Fowler Open to Play for Cardinals


This afternoon Jose De Jesus Ortiz wrote this article for St. Louis Post Dispatch…….

Chicago Cubs center fielder Dexter Fowler hoped to find a longterm deal elsewhere last offseason, and at one point he appeared headed to the Baltimore Orioles.

He ultimately returned to the Cubs and helped them reach the World Series for the first time since 1945. His entire focus is on helping the Cubs try to win their first World Series since 1908, but he concedes that he’ll be open to consider the rival Cardinals when they search for a center fielder this winter.

“I’d consider anything,” Fowler said when asked if he will consider the Cardinals this winter. “I always like to keep my options open. But right now it’s about finishing up this and seeing where it takes me.”

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak has made no secret his desire to improve the center field position this winter. Fowler is likely to be one of the top center fielders on the free agent market this winter. Fowler appeared set to sign a three-year contract with the Orioles at one point last winter. Those negotiations broke down in acrimonious fashion, prompting Fowler’s agent Casey Close to accuse the Orioles of “irresponsible behavior.”

Fowler ultimately settled for a one-year, $8 million contract with a club option in late February to return to the Cubs.

“Obviously I didn’t get those long-term deals that I wanted, but at the same time you get to come back to the team and you’re playing in the World Series,” he said. “You’re National League champs. To add to all that it’s a blessing. Sometimes you have to sit there and take a deep breath and realize that there’s another plan in sight.”

Fowler has rolled with it all the way to the World Series, and the Cardinals will be wise to consider him this winter.



Ballpark Village Phase Two


Two years after opening a bar, restaurant and entertainment hub next to Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals are ready to resume building at Ballpark Village.

Bill DeWitt III, the Cardinals’ president, said Tuesday the team and its development partner hope to begin construction of the $220 million next-phase project by next fall. Completed about 18 months later would be an office building, a retail center and a 29-story apartment tower across Clark Avenue from Busch Stadium’s center field.

DeWitt said in an interview the “confluence” of an improving economy and low borrowing costs are prompting the team and its development partner, Cordish Cos., of Baltimore, to do more at Ballpark Village. The development is on the site of the previous Busch Stadium that was demolished by the time the current ballpark opened in 2006. Outside the single Ballpark Village building completed in 2014, parking lots cover the six-block site.

The most downtown skyline-changing part of the next proposed Ballpark Village phase is the apartment tower. A 310-foot building with about 300 apartments would rise above a parking garage for residents and users of the surface lot the tower would replace. The design is by Hord Coplan Macht, the Baltimore architecture firm that designed a 24-story apartment building for Cordish’s Power & Light District project in downtown Kansas City.

Also part of the next Ballpark Village phase are an office building of about 10 floors and a two-story retail structure next to the existing Ballpark Village structure. The apartment tower, office building and retail structure would complete the southern half of the redevelopment area. The Cardinals said the project would produce 1,500 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent jobs. The team promised to raise standards for racial and gender equity in building the project.

Mayor Francis Slay and Missy Kelley, chief executive of Downtown STL, praised the project.

Ballpark Village’s first phase and the second, as proposed, would complete much of what the Cardinals pledged as a development goal a decade ago.

In 2006 — four years after announcing plans for the current Busch Stadium — the Cardinals and Cordish grew the previously modest Ballpark Village plan to include condo towers, shops, restaurants and a grocery.

The following year, Centene Corp. said it would move its headquarters to Ballpark Village from Clayton in a $250 million project that included more offices and shops. The deal with the city soon collapsed. Centene announced this year a huge expansion of its Clayton headquarters.

DeWitt said Tuesday the Cardinals and Cordish had “good momentum on leasing” but had yet to get tenants for their Ballpark Village office building, which is designed to include garage parking, restaurants and retail space. The developers have pledged not to poach office jobs from elsewhere in the city.

The “net new jobs” provision of a proposed amendment to Ballpark Village’s redevelopment agreement with St. Louis requires that the project’s office jobs must not come from elsewhere in the city unless they would be lost permanently or moved out of the city absent construction of the Ballpark Village office building. DeWitt said city officials sought the provision.

“They want to make sure we’re not just shifting bodies around,” he added.

