Mike Matheny’s Thoughts on Oscar Taveras.

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This afternoon Mike Matheny put out a statement on the tragedy of losing Oscar Taveras:

“I was asked last night to give some words regarding the tragic death of Oscar Taveras, but I just simply couldn’t. 

First of all, it felt like a bad dream that could not be real, and when reality kicked in, my words didn’t even seem to make sense.  To say this is a horrible loss of a life ended too soon would be an understatement.  To talk about the potential of his abilities seemed to be untimely.  All I wanted to do was get the guys together and be with our baseball family.  I know the hurt that comes along with buying into the brotherhood of a baseball team.  That hurt is just as powerful as the joys that come with this life. Not to say it is even close to the depth of pain his true family is going through, but the pain itself is just as real. The ache is deep because the relationships were deep, and forged through time and trials.

To the many fans who have already reached out with condolences, and to the many more who are in mourning, thank you for taking these players in, like they are one of your own.  This level of care is what sets our fans apart.

 In my opinion, the word “love” is the most misused, and misunderstood word in the English language.  It is not popular for men to use this word, and even less popular for athletes.  But, there is not a more accurate word for how a group of men share a deep and genuine concern for each other.  We loved Oscar, and he loved us.  That is what a team does, that is what a family does. You will be missed, Oscar.”

 The Cardinals has also have put together a website in tribute to Taveras, http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/fan_forum/oscar_taveras.jsp

Source: St. Louis Cardinals

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A Sad Day in Cardinal Nation

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As I began this evening to relax and watch the World Series, I got a text  that Oscar Taveras died today in a horrible car crash that also took the life of his girlfriend. My heart just broke when I read the message. I couldn’t believe it. I then went on Twitter and saw the flood messages from my friends that Taveras died. The reports coming out of the Dominican Republic says he had veered off the road. I am asking all of the Cardinals fans that reads my blog to wear your Cardinal Red tomorrow in mourning of his young life. My son Gabe and I enjoyed sitting in right field watching Oscar run down a fly ball with ease. The highlight of his career came in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Giants when he hit a pinch-hit solo home run. His smiles and laughter will remain as a remembrance of Oscar’s presence in the clubhouse. Here are a few words from Oscar’s friends.

Kolten Wong @KoltenWong 6m6 minutes ago

Wow! My heart truly hurts to hear the passing of Oscar! I’ve played with him every year and we truly lost a great person

Randal Grichuk @RGrich15 10m10 minutes ago

So sad to hear about Oscar. My prayers go out to his family. In complete shock.. So sad.. Life isn’t fair

My prayers and thoughts go out to the families of Oscar’s and  his girlfriend. May God’s grace help with the families tragic loss.

Wainwright’s Elbow

adwainSt. Louis Cardinals All-Star pitcher Adam Wainwright underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure earlier today to trim a small piece of cartilage from his right elbow.

Although an initial MRI of his elbow conducted last week came back negative, Wainwright requested additional tests and the findings of a second MRI resulted in the decision to undergo today’s procedure.

Wainwright is scheduled to begin physical therapy in two weeks and he may resume his throwing program eight weeks from today. 

Coleman Wants to Steal Home Again

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Vince Coleman one of my favorite Cardinals from the mid-80’s. is back and wants back in with the Cardinals as a base running instructor. I believe we could use him. The following article is from Rob Rains. It is a great read.and I am all for bringing Coleman back to the Cardinals family.

Vince Coleman wants to come back home.

The former Cardinal outfielder has spent the last two years working as a roving instructor in the Houston Astros organization but is hoping to land a similar position with the Cardinals this winter.

“I was born and raised there (the Cardinal organization) and I am known as a Cardinal,” Coleman said. “Wherever I go I am always a Cardinal.”

Coleman would like the chance to work with young players about baserunning and stealing bases, his specialty during a 13-year major-league career. His career total of 752 stolen bases ranks sixth all time.

