Cardinals How about Arrieta?

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So what is the deal with Free Agent Jake Arrieta? How come the Cardinals are not looking at him? Is it his age, the amount of money he wants, or the decline of his pitching arm?

Arrieta reportedly is looking for more than Darvish’s deal, but then aren’t we all? Some talk goes back to a four-year, $88 million offer, which doesn’t top Darvish’s total payday, but does come with some bragging rights.

Darvish reportedly is guaranteed $25 million this season, $4 million more than his average annual value. A Cardinals or Brewers deal with Arrieta could start at, say, $28 million for 2018 and pay him $20 million each of the remaining three seasons. Voila, not only a higher average annual salary than Darvish but also the highest free-agent pitcher salary this year.

It’s always fun to spend other people’s millions, isn’t it? Who knows, maybe Arrieta will decide $88 million is enough when coupled with the chance to be a Cubs killer instead of the Cubs ace, and maybe the Cardinals or Brewers will decide a decorated pitcher who remade himself in the middle of a division race last season now knows who he is and what he’s doing, and would have some extra motivation to execute all that.

Why have teams been slow to ink Arrieta? Below is an analytical look at reasons why MLB front offices are hesitant to commit to the former Cubs ace.

This isn’t surprising to those who watched Arrieta pitch the past season, but Arrieta’s velocity might be the most concerning part of his profile. Below are Arrieta’s dips over the past three seasons on each of his pitch types, per Statcast™ and pitch-tracking data:
Sinker (2015/ ’16/ ’17): 95.3 mph / 94.5 mph / 92.2 mph
Four-seam fastball: 95.1 mph / 94.2 mph / 92.1 mph
Curveball: 81.3 mph / 81.1 mph / 78.8 mph
Slider: 90.8 mph / 89.8 mph / 87.8 mph
Changeup: 89.5 mph / 89.2 mph / 87.3 mph

Arrieta essentially shelved his four-seamer last season, throwing it only 54 times after he’d averaged 629 in the prior two campaigns. That took away a pitch with a healthy 24.5 percent whiff-per-swing rate in 2015-16, as well as an offering he could tunnel alongside his changeup and breaking balls.
Arrieta’s 25.7 percent whiff rate on all his pitches sat just outside the top 20 qualified MLB starters in ’15 (min. 1,000 total swings induced), but slipped to 21.5 percent last season. Declining velocity is maybe the most obvious red flag for a free-agent pitcher, and it appears Arrieta will have to rely more on craft and command in the years ahead.

Arrieta’s peak three seasons ago ranks among the greatest performances in baseball history. But his next team will be paying for the future, not the past, and the data suggests that zenith is likely in the rear-view mirror.
Arrieta still possesses the skill, guile and competitiveness to retire Major League hitters, but for how long? Teams may be wondering if Arrieta could truly fulfill the value of the mega  contract he’s seeking.

Source: MLB\Matt Kelly

 

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Single Cardinals Tickets on Sale Friday

Milwaukee Brewers v St Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that individual tickets for the 2018 season will go on sale this Friday, February 23, beginning at 10 a.m. CT.
Fans who wish to purchase tickets to three or more games will receive early access to take part in a special online-only “multi-game” ticket sale beginning today, Wednesday, February 21, at 10 a.m. CT.
In addition to hosting top National League teams such as the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Washington Nationals, the Cardinals’ 2018 home schedule features interleague matchups with American League Central teams including the defending AL Central Champion Cleveland Indians (June 25-27), Chicago White Sox (May 1-2), Minnesota Twins (May 7-8); the Redbirds will host their American League rival, Kansas City Royals, for a three-game set May 21-23.
This year’s schedule also features over 40 promotional dates for fans of all ages, with many returning favorites such as bobbleheads, replica rings and replica jerseys. A few, new items that will salute Cardinals historic moments and current roster favorites include a lightweight quarter-zip performance pullover (April 8), a “Yadi” tumbler (June 1), and a Dizzy Dean watch (August 19). Also new for 2018, fans will have the opportunity to help select a t-shirt design for a monthly t-shirt promotional giveaway.
As in previous seasons, the Cardinals will continue to offer great values in 2018 with ticket prices starting as low as $5.
“Busch Stadium should be an enjoyable and affordable experience for all fans,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. “Thanks to our dynamic ticket pricing system, we’re able to provide great deals on a consistent basis.”
The Cardinals’ dynamic pricing system allows the team to more accurately price tickets for individual games and provide fans more value. In 2017, 72% of games featured tickets available for $10 or less and 33% of games featured tickets at $5 or below. Throughout the season, the team will continue to offer “Dynamic Deals of the Week” highlighting outstanding ticket savings for fans, as well as a host of other fan-friendly values which can be found at cardinals.com/fanvalues.
Sales for multi-game and single-game tickets are both available online at cardinals.com. In addition, tickets for Friday’s on-sale are available via phone at 314-345-9000 or in person at the Busch Stadium Ticket Windows and kiosks.

