Cardinals Close to a deal with Molina

Reports are coming in that Molina and the Cardinals are close to a deal that would give him an average annual value that goes over $10 Million. Previous talks suggested that he would wait till after the season, well his agent Melvin Roman has been staying in St.Louis for a week trying to work out a deal.
Molina expressed a desire to remain in St. Louis shortly after arriving in camp more than 10 days before pitchers and catchers were scheduled to officially report. Entering the final installment of a five-year deal that pays him $7 million for the upcoming season, Molina last year led the Cardinals in hitting while also earning a Rawlings Platinum Glove awarded the league’s top defender.
Team officials declined comment Monday regarding the status of talks except to deny a rumor that a deal was already in place. Roman did not return a phone message Monday afternoon but did confirm to Fox Sports that the sides are progressing toward an agreement. A source familiar with talks said the extension should be finalized no later than Friday.
Both sides prefer to have the matter resolved before the Cardinals begin exhibition play. Roman insisted last week that negotiations would cease should a deal remain elusive by Opening Day. Soon afterward, the sides began to narrow differences in length of contract and AAV. Molina, 29, is expected to receive a potential five-year deal.

Source: Joe Strauss

I Saw Lee Smith Today

Today my son Gabe and I went to Johnny Mac’s Sporting Good Store in Crestwood to see Lee Smith. So of course my son asked me who is Lee Smith? My response of course was he use to pitch for the Cardinals from 1990 to 1993, but the most important thing to know is that he is #3 in all-time saves with 478 in Major League Baseball, Gabe’s response was, cool. The line was long but moved quickly to get Lee Smith’s signature. As we got closer Gabe wanted to give the ball to Lee Smith to get his signature. I told him to  make sure to ask him to sign on the sweet spot. As Gabe made his way up in front of the table where Lee Smith was sitting he handed him his ball and said “Could you sign on the sweet spot?”. Mr Smith replied “Sure what do you want me to write on the ball?” Gabe said “Your name please, oh and could you put the number of saves on the ball?” Lee said “Sure, but can you show me where the sweet spot is?” Gabe then looked at me and I told him to show him. Gabe felt as if he was put on the spot, his first response was ummm. He then told Smith, “Wait a minute it’s right here” as he pointed at the sweet spot. After Lee signed the ball Gabe told him thanks and I got to shake his hand. What a grip he had after he released his hand from mine. It was a nice to meet the 6’4 righty reliever. He was very cordial and talkative with the youth that was there to see him. He wanted to know if the kids played baseball and what position they played. Gabe was happy to tell him he loves to play short stop and second base.

It was a fun afternoon and very memorable for Gabriel and I. Lee Smith is not only # 3 in all times saves but Gabriel’s first signature of a possible Hall of Famer in the near future.

Here are some fun facts about Lee Smith I did not know about. Lee Smith was scouted by Buck O’Neil before he was drafted by the Cubs in 1975. Smith has also been up for Hall of Fame induction nine times since 2003.


Angels Sign Izzy

I thought Izzy may hang it up and ride into the sunset but he is not ready to give up. Here is the rest of the story:
After going all winter without signing a long list of free-agent closers they were linked to, the Angels finally added one Wednesday, though this one is not expected to finish many games for them this season.
The Angels, looking to add bullpen depth to a relief corps that led the AL with 25 blown saves, signed veteran right-hander Jason Isringhausen to a minor league contract with an invitation to big league camp, where he will compete for a roster spot but is not expected to push second-year closer Jordan Walden for his job.

source: Mike DiGiovanna

Willie McGee Back with the Cardinals

Here comes Willie McGee! Willie has been invited to join the Cardinals as a spring training instructor. He will be at the full squad work out this Friday ( Feb. 24). This is a great way to meet the players as they show up. McGee will also join his old friend Ozzie Smith which will also be there as a instructor. I hope to see Smith and McGee dawn their old uniforms to show the rookies how to play Whitey Ball. The others that are expected to be at camp includes Red Schoendienst, Jim Edmonds, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog and Lou Brock. With McGee’s presence at camp will definitely stir up the fan’s wave of excitement to once again push McGee’s # 51 into retirement. There is a petition you can sign to make this happen:

Man-Ram Signs with A’s

Well look who is back in Major League Baseball, Man-Ram! Rameriz just signed a deal with the Oakland A’s that is worth $500,000.

ESPN first reported earlier in the day that the sides had reached agreement, speaking directly to Ramirez. The person confirmed the sides were closing in on a contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because Ramirez still must take a physical and likely another drug test.
The A’s made public their interest in the 12-time All-Star, who is due to serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test before he can play for Oakland. Barring rainouts, his first game could be May 30 — on his 40th birthday.
He has been working out in Florida this winter, so he will now travel to Arizona to join his new team — probably in time for Oakland’s first full-squad workout Saturday.

