Tony LaRussa finally Retires

My morning drive to work was quite interesting. As I turn on the local sports talk radio station, they announced a press conference at Busch Stadium will happen at 9:00am. Right away I thought this had to do with LaRussa because it is way too soon to announce the possible signing of Pujols.

During LaRussa’s Press Conference he told reporters that it is time to retire from baseball. LaRussa spent 33 years as manager with MLB. Tony is now the third most winningest manager in MLB history.

It was the most closely-guarded secret in the organization until mere minutes after the team’s parade and rally Oct. 30. That was when LaRussa told his players, and reportedly there weren’t many dry eyes in the room.

LaRussa told the press conference he wasn’t managing anywhere else and wasn’t coming back.

John Mozeliak did mention in a interview today that it should take two weeks to replace Tony, if not then it may happen in a month or so.

So who could be the next St.Louis Cardinal Manager in 2012?  My first thought was Joe Maddon manager of the Rays but I think they may go in house. Joe Oquendo would be a good choice and Mark McGwire that had recently not too long ago talked about wanting to manage a team someday.

So long Tony!!

Molina’s Option Picked Up by Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals took the first step of a potentially busy offseason Monday when they exercised catcher Yadier Molina’s $7 million option for 2012.

Molina had career highs in batting average (.305), doubles (32), home runs (14), RBI (65), and runs scored (55) in 2011, his final guaranteed year of a four-year, $15.5 million deal that was signed before the 2008 season.

General manager John Mozeliak confirmed at the Cardinals World Series parade Sunday that the club would officially pick up Molina’s option Monday, keeping the Gold Glove catcher in the fold for at least one more season.

It was widely assumed that the Cardinals would pick up Molina’s option. In today’s free agent market, paying $7 million for a player who reached his third consecutive All-Star Game and is regarded as one of the best catchers in baseball seems like a bargain.

Less certain is the future of first baseman Albert Pujols, who filed for free agency Sunday and can begin negotiating with other teams at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday. Pujols likely will take several weeks before signing either back with the Cardinals or elsewhere.

The Texas Rangers, Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals will be among the teams interested in stealing Pujols away from the Cardinals.

Pitchers Edwin Jackson and Arthur Rhodes filed for free agency Sunday, as did infielder Nick Punto and backup catcher Gerald Laird.

With Adam Wainwright expected to return, a full starting rotation leaves Jackson out of the Cardinals’ plans for 2012. Laird likely won’t return, either, with cheaper rookie Tony Cruz expected to take over as the backup to Molina.

Punto and Rhodes potentially could return to the Cardinals.

Reliever Octavio Dotel has a $3.5 million club option for next season that the Cardinals must make a decision on by Monday at 10:59 p.m. CT. Should they decline, the Cardinals would owe Dotel a $750,000 buyout but could still try to re-sign him.

The Cardinals will decline shortstop Rafael Furcal’s $12 million option for 2012 but would like to try re-sign the switch-hitter at a cheaper price. Furcal helped solidify the leadoff spot when he arrived from the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline.

Both Chris Carpenter and Lance Berkman signed contract extensions with the club in September, allowing the Cardinals to cross them off their offseason checklist.

The Cardinals have $79.58 million owed to eight players next season: Matt Holliday ($17 million), Kyle Lohse ($12.2 million), Lance Berkman ($12 million), Chris Carpenter ($10.5 million), Adam Wainwright ($9 million), Jake Westbrook ($8.5 million), Molina ($7 million) and Jaime Garcia ($3.38 million).

Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot, Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs are all eligible for salary arbitration this winter.

World Series MVP David Freese, Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Dan Descalso are all cost-controlled players who will return to the Cardinals next season.

Source BJ Rains

St.Louis Cardinals World Series Champions 2011

What a night! What a game! As I sat among my friends last night at the beginning of the game I thought to myself this will be another emotional roller coaster ride just like it was for game six. When Hamilton and Young drove in two runs in the first inning I felt this might be the best 7th game of the World Series ever, and it was. I have to give the Rangers my respect not only are they my favorite AL team they are also my McBrayer cousins team that they love to cheer for. My extended McBrayer family in Texas resides in Lubbock, Kennedale, Dallas, Houston and several other areas in Texas. Just like St.Louis Cardinal fans they are just as dedicated to their team, they show honor and love to there beloved players.
The Rangers team defined a line up that was hard to beat. Players like Napoli, Cruz, Hamilton and Young are the backbone of this gritty team. This Rangers lineup was hard to beat. The pitchers aggravated me. Watching Derek Holland tangle up the Cardinal hitters was mesmerizing but frustrating since being a fan of both teams. I am loyal fan to the Rangers during the regular season but being raised as a Cardinal fan, its in my blood. My cheers and adoration to the Cardinals where stymied for a time when looking at the face of Ron Washington after last nights lost. I totally enjoyed this series. So much ups and downs. Great story lines like David Freese a local product of St.Louis that went to Lafayette High School became NLCS MVP and World Series MVP. Couldn’t of written a better script for him. He is only 28 years old and has a foot note in St.Louis Cardinals History. Freese broke the all-time post season RBI record. His 21 RBI’s passes Scott Spiezio’s 19 he hit in the Angels 2002 win over the Giants. For Freese’s great performance he received a brand new Corvette.