His best years were with the Cardinals, coming up as a rookie in 1985 and leading the league in steals all six years he played in St. Louis, three times topping the 100-steal mark.

Coleman, who also spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons working in the Cubs organization, believes the time is right in baseball to place more of an emphasis on baserunning and stealing bases, areas where he believes he can make a major contribution.

“Now that we’ve passed the steroid era they (baseball) have to reconsider and make speed a part of the game,” Coleman said.

“What I do is build confidence in these guys. Once you have confidence it makes you play fast and at the same time it slows the game down for you. You rely on your instincts when you have the knowledge. I know I have a lot of knowledge to share because I’ve done it.

“I see where the game has changed. They have to go back to fundamentals. When you have a team that can go from first to third, can score from second on base hits, takes advantage of all the extra base hits, those are the teams that you usually find in the championship.”

The Cardinals do not currently have a specific minor-league instructor who works with players on baserunning and stealing. Coleman’s former teammate and close friend, Willie McGee, has helped in those areas, but only works a part-time schedule, spending a few days each month with one of the farm teams.

“I can be there more full time,” Coleman said. “When you get an athlete with that type of ability and pour some knowledge into them, that will make them dangerous.”

The Cardinals appear to have several players in the organization who have the potential to develop as basestealers, including outfielder C.J. McElroy, who led the organization with 41 stolen bases this year at Class A Peoria. Shortstop Juan Herrera had 27 stolen bases for the same team.

Shortstop Oscar Mercado led the rookie Appalachian League with 26 steals in just 60 games, and young outfield prospects Charlie Tilson and Magneuris Sierra also would appear to be players who could benefit from working with an instructor such as Coleman.

“I’ve watched the game develop over the years,” Coleman said. “That (stealing bases) was my passion. What I teach is what I had a passion for. I want to share that knowledge. It gives me a shot in the arm every day to see these kids grow and develop.”

Coleman was out of baseball from 2006 to 2011. He remarried and moved to San Diego, where he was enjoying time with his family when he got a phone call from Jeff Luhnow, offering him a chance to work in the Astros system.

Coleman jumped at the chance, and quickly realized he was doing what he loved to do and wanted to do. He has an invitation to return to the Astros system next year, but first wants to explore the possibility that he could come back to the Cardinals.

Coleman, whose eventual goal is to land a major-league coaching position, can point to several prospects with the Astros he believes he has helped. One of those players is even at the major-league level, second baseman Jose Altuve.

Altuve won the AL batting title this year with a .341 average and also led the league with 56 stolen bases, 21 more than he stole in 2013.

“I got him more erect, standing up,” Coleman said. “His first step is electric. That’s something I take credit for, that I got him to do that one thing.

“There are a bunch of kids over there that I know I have helped.”

The group includes outfielder Brett Phillips, voted the eighth best prospect in the Midwest League by Baseball America, and former number one draft pick Carlos Correa, a shortstop, named the top prospect in the California League.

Coming back to the Cardinal organization, and working with their prospects, would provide some closure for Coleman to what he still considers his biggest regret in his life – leaving as a free agent after the 1990 season, signing a four-year deal with the Mets.

That started a period in which Coleman moved on to the Royals, Mariners, Reds and Tigers before retiring in 1997.

“It’s a regret that I live with to this day,” Coleman said. “It’s very hard to swallow as I look back on it. No matter where I go I’m identified as a St. Louis Cardinal but that was only for six years. … It was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life. To this day I don’t sleep good at night, as I look at baseball, I don’t feel good about the decision I made at that time.”

Coleman’s departure came at a troubled time for the Cardinals. August Busch Jr. had died, Whitey Herzog resigned as manager, McGee was traded to Oakland. Jack Clark had left as a free agent, Tom Herr was traded to Minnesota.

