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Tag:Shelby Miller
Posted on: October 29, 2011 12:55 am
 

2011 World Champs: St. Louis Cardinals



By Matt Snyder


Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever -- this time around it's the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 90-72, 2nd place in NL Central, NL wild card winner. Won NLDS 3-2 over Phillies, won NLCS 4-2 over Brewers, won World Series over Rangers 4-3.
Manager: Tony La Russa
Best hitter: Albert Pujols -- .299/.366/.541, 37 HR, 99 RBI, 105 R, 9 SB
Best pitcher: Chris Carpenter -- 11-9, 3.45 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 191 K, 237.1 IP

2011 SEASON RECAP

The Cardinals entered the spring as the favorite in the wide-open NL Central, but nearly immediately lost ace Adam Wainwright to a torn ulnar-collateral ligament. So he underwent Tommy John surgery and the Cardinals were largely written off as a serious threat to the Brewers and the defending division champion Reds. A 2-6 start didn't help matters, especially with Matt Holliday having to undergo an appendectomy. Oh, and Pujols was struggling out of the gate. But a change at the back-end of the bullpen and Lance Berkman's re-emergence as a big-time slugger helped straighten things out. By the end of April, the Cardinals were 16-11 and in first place. A bad June and mediocre July weren't enough to bury the Cardinals, but the Brewers huge surge in August seemed to end the postseason hopes for St. Louis. There was no catching Milwaukee. The Cardinals finished 23-9 and ran down the Braves in the wild card, advancing into the playoffs when the Braves lost in extra innings on the final day of the regular season. The fun times extended all the way until the World Series, as the Cardinals took down by the Phillies and Brewers en route to their 18th NL championship. An insane comeback in Game 6 of the World Series paved the way for the Cardinals 11th World Championship.

FREE AGENTS

Yadier Molina, C (club option)
Gerald Laird, C
Albert Pujols, 1B
Rafael Furcal, SS (club option)
Nick Punto, IF utility
Corey Patterson, OF
Edwin Jackson, SP
Arthur Rhodes (club option)
Octavio Dotel (club option)

2012 AUDIT

Everything boils down to what happens with Pujols. If the Cardinals can re-sign him, they'll have essentially the same team in 2012 as they had in 2011, but with a healthy Adam Wainwright taking Edwin Jackson's vacated spot in the rotation -- there's no way they'll have enough money to keep Jackson after extending Berkman and Carpenter while keeping Pujols, Wainwright and Molina. Obviously, if the Cardinals do come back with a similar team and Wainwright is healthy you can expect them to once again be a big-time playoff contender. 

OFFSEASON FOCUS

The biggest focus will be to retain Pujols and I firmly believe they will. What they have to do in order to get him to stay dictates flexibility elsewhere, but most of the biggest questions have already been answered. Carpenter, Berkman and Wainwright are locked up. Holliday already was. It actually seems like a sound strategy. Instead of taking maybe a few months to get Pujols' deal done and then trying to pick up the spare parts, the Cardinals know their budget and what their roster will look like around Pujols. It's one of the many reasons I believe they'll get him. There's obviously a plan in place.
  • Molina's option should and will be picked up.
  • There's not going to be enough money left to do much in the middle infield. They likely can't afford to pick up Furcal's option, so it's going to be some combination of Ryan Theriot, Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso, which is serviceable considering the strength of the rest of the lineup. Maybe they get Furcal to come back on a cheap one-year deal? He reportedly wants to stay and it's not like his value is sky-high.
  • David Freese (3B) and Jon Jay (CF) are going to be the everyday players all season, and both are plenty adequate in their current roles -- especially postseason hero Freese. Jason Motte will also be the full-time closer all season after showing he can do the job down the stretch. These are all full-season upgrades.
  • Keep an eye on Shelby Miller. Jake Westbrook is only going to be a bridge to when Miller can join the rotation. The 20-year-old right-hander was 9-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 86 2/3 Double-A innings this season. It's very possible he's ready to get a shot by June or July. And maybe the Cardinals even plug Lance Lynn in the rotation instead of Westbrook at some point anyway. Expect Lynn to be used as insurance for injury issues -- or even to save Wainwright's arm a bit -- early in the season.
  • If Pujols doesn't re-sign, the possibilities are nearly endless. They'll have a chunk of money to play with an a desperate need to upgrade the offense. Maybe go after Jose Reyes to set the table for Holliday, Berkman and Freese? The non-signing of Pujols is a bridge we'll cross if it actually happens, because at this point I just don't see him not going back to St. Louis.
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Posted on: August 16, 2011 6:35 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Cardinals top prospect suspended indefinitely

By Matt Snyder

Shelby Miller has been suspended indefinitely by Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak for a violation of team policy (Stltoday.com). No specifics were given as to what the Cardinals' top prospect did, but there was reportedly an incident last week that brought about this decision.