The amendment submitted Tuesday to the Board of Aldermen would allow collection of a 1 percent sales tax authorized for the initial Ballpark Village project but never imposed. The projected $16 million in tax revenue would help pay for phase-two infrastructure, including structured parking. Public incentives for phase two could reach $65 million, including city and state tax-increment financing. The TIF framework was established for Ballpark Village’s $100 million first phase.

DeWitt said he believes Ballpark Village’s office building would complement a similar, newly proposed project by the Koman Group. Koman wants to build a $43.5 million, five-story office building on a parking lot west of Busch Stadium. Company officials said this month an existing downtown business could move its 310 jobs to the project, called Cupples X.

Koman officials did not return calls seeking comment about the Ballpark Village office building.

DeWitt said the downtown office market is “a little stagnant” but added that downtown needs the modern office space Ballpark Village and Cupples X would provide. Metropolitan Square, opened in 1989, is the most recent “class A” office building downtown.

Planned for the area between the Ballpark Village office building and the first Ballpark Village facility is a two-story retail building with a second-floor event space. It would be next to the Busch II Field open space.

The latest Ballpark Village proposal excludes the northern side of the redevelopment area. DeWitt said the Cardinals and Cordish plan to redo the existing parking lots eventually. Offices, commercial space and a hotel are possible, he said.

Redevelopment could occur piecemeal or in “one fell swoop,” DeWitt added.

Source: Tim Bryant

Important MLB Dates to Know 2016/17


  • Nov. 7
    BBWAA Awards Finalists Show (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 9
    Players Choice Awards (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 10
    Louisville Silver Slugger Awards (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 9
    Rawlings Gold Glove Awards (ESPN)
  • Nov. 14
    BBWAA Rookies of the Year (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 15
    BBWAA Managers of the Year (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 16
    BBWAA Cy Young Awards (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 17
    BBWAA MVPs (MLB Network)
  • Nov. 18
    Esurance MLB Awards (MLB Network and
  • Dec. 5-8, 2016
    Winter Meetings
  • June 12-14, 2017
    2017 MLB Draft
  • July 11, 2017
    88th All-Star Game, Marlins Park More »

Ceremonies & Celebrations

  • Nov. 3, 2016
    22nd Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Gala benefiting ALS, Marriott Marquis, New York Learn more »
  • Nov. 10, 2016
    14th annual Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation Gala, Cipriani, New York Learn more »
  • Nov. 11, 2016
    Rawlings Gold Glove Dinner, Plaza Hotel, New York
  • Nov. 15, 2016
    MLBPAA Legends for Youth Dinner, Capital in New York Learn more »
  • Jan. 11-12, 2017
    13th annual MLBPA Players Trust Golf Tournament, Las Vegas Learn more »
  • Jan. 14, 2017:
    14th annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation Dinner, Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Jan. 20, 2017
    David Wright Vegas Night, Virginia Beach, Va. Learn more »
  • March 6, 2017
    Jackie Robinson Foundation Annual Awards Dinner, New York Learn more »

New St.Louis Cardinals Book on Uniforms


The St. Louis Cardinals are now taking orders for St. Louis Cardinals Uniforms & Logos: An Illustrated History, a high-quality hardback 120-page coffee-table style book that takes a journey through the evolution of the Cardinals uniforms and logos.  The team anticipates high demand for this one-of-a-kind keepsake and is taking orders now to ensure delivery before the holidays.

“The visual and graphic history of the Cardinals is an amazingly interesting topic,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals.  “This book presents that history in all its wonderful twists and turns, and will be a great reference for Cardinals fans or anyone who enjoys the subject of baseball team uniforms.”

St. Louis Cardinals Uniforms & Logos illustrates and details every St. Louis Cardinals logo and uniform from 2016, all the way back to 1882.  Years of research and design have culminated in this book showcasing over 300 drawings and 400 photos of jersey graphics, cap emblems, lettering, patches and more.  In addition to the chronological timeline documenting the history of the St. Louis Cardinals uniform, this book explores variations of Cardinals logos used for promotional items, signs, scorecards, merchandise and more.

