Cards News & Notes
The Cardinals will not be playing in the 2010 postseason. The news became official after a 7-2 loss to the Pirates and a Cincinnati 3-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday night. It was only a matter of time before the team faced elimination, but manager Tony La Russa refused to give up all hope until the end.
“There’s a reality and there’s finality, right? As long as it’s possible you might as well keep a faint hope.”
To say the least, it has been a long and exhausting year for both the Cardinals and their fans. Now it is time for the organization to regroup and go through the crucial offseason decision making process. The countdown to opening day on March 31st has begun as St. Louis looks to regain their spot as the top team in the N.L. Central in 2011.
Adam Wainwright will not get a shot at a possible 21st victory. The team decided to shut him down for the remainder of the season after being diagnosed with a right elbow muscle strain and inflammation of a nerve. The Cardinals are making a smart decision by deciding to play it safe rather than risk a more significant injury. Wainwright has expressed his agreement with this decision.
“For me to go out there and pitch minus a muscle is not smart. I have a million reasons why I should or could go out there and pitch, but none of them are worth the risk.”
With the second highest win total (20) and the second lowest ERA (2.42) in the National League, Wainwright is a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award for the second straight year. Regardless of whether or not this injury hurts his chances of winning the award, Wainwright has put himself among the best pitchers in the Major Leagues.
Albert Pujols’ contract expires following the 2011 season. At that time, he will hit the open market for all teams to have a chance at landing him. With that in mind, the Cards will look to extend his contract this offseason to lock him up for the long term future. Pujols has insisted that he cares about winning more than the money, but it seems almost certain that the team will need to pay him $20 million per year or more to keep him in St. Louis. Dealing with arguably the best baseball player on the planet, it is easy to think that the Cards should be willing to extend their payroll and give Albert the big money. However, this Fungoes examination suggests that an above average payroll is not necessary to make the playoffs. There is no doubt that Pujols is an extremely valuable player, but it might be wise of the Redbirds to learn from below average payroll teams who can still consistently compete such as the Rays and Twins.
Three Minor League players have been given 50-game suspensions after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. One of these three is a 20-year-old minor league shortstop for the Cardinals by the name of Lainer Bueno. Bueno was a member of the team’s Venezuelan Summer League roster and he will begin serving his suspension at the start of next season. Unfortunately, the Cards have become quite accustomed to being involved in steroid issues. Since 2005, the Cardinals have had 20 drug related suspensions in their minor league system. It really is a shame to see players with so much potential make poor decisions and be forced to live with them for the rest of their careers. Not only is Bueno is hurting both his own image and the team’s, which may cost him the opportunity to play for this organization in the future.