The Chief is Back!

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The Chief is back! In 2013 he was a All Star. Today the Cardinals finalized a minor-league deal with Mujica, according to sources. The deal does not include an invitation to major-league camp. That could change, of course, based on his readiness in late February and whether the Cardinals have a need for another reliever, based on injury or innings that they have to cover. The team has drawn from its minor-league camp before and extended non-roster invites to camp after spring training has opened.

Muijica had appearances for Detroit’s Toledo affiliate last year and struck out 46 in 56 innings pitched with a 1.07 WHIP. He was promoted to the majors and installed as a setup man for the Tigers, but he was gone and off the roster after five games. He had a 9.95 ERA in those 6 1/3 innings and he allowed as many homers in five big-league games as he did in 56 Triple-A games (four).

Source: Derrick Goold

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Cardinals Group Tickets are Now on Sale

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Today, organized groups of 20 fans or more can purchase tickets to Cardinals games for the 2018 season.  Designed for school and church groups, family or social gatherings, company outings and more, group tickets allow fans to enjoy the game in a community environment and at a discounted price.
Groups of 20 or more receive a 20% discount on ticket prices for Sunday—Thursday games and a 10% discount on Friday and Saturday games (excluding Cubs Saturdays) in a wide variety of block seating locations throughout the stadium.  Each group also receives a custom poster to promote their group outing, a personal ribbon board message during the game and a souvenir scoreboard photo.
A number of Group Value games are also available for the 2018 season.  On Group Value game dates, groups receive 50% off the regular ticket price in select seating areas.  This year’s schedule of Group Value dates includes games against the Royals, Indians, Nationals, Mets, Twins, Braves and more.
To purchase group tickets, or for more information, call 314.345.9000 or visit cardinals.com/groups.

St. Louis Cardinals

David Eckstein Headlines St. Louis Legends Game

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The River City Rascals are pleased to announce the second annual St. Louis Legends Game on Saturday, August 11th at CarShield Field. This seven inning celebrity softball game will take place at 7:00 PM and will feature former St. Louis Cardinals players as well as numerous STL celebrities. The current lineup consists of David Eckstein, Scott Spiezio, Vince Coleman, and Kyle McClellan.  Four additional former Cardinals along with many local media personalities will be announced in the coming months.
Tickets for the STL Legends Game will go on sale Thursday, February 1st at 9:00 AM online and at the Rascals box office. Reserved STL Legends Game tickets are only $20.  Fans can purchase a $60 VIP Autograph Experience that includes access to a two-hour autograph session as well as a reserved seat to the Legends Game.  Autographs are only available to the first 600 fans that purchase the autograph experience ticket and will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the Rascals Box Office at (636)240-2287 or by ordering online at http://www.rivercityrascals.com starting at 9:00 AM on February 1st.
Gates for the second annual STL Legends Game will open to the public at 6:00 PM.  However; fans that purchased a VIP autograph experience ticket will receive early entry to the ballpark with gates opening at 3:45 PM.  Players will be signing autographs on the field from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM for those with the autograph pass.  Fans will be able to visit and receive autographs from as many players as possible in the allotted time frame. Fans are encouraged to bring their own items to be autographed, with a limit of one autograph per person, per player (no photos or inscriptions). Only fans with a VIP autograph pass ticket will be allowed on the field for the signing session.
Sponsorship Opportunities are also available for the St. Louis Legends Game.  Packages include an exclusive offer to play on the field with the Legends players, manage a team or coach a base. For information on the STL Legends Game sponsorship packages contact Lisa Ferreira at (636)240-2287 x233 or LFerreira@RiverCityRascals.com.

2018 STL Legends Players
David Eckstein – Two-time World Series Champion and two-time All-Star, David Eckstein spent 10 seasons in the major leagues (2005-2007 with the St. Louis Cardinals).  His name will go down in Cardinals history as he is most remembered for his heroic play in Game 5 of the 2006 World Series earning him the title World Series MVP.  Eckstein, a member of that 2006 World Series Champion Cardinals team went 8 for 22 with 4 RBI and scored 3 runs in the series.  Eckstein was one of few starting shortstops at the time to have won a World Series in both the American and National League.

Scott Spiezio – A switch hitting utility player, Scott Spiezio spent two seasons in St. Louis from 2006 to 2007.  Spiezio, also a member of the 2006 World Championship team, hit an impressive 13 home runs and drove in 52 RBI’s in only 276 at bats that season.  Spiezio has professionally played six positions throughout his career including, first base, second base, third base, pitcher, right field and left field. Spiezio is fondly remembered by Cards fans for his colorful red soul patch during his tenure in St. Louis.
Kyle McClellan – A St. Louis native and right handed pitcher, Kyle McClellan spent five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals breaking into the big leagues with his hometown team in 2008. During his stretch with the Cardinals, McClellan served in the starting rotation as well as in relief with a 3.69 ERA and 257 strikeouts.  McClellan is also a member of the St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series team.

