St. Louis Cardinals New Guys Profiles 1


With the new season getting closer and closer, I thought I’d do some character profiles this week of the newly acquired players. I’ve done a few already, but I thought I’d look at others. Today I’ll start with Jordan Walden.

Walden, who’s been around since 2010, is a former closer (he saved 32 for the Angels in 2011 with a 2.98 ERA) that was the only year he closed, however, and that 2.98 ERA was his lowest full season ERA until last year’s 2.88 ERA with the Braves in a setup man role.

As mentioned above, he’s played for the Angels and Braves before us. He was traded to Atlanta for Tommy Hanson by the Angels in 2012, then traded to us with Jason Heyward for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.

Obviously Heyward was the bigger piece of the deal, but Walden is also a key part of it too, as he slots into the Pat Neshek setup role, and those aren’t easy shoes to fill. The Cardinals certainly feel he has the profile and the stuff to do the job, as after acquiring him, they signed him to a two year, 6.6 million dollar deal.

One thing about Walden is similar to Neshek: They both have funky deliveries. Walden hops in the middle of his windup, and actually has both feet in the air for a split second, before returning to the ground and throwing the ball.

I didn’t find much on Walden’s on and off field personality, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s not always good to be outspoken or noted for having an edge. Personally I prefer people who are professionals, who go out and do their job in a calm and steady manner, not guys who’re noted for going out and cussing people out. I think “edge” is overrated. What matters, to me, is talent and cohesion. People who’re cranky and intense on the field often have a similar profile either off the field, and that doesn’t always lead to a good clubhouse presence or cohesion, but that’s just my two cents. I think I’m a big minority on this, as everyone else I’ve talked to likes players with an edge.

As always, thanks for reading.