Top Five St.Louis Cardinal Stories of 2011

Number Five for me is the trade that sent Colby Rasmus along with Brian Tallett, Trever Miller, and P J Walters to the Toronto Bluejays for Mark Rzepczski, Corey Patterson, Octavio Dotel, and Edwin Jackson. At first I was upset with this trade, I believe we could of gotten better players. Little did I know the impact Jackson and Dotel had getting this team to the playoffs. I also feel that receiving Rzepczski is also a gem in the rough.

  
Number four was the signing of Lance Berkman. Taking a chance on this aging veteran was the spark plug this team needed to keep the Cardinals a contender. Lance got Comeback Player of the Year, what more can you say!

   

   
Number Three, Tony LaRussa Retires! He spent sixteen years as the manager and won two world series and one NL pennant but he began to stale in the last three years with the Cardinals. Was he gonna stay or go? Well he wanted to retire back in September but waited till after the World Series. What a way to go out on top.

                                                                                               
   
Number Two, Albert bolt to Anaheim to become an Angel. Well more power to him as a DH.

                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                  Number One, Cardinals win World Series!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                                                                                                                     

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San Jose Athletics?

The Oakland A’s facility has needed a face lift for years. The Coliseum has been around since 1968. While other MLB teams gets state of the art stadiums, the Coliseum remains a rust bucket. The move for the A’s make sense to me. Their new location is sensible and would attract more fans in that area. Here is more news on the possible move:

The Oakland Athletics—having traded two All-Star pitchers in a two-week period—reportedly have a reason behind a full-scale dismantling and rebuilding of the team’s roster: The A’s have received private assurances from Major League Baseball that they’ll be allowed to move to San Jose.
“All signs and top #MLB sources say that the #Athletics will be granted permission to move to San Jose,” CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported on his Twitter feed.

The Giants long have opposed such a move, claiming territorial rights over San Jose.
During a conference call Friday with reporters, Athletics GM Billy Beane said he was confident the team would be allowed to go forth with a San Jose ballpark and “any other information I have, I’d probably rather keep to myself.”
After trading RHPs Gio Gonzalez (to Washington in a deal completed Friday) and Trevor Cahill (to Arizona earlier this month), Beane said his team is trying to parlay established stars into a core of good young players for a potential new stadium, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
“We have no chance but to operate under the possible illusion that we’ll get a new stadium,” Beane said, according to FOXSports.com. “It’s really the only answer for us.”
Until the A’s get approval to move, he added, they can’t succeed in the long term in the American League West, where the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers have distanced themselves from the A’s and Seattle Mariners, both in terms of talent and spending, because of huge local TV deals.
“There wasn’t going be a move we could make to compete with Texas and Anaheim,” Beane said, noting that both will have payrolls in the $175 million range. “Just to come up to Seattle, we’d have to spend an extra 40-50 million dollars.”
The A’s 2011 payroll was $70 million, and Beane told The Chronicle last month that the team lost money, largely because the payroll had gone up from $52 million in 2010. Two major league sources cited by the newspaper confirmed that the franchise did lose $1 million to $2 million, despite getting revenue-sharing checks of $30 million-plus.
Meantime, the dealing isn’t finished (another All-Star RHP, Andrew Bailey, is likely to follow Cahill and Gonzalez out of Oakland), which could only further frustrate the fan base.
But Beane says the organization has plotted a plan, presumably based on moving to San Jose, and will stick to it, unlike rebuilds in the past.
“I’d rather run a club that has a three- or four-year plan and implements it and see it getting better over time, than going on the patchwork basis of year-to-year,” Beane said. “We haven’t been as successful when we go year-to-year.”
In mid-November, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported that baseball was trying to accelerate a decision on whether to allow the A’s to relocate to San Jose and that a meeting between commissioner Bud Selig and Giants officials would take place within two weeks.
That meeting still has not happened, according to the Rosenthal’s major league sources.
The Giants remain adamantly opposed to relinquishing their territorial rights to San Jose and the South Bay region. And the Athletics’ situation will not be on the agenda at the next owners’ meetings in January, Rosenthal reported, citing unidentified sources.
If baseball continues to delay approval—and keep in mind, Rosenthal noted, Selig appointed a three-member committee to study the franchise’s situation in March 2009—then the Athletics would be forced to continue assembling one cheap, young team after another, operating in accordance with their sinking revenues.

Sporting News
                                                                                     

Cardinals Land Beltran

Guess what the Cardinal Fans got for Christmas this year, Carlos Beltran! The deal is for two years at $26mil, there is also a no trade clause in his contract. The contract is pending on the results of a physical. I really like this signing. Fills the void of Pujols being gone. With his bat in the line up the Cardinals become favorites in the NL Central.

