My Top 5 Cardinal Stories For 2009

Here are my Top Five Cardinal Stories for 2009.
1. Making the Playoffs despite having the baseball pundits pick the Cubs to win the Central.
2. The Cardinals trading Brett Wallace, Peterson and Mortensen for Matt Holliday.
3. Whitey Herzog becomes a Hall Of Famer.
4. Skip Schumaker’s transition to Secondbase.
5. Cards Sign Shelby miller
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Cardinals Close to signing Holliday!

News coming in from Derrick Goold that the Cardinals and Matt Holliday are close to an agreement.
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations said progress is “strong” and a resolution could come as early as next week. Holliday’s representatives and Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak confirmed ongoing talks.

“I’m still hopeful,” Mozeliak wrote in a text message. “But there is still work to be done.”

  The Cardinals have led the pursuit of Holliday, first making a formal offer three weeks ago to his agent, Scott Boras. The exact details of the Cardinals’ current offer are not publicly known. Sources indicated the sides have discussed several structures, including a five-year guaranteed deal and an eight-year framework.
The average annual salary would be higher in the shorter deal. The longer deal’s total worth, however, would surpass the largest contract ever finalized by the Cardinals — the $100-million extension signed by Albert Pujols in 2004.

Source: Derrick Goold                                                                                                                                                 

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Mets Grab Jason Bay

After a disastrous season in which, among other things, they hit the fewest home runs in the major leagues, the New York Mets were determined to bolster their feeble offensive production. They made their first significant move of the offseason to address that deficiency Tuesday, when they agreed with slugging outfielder Jason Bay on a four-year deal worth nearly $66 million.
The Mets concentrated on the 31-year-old Bay, made him a contract offer Dec. 10 and waited through weeks of negotiations and some growing skepticism the former Gonzaga standout actually wanted to play for them. In closing the deal, the Mets might quiet some of the grumbling from their fans, who watched in recent weeks as the champion New York Yankees continued to make major acquisitions while their team signed backup catchers and low-profile relievers.
The deal with Bay provides for a vesting option for a fifth season that could allow him to earn about $80 million overall, according to a major-league executive who did not want to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly about an agreement not yet official.
The deal remains pending until Bay, a former Mets minor-leaguer, can take a physical early next week. Although that is often considered a formality, Bay’s previous team, the Boston Red Sox, apparently had some concerns about the long-term condition of his shoulders. The Mets’ 2009 season was derailed in part by an onslaught of injuries, so they will no doubt examine Bay closely.
Bay had career highs of 36 home runs and 119 runs batted in this year. He has exceeded 30 home runs and 100 RBI in four of the last five seasons.
News of the deal broke on WFAN, the radio station that broadcasts Mets games. The Mets might have wanted word to get out before a Thursday deadline for fans to renew season tickets for 2010.

I am wondering if Matt Holliday and The Cardinals may come to terms either this week or next week?

Source: New York Times 

Cardinals Looking at Felipe Lopez

Will Felipe Lopez return to the Cardinals? According to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch the Cardinals could be looking at Lopez since the departure of DeRosa. Lopez has played mostly at second base, some at left field and 83 starts at third base. Signing Lopz could soften the blow of losing DeRosa.

Farewell, Mark DeRosa

The San Francisco Giants have reached a preliminary agreement with infielder Mark DeRosa on a two-year contract. Giants spokesman Jim Moorehead said the 34-year-old passed a physical Monday and the team planned to formally announce his deal today.
One of general manager Brian Sabean’s top priorities this offseason was upgrading the Giants’ offense — and acquiring DeRosa seemingly is a significant step in that direction.
DeRosa played for Cleveland and St. Louis this year. He hit .250 with 23 homers and drove in 78 runs.
Meanwhile, San Francisco also is working to finalize a contract to bring back infielder Juan Uribe, 30. Uribe hit .289 with 16 homers and 55 RBI this year.

Ozzie’s New Sports Bar

Roberto Gallardo is opening a new Ozzie’s Sports Bar & Grill in the Washington Avenue Loft District downtown.
Named after former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith, the restaurant will begin build-out in January at 1511 Washington Ave. Construction is set to be completed by April 12, the Cardinals’ 2010 home opener.
The restaurant will be based on the bottom two floors of the building and will feature a display of Smith’s 13 Gold Gloves. Smith has a licensing agreement with Gallardo but does not have an ownership stake. A storefront retail space in the restaurant will sell jerseys and other memorabilia.
An Ozzie’s sports bar at Westport Plaza closed this fall after a 20-year run.