“The Cardinals have one of the most iconic logos and uniforms in all of sports,” said Gary Kodner, the book’s author and illustrator.  “When people see the ‘Birds on the Bat’, they know exactly what they are looking at and instantly associate it with the city of St. Louis.”

For the next few weeks, St. Louis Cardinals Uniforms & Logos will be sold exclusively through the Cardinals website  To ensure delivery by December 25, orders must be placed online no later than December 15.  Starting in early November, the book will also be available at the Official Cardinals Team Store at Busch Stadium, Cardinals Authentics Shop at Cardinals Nation and at Cardinal Clubhouse stores.  The book retails for $29.95.

Source: St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinal Bloodlines run Deep

If your not familiar with the St. Louis Cardinals minor league team State College Spikes you might want to take note of the Spikes manager Johnny Rodriguez. Since coming to the Cardinals to manage Quad City River Bandits in 2010 he took his team to the playoffs twice. In 2010 the team lost in the first round and won Manager of the Year too. He also won it all in 2011. Rodriguez also managed the 2014  Johnson City Cardinals and also won another championship. In 2015 he became manager for the State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League and finished with a 50-26 record and won another championship.The Cuban-born Rodriguez has also coached at the high school, junior college and Division I levels, including a stint as an assistant coach at the University of Miami (FL). He also has scouting experience with Astros, Angels, Mets and Brewers organizations. I tend to think that the Cardinals may want to call up Rodriguez to fill in one of the coaching slots that will be opened soon. He has a great track record for developing a winning team. I also had no idea that his is the Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Sean Rodriguez father. It is nice to see how he still follows and watches his son Sean. He has commented that…..

“To see him do it day in and day out when he plays, and when he doesn’t play, he’s ready to go … it’s a dream.” Rodriguez said. “It’s something I don’t want to wake up from.”

“I remember him when he was as little as his own kids are now. I remember when he was that young, and I’m seeing that … it’s been seven years he’s been in the big leagues, and I’m thinking — is this real?”

Johnny Rodriguez thinks he has a pretty good explanation for his son’s solid numbers at the plate this season. Sean Rodriguez is batting .251 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 207 plate appearances.

“Last year, he goes to the Pittsburgh Pirates … first half of the year he was alright. One day late last year, he’s in the cage, and accidentally doing the kick. (Pirates hitting coach) Jeff Branson sees that and says, ‘Are you actually trying to kick?’ and Sean says, ‘No, no, that’s not natural, that’s how I hit before I got to the Angels. “Branson said, ‘I like it,’ and since then they left it in.”

Source: MilB/MLB

In Search of a Centerfielder

Well it looks like the Cardinals will definitely bring in a center fielder via trade this off season. Two names that keep popping includes Charlie Blackmon and Adam Eaton and apparently these two intrigue the Cardinals the most. So between Blackmon and Eaton who would be the better candidate? Lets take a look…..

Adam Eaton Scouting Report.

Eaton boasts a .325 BaBIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) as well as an 8.7% base on ball percentage and a 14.5% strikeout percentage — both the lowest of his MLB career.

A solid line drive approach and strong plate discipline has helped Eaton turned his low production early in his career into current high upside. Our dataindicates he hits line drives 40% of the time (27% is MLB average) which are rarely outs. He is also one of the leaders in infield hits with 18.

If you’re looking for holes in his swing, there aren’t too many. Over the past two seasons, he has struggled up in the zone — hitting .185, .206, and .194 respectfully but on pitches either down or down and out, you’re talking solid production from Eaton.

Statistically, Eaton dominates the value category because of his fielding metrics — which cannot go unnoticed when discussing his prowess.

Undeniably, his speed and route effectiveness is something that can’t go unnoticed. Below are three videos that speak for themselves.

The term “underrated” is kind of cliché used now for players that have a great year unexpectedly and then suddenly fade out. Based on the numbers, however, Eaton isn’t going away anytime soon.

In fact, he should be considered an American League All-Star this year and should definitely win a Gold Glove Award.

