Feb 23, 2011; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) and Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz (48) take a break between bullpen sessions during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

Rants Daily: Cards and Molina talking extension again

In a reversal of fortunes, or in an effort to get Cardinals’ fans off the proverbial ledge, Yadier Molina and the Cardinals re-opened contract negotiations just a day after Molina’s agent said there would be no discussions during the season. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak must have taken the threat to heart.

I wrote the other day that Molina had the upper hand here and he knew it. With minimal options in house and in the market for next season, the Cardinals need to get this done

The Cardinals potentially have plenty of money coming off the books next season (Lance Berkman, $12 million, Kyle Lohse, $11 million and Jake Westbrook, $8.5 million) so paying Molina about $10 million per season for four years is not going to set them back or put a damper on further off-season spending when filling out the 2013 roster. Plus he’s worth that on the open market as I describe here.

OSWALT TO WAIT

After several weeks of ups and downs with his destination, Roy Oswalt came out yesterday and said he would have no problem sitting out until the middle of the season a la Roger Clemens. He has not been offered the type of contract that he feels he is worth. The Cardinals were among the top contenders for his services, though they never got close to his number and before Oswalt made his announcement Mozeliak had already quelled the Cardinals interest again.

In a way this may be the best thing Oswalt can do unless someone gets hurt early on in a camp where he is willing to pitch. He can stay home and keep in shape until someone, a contender, wants him for the stretch run. It opens up the number of teams that would be interested in him and in some instances he may be able to earn nearly as much as he is being offered now for a full season. When teams are close to making the post-season and need that extra edge many will go all out because the playoffs are lucrative for teams. Oswalt, if healthy, fits the bill as a player who can make a contender a winner.

WORKOUTS

Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal participated in their first workout of the spring yesterday, one day ahead of today’s first full-squad workout. Both Lance Lynn and Jordan Swagerty were back on the mound yesterday after taking a couple days to recover from minor soreness. It is good to see that both players were able to shake off the early pains and make back to the mound quickly.

MATHENY ENDS QUOTE OF THE DAY

During the first few days of camp new manager Mike Matheny was providing the media, and thus the public, with a quote that meant something to him. He intended to use the quote to relate the theme of the day for his players. It looks like Wednesday’s quote was the final one that will be released. He will now only read the quotes to the players in the clubhouse behind closed doors. He felt that the quotes were being misconstrued by the public so we’ll have to hope some players spill the beans so we can hear them.

I for one think it is a great idea, but I also understand why he wants to keep them under wraps from here on out. When used in the right context, and without being pompous, quotations can be an easy way to set the stage and that seems to be what Matheny is using them for. Now, the context is for his players to determine and not us.

BRAUN OFF THE HOOK

The biggest news around the league yesterday centered on the arbitration ruling concerning Ryan Braun‘s failed performance enhancing drug test. The arbitrator split the vote between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association and ruled for Braun. It was determined that the chain of command had been broken or technically had been stopped. The test is supposed to be delivered to the lab via FedEx immediately, but the tester was unable to get it to the FedEx facility on time. He held it for two days until he could ship it off. While the sample did not looked altered in any way, just the notion that there was a chance of the sample being altered during the two days was enough for the arbitrator to rule that the test results could not be trusted.

The case shouldn’t have been public knowledge in the first place, as our own Marilyn Green detailed a month ago, but the results were leaked and the case received national attention because Braun is a superstar and had just been named the National League MVP. A 50 game suspension loomed and discussions of whether he would be able to keep his award swirled. Braun continuously professed his innocence and yesterday was exonerated. MLB issued a statement that they “vehemently” disagreed with the ruling.

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Tags: Cardinals Carlos Beltran Contract Extension Contract Negotiations Jake Westbrook Jordan Swagerty Kyle Lohse Lance Berkman Lance Lynn Mike Matheny MLB Rafael Furcal Roger Clemens Roy Oswalt Ryan Braun St Louis Cardinals Yadier Molina

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