Vince Coleman – Best known for his years with the Cardinals, Vince Coleman made his major league debut on April 15th 1985.  During his rookie year, Coleman recorded 110 stolen bases, the third highest in Major League history earning him a unanimous selection of NL Rookie of the Year.  Coleman went on to steal over 100 bases in the following two seasons, making him the only 20th century player to post three consecutive 100+ stolen base seasons. The two-time All-Star currently ranks sixth in all-time career stolen bases in the major leagues with 752.

For more information on the second annual STL Legends Game or to order your tickets on February 1st call (636)240-2287 or visit http://www.rivercityrascals.com.  Stay up-to-date with everything happening with the Rascals by following the team on Facebook (@RascalsBaseball), Twitter (@rcrascals), Instagram (@rascalsbaseball), and SnapChat (@rcrascals).

Source: River City Rascals Media

MLB Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

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The Baseball Writers Association of America on Wednesday elected Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jones (who appeared on 97.2 percent of ballots) and Thome (89.8 percent) will go into Cooperstown as first-ballot Hall of Famers. Guerrero (92.9 percent) will be enshrined in his second year of eligibility. Hoffman (79.9 percent) was on the ballot for the third time. Well among the four that got in to the Hall of Fame I really happy for Vladimir Guerrero. Certainly, no recent Hall of Famer was seen by fewer people in person during his best seasons than Guerrero. From 1998 to 2002, Guerrero produced 29.5 wins above replacement (WAR)1 for the Expos, marking the top five-year stretch of his career. Over that span, an average of just 10,038 fans came to see each of Guerrero’s home games, according to attendance data from Baseball-Reference.com. That’s the fewest of any HOF member whose career took place during the expansion era (since 1961), including likely 2018 inductees Chipper Jones, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman.

Edgar Martinez fell shy of the 75 percent mark needed for enshrinement, receiving a votes on 70.4 percent of ballots Others coming within 20 percent of induction include Mike Mussina (63.5 percent), Roger Clemens (57.4 percent) and Barry Bonds (56.4 percent). Full voting is available at the BBWAA’s website.
There was never much doubt that Jones, 45, would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. The former No. 1 overall draft pick and 1999 National League MVP was an eight-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger and won a World Series title with the 1995 Braves. One of the best switch-hitters in the history of the sport, Jones hit .303/.401/.529 with 468 home runs, 150 stolen bases, 1619 runs scored and 1623 runs batter in over the life of a brilliant career that spanned nearly two decades.
Remarkably, Jones batted better than .300 and posted on OBP north of .390 from both sides of the plate over the course of his illustrious career. In addition to the extraordinary work he did in the regular season, Jones was an accomplished postseason bat as well, hitting a combined .287/.409/.456 with 13 homers in 417 trips to the plate in the postseason. Both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs peg Jones’ amazing career at more than 85 wins above replacement.
Thome, 47, heads into Cooperstown as one of the most accomplished sluggers in Major League history. The longtime Indians star retired with 612 homers — then the seventh-most home runs in big league history (though he’s since been passed by another Cooperstown-bound slugger, Albert Pujols, in that regard). Thome never won a league MVP but did make five All-Star teams and take home a Silver Slugger.
An on-base machine, Thome hit .276/.402/.554 and scored 1583 runs against 1699 runs batted in over the course of a career that spanned parts of 22 Major League seasons. He belted another 17 homers and knocked in 37 runs over the course of 267 postseason plate appearances. His career 147 OPS+ ties him with Hall of Famers Willie Stargell, Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt and the aforementioned Edgar Martinez for the 47th-best mark in MLB history. B-Ref pegged Thome’s career at 72.9 WAR, while Fangraphs credited him with a similarly excellent 69 WAR.
Guerrero, 43 next month, spent parts of 16 seasons in the Majors and batted .318/.379/.553 with 449 home runs, 1328 runs scored, 1496 runs batted in and 181 stolen bases. Guerrero earned American League MVP honors in a 2004 campaign that saw him bat .337/.391/.598 with 39 homers in 680 plate appearances, and he finished third on the AL MVP ballot on two other occasions. Guerrero was named to nine All-Star teams and took home eight Silver Slugger Awards in his career.
Guerrero was uncannily consistent, hitting .300 or better in 13 of his 15 full seasons in the Majors (and batting .290 and .295 in the two in which he came up short). Both OPS+ and wRC+ feel that the only full season he had in the Majors in which his bat was below the league average was his final season in 2011, when he batted .290/.317/.416 as a 36-year-old. He joins Juan Marichal and Pedro Martinez as the third Dominican-born player to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
Hoffman’s appointment to Cooperstown will be the most polarizing among today’s honorees. The 50-year-old is, of course, one of just two players in Major League history to record more than 600 career saves, joining future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera in that regard. Hoffman’s career came to a close with a 2.87 ERA, 9.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 as well as 601 saves and a 61-75 record through 1089 1/3 innings.
Hoffman’s supporters point to that vaunted save total, his seven All-Star nods and exceptional consistency. Hoffman posted a sub-3.00 ERA in 12 of 14 seasons from 1994-2007, averaging 37 saves per year along the way. His detractors note that he logged nearly 200 fewer innings than Rivera, the man to whom he is most often compared (based on their incredible saves totals) and also pitched 128 fewer postseason innings than Rivera.
There is, of course, no denying that Hoffman had a remarkable career; he averaged better than a strikeout per inning and finished with an ERA+ of 147, turning in an ERA worse than the league average just once in his career — in his 18th and final MLB season. Whether that places him among the all-time greats can be debated ad nauseam, but those whose voices matter most in that discussion (the BBWAA) clearly are of the mind that Hoffman is indeed worthy of being placed in such rarefied air.