Freese hit .348 (8-for-23) with a home run and seven RBIs in the Series. But the three runs he hit during Game 6 — one of which came on a walk off home run in the 11th inning — will make him a legend for life in St. Louis..

Without Freese’s two-out, two-strike, two-run triple in the ninth inning, followed by his walk off shot two innings later, the Cardinals aren’t playing a Game 7 for a championship. He is our hometown hero!

Now it is time to watch free agency in MLB begin on October, 30. What will happen with Pujols? Keep your eyes on the McBrayer Baseball Blog to find out.

In other news………………………………..

The team decided to pick up a two-year contract option for the pitcher, keeping him in Cardinal red for the foreseeable future.
 Adam Wainwright’s contract is for 21 million over the next two years, and it gives the Cardinals more depth their starting rotation in 2012

Freese’s Bat and Jersey Going to the Hall of Fame

The keepers of baseball history were waiting for David Freese shortly after he made it Thursday night at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals’ third baseman slugged a game-winning home run in the 11th inning of Game 6 to force the World Series to a winner-take-all Game 7 on Friday at Busch Stadium. Freese had two of the most pivotal hits (so far) in the Cardinals’ season, as he went down to his final strike before delivering a game-tying triple in the ninth inning and then hit the clout that won the game, 10-9, in the 11th.
His teammates were there at home plate to to greet him and, in the language of the realm, “shred” him.
That is: Tear the very jersey from his shoulders.
What’s left of the jersey is headed to Cooperstown.
Representatives from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., met Freese shortly after he came off the field and were able to acquire the bat he used to hit the homer and the tattered remains of the jersey he wore. The Hall reps left the ballpark with both items in their possession. (The picture that accompanies this blog entry is the jersey.)
The jersey is torn because of the “shredding” practice that the Cardinals have adopted for some late-season celebrations. The “Shredder” is the nickname given to Nick Punto, who this season has gone up to teammates, grabbed them by the top button of their dresse shirts and yanking. The result is a spectacularly explosion of buttons, collars, and thread — or a “shred.”
Now, the shredded is going to the Hall of Fame to represent this game, easily the most compelling (best?) in Busch Stadium III’s short history.

Derrek Gould

Pujols Signed? and Other Notes

I am not trying to spread rumors or make up stories. I am beginning to think that the Cardinals and Pujols have already agreed to terms but nothing is official yet. I guess you are wondering, Joe who is your source and where is the link?  Sorry I have nothing official to prove this but the signs I see point in that direction there something is in place for Albert to return to the Cardinals for the rest of his career. With things still silent, and no media leaks Albert’s agent Dan Lozano has been seen in St.Louis. I think Lozano is the key to what is really going on. When Lozano split away from the Beverly Hill Sports Council he needed a cash cow like Pujols to help him out. I have heard they are both very close friends. So as the World Series comes to an end we will see the last act of this drama with Pujols signing his name on the dotted line.

Albert Pujols has joined Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson  to pound three home runs in a World Series game. With 16-7 win the Cardinals are 2-1 in this seven game series. I enjoyed seeing 
Former President George W. Bush and Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan looked dismayed, watching from front-row seats.

Octavio Dotel told reporters, including Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, that he would like to return to St. Louis next season.  Though Dotel could set a record by joining his 13th different franchise this winter, it’s probably no surprise that he wants to settle down.  The Cardinals have a $3.5MM team option on Dotel for next season that can be bought out for $750K

Arthur Rhodes wants to Pitch with Cardinals in 2012

Veteran reliever Arthur Rhodes told reporters, including ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link), that he wants to pitch in 2012 and then retire.  Rhodes’ preference is to pitch for the Cardinals in 2012, which would be Rhodes’ 21st Major League season.
Rhodes, who will turn 42 on Monday, has pitched for nine clubs in his long career and will receive his first World Series ring this fall regardless of the outcome between the Cards and Rangers.  (Rhodes was released by Texas in August and then signed with St. Louis.)  Given Tony La Russa’s love of situational bullpen use and the fact that Marc Rzepczynski is the only other lefty in the Cardinals’ bullpen, Rhodes would seem to have a decent chance of returning to St. Louis next year.
Rhodes has a 4.64 ERA in 51 appearances with the Rangers and Cardinals this year, and his ERA (4.15) and peripheral numbers have improved since his move to the National League.  The southpaw is still effective against left-handed batters, holding them to a .245/.344/.459 slash line this season.