According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there was an incident in Miller's apartment complex involving alcohol and it was the second such alcohol-related offense. The problem: Miller is 20, not 21. Strauss also took to Twitter to say he's hearing that the Cardinals are having "entitlement issues" with several prospects.

Miller is a starting pitcher who has been with Double-A Springfield for his past 13 starts after beginning the season with High-A Palm Beach. He was the Cardinals first-round pick out of high school in 2009 and has quickly established himself as one of the top prospects in baseball. He was ranked as the No. 13 prospect heading into this season by Baseball America.

At Double-A this year, Miller is 7-3 with a 2.97 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 71 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings. In 230 career minor-league innings, Miller has struck out 294 batters while having allowed just 11 home runs.

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Posted on: February 23, 2011 4:30 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 12:47 pm
 

Who replaces Wainwright?

Dave Duncan

While there's not exactly a great time to lose a pitcher that's been in the top three of the Cy Young voting each of the last two years, February may be one of the better times to get that kind of bad news.

Tony La Russa, Dave Duncan (above) and John Mozeliak at least have time to assess their options.

First off, it puts more pressure on Kyle Lohse, who goes from the highest-paid No. 5 in the league to the highest-paid No. 4 ($11.875 million both this season and next).

For now, La Russa said (from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), "We're not going to look outside the organization. The answer is here."

So what's the answer? Here's a multiple choice.

Kyle McClellan1. Kyle McClellan -- One of the Cardinals best options out of the bullpen the last couple of years, McClellan came up as a starter and was even in the race to make the rotation last season before being beat out by Jaime Garcia. He has the arsenal to start -- including a slider he's shelved the last two years in the bullpen -- and is likely the favorite.

2. Lance Lynn -- A big right-hander (6-foot-6, 250), Lynn was 13-10 with a  4.77 ERA at Triple-A Memphis last season. He struck out 141 batters in 164 innings last season. He pitches in the mid-90s and also has a decent curveball and changeup. Having spent more than a year at Triple-A, he's likely to debut sometime this season, regardless of what happens out of the gate.

Ian Snell3. Ian Snell -- The Cardinals signed the former Pirate to a minor-league contract this offseason, hoping he'd be Duncan's next reclamation project. Snell was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2006 (with a 4.74 ERA), but has gone 23-39 with a 4.74 ERA since. Last season he started eight games for the Pirates and appeared in four more, going 0-5 with a 6.41 ERA.

4. P.J. Walters -- Walters started three games for the Cardinals last season, going 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA. Walters gave up nearly a hit an inning, but also managed to miss bats, striking out 11 in 16 innings as a starter. He was less successful as a reliever, but showed promise as a starter. He went seven innings on Sept. 29 against the Pirates, allowing just three hits and no runs.

5. Adam Ottavino -- Like Walters, Ottavino started three games for the Cardinals in 2010. He went 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in his two starts, allowing 12 runs in 14 1/3 innings, while walking eight. He was taken off the team's 40-man roster this offseason. He was 5-3 with a 3.97 ERA in nine starts at Memphis last season.

Shelby Miller6. Shelby Miller -- Miller breaking camp probably isn't going to happen -- and shouldn't. Miller is the team's top -- and some say only -- prospect. Miller has a bright future, but his only experience so far is 26 games in the low-A Midwest League. Last season he went 7-5 with a 3.62 ERA for Quad Cities. He has a good fastball and curveball, but has yet to show command of his changeup. Miller will be in St. Louis soon, just not this soon.

Sure, they say they're looking in-house first, but they may not like what they see and decide to go outside. It wouldn't be the first time La Russa said something and then did the opposite. There are a few available options:

Kevin Millwood1. Kevin Millwood -- The veteran has been holding out for a big-league contract, perhaps anticipating such an opportunity as this. Still, Millwood may not get that big-league contract from the Cardinals. He was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA for the Orioles last season.

2.  Joe Blanton -- The Phillies have said they're holding on to their fifth starter, but the Cardinals could be tempted. The problem is St. Louis' system isn't very deep and may lack the prospects to land Blanton, unless Philadelphia is looking to give him away.

3. Yankees castoffs -- The Yankees have certainly searched the scrap heap to replace Andy Pettitte, signing Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. If either -- or both -- of those veterans are jettisoned before the end of spring training, the Cardinals could bring either in to work with Duncan.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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