It’s a multi-topic day for me, sort of a kill several birds with one stone post. And no that was not an intended pun.
First on the agenda, I am happy to say I have another contest for someone to win a 2011 World Series 8 Disc DVD Set, brought to you by A & E Home Networks Entertainment. This set has all 7 games of the World Series plus one Bonus Disc so you can enjoy watching the 2011 World Series over and over again at home. Unlike the last contest for the World Series film, I only have one set to give away. I am not going to do a trivia contest this time, but will give this one away through a random drawing. Just enter by expressing your interest in the comments section below this post. At midnight, Monday, December 19, 2011 I will put all of the names of the contest entrants in my Cardinals baseball cap and select one. That winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 20, 2011. The winner will be asked to email me with their shipping information, and the DVD Set will be mailed directly to that winner by A&E Home Networks Entertainment. Good luck to all the entrants.
Moving on to Cardinals team news, as many probably already know, the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players came and went at 11 pm CT last night. The Cardinals had four arbitration eligible players: Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot, Kyle McClellan, and Jason Motte. The Cardinals tendered contracts to both Kyle McClellan and Jason Motte. Both players will now either work out contract terms with the Cardinals, or have their salary demands submitted to arbitration. More than likely deals will be worked out with both. Ryan Theriot was not tendered a contract and has now become a non tendered free agent. The Cardinals are not precluded from signing him, they would just approach him like they would any other free agent. My guess is Ryan Theriot will not be playing for the Cardinals in 2012. Thank you Ryan Theriot for your contribution and enjoy your World Series ring. As for the last arbitration eligible player, Skip Schumaker, the Cardinals took the avenue of signing him to a 2 yr contract, encompassing both his last arbitration year and his first year of free agency. That deal is reported to be worth a total of $3 million dollars.
The Jason Motte tendering was a no brainer for the Cardinals. Motte distinguished himself in the postseason as the closer for the Cardinals, a role that he will more than likely carry into the 2012 season. The Skip Schumaker signing was not a surprise for most fans, though there are some that are not particularly thrilled by it. Skip is from all reports a great clubhouse guy, extremely popular with his teammates, and I won’t argue that doesn’t count for something. Whether it counts for $3 million dollars worth of somethings is debatable. John Mozeliak has stated that he sees Schumaker as a “super utility guy” in the OF primarily. I will agree that Schumaker is better suited for the outfield than he is at second base, where he played for the last two seasons. In my opinion, Schumaker just doesn’t have abilities that are suited for the infield and his play at second base reflected that. I expect to see Daniel Descalso, who is better defensively, to get the majority of playing time at second base with perhaps some spelling by Tyler Greene against left handed pitching.
Kyle McClellan is an enigma to me. He seemed well suited for the bullpen in 2010, at least I thought he did an adequate job there (though stat geeks most likely will disagree). He was put in the starting rotation in 2011 when Adam Wainwright went down with an elbow injury in spring training. For the first few months it seemed as if his insertion as the fifth starter was going well, but at some point mid season he just lost it. Whether it was injury, fatigue, or some other cause, he never was able to get back to his levels from the beginning of the season. Even after he was removed from the rotation with the acquisition of Edwin Jackson, and put back in the bullpen, he continued to struggle, being removed entirely from the roster for the NLCS series against the Brewers, before he was reinstated to the World Series roster. The question now is whether he can be an effective reliever in 2012. It appears the Cardinals are going to see if he can.
The next moves to be made by the Cardinals are hopefully to get another left handed reliever, either through free agency or trade, and a right handed outfield bat. There has been talk that the Cardinals are in the mix for Carlos Beltran, though it is rumored that the Rockies are now making a hard push to get him. The Cardinals could use a bat to compensate for some of the lost Pujols production, and Beltran looks to be the best option, if he stays healthy. The sticking point is likely to be the number of years Beltran would require. With outfield options coming available in a few years from the minor leagues, a long term commitment to Beltran would not be in the Cardinals’ best interests.
Speaking of the Cardinals’ former first baseman, I have one final thought on the subject and then it is time to move on. Moving on would be much easier to do for the Cardinals, their fans, and Albert if he would just do one thing. Stop talking about why he left. In fact, just stop talking about the Cardinals period. They are not his team anymore. He has his “family” now in Los Angeles and I am happy for him. I harbor no ill will toward Albert at all. I just don’t want to hear him talking to me. I also don’t want to hear from his wife, or his agent, or his pool boy or anyone else who feels compelled to “explain”. Enough.
That is it for this post. Don’t forget to register your interest in winning the World Series DVD Set. You are encouraged to comment on anything I had to say as well or to give suggestions for future posts. I can assure you that I have an opinion on pretty much anything baseball related and I am not afraid to share it.