A full list of fan-friendly values for the 2018 season follows:

2018 Fan-Friendly Values
Dynamic Pricing: Ticket prices fluctuate based on market value, meaning many games will feature tickets as low as $5.
Great Promotional Giveaways: MLB’s best premium items including replica jerseys, replica rings and bobbleheads highlight a season of over 40 stadium giveaways and special promotions.
Outside Food & Drinks at All Games: Busch Stadium is the only St. Louis sports venue where fans may bring in their own food and drinks for all home games (some size and content restrictions apply).
Budweiser Ballpark Pass: After a successful 2017 debut, the popular monthly digital ticket subscription will return in 2018. The Pass delivers a standing room ticket for every home game for just $29.99 per month.
KMOX 1120 First Pitch Tickets: At 9:00 a.m. CT on the day of each home game, fans may purchase a voucher good for two tickets for just $11.20 ($5.60 per ticket). Fans redeem their vouchers for actual tickets 15 minutes prior to game time. Tickets may be anywhere in the stadium from Field Box to Standing Room.
Nathan’s Famous Family Sundays: On most Sundays, fans who purchase RF/LF Pavilion or RF Terrace tickets will receive a free jumbo hot dog and Coca-Cola.
Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sundays: Two hours prior to each Sunday game, enjoy games, prizes and free Prairie Farms ice cream and North Star frozen treats in Ford Plaza.
AAA Discounts Rewards: AAA members receive a $10 discount off tickets on most Monday-Thursday games.
Fill Up at Phillips 66: Fill up with eight (8) gallons or more at a participating Phillips 66 to receive a special discount ticket offer of up to 50% off many 2018 games.
Six Flags Double Play Combo: Get a Cardinals game ticket and a Six Flags one-day ticket for only $55.
Ticket Packs: Several different 5-game and 10-game ticket packs are available, which feature discounted tickets to 2018’s best promotional giveaways and highest demand games.
Group Value Nights: Select games throughout the season where groups of 20 or more receive 50% off regular ticket prices.
Cards Cash: Stored money built into the barcode of your ticket, good for use at any Busch Stadium concession stand, kiosk or Team Store. Fans can add $12 Cards Cash to a ticket for just $10.

For more details, visit cardinals.com/fanvalues.

MLB Teams show Support for Victims

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All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.
Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.
MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they’re off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.
The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.
Commissioner Rob Manfred then approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.
The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

The Cardinals to attend Lincecum Showcase

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This just came in from Jon Heyman……..The Cardinals will have evaluators at Tim Lincecum’s showcase tomorrow, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link).  St. Louis will join at least 12 other teams in watching the former two-time Cy Young Award winner throw as he attempts a comeback after missing all over the 2017 season.

I have also heard that Tim Lincecum has bulked up in size. He will pitch in a showcase in Seattle.

Lincecum appeared in nine games for the Angels in 2016. He posted a 9.16 earned-run average as he returned from hip surgery. He did not pitch in professional baseball last season.
Lincecum reemerged into the baseball world in December, when Kyle Boddy, the founder of training facility Driveline Baseball, announced Lincecum would attempt another comeback.

During nine years with San Francisco, Lincecum played a role on three World Series champions. His best days occurred before the Giants became October regulars: In his Cy Young years in 2008 and 2009, Lincecum went 33-12 with a 2.55 ERA and struck out 526 batters. His performance waned as his velocity dipped.

 

 

 

Five Dollar Cardinals Flash Sale!

flash

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Spring Training, and to celebrate the St. Louis Cardinals announced a special 12-hour flash ticket sale tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT.
Fans can purchase tickets for any Monday—Thursday games in 2018 for just $5 (excluding Opening Day).  Additionally, each $5 ticket purchased will be pre-loaded with $5 in Cards Cash for fans to use towards concessions or merchandise inside Busch Stadium.
Fans can purchase up to eight of the special $5 tickets per person, per game.  Tickets will be available at cardinals.com, at the Busch Stadium Box Office during regular hours (10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) or via phone at 314.345.9000.  Again, this special ticket flash sale will only be available until 10:00 p.m. CT on Tuesday, February 13.

