitches in any outing. Pallante is likely ticketed for a relief role in 2023, given the presence of Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz, Jordan Montgomery and Jack Flaherty in the rotation (with Matthew Liberatore, Dakota Hudson, Jake Woodford and top prospect Gordon Graceffo all on hand as depth options). It should be noted that Matz is the only member of that rotation signed/controlled beyond 2023, however, so the Cards will surely be hoping for some in-house arms to step up and prove they can be relied upon in 2024 and beyond (even if the addition of an arm or two next winter feels inevitable).