Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Cardinals’

Offseason Scorecard: St. Louis Cardinals

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

By virtue of Houston only playing 161 games, the Cardinals actually finished in 4th last year.  Here we go…

RECORD: 86-76
PYTHAGOREAN RECORD: 86.4-75.6 (+.4)
THIRD-ORDER WINS (FROM BASEBALL PROSPECTUS): 84.6-77.4 (-1.4)
TEAM WAR: BATTERS 32.4 | PITCHERS 9.9 | TOTAL 42.3 | WAR RECORD: 88.8-73.2 (+2.8)
ADDED THROUGH FREE AGENCY (CONTRACT SALARY/YEARS | 3 YEAR AVERAGE WAR):
RP TREVER MILLER (1M/1 YR | 0.4)
WINS GAINED THROUGH FREE AGENCY: 0.4
ACQUIRED THROUGH TRADES (CONTRACT SALARY/YEARS | 3 YEAR AVERAGE WAR):
SS KHALIL GREENE  (6.5M/1 YR | 1.5)
WINS GAINED THROUGH TRADES: 1.5
TOTAL MONEY SPENT: 7.5M/1 YR
TOTAL WINS GAINED: 1.9
LOST THROUGH FREE AGENCY (3 YEAR AVERAGE WAR):
RP RANDY FLORES* (0.3)
RP JASON ISRINGHAUSEN* (-0.2)
SS CESAR IZTURIS (0.4)
RP TYLER JOHNSON (-0.1)
SP BRADEN LOOPER (1.3)
SS FELIPE LOPEZ (1.0)
2B AARON MILES (0.7)
SP MARK MULDER* (-0.3)
RP RUSS SPRINGER (0.5)
RP RON VILLONE* (0.0)
* CURRENTLY UNSIGNED
WINS LOST THROUGH FREE AGENCY: 3.6
RELEASED (3 YEAR AVERAGE WAR)
2B ADAM KENNEDY (0.6)
WINS LOST THROUGH RELEASES: 0.6
TOTAL WINS LOST: 4.2
OFFSEASON WIN CHANGE: -2.3
PROJECTED ROSTER:
CA: YADIER MOLINA, JASON LARUE
1B: ALBERT PUJOLS
2B: SKIP SCHUMAKER, BRENDAN RYAN
3B: TROY GLAUSE, BRIAN BARDEN
SS: KHALIL GREENE
LF: CHRIS DUNCAN, BRIAN BARTON
CF: RICK ANKIEL
RF: RYAN LUDWICK
SP: ADAM WAINWRIGHT, KYLE LOHSE, TODD WELLEMEYER, JOEL PINIERO, CHRIS CARPENTER (?), JAIME GARCIA
RP: CHRIS PEREZ, RYAN FRANKLIN, KYLE MCCLELLAN, JOSH KINNERY, BRAD THOMPSON, CHRIS CARPENTER (?)

Last year’s Cardinals were a very interesting beast.  They relied almost completely on production from position players, putting up the second best positional WAR in the entire major leagues, mostly bolstered by by an NL leading 86 batting runs above average, 12 better than the #2 Cubs.  They also played pretty solid defense.  However, there’s been a pretty good amount of turnover this year, as you can see above. Once again, the major question mark will be the rotation.  Adam Wainwright will probably be solid again, but then there’s nothing but question marks.  I really have no idea what to expect out of former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter.  Kyle Lohse was signed to what is potentially the worst contract of the entire offseason, at 4 years/41M.  Most projection systems see him as a 4.20 ERA pitcher, which, in this market, is certainly not worth 10M/year, especially including the high likelihood of a decline.  Wellemeyer is unproven, and Piniero is proven to be awful.  Still, any team with Albert Pujols can definitely make some noise, especially if Ryan Ludwick puts up another great season.  The Cardinals could be a force with Carpenter, but I’m really not sure at all what to expect without him.

Blog Ambassador: Cardinals

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

With the Brewers in St. Louis to partake in an ever-important two game series against their biggest Wild Card threat, I thought I’d catch up with Andrea Reiher, a longtime Cardinals fan who writes about her team at Bugs & Cranks. She weighs in the birds’ surprising season, Ryan Braun’s infamous homer trot, and her opinion of Cub fans. Thanks for your brutally honest answers, Andrea. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Going into this season, did you expect this Cardinals team to play this well with their current cast of players? Why or why not?

As far as this season goes, I read all the stuff [that] y’all [read]. ‘The Cards are going to be terrible, they won’t even be a .500 team, etc etc.’ For some reason, I just didn’t agree. And I have nothing to base that on. I didn’t go to any spring training games; I was mourning the losses of Rolen and Edmonds, I figured after Wainwright our rotation would be held together with silly string and bubble gum. But I just had this feeling that we were going to have a great year. 