Here is more information about the deal according to MLB.com

A switch-hitting outfielder, Beltran has one of baseball’s most well-rounded offensive games. He is a lifetime .283 hitter with both on-base ability (a career .361 average) and power (.496 slugging percentage). He’s one of the most efficient base-stealers in Major League history, with 293 steals in 334 attempts for an 87.7 percent success rate. In 2011, he put up a combined .300/.385/.525 line in 142 games with the Mets and Giants.
The 34-year-old native of Puerto Rico will add depth to a Cardinals lineup that will be without Albert Pujols in 2012. Pujols signed with the Angels as a free agent earlier in December.
Beltran, a three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, moved to right field in 2011 as he made his way back to full strength from knee surgery. He will likely start the 2011 season in right field, with Lance Berkman moving to first base, while Allen Craig is out due to his own offseason knee operation.
Once Craig comes back, Beltran would probably still play plenty of right field. But he also could get more time in center field, spelling Jon Jay against left-handed pitchers and allowing new manager Mike Matheny a great deal of flexibility in making out his lineup.
Best known in St. Louis as the victim of Adam Wainwright’s strikeout that ended the 2006 National League Championship Series, Beltran has an extensive history with the Redbirds. He also starred in the 2004 NLCS in which the Cards edged the Astros in seven games, and faced them both as an NL player as well as in Interleague Play, when he was with Kansas City.

source: Matthew Leach

Cardinals Looking at Coco Crisp

One time St.Louis Cardinals Draftee CoCo Crisp is having discussions with the Cardinals. It is being reported by Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports. If the Cardinals and Crisp make a deal he will become the Cardinals new center fielder.

The switch-hitting Crisp led the American League with 49 stolen bases in 2011, hitting .264/.314/.379 with 27 doubles as Oakland’s center fielder. The California native seems to prefer West Coast teams, but  he is also looking to play on a winning team. This would move Jon Jay over to right field. Allen Craig would become depth in the outfield. This would also mean that the Cardinals would drop out of the Carlos Beltran race.

Schumaker Signs 2yr Deal

Skippy’s back! I had a feeling the Cardinals were letting him go but they proved me wrong. Here’s the story:
Second baseman Skip Schumaker has agreed to a $3 million, two-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, who did not tender a contract offer to infielder Ryan Theriot before Monday night’s deadline.
The 31-year-old Schumaker batted .283 in 117 games for the Cardinals this year and hit .381 in the postseason. He had the lone RBI in a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia in Game 5 of the NL Division Series. He made 89 starts at second base and five in the outfield.
He gets $1.5 million in each of the next two seasons and can make $200,000 more annually in performance bonuses. He made $2.75 million last season, completing a $4.8 million, two-year deal.
Theriot hit .271 with one homer and 47 RBIs. He was the starting shortstop until St. Louis acquired Rafael Furcal at the trade deadline. Furcal and the Cardinals have agreed to a $14 million, two-year contract.
Theriot now becomes a free agent.

Source: ESPN

Cardinals Sign Furcal

I had a feeling that Furcal would not be back due to Pujols signing with the Angels. I am glad Furcal proved me wrong. I am a fan of this guy, love his energy and defense. Welcome back home Rafael Furcal. Well here is the rest of the story:

The St. Louis Cardinals have reached agreement with shortstop Rafael Furcal on a two-year deal worth about $14 million, a baseball source told ESPN.com.The deal is pending completion of a physical exam this week.

Furcal, 34, is a .282 career hitter with the Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cardinals. He hit .255 in 50 games with St. Louis after coming over from Los Angeles in a July trade deadline deal for minor leaguer Alex Castellanos.
Furcal is a former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star with 302 career stolen bases, but injuries have limited him to 97 and 87 games played in the past two seasons, respectively. He struggled with the Cardinals in October, hitting .194 (15-for-77) in the playoffs and the World Series.
Furcal recently underwent an appendectomy, according to reports, but he is recovering in Florida and expects to be ready in time for spring training.
Furcal is the third free agent shortstop to go off the board this week. Jose Reyes signed a six-year, $106 million deal with the Miami Marlins this week, and Alex Gonzalez reached agreement with the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
The Furcal signing officially removes St. Louis as a potential destination for free agent Jimmy Rollins. Rollins’ agent, Dan Lozano, was scheduled to talk by phone Saturday with Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.

ESPN

So Long Albert, oh and Good Riddance

I didn’t expect it to happen but it did. Albert Pujols signed a 10 year deal worth $250mm with the Los Angeles Angels. I don’t have a problem with Albert leaving but I would have to say he is a big fake. For someone that wanted to be a Cardinal for life he sure bolted for the best offer. The smart thing he did was to go to a AL team where he can last 10 years. I really think he wanted to go anyway. The Cardinals did approach him before a few years ago to offer an extension but he said he wanted to wait. Last year before Spring Training the Cardinals approached again but told the team to wait till the end of the season. When it came to free agency this season he still did not want to talk with the Cardinals. Letting Albert walk is the best thing the Cardinals could of done. With that money they can find a shortstop and an outfielder, better yet wouldn’t it be great if the Cards sign Prince Fielder. He is 27 years old and can still hit. This team can win without Pujols. Mozeliak did say he will fill the void left by Pujols. It will be fun to see who they Cards will find in order to build the team up once again. Since Pujols is a type A player the Cards will get a first round pick #19 and a round one sandwhich pick.

According to a source familiar with the conversation, the Cardinals have explored what the market is for outfielder Carlos Beltran, who fits the profile of the team’s needs with Craig on the mend.
Beltran, who will turn 35 in April, hit .300 with 22 homers and 84 RBIs in 2011, a season he split between the New York Mets and San Francisco Giants. Coming back from knee surgery, Beltran played right field last season after a career in center. The Cardinals would like to find a righthanded-hitting center fielder to complement Jon Jay and that could be the outfielder who fills in for Craig early in the season. A switch-hitter with a career on-base percentage of .361 and slugging percentage of .496, Beltran fits that description. The Cardinals have also re engaged talks with Raphael Furcal.

I feel that Pujols leaving has made the Cardinals a much better team.