2014 Spring Training Vacations

                                                                     Media Alert!!!

The St. Louis Cardinals are once again in 2014 offering exclusive travel packages through Cardinals Vacations that allow fans to experience Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida, and new this year, Orlando.

            Packages include hard-to-get game tickets, choice of hotel accommodations, car rental, exclusive Cardinals post-game dinner with manager Mike Matheny and select Cardinals players and team personnel, custom Cardinals merchandise and more.
            Spring Training fan experiences are a great way for fans to get an early jump on the season, enjoy some great weather, and see the Cardinals play in a ballpark and city that have become a March destination. Fans can choose from a variety of travel packages including:
·         Three “Grand Slam” packages, which include the exclusive post-game dinner with manager Mike Matheny and select Cardinals players and team personnel, will be held February 28-March 2, March 7-9 and March 20-22, 2014
·         The ever-popular “Spring Training for Cardinals Seniors” package returns for 2014.  This 5 night/4 game package, March 6-11, 2014 OR 7 night/5 games March 4-11, 2014 is fully escorted, and includes airfare between St. Louis and Fort Lauderdale along with motor coach transportation throughout the trip. 
·         New for 2014 is the Magical Cardinals Weekend in Orlando, March 13-16, 2014.  Bring the family for a magical weekend of Cardinals baseball during the day and visit your favorite theme park at night!
            Fans can confirm their Spring Training reservations today with one call or click. For more information and to make reservations, visit cardinals.com/springtravel or call 1-800-892-7687.
 
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Cardinals Sign Jhonny Peralta

The day after trading David Freese to the Angels for Peter Bourjos the Cardinals finally add a shortstop they have been needing for a long time. The short stop carousel stops with Jhonny Peralta. The last time we had a short stop for more than four years was Edgar Renteria in which he spent six years with the Cardinals from 1999-2004. This morning the Cardinals and Peralta agreed to a four year contract worth $52 million. With a history of PED usage both sides seem to move forward with the issue that has already been dealt with by being suspended for 50 games during the 2013 season. With Peralta now our official short stop we will now see Matt Carpenter at third base and Kolten Wong at second base. Peralta a natural short stop can also play third base and outfield. He was selected as an All-Star short stop in 2013 and 2011. Despite having a fifty day suspension, Jhonny was able to hit 11HRs, 55RBIs, .303BA AVG, .358OBP and .457SLG. At this time Peralta needs to pass a physical before the deal is acknowledge by the Cardinals. I do like the signing of Peralta, he hits right handed and able to drive in runs. Has good range defensively and his errors have gone down in the past three years.

David Freese traded to Angels for Peter Bourjos

Peter Bourjus

This afternoon the Cardinals finally pulled the trigger to trade David Freese, Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. With having a down year the Cardinals plus other problems in the mix the powers that be decided to move Freese in order to move Matt Carpenter to his natural position of thirdbase and ease Kolten Wong to secondbase. With Bourjus in the mix he will see majority of his time in centerfield. This means the Jon Jay will probably end up as a bench player. Bourjus defensive skills are compared to Jim Edmunds. He is able to cover a lot of ground and has an exceptional defensive glove. He is a speed merchant. With this in mind he would fit well in the top of the batting order as a number two hitter. The righthanded-hitting center fielder, who was a target of interest for the Cardinals. Bourjos was only limited to 55 games last season by injury. Peter Bourjos hit .274 with a .333 on-base percentage and a .710 OPS. We will also have control over Bourjus for the next three years. The only down side on Bourjos is  his batting He had 1,136 MLB plate appearances while batting a .251 with a .306 onbase percentage and a .398 slugging percentage and has an OPS+ of 98. Which means he’s been a slightly below -average big-league hitter. Bourjos hasn’t done much against lefthanded pitching, putting together a slash line of .256 / .301 / .405 in 301 plate appearances vs. lefts. And he’s also coming off the wrist surgery. I imagine things could get better in this department for him.

