As the World Series Championship finally starts to set in amongst St. Louis fans, the Cardinals remain very much in the spotlight around Major league Baseball. This team has created a variety of headlines recently, and this is before the Albert Pujols free agency negotiations even get started. After the jump, I’ll bring you all the latest Cards news and notes.
First, let’s begin with the man behind the plate in St. Louis. Yadier Molina collected his fourth consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Award on Tuesday to become just the 10th catcher in baseball history to do so. He beat out Brian McCann of the Braves and Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies to win the award.
This further solidifies Molina’s reputation as the top defensive catcher in the game. Yadi’s strong arm, quick feet, and knowledge of the game allow him to manage the St. Louis pitching staff, block balls in the dirt, and throw out runners on base. His 46 stolen bases allowed in 2011 were fewest among qualified catchers in the National League, and his overall ability to shut down opposing running games has been well-documented.
Moving from Gold to Silver, the Louisville Silver Sluggers were announced yesterday. The award is presented to the best overall offensive players at each position and is also voted on by managers and coaches from both leagues. While no Cardinals appeared on the National League list, NL Central players Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Brandon Phillips, and Aramis Ramirez were among the winners. This is the first time since 2007 that Albert Pujols was not a recipient of the award.
Next, the Cardinals’ search for a new manager is in full swing. Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak have requested and received permission from the Philadelphia Phillies to interview Ryne Sandberg for the job opening. Sandberg has been a Triple-A manager for the past five seasons, and his name has surfaced more than once regarding managerial interviews in recent years. The 52-year-old Hall of Famer is best known as a Cubs legend during his playing days, but the Cards/Cubs rivalry shouldn’t be a factor whatsoever. At the end of the day, it’s about hiring the best man for the job, and that could very well be Ryno.
Finally, the Cardinals can cross contractual options off their offseason to-do list. Early this week, the club declined remaining options on shortstop Rafael Furcal and reliever Octavio Dotel, making both free agents. Furcal and Dotel would have made $12 million and $3.5 million respectively in 2012, which is simply more than the Cards are willing to pay. These two guys made significant contributions down the stretch, and don’t count out the possibility of one or both returning for less money. Furcal has recently indicated that he is willing to wait until the team’s search for a new manager is complete before making a final decision.