Ramirez was expected to sign a minor league deal, which would keep him off the 40-man roster. For the low-budget A’s, Ramirez presents a low-risk bargain. They don’t have to pay him during his suspension and will give him per diem money during the club’s stint in the desert, which is shorter than usual because of two opening games in Japan next month.
Oakland sent representatives to Florida this winter to watch workouts by Ramirez, who retired from the Tampa Bay Rays last season rather than serve a 100-game suspension. For Ramirez, this could become a chance to help repair his reputation and serve as a positive clubhouse influence on a young team.
The A’s recently agreed to terms on a $36 million, four-year contract with highly regarded outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, a Cuban defector who has expressed interest in playing with Ramirez.
At baseball’s winter meetings in December, it was announced that Ramirez had applied for reinstatement. He had his suspension for a second failed drug test cut to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of last season. MLB had announced his retirement on April 8, saying he was notified “of an issue” under the drug program.
Ramirez ranks 14th on the career list with 555 home runs. He went 1 for 17 (.059) in five games last season for Tampa Bay, which had signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.02 million.
This would be the 20th major league season for Ramirez, a career .312 hitter with 1,831 RBIs.

Source  AP   Jane McCauley

Ozzie Smith Back with the Cardinals

It is nice to see Ozzie Smith all smiles when he found out that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny invited him to spring training. Ozzie gladly  responded to the invite. Since that one certain manager is gone that holds the initials TLR, Ozzie has leaped back into the Cardinal fold. Whitey Herzog has also been scheduled to help out with Spring Training. Ozzie will only be with the club as an instructor for a few days. Welcome back Ozzie!

Tony the Tiger

Just when we thought that Tony was riding off into the sunset after winning the World Series, we will now find him back on the baseball field. According to Tony LaRussa will be joining his old friend Jim Leyland as an assistant with the Detroit Tigers during Spring Training.
“Tony’s going to be down for a couple weeks,” Leyland announced Thursday, according to the report. “He’s going to work with Dave (Dombrowski) in the front office, and he’s going over to Jupiter for a few days and then go out to Arizona for a few days. He will not be in uniform.”
La Russa said shortly after retiring from the Cardinals that he would be interested in other positions around the league.

Source  MLB

Cardinals Sign Scott Linebrink

Right-handed reliever Scott Linebrink, 35, on Friday signed a minor-league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The deal includes a nonroster invitation to spring training, which begins in 10 days.
Linebrink, an Austin, Texas, native, appeared in 64 games for the Atlanta Braves last season, seeing his most work since the 2007 season. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings.

Linebrink was combined 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA in June and July until he landed on the disabled list Aug. 1-14 with a strained lower back.
He limiting opposing hitters to a .235 average and stranded 23 of 33 inherited runners, the second-best mark among Braves relievers.
Linebrink debuted with the San Francisco Giants in 2000 and also has pitched for Houston (2000-03), San Diego (2003-07), Milwaukee (2007) and the Chicago White Sox (2008-10).
He is 42-31 in his career with a 3.51 ERA and eight saves in 607 games.
Earlier this week, St. Louis signed infielder Alex Cora, 36, to a minor-league contract that also included a nonroster invitation to spring training.
Cora will compete to be the primary infield backup under first-year manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals aren’t expected to make any significant additions between now and the start of the regular season. General Manager John Mozeliak said recently on KMOX-AM 1120 that the ballclub no longer was in active pursuit of oft-injured starting pitcher Roy Oswalt, 34.
Oswalt’s salary demands, believed to be in excess of $10 million per season, represent too great a risk for the Cardinals. Oswalt was 9-10 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts last season with the Philadelphia Phillies.


Rex Hudler Returns to Missouri

Rex Hudler was one of my favorite players from the early 90’s that was the Cardinals utility player from 1990 to 1992. His hustle style of play earned him the name Hurricane Hudler. He was fun to watch. Always sacrificing his body to make a play or get on base. The fans loved him. Well I caught wind of Hudler’s new job with the Kansas City Royals today. I am glad to see him back. Here is the rest of the story by Fox Sports Kansas City:

Former Major Leaguer Rex Hudler and veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Physioc will join Ryan Lefebvre, Jeff Montgomery, Joel Goldberg and Nate Bukaty to form FOX Sports Kansas City’s Royals television team in 2012, FOX Sports Kansas City announced today. “Rex brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm for baseball to the booth, while Phiz is an experienced pro who is excited to get back to the Midwest,” said FOX Sports Kansas City General Manager and Senior Vice President Jack Donovan. “We’re thrilled to add them to our team for this highly-anticipated season of Royals baseball.” Hudler comes to FOX Sports Kansas City after 11 years (1999-2009) as analyst for Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim telecasts on FOX Sports West, where he worked alongside Physioc. The “Wonder Dog” played 21 years of professional baseball (1978-1998) as an infielder and outfielder, including 12 major league seasons with the Yankees, Orioles, Expos, Cardinals, Angels and Phillies. He is active in community efforts and he and his wife, Jennifer, founded Team Up for Down Syndrome to help support the Down Syndrome community nationwide. “We’re so excited. To be able to land in a family community…and to step into a place where they could win again soon,” said Hudler. “When I look at this team I see four or five great young players coming along at the same time. They’re going to win.”
 FOX Sports Kansas City is entering its fifth season as the exclusive television home of Royals baseball and will televise 140 regular season games and two spring training contests.

Source: FSKC

Alex Cora Signs with The Cardinals

Well it finally happened, Alex Cora agreed to a minor league contract with the Cardinals. Alex would receive $800,000 if he gets added to the 40 man roster.

Primarily a middle infielder, Cora also has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets and Texas Rangers in 14 seasons.
The left-handed hitter, who has a .243 career batting average, is among 20 non-roster invitees to spring training.

Source: AP