NEW YORK • The Cardinals and manager Mike Matheny have grown accustomed to questions before games about their lack of a closer, and a nebulous ninth always invites questions after a game. It’s the questions during the game, the ones about warmups and matchups and hang-ups, that the addition of Greg Holland has probably ended.With a call, the bullpen got its answer.“It helps solidify that ninth and it drops one of the questions that everybody was going to be asking themselves during the whole game,” said lefty Brett Cecil. “Is it going to be me? Is it going to be him? Just kind of eases your mind a little bit because it takes away the question mark in the bullpen. I think once you have that guy — it sorts itself out from there.”The Cardinals and Holland agreed Thursday morning to a one-year, $14 million contract that had not yet been finalized as of Friday. In addition to having Holland’s medicals reviewed and a physical taken, the … [Read more...] about Goold: With closer on board, Cardinals can use bullpen more aggressively
JUPITER, Fla. • A day or so earlier, Tommy Pham dove back to first base to avoid a pickoff and his right shoulder split apart, the labrum ripped from the bone like the lid of a yogurt cup. He lie there, safe, but in “the most pain I’ve ever been.”Twelve games into his return from a wrist injury, Pham now faced shoulder surgery, the installation of 12 anchors to reattach the labrum, and 2012, just another in a line of lost seasons. He felt the tick-tick-tick of the timer on his baseball career, and then the phone rang. The Cardinals’ executive who believed in him almost as much as he believed in himself had an unusual offer: a two-year, minor-league deal that would give Pham some certainty for 2013 and 2014. He had no leverage, no guarantee, no promise of a roster spot, and one question.“The only way I sign this contract is if you really think I’m going to play in the big leagues,” Pham said. “Do you?”John Vuch, then the farm … [Read more...] about Goold: Tommy Pham races the clock as he chases ‘greatness’
JUPITER, Fla. • For the Cardinals, especially as spring training revs, their past is ever-present. They talk about it, they invite it to camp, they see it on the walls, they drape themselves in it and hold themselves up to it. The tradition, success and expectations of the organization has become a staple of chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.’s introductory comments to the team each February, and there have been spring days when the manager will count the number of World Series rings won by people seated in the clubhouse. Their past has a presence. The 11 championships and long-standing success of the organization never seems out of reach because the team often has just added to it. Often. Not always. This spring it arrives at a distance. History always is closer when you’ve added to it. “Every year puts another line in the organization’s history, and every team is supposed to put another notch up there — 100 wins, the division (title), the playoffs, a World … [Read more...] about Goold: Past success is ever-present, but it’s time for Cards to focus on 2018
As the busiest club at the winter meetings and one of the last to leave the Walt Disney Dolphin resort late Thursday afternoon, the Cardinals appeared to have done something unusual for a club that seeks perennial contention as more than goal, but its brand. The Cardinals threw open a window. John Mozeliak and his front office finalized the acquisitions of three players, the most prominent of whom was left fielder Marcell Ozuna. The two-time All-Star joined free-agent pitchers Miles Mikolas and Luke Gregerson as new Cardinals, and all three have something else in common. Mikolas and Gregerson signed contracts guaranteed for the next two years, the same two years that Ozuna has before he is eligible for free agency. The length of those contracts, a mix of expiring ones like Adam Wainwright’s, and the idea Ozuna could be the hitter around which a championship lineup is built sends one clear message: Clock’s ticking. “I think our expectations are the same every … [Read more...] about Cardinals’ moves reflect their urgency to win
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. • The Rule 5 reversed for the Cardinals on Thursday. After several years of having players handpicked out of their minor-league system by other teams — San Diego was an annual pilferer — the Cardinals did not have a player taken in the major-league portion of the draft Wednesday, and this time they took advantage of a loophole used against them just 12 months earlier. The Cardinals selected two outfielders, Angel Moreno and Jean Selmo, in the first two rounds of the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft. Selmo, a 17-year-old from Arizona’s system, was described as a “lottery ticket.” “We’d rather go higher-risk, higher-reward possible as opposed to let’s take another minor-league body,” said John Vuch, the Cardinals’ director of baseball administration. “We’ve got depth. We’ve got all the bodies we need. So we might as well try to take someone with a little upside.” The … [Read more...] about Wisdom passed over in Rule 5 draft; Cards pick up two minor league outfielders
The Blog Above Replacement a daily look at the Reds, their minor leagues and whatever else is on the mind of Enquirer Reds beat writers, C. Trent Rosecrans and Zach Buchanan. You can follow them on Twitter (@ctrent and @ZachENQ), Facebook (C. Trent Rosecrans and Zach Buchanan) and Instagram (ENQReds).The St. Louis Cardinals that are in Cincinnati are hardly the team that’s been here in the past. Not only have the Cincinnati Reds taken the first two games of the series, the Reds have now won 9 of the last 14 games between the two teams. Are the Cardinals on the decline, and has their devil magic run out? Anyone remember “The Cardinal Way?" C. Trent is joined by St. Louis Post-Dispatch Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold, as Zach -- pictured below -- finds inner peace on the West Coast. Trent and Derrick discuss the future for these two franchises among many other topics, including the Scottie Pippin Principle. Today’s … [Read more...] about BAR: Are the Cardinals on the decline?