Charlie Blackmon Scouting Report

When the Rockies selected Blackmon in the second round of the 2008 draft with the 72nd overall selection, it was considered an overdraft by most. He was recruited by Georgia Tech as a two-way player out of Young Harris Junior College, but wound up pitching only two innings at Tech, finding a home as their leadoff man and a regular outfielder, though not their everyday centerfielder. He was about to turn 22 when he was drafted, and despite a very strong junior season, had yet to establish the type of proven track record with the bat – wood or aluminum – that teams search for high in the draft. Despite this fact, the Rockies, to their credit, were undaunted, and pulled the trigger on Blackmon.

At his relatively advanced age for a college junior, the Rockies were hoping for early minor league success, and quick advancement. While his .307-.370-.433 line, with 30 steals, in his first full pro season at High-A Modesto was respectable, it took place in a hitters’ league, and didn’t exactly scream “prospect”. Neither did his .297-.360-.484 season at AA in 2010, when he celebrated his 24th birthday on July 1.

His closest thing to a “breakthrough” occurred in the summer of 2011, when he tore up the hitter-friendly AAA Pacific Coast League at a .337-.393-.572 clip over 58 games and earned his first major league opportunity. Not only was the league hitter-friendly, but so was his Colorado Springs home park. If PCL stats in general are to be taken with a grain of salt, Colorado Springs numbers should be taken with a full tablespoon.

Each season, I utilize a system that evaluates minor league prospects both by their performance and age relative to their minor league level. Performers with respect to either criteria qualify for the list, which usually numbers around 300 position players, and extreme performers with respect to both reside at or near the top. Virtually every major league regular qualified for this list at some point during their minor league career, with the occasional exception of an all-glove, no-hit catcher or shortstop. The list is basically a master follow list for professional scouting coverage – and Charlie Blackmon never made the list. He barely missed in 2011 – by a day age-wise, and fractionally, performance-wise, but miss it he did. He never made a Baseball America Top 100 list, either, an admittedly more stringent criteria.

Blackmon continued to fly well beneath the radar in his first two major league trials in 2011 and 2012, before doing just a bit better last season. Though his .309-.336-.467 2013 line appears quite solid on the surface, there are two major cautionary factors that must be taken into consideration. First, there’s his awful 49/7 K/BB ratio. While his K rate was acceptable, his BB rate was off-the-charts bad. It should not have been a surprise, as he had never walked more than 39 times in a minor league season. His K rates had always been better than league average in the minors, but were never so good that warning bells would signal this as an area of future strength at the major league level.

The other significant factor is the Coors Field effect. I discussed this in detail in my preseason article on the Rockies – yes, I thought the Rockies had the potential to contend, and no, I didn’t see the Blackmon thing coming – Coors makes average hitters into stars, and can fool you into thinking well below average ones deserve their everyday jobs. Based on my own calculations utilizing granular batted-ball data, the overall, fly ball and line drive park factors for Coors Field (by field sector) in 2013 were:

OVERALL: LF= 116.9 LCF= 117.1 CF= 125.7 RCF= 161.5 RF= 118.5 ALL= 127.8
FLY: 118.6 166.3 149.9 287.9 150.4 176.4
LINE DRIVE: 110.8 109.9 106.2 124.7 98.2 109.6

Now there’s some help for lefties. All of Blackmon’s accomplishments must be placed in this context.

So what happened to turn Blackmon from the reasonable contributor he appeared to be last season to 2nd-in-the-NL-in-wOBA-guy in 2014, with a .359-.398-.590 line entering Monday’s games? Look no further than his K rate, which for no apparent reason has plunged from 19.0% in 2013 to 7.7% in 2014, the second best in the NL. This has been keyed by a startling plunge in his swing-and-miss rate from 8.7% last season to 4.4% thus far in 2014. Yup – he has cut his swing-and-miss rate in half, and his K rate by almost 150%, in a very short period of time. These things do not happen every day.

Source: Josh Turner and Tony Blengino


Cardinals might make Coaching Changes


According to Derrick Goold the Cardinals will be making some coaching changes this week. One thing for sure is that Derrick May the assistant  batting coach will not be back. So the Cardinals will search for a new assistant. As of right now it looks like Qquendo will be working as an instructor in Florida with the minor league players. The other coaches will have discussions with the Cardinals in regards to their future with the organization.  I tend to think that  some of the coaches will be retained while others will be let go. I know Derek Lilliquist the pitching coach should be back along with Bill Mueller and David Bell. Coach Bill Mueller is better suited as the hitting coach and has the numbers to prove it while John Mabry might get pushed out. This is only my opinion but things could get shaken up for Cardinals in 2017.