Source: MLBTradeRumors

Grichuk Traded to the Bluejays

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Well it looks like Randall Grichuk was finally moved in a deal with the Bluejays. The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have acquired right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone (pronounced lee-OHN) and Conner Greene from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Randal Grichuk.
Leone, 26, enjoyed a solid 2017 campaign for Toronto, going 3-0 with a 2.56 ERA (12th among American League relievers) and 11 Holds in 65 games pitched, striking out 81 batters in 70.1 innings of work.   His 70.1 innings (9th among A.L. relievers) and 81 strikeouts were both 2nd highest among Toronto relievers last season.   Leone stranded 42 of 54 inherited runners (78 pct.), ranking 4th among American League relievers (min. 50 inherited runners) and he limited left-handed batters to a .183 average and righties to a .211 mark.
The 5-11, 195-pound Leone owns a career mark of 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 160 outings (all in relief) with Seattle (2014-15), Arizona (2015-16) and Toronto (2017).  A Connecticut native, Leone was drafted by Seattle in 2012 (16th round) out of Clemson University and made his Major League debut with the M’s in 2014 when he put together a solid rookie season, going 8-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 57 games (66.1 IP) with 70 strikeouts.   He led all Major League rookie relievers with his eight wins in 2014, finished 2nd to Dellin Betances (NY Yankees, 135) among Junior Circuit rookie relievers in strikeouts, was 3rd in rookie reliever ERA (2.17) and finished as one of just 19 American League relievers to fan 70 or more batters that season.
Greene, 22, went 5-10 with a 5.29 ERA for New Hampshire (AA) in 26 games (25 starts) and fanned 92 batters in 132.2 inning pitched, earning selection to the Eastern League All-Star team.   It was his 2nd-straight All-Star season, having also earned mid-season honors in the Florida State League (A) in 2016 when he was 4-4 with a 2.90 ERA in 15 starts for Dunedin.
A 7th round draft selection by the Blue Jays out of Santa Monica (Calif.) High School in 2013, Greene was ranked as the 5th best prospect in the Toronto organization by Baseball America in 2017.  The 6-3, 185-pound Greene is 31-31 with a 4.04 ERA in 103 career games (91 starts) since making his professional debut in 2013.
Grichuk, 26, played four seasons (2014-17) with the Cardinals after coming over in a November 2013 trade from the Los Angeles Angels that sent David Freese and Fernando Salas to the Halos.  Grichuk owns a career batting mark of .249 with 66 HR’s and 182 RBI in 404 games and he hit .238 last season with 22 HR’s and 59 RBI in 122 games.
Both Leone and Greene will be added to the Cardinals Major League roster, which is currently at the maximum 40 players.

Source: St. Louis Cardinals

Twins Hire Jim Kaat as Special Assistant

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Nearly a quarter century after being lost on waivers to the Chicago White Sox in August 1973, Jim Kaat is returning to the Twins as a special assistant.
Set to turn 80 later this year, the left-hander with 283 career victories in the major leagues remains active as a TV analyst for the MLB and YES networks. A 16-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner, Kaat is the namesake of the Twins’ Defensive Player of the Year, an award instituted in 2012.
Kaat was expected to be at TwinsFest this weekend.
“The Twins organization is thrilled to have Jim Kaat back on board,” Twins president and CEO Dave St. Peter said. “Jim’s history with this franchise as well as our game is rich and legendary.”
Kaat, who makes his home in Stuart, Fla., joins National Baseball Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris in his new role. Other Twins special assistants include Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Tom Kelly. They assist the organization in various community and business initiatives, both in Minnesota as well as southwest Florida, where the team holds spring training.
On Wednesday the Twins formally announced the addition of former AL MVP Justin Morneau as the fourth special assistant to baseball operations. He joined former Twins teammates Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins in that capacity.
Kaat also has more than 4,000 followers on his Twitter account (@KaatJim), where he describes himself as a “Baseball lifer. Golf enthusiast” and frequently expounds on the direction of modern pitching and baseball in general.
Kaat broke in with the Washington Senators in 1959 and went 190-159 with a 3.34 earned run average in more than 3,000 innings and 15 seasons with the Twins and Senators. He went 25-13 in 1966, leading the American League with 304 2/3 innings while completing 19 of 41 starts.
He finished fifth in AL MVP voting that year, one spot ahead of Oliva, but never finished higher than fourth (1975) in the Cy Young race. Kaat, who made three starts for the Twins in the 1965 World Series and four relief appearances against Paul Molitor’s Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series, retired at age 44 after spending the 1983 season with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Source: Mike Berardino