So far, they have not disappointed. I mean, obviously we aren’t leading the division or anything, but we are still in the hunt at the end of August. That’s huge. I mean, if our bullpen hadn’t blown just half the leads they did, we’d be winning the division. So no, I didn’t expect it. But I just had this feeling. I was strangely optimistic.

The last time these two teams met marked a series Brewer fans can consider a major turning point in the 2008 season. Do you feel Cardinals fans were able to regard the Brewers as a serious contender as that series played out, or is it something the Cards’ fanbase as a whole doesn’t like to bring up?

Oh, I know we regarded the Brewers as a serious contender. We were honestly just shooting for a split, 2-2. That was a major blow to our season. However, we’re still 14 games over .500. That’s ridiculous for this team this year.  And we’re 3.5 out of the Wild Card, which is not insurmountable.

In Ryan Braun’s final at bat in that series he watched his homer and trotted in a manner deemed to be disrespectful by hoards of both Brewers and Cardinals fans. What do you think the odds are that Braun wears a fastball at some point during this upcoming two game set?

It was kind of a jerk move on his part, but anyone who has played sports has to have done that at some point in their lives. You get pumped, you celebrate, swept up in the moment. Happens to the best of us. If he gets plunked, I’m okay with that. As long as nobody is throwing at his head - which, to me, is not okay - then I’m fine with it. And I think he might. However, it’s been awhile since that series and maybe we don’t need to go putting men on base unnecessarily, you know?

Why do you think the Cardinals failed to acquire a player (or players) at the deadline to help solidify the starting rotation or bolster the bullpen? Did you feel a move was necessary?

I wanted us to pick up a reliever so badly. It felt like the front office really snubbed our guys’ hard work by not. However, we weren’t supposed to be anything this season and this scrappy group of guys has really exceeded expectations. So I kind of want to dance with the guys that brung me, ya know? I’d like to succeed with these guys. Of course, ask me again after we blow a three-run 9th inning lead.

How frustrating is it to have so much money and expectation invested in Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder, who have both missed significant time throughout the past two seasons?

I’m not frustrated with Carpenter. He’s an ace who has done well for us and now he’s back.  His first start back (until he left) was good. I actually hear rumors that he may start this week against the Brew Crew. I’m not bitter about the money/time invested in Carp. Mulder is a different story.  But again, nobody can see the future. Nobody could’ve known we’d trade away Dan Haren and get a pile of crap in return. Mulder was dominant in Oakland and if he’d stayed healthy, he’d still be dominant. It’s frustrating what has happened with him, but what can you do?

Though lacking their ace, unlikely heroes like Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse – not to mention Ryan Ludwick – have stepped in to post great seasons and keep the team in the thick of a playoff push. Do you feel these players can continue their surprise seasons and keep playing at such a high level if the Cards reach the playoffs?

I think Wellemeyer and Ludwick have proved their mettle. Ludwick seemed like a feel-good flash in the pan earlier this year, but he hasn’t trailed off.  He’s hitting so great this year and just today threw out someone at the plate. Wellemeyer went through a slump and has bounced back to be good. Those two are fantastic and I think would continue to play the way they are in the post-season.

Lohse is frustrating because for the first half of the season he was so great and now suddenly he’s terrible. He’ll pitch five good innings and then in the 6th inning, like clockwork, he’ll give up five runs. It’s uncanny and it’s happened like five starts in a row. That is frustrating. I would really like to see him back on form.

How good is Colby Rasmus? Who are some other highly regarded prospects in the Cardinals’ system?

Colby has been kind of a letdown in the minors this year, but I like what I’ve seen of Ankiel in center and that just gives Colby time to mature in the minors. As for prospects… you’ve seen a lot of them this year. We’ve started a Major League-leading 10 rookies this year. I like what I’ve seen from Mitchell Boggs, Chris Perez and Jaime Garcia particularly.

How much do you hate the Cubs? Feel free to be as descriptive as you’d like.

The thing is… I hate obnoxious Cubs fans. But I hate obnoxious fans of any team. There is no need to be a complete douchebag, is my thinking.  This year, it sucks to see them running away with the division and 100th anniversary and blah, blah. But the Cards have had so much success in my lifetime that I really can’t bitch. No team is going to be awesome every season and no team is going to suck every season. It doesn’t work that way. This year, since they are doing so well, I hope they continue to and the Brewers go away, and we can have a Cubs/Cards NLCS showdown.

Any predictions for the series? The NL Central/Wild Card race? 

Honestly, I think September is going to be a wild month. I honestly think, based on how poetic it is and destiny and the beauty and symmetry of baseball, that the Cards are going to win the Wild Card and end up facing the Cubs in the NLCS. It’ll be amazing and awesome and stressful. The Cubs should have to beat their big brother from the South to get to the World Series. It’ll be epic.  


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