St. Louis Cardinals

 

Update: Bud Norris

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It’s a one-year, Major League contract for Norris, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. The Cardinals are in agreement on a contract with free-agent righty Bud Norris, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). His contract is pending a physical.  Norris is represented by Wasser.

It’s not yet clear whether Norris, 33 next month, signed a Major League or Minor League contract, though the latter is a possibility following a rough finish to what began as a strong 2017 season. The 4.21 ERA that Norris authored through 62 innings last season doesn’t look overly impressive, but he was somewhat quietly dominant through the season’s first half; in 36 1/3 innings prior to the All-Star break, Norris notched a 2.23 ERA that was backed by a 2.96 FIP and a 3.21 xFIP. In that time, the starter-turned-reliever averaged 11.6 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 with a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.

However, Norris missed time in late June and early July with a knee injury, and upon his return, his success quickly deteriorated. Then the Halos’ closer, Norris improbably served up a pair of grand slams (being charged for all four runs in each instance) within a span of six days, ballooning his ERA from 2.23 to 3.89. Things didn’t get any better for him in the month of August, and he again hit the disabled list late that month due to inflammation in the same problematic right knee. Overall, Norris perhaps quite literally limped to a 7.01 ERA following the All-Star break and watched his K/9 (9.5), BB/9 (4.6) and ground-ball rates (41.8 percent) all go in the wrong direction.

The Cardinals, though, could be heartened by the fact that Norris’ success out of the ’pen in the past couple of seasons has corresponded with a notable change in his pitch selection, as he’s largely abandoned his four-seam fastball in exchange for a cutter and sinker. If those changes and better health can allow him to sustain production more in line with last year’s first half than his nightmarish second half, then Norris could prove to be a bargain for a Cardinals team whose late-inning relief mix still looks to be rather unsettled.

As things stand, Luke Gregerson could well head into the year as the closer, though St. Louis also picked up righty Dominic Leone from the Blue Jays in the Randal Grichuk trade, and lefty Tyler Lyons had a breakout year as a high-leverage reliever last season. Any from that mix could conceivably find his way into the ninth inning in 2018, as could righty Alex Reyes when he returns from Tommy John surgery (even though the organization views him as a starter long term).

MLB Trade Rumors

A Man on a Mission: Carp

abigcarp

 

Good news!! It looks like that the right shoulder issues that Cardinals infielder Matt Carpenter played through last season are no longer hampering him, he tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch“It’s not in the back of mind, like it was, not at all,” he said. “It’s not limiting me in any way. I can go out and do whatever. It is as if everything is normal.” Carpenter’s shoulder made it a challenge for him to swing a bat in 2017, yet he still managed to amass 622 plate appearances and slash a terrific .241/.384/.451. Although, Carpenter’s production did drop off from 2015-16, a 1,231-PA run in which he batted .271/.372/.505.

Carpenter also knows that there are other things he needs to work on.

One was his defense, which was too inconsistent for Carpenter’s liking. The other, his baserunning.

“I feel like I can do a better job of that,” Carpenter said of the latter. “And that has nothing to do with speed. It’s just making better decisions.”

Indeed, Carpenter made a series of curious decisions on the bases in 2017. He was bitten by his own aggressiveness several times, which led to Carpenter being thrown out on the bases a team-most nine times, including five instances at home. That, too, led the club.

And there were other times when Carpenter wasn’t opportunistic enough. According to Baseball Reference, he finished with an extra-bases-taken percentage of 29, the lowest of his career. For context, league average last season was 40 percent.

I have a feeling Carp will bounce back and have an even better 2018 season.

Source: MLB Trade Rumors/Jennifer Langosch

 

Whats Going On with Lance Lynn

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Free agent hurler Lance Lynn has received interest from “seven or eight teams,” according to a report from Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His former team, the Cardinals, is not one of them.

Lynn, of course, declined a qualifying offer from St. Louis at the start the offseason. It seems the club is now content to allow him to leave, knowing that it’ll receive a draft choice after the Competitive Balance Round B selections so long as Lynn signs before this year’s draft.

Clearly, Lynn is worthy of punting some draft compensation. But while the CBA’s new qualifying offer rules have generally put that matter on the back burner, parting with draft value is still a factor in any free agent case. (MLBTR has run down what draft picks each team would need to sacrifice to sign a qualified free agent such as Lynn.)