Coleman and his agent had discussed a contract with then-GM Dal Maxvill, who told him to become a free agent and the Cardinals would match whatever offer he received. The Cardinals did make him an offer but it was still several million dollars less than the Mets offer. Coleman said he begged Maxvill to match it, but it didn’t happen.

“I was looking at it as an opportunity to continue the winning ways,” Coleman said. “New York had one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. There was no way on paper you could say they were going to lose. I was 29 years old and I was like ‘no matter where I go I’m going to play well and be the catalyst of the team and we’re going to win because that’s all I know.’ There’s more to it than what’s on paper.

“St. Louis gave me everything I wanted as a new-born baby. You get life, support, love, nourishment and that’s what St. Louis gave me. I apologize for taking that away from the fans. The greatest gift that you can give to a spouse is a new-born baby and that’s what St. Louis gave me. It was the biggest mistake I ever made because I never received that love and that type of engagement with the fans or with the game itself. It never ever was the same again.

“The (St. Louis) fans gave me that boost of confidence as I walked through the parking lot. ‘Let’s go Vince.’ It was a positive energy I felt. Driving down the highway fans were yelling and waving, ‘Let’s get them tonight.’ There was so much positive energy and I basically took it for granted and thought I could do that wherever I went. That wasn’t true.

Coleman believes to this day that had he stayed with the Cardinals he could have become the game’s career stolen base leader.

“You always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, and that you can create a situation you’ve been blessed with somewhere else,” he said. “I got hit with so many injuries it was like a punishment from God for me going to New York when He had given me everything and it was right there (in St. Louis). I didn’t realize how great a gift I had right there in front of me in St. Louis.”

State of the Cardinals in 2015

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With the St. Louis Cardinals elimination from the playoffs by the dreaded San Francisco Giants the team comes home to find some players wondering if they are returning or not or players looking forward in spending time with their families. I believe that the Cardinals shopping list would have a starting pitcher, middle relief pitchers, back up catcher, back up infielder and a right handed power hitting outfielder or first baseman. So who on the Free Agent List appeal to the Cardinals? I like Tony Cruz, he has been a light hitting back up for four years. The position does need a upgrade, Geovany Soto would be a great pick up and a reliable catcher to give Molina much needed rest. For a back up infielder I would choose Brian Roberts. He can play both shortstop and second base. His production has gone down but he is still known as being reliable and a heads up player.For a right handed hitter I would be all for Michael Cuddyer, he can cover third base, first base and right field. Still has power. He can split time with Matt Adams or start in right field. So what would this mean for Oscar Taveras and Randall Grichuk? The Cardinals GM has stated that he is not trading Taveras. but it has also been noted that Matheny is not too fond of Oscar. This might mean the Cardinals may look into trading him. If they do trade him it would be for a top tier player. So if the Cardinals want to bring in a fulltime right fielder they could also look into Nelson Cruz to actually be that right handed power hitting right fielder. I truly believe the Cardinals really a top notch starting pitcher. I am not sold on Lackey, they could very well not pick up his option or if they do then the team needs to cut ties with Jaime Garcia. A few names that pop out to me includes Max Scherzer, Ervin Santana, Kyle Kendrick or Jake Peavy. I say its about time we reach out to Reavy and finally signing him as a Cardinal in which he has been expecting for the last two years. Other players the Cardinals will be dealing with includes Peter Bourjus, Daniel Descalso and Randy Choate. The team seems to be interested in trading them. The teams free agents Pat Neshek and Jason Motte may or may not be resigned. Some indications I see makes me believe Neshek would get a short term contract while Motte will be let go. along with Masterson, Pierzinsky, and Ellis.

Source: MLB, Miklasz, Strauss

Rangers Hire Banister as the new Manager

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By overwhelming a dozen club officials through an extensive interview process, Jeff Banister has won the job as the next Rangers manager.

Banister, who was the Pirates bench coach for the past four years, will be introduced as the Rangers’ 18th full-time manager at an 11 a.m. CT press conference Friday.