                                                                             
                                        
                                                                        Randal Grichuk

I was also surprise to see the Cardinals being able to get Randal Grichuk in this deal. Grichuk a former #1 pick was taken 24th overall by the Angels in 2009. Grichuk is known as a free swinger but his discipline at plate is a challenge. He also has a lot of power. Grichuk hit 22 homers with 27 doubles in 500 at-bats in Class AA last season. He had an overall .474 slugging percentage, but pounded LH pitching for a .524 SLG. In a analysis I found on Grichuk by John Sickels is quite interesting. Here is his thoughts on the slugger,  “Given his age, work ethic, and the fact that the Cardinals emphasize strike zone judgment, I’d have to assume that working on his approach at the plate will be a primary goal in 2014. Grichuk doesn’t have to turn into a walk machine, but even slight improvements with his strike zone judgment will go a long way, getting him better pitches to hit and express his power against. He should begin ’14 in Triple-A.”
I give the Cardinals a slight edge on this trade. With youth you could never go wrong. Bourjus has a bright future with the Cardinals and will become a fan favorite due to his hustle in the outfield and on the bases.

The David Freese Trade Rumor Watch!

The David Freese trade watch is back on! Today Ken Rosenthal reported that the Cardinals and the Angels are talking about trading David Freese to the Angels. The Angels have a glaring need at third base. This could be Freese’s chance to reunite with his old friend Albert Pujols. It sure looks obvious that the Cardinals are trying to move Freese to open up more money to help the Cardinals to afford some of the big name free agents. So who would the Cardinals may get in return? The report has the Cardinals and looking for outfield help instead of a shortstop. The player they would have their eyes on is Peter Bourjos. The scoop on Bourjos is that he has the type of speed that covers all of the outfield. He also has an above average glove and can hit but his offense is off and on. One problem for him is that his at bats are at minimum, doesn’t get a lot of playing time at all. He would fit well with the Cardinals. A change of scenery could very well boost Bourjos into a fulltime centerfielder for him. I have a feeling that Cardinal Nation may not be too happy about this, seeing there favorite MVP of the 2006 World Series Champions. Would Freese turn in his love for Imo’s pizza for an In N Out Burger in California, we will see.

                                                                            

Chris Carpenter Finally Retires

The teams ace finally makes a decision to retire. He has spent nine years with the Cardinals in which he was selected to the All-Star team three times and became a Cy Young Winner in 2005. The Cardinals would love to bring Carpenter back to work in the organization in some type of capacity. Chris was definitely highly regarded as a leader from Miller and Wacha. His insights could very well be an important factor for the 2014 team. With fifteen years in Major League Baseball Carp has the a total of 144 wins and 94 loses which gives him an overall ERA of 3.76. Carp has made a home here as one of St. Louis’s favorite sons. As you walk into the sunset of your life in baseball the sun will always shine on you even in darkness- Joe McBrayer

MLB

Matheny Signs Extension

Today Mike Matheny agrees to a extension for three more years as the St. Louis Cardinals Manager. No numbers in regards to how much his contract might be as of yet. Mike is known as a players manager that was able to bring out the best in his players in which he did in 2013. Matheny came in fourth as Manager of the Year. He has also accomplished a record of 185-139 during his first two years as Manager. Glad to have you back Matheny.

Marlins Interested in Freese

First it was the Yankees that were asking the Cardinals about David Freese and now the Marlins are considering David Freese as a solution at third base. The Marlins may use St. Charles native Jacob Turner or Logan Morrison as trading chips but probably not for Freese. The Marlins are also looking at Mark Trumbo. If there is a prospect they should inquire about in a player in return would the Marlins parts with there third baseman at Colin Moran a A level player with the Greensboro Grasshoppers? Moran is a big, strong left-handed hitting third baseman. He’s an advanced hitter who should hit for average and shouldn’t take too much time for his bat to be big-league ready. How much power he grows into remains to be seen, but he’s been a solid run producer throughout his college career. He should be able to stay at the hot corner defensively, even if he’s not a Gold Glove caliber third baseman. He’s hoping to follow in his uncle B.J. Surhoff’s footsteps to the big leagues.

 
Joe Frisaro