Zach Duke Out for 2017

duke’s Jennifer Langosch reporting that Zach Duke has been shut down for 2017 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Duke was acquired at the trade deadline to add some bullpen depth for the Cardinals’ stretch run, and posted a 1.93 ERA and 2.00 K/BB ratio in 23 1/3 innings for the club. He stands to make $5.5 million in 2017, the last vestige of a three-year contract that he signed with the White Sox in the 2014 offseason.

Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery, as well as getting his flexor muscle repaired, the left-hander had no prior known history of major injuries. His closest brush with a long-term setback came in 2007, when he landed on the 60-day disabled list with minor irritation in his left ulnar collateral ligament.

The Cardinals still have three lefties in their bullpen with Kevin Siegrist, Dean Kiekhefer, and an injured Tyler Lyons. Possible internal replacements for Duke include left-handers Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney, though with both pitchers sidelined with shoulder and elbow injures, the Cardinals are also expected to peruse the trade market as the 2017 season nears.

Source: Ashley Varea

Attention Autograph Hounds!!!


Will Jaime Garcia Stay or Go?


The recent news in regards to Jaime Garcia return or put on the open market reminds me of The Clash song “Should I stay or should I go?  Earlier today Bernie Miklasz tweeted….”GM Mozeliak says “it’s going to be tough” for Jaime Garcia to fit into the rotation next season.” Well it looks like the Cardinals are trying to decide whether to pick up the $12MM club option or not.

Garcia, 30, just made thirty starts for only the second time in his career, representing a highly promising return to health for a pitcher who has battled shoulder problems. But his results fell well shy of his established benchmark. Between his first full season in the majors through last season (i.e., 2010-2015), Garcia compiled a 3.25 ERA over 708 1/3 innings.

In his 171 2/3 frames in 2016, Garcia ended up allowing 4.67 earned runs per nine. His peripherals weren’t that far off of his career norms — 7.9 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 were both on the high side of his typical range, while his strong 56.7% groundball rate was nearly an exact match for his lifetime average.

Really, Garcia suffered most from an elevated home run susceptibility. He was touched for dingers on over one of five flyballs put in play against him, with opposing hitters launching 1.36 per nine. Whether he can pare back the long balls may be the biggest question remaining. Ultimately, ERA estimators suggest that his down year occurred at least in part due to some poor fortune (4.49 FIP; 3.77 xFIP; 3.93 SIERA.)

In terms of the underlying physical tools, there are indications that Garcia has continued to adapt with a shoulder that will probably never be fully normal. His release point continues to drift (see here and here), with his breaking balls showing marked changes in behavior as well as some inconsistencies. With those changes, Garcia’s typically double-digit swinging strike rate has resided just below that level (9.2%) for each of the last two years. On the other hand, his average fastball velocity is better than ever.

Garcia acknowledged that some of his struggles may be related to his efforts to stay ahead of the shoulder problems that have plagued him for so long. “I got caught up so much in being healthy and working hard to stay healthy that sometimes mechanics took a hit,” he said. But he says he’s glad to have ended the year on an uptick, proclaiming: “I found it now. … I know the kind of pitcher I am.” 

All told, it seems hard to imagine that the Cards will punt Garcia onto an open market that is starved for arms. There’s certainly an argument to be made that it would be unwise to sacrifice the depth after a season in which Lance Lynn, Marco Gonzales, and Michael Wacha were among the club’s hurlers who dealt with varying degrees of injury problems.

If anything, a trade would seem the more likely scenario. According to Goold, St. Louis “floated” Garcia’s name over the summer to assess his value. Whether or not there was ever serious consideration of moving him in 2016, that could become an option this offseason. As Goold explains it, promising the $12MM payday to Garcia “would give Mozeliak control of an asset for 2017 and pitching depth that he could use in deals even into spring training.”

Source: Jeff Todd, MLB Trade Rumors

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