Banister replaces Tim Bogar, who served as interim manager for the final 22 games of the season. He took over for Ron Washington, who resigned Sept. 5 after eight seasons on the job. The Rangers were 14-8 under Bogar.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club vetted over 40 names before selecting eight to interview. He said 12 club officials participated in the interview process.

Daniels said Banister “won the job” rather than anybody else losing it.

“He is a winner and a survivor,” Daniels said. “He is an impressive guy to meet. You can understand how he can command a room. The passion for winning and getting to know people as a person before the player stood out the most.”

Banister has been with the Pirates for the past 29 years, first as a player and then in a variety of capacities including Minor League coach, manager and coordinator, and Major League coordinator and coach.

“I want to thank the Texas Rangers for giving me this opportunity,” Banister said. “I am elated to have the chance to make an impact on the organization, and I look forward to getting started on that task. I also want to express my gratitude to the Pittsburgh Pirates for the last 29 years. My experiences in that organization have prepared me well for this new opportunity, and I thank all of the individuals who have poured into my life along the way.”

Daniels said he had never met Banister before the managerial search began. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who was the Rangers hitting coach in 2010, gave a strong recommendation. But the Rangers’ search committee interviewed many people who had come into contact with Banister through the years.

“I’m happy for Jeff,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who worked with Hurdle in Pittsburgh. “He’s a quality baseball man and I wish him nothing but the best … except when Texas plays us.”

“He has been an instrumental reason for the success the Pirates organization has had over the course of his tenure with the ballclub,” Hurdle said. “Jeff has put forth as much sweat-equity and hard work into the game of baseball as any man I have had the privilege of working with.”

Daniels said there were five criteria used to measure candidates, beginning with re-creating the Rangers’ winning attitude.

“That’s our expectations,” Daniels said. “This is not a rebuilding situation. We expect to win.”

Next were being able to develop players at the Major League level, personality and leadership, preparation for in-game strategy and being involved completely in the organization beyond just the Major League team. Daniels said Banister stood out in all areas.

“Jeff has done a little bit of everything,” Daniels said. “This guy likes to work, get to the park, develop relationships, all those things added up. He had a very impressive presentation.

“It was not a situation where Tim or anybody else lost. It was just a situation with Jeff where we just felt he was the best fit. That’s why we were as thorough as we were. We felt our read on him was accurate.”

Banister, Bogar and Indians bullpen coach Kevin Cash were the three finalists for the position. The Rangers also interviewed pitching coach Mike Maddux, Triple-A manager Steve Buechele, White Sox third-base coach Joe McEwing, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo and Puerto Rico Winter League executive Alex Cora.

The outside hire leaves the coaching staff in a state of uncertainty and third-base coach Gary Pettis has already accepted a job with the Astros. Hitting coach Dave Magadan has been approached by the Mets and Yankees. The Rangers have reportedly reached out to Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis.

Maddux remains unsigned for next season. Bogar, Maddux and other coaches are expected to meet with Banister in the near future. Buechele is under contract to return as Triple-A manager but could be a candidate for the Major League staff.

Daniels said Banister will not have to keep any coaches he doesn’t want. Daniels will also have a say in the coaching staff.

Banister, 50, was born in Oklahoma but played high school and college baseball in Texas and has an extraordinary background. He developed bone cancer in his left leg in high school and doctors initially wanted to amputate. But the leg was saved through multiple operations and he continued his baseball career in college. At Baytown (Texas) College, he suffered a crushed vertebrae as a catcher in a collision at home plate and was paralyzed for 10 days.

He still ended up playing at the University of Houston and was drafted by the Pirates in the 25th round of the 1986 First-Year Player Draft. He had one at-bat in the Major Leagues with a single in 1992.

“When you go through life experiences like that, it provides unbelievable perspective,” Daniels said. “It’s huge in leadership positions. What he has experienced is pretty remarkable.”

Article written by T.R Sullivan of the blog Postcards of the Elysian Fields