Source: Lisa R Brown

Daryl Jones: Cardinal Prospect

St. Louis Cardinals outfield prospect Daryl Jones, who graduated from Spring (Texas) High School in 2005, took a giant step forward in his pursuit to make the big leagues when he was added to the 40-man roster Nov. 24 in order to protect him from the Rule-5 draft.

Jones hit .279 with three homers and 29 RBI in 80 games last season with Double-A Springfield and was named to the 2009 Texas League North Division All-Star team.

The 22-year-old Jones got a taste of new Busch Stadium and the gracious Cardinals fans as a member of the U.S. Team in the 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game July 12 in St. Louis.

However, Jones battled a lingering left quadriceps injury over the course of the regular season, which forced him to spend a substantial amount of time on the disabled list. Now, it appears he’s healthy and ready to take his game to the next level.

“It was great stepping out on the field in front of the hometown fans,” Jones said. “They gave me a warm welcome and it meant a lot to me. I really wanted to play in that game and I hope to be able to step up to the big club soon and make an impact for the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis.”

According to Baseball America, Jones was the Cards’ No. 7 prospect heading into the 2009 season, but now finds himself ranked as the top offensive prospect after the trade of third baseman Brett Wallace to Oakland July 24 in exchange for three-time All-Star outfielder Matt Holliday.

He’s regarded as the best athlete in St. Louis’ farm system based on his raw ability, power and exceptional baserunning skills.

While at Spring High School, the former standout wide receiver earned football scholarship offers to several Division I programs, including Florida, Nebraska and Texas, but decided to forgo his commitment to play collegiate baseball at Rice University in favor of signing with the Cardinals.

Scouts often compare Jones’ skills to outfielder Cliff Floyd as he continues to capture the attention of Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and the entire front office.

“It’s truly a great organization with a strong tradition,” Jones said. “I’m motivated and hungry to keep advancing and I know I’m on the right path. I just have to keep working hard, get better and come to Spring Training on a mission to be successful.”

After being selected by the Cardinals in the third round (110th overall) of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, Jones began his minor league career in rookie ball with Johnson City of the Appalachian League prior to being promoted to Class A Quad Cities in 2006-07 and Class-A Advanced Palm Beach in 2008.

While at Palm Beach, Jones began to show his potential by hitting .326 with seven homers, 35 RBI, 100 hits and a .406 OBP, which earned him a spot on the 2008 FSL South Division All-Star team and a promotion to Double-A Springfield.

Jones concluded the 2008 season with Springfield hitting .290 with six homers, 14 RBI and a .409 OBP, as well as not committing a single error in the field.

Recently, Jones played for the Surprise Rafters in the Arizona Fall League and joined Astros top prospect Jason Castro as a participant in the fourth-annual AFL’s Rising Stars Game for the West Division.

Astros right fielder Hunter Pence, Atlanta Braves right-hander Tommy Hanson, Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun and New York Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes are among the young major leaguers who have previously appeared in this game.

Jones continues to work hard this offseason while spending time in the North Houston area.

Earlier this week, he assisted Pence at the Hunter Pence All-Star Camp 2009 for three, one-day clinics at Legends Sports Complex in The Woodlands, Texas.

“It’s always fun getting a chance to help kids improve their baseball skills,” Jones said. “It’s great to be able to be part of something positive and influence young lives, especially in my hometown.”

With the Cardinals still facing several question this offseason in the free-agent market, particularly in their attempt to re-sign Holliday, Jones recognizes the possibility of making the team out of Spring Training or earning a call up at some point in 2010.

All-Star outfielder Ryan Ludwick and young phenom Colby Rasmus have virtually locked down starting jobs in right and center field, respectfully, next season.

Although Mozeliak hopes to re-sign Holliday, it’s possible that St. Louis could turn their attention toward pursuing two-time All-Star outfielder and World Series champion Johnny Damon to fill the void in left field. 

“My goal is to get Tony LaRussa to look my way in Spring Training,” Jones said. “I have to go in there and perform and not worry about depth charts or anything like that. With good play, I hope to make it a tough decision on them.”

Source: Houston Astros Examiner: Stephen Goff