After two days of polling the voters who will decide the 2012 NL Cy Young Award, I can draw two conclusions — one should give R.A. Dickey encouragement; the other could give him extra incentive for his final four starts of the season. Most significantly, the 12 voters I spoke to — out of 32 in all — were unanimous in saying the race is too close to call with nearly three weeks to go, and too close to even have a clear-cut favorite among four primary candidates: Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw. As a result, the voters agree the last few starts for each pitcher could be crucial, perhaps coming down to the very last one. Then there is the matter of knuckleball respect, if you will. Going back to the All-Star Game, when Tony La Russa snubbed him for the start, Dickey — who won the 2012 Branch Rickey Award on Thursday in recognition of his work distributing baseball equipment and medical supplies in Central and South America — … [Read more...] about Voters: NL Cy Young too close to call with three weeks remaining in the MLB season
ST. LOUIS - The Kansas City Royals waited a long time between wins. They had no problem waiting to put this one in the books. Jeff Francoeur and Eric Hosmer combined for three RBIs in the ninth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen and the Royals spoiled Michael Wacha’s almost spotless debut, snapping an eight-game losing streak with a rain-delayed 4-2 victory on Thursday night. “We talk about this streak, we’ve been in every game, we’ve been one hit away, and tonight we got the hit,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Those are games that can get you turned around. Hopefully, that will be the case.” Hall of Famer George Brett’s debut as interim batting coach was a success and the Royals avoided a four-game sweep despite totaling only four hits in a marathon delayed an hour before the first pitch and another 4 hours, 32 minutes not long after the Royals took the lead with the bases loaded and none out in the top of … [Read more...] about Kansas City Royals beat Cardinals to end 8-game skid in game that doesn’t end until 3:14 a.m.
ST. LOUIS — As mad as Reds manager Bryan Price was at the end of the Reds’ 4-3 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday night, you can guarantee the Giants and Mets were less happy with the result.Third base umpire Scott Barry simply blew the call on Yadier Molina’s walk-off double in the ninth inning of the Reds’ 91st loss of the season. Molina’s double clearly bounced over the head of Reds left fielder Adam Duvall and hit the MOLottery.com sign above and behind the left-field wall. Matt Carpenter, on first base, came around to score the winning run.“We did look at it,” crew chief Bill Miller said to pool reporter Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the game. “It appears that the ball hit above the fence. And hit the signage above the left-field fence.” Box scoreThe problem is, the umpires only looked at it after they deemed the game over, the Cardinals had celebrated on the field, and Price had run through the stands … [Read more...] about Reds lose in controversial walk-off after umps leave field
During their visit to Queens this past week, the St. Louis Cardinals didn't display the winning form that has brought them to a surprising lead in the National League Central, scoring just nine runs as they dropped three of four games to the Mets. What they did display was manager Tony La Russa's quirky method for having reached the top of the division, using four different batting orders in as many days. And it wasn't just a matter of flip-flopping the No. 5 and 6 hitters - La Russa used four unique fielding alignments behind his pitchers. No manager in baseball shuffles his lineup as routinely as La Russa does - in 74 games entering the weekend, the Cardinals had used 67 unique batting orders (72 including different pitchers), none more than twice. By comparison, the Yankees had used 54 batting orders and the injury-ravaged Mets had used 52. "That's Tony for you, constantly mixing, matching, playing the numbers," said Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick. "He's done a good job … [Read more...] about Tony La Russa’s unique lineup tinkering has St. Louis atop NL Central