As we’ve noted of late, Lynn has had a quiet offseason but remains an easy-to-visualize fit with quite a few organizations. Among the teams showing some level of interest, per Goold, are the Brewers and Cubs — two teams that are plenty familiar with Lynn from his lengthy stint with the Cardinals. The article also rounds up reported interest from other quarters, mentioning the Orioles, Twins, Nationals, and Mets as plausible suitors. Indeed, a run through MLBTR’s log of posts involving Lynn shows no shortage of possibilities.

Lynn himself discussed the situation with Goold, though he declined to get into specifics on teams. You’ll want to read the entire piece, as it’s loaded with interesting information and discussion, but generally Lynn suggests he feels comfortable preparing as normal despite his lack of a contract. “I haven’t missed anything,” he said. “There’s nothing really to worry about — at this moment.”

Goold also examines Lynn’s value against prior open-market players, suggesting the Tigers’ signing of Jordan Zimmermann — five years and $110MM, with strong no-trade protection — as a comp. While there’s certainly an argument to be made for that kind of analogy given Lynn’s bottom-line results, the view of MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes — as explained first in the MLBTR Top 50 Free Agents list and expanded upon in his free agent profile of Lynn — is that the veteran righty isn’t quite in that stratosphere, due in large part to concerns with the peripherals. MLBTR has pegged Lynn for a four-year deal in the $14MM or $15MM annual range, citing a variety of teams as plausible fits on paper.

In large part, the overall market picture remains much the same as it was when Dierkes set out to evaluate things before the action got underway. Just how Lynn’s situation will shake out, though, is even more difficult to predict now than it was then. The overall tenor of Lynn’s comments, and Goold’s reporting, suggests that this free agent case is not particularly close to resolution.

Source: MLBTradeRumor

Wainwright Helps Kentucky Families

 

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One-hundred and ninety-five miles separate the two fields, one nestled in the Western Kentucky town of Benton, the other an unofficial epicenter of St. Louis. There were also few places that Preston Cope cherished more.

Those trips to Busch Stadium, which can pack in more than 10 times Benton’s population, offered Preston the chance to watch his heroes. They also spurred a young boy’s love of baseball, a sport he went on to play at Marshall County High School.

The two intersected last year when the Marshall County team traveled to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals and then participate in their own exhibition game on the same field shortly after. It was, cliched as it may be, a dream come true for the then-lanky freshman who walked onto the Busch Stadium field in his bright orange high school uniform that day.

“He was so thrilled and excited,” his father recalled in a letter given to MLB.com. “It was a very special moment for him — one he would never forget.”

It’s also one Preston won’t get the opportunity to relive.

The school day had just begun for students at Marshall County on Jan. 23 when the gunshots began. By the time they stopped, 16 students had been shot. A 15-year-old girl, Bailey Holt, died at school that morning. Preston, also 15, died en route to the hospital.

His parents, Brian and Teresa, reached him just in time to say goodbye.

In the days that followed, folks who had never heard of Benton began to learn about the lives of those two teenagers. As friends and family shared stories about Preston, so often they’d come back to the same theme, baseball, and his first love, the Cardinals.

Those stories eventually reached Adam Wainwright, who instantly felt moved to help with the healing. And with the assistance of his foundation, Big League Impact, plans are already being made for Wainwright to host victims of the shooting and their families at Busch Stadium this summer.

It was a gesture, said Big League Impact director Raymond St. Martin, that Wainwright proposed on his own.

That next trip up to Busch Stadium will no doubt be bittersweet for the Cope family, especially Brian, who was largely responsible for fostering his son’s love of the Cardinals. Having himself been raised a Cardinal fan, Brian Cope felt that “passing that down to my sons was important.”

Preston’s first visit to Busch Stadium was with his father; they went home with a Scott Rolen autograph. And there were many trips up on Sundays so that Preston and his younger brother, Maddox, could run the bases after the game.

The Copes were at Busch Stadium for Game 3 of the 2006 World Series and just down the street from it to watch the 2011 World Series championship parade. Last year, Preston traveled to St. Louis to attend Winter Warm-Up.

No experience, however, matched the one when, for those few fleeting hours, Preston and his teammates were able to call the field of their heroes their own.

Playing at Busch Stadium, as Brian described it now, was “the highlight that made his young life.”

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.