Cardinal Fan Bets 999 to 1 The Cardinals Win World Series

Back on Sept. 12, when the St. Louis Cardinals trailed the National League wild card by 4 1/2 games with 15 to play in the season, some slaphappy fan at the MGM sports book in Las Vegas put down $500 of faith in his team.
What were the odds that the Cardinals were going to come back from the brink and make something of themselves and make this dude some cash? Well, not only can we tell you the odds, but we can also tell you what the payoff is.

The sap true believer, Deadspin reports, wagered $250 at 500-to-1 odds that Team Fredbird would take the NL pennant, along with another $250 — at 999-to-1 odds — that the Cardinals would win the World Series.
Well, the fella (a St. Louisan, Deadspin says) is already $125,000 richer after the Cards upset the Phillies and Brewers in the NL playoffs, and he’s three more St. Louis victories away from winning $250,000. Sounds great, doesn’t it, cashing in on the old hometown team? But there’s a downside.
Having so much money on the line must take away some of the joy he could be feeling as a fan right now. You know how people get on Monday nights when their fantasy football score is coming down to a reception from Wide Receiver “A” against the extra-point total for Placekicker “B”? It stops being fun and starts to become something else. They turn into real jerks. (I know, having turned into one myself from time to time.) This is 250 grand on the line, too, not just a reason to exclaim “I love Drew Brees.”
Does the guy who bets the Kentucky Derby every year love horses? Or does he just love betting on them?

This Cardinals bettor — and maybe he’s a great fan otherwise — has become something like a team owner. Only, he has no authority and no actual pride of ownership. Just a fleeting monetary investment. To him, the Redbirds aren’t a great comeback story for the sake of being a great comeback story; they are just a deposit to his bank account. A way to pay off his car, or install an above-ground pool, or sock some away for the kids’ college fund. A means to an end. And this is if the Cardinals win.

If they lose, the Cardinals will always be the guys who almost won him $375,000 (before taxes), but instead only won him $125,000. It’s actually kind of sad, the loss of innocence. It’s like the man says: He who gambles lives in shambles.
Dave Brown, Yahoo Sports

Clayton Kershaw Wins Warren Spahn Award

In the first of what could be several postseason accolades, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp is expected to be named this year’s National League winner of the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the top hitter in the league as selected through voting by fans and a select panel of Hall of Famers including Aaron.
Multiple sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Kemp will receive the award and that the announcement could come as early as Thursday.

Also, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was named this year’s winner of the Warren Spahn Award on Thursday as the game’s best left-hander. The award, which is presented annually by the Bricktown Rotary Club of Oklahoma City and the Jim Thorpe Association, is based on a pitcher’s wins, strikeouts and ERA, with Kershaw having led the NL or tied for the lead in all three categories.
Kemp is among the leading candidates for the NL Most Valuable Player award. Kershaw is a leading candidate, possibly even the favorite, for the NL Cy Young Award. The recipients of those awards, both of which are selected through voting by select members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be announced in November.
The Aaron award is in its 13th year of existence and never has been won by a Dodgers player. It was created in 1999 to mark the 25th anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time career home runs record in 1974, a record that stood until it was broken again by Barry Bonds in 2007.
The Spahn award is named for the Hall of Fame pitcher who still holds the record for career wins by a lefty with 363. He also won a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star as a member of the U.S. Army during World War II.
“It’s a genuine honor to have my name mentioned alongside one of the greatest lefties in the history of the game,” Kershaw said in a release issued on behalf of the award organizers. “Mr. Spahn accomplished so much both in baseball and in his life off the field. I am truly humbled by this award.”
Kershaw, 23, who will receive the award at an event in Oklahoma City in January, set a career high for victories this season by going 21-5 and also established new career bests in ERA (2.28), strikeouts (248) and innings pitched (233 1/3). By tying Arizona’s Ian Kennedy for most wins and leading the NL in ERA and strikeouts, he won the pitching version of the Triple Crown, and he became the Dodgers’ first 20-game winner in more than two decades.
Kershaw also was named to the NL All-Star team for the first time.