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Tag:Cardinals
Posted on: February 3, 2012 7:53 am
Edited on: February 3, 2012 10:13 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part III: Pitchers



By Matt Snyder


As we conclude the short series on overpaid players, we'll take a look at the man on the hill: The pitcher.

The interesting thing I found about pitchers is that not too many "long-term" contracts stood out like a sore thumb as being bad in terms of what is left on the current deal. A lot of the honorable mention types are for just one year, maybe two. This, I believe, illustrates the caution the overwhelming majority of teams exercise when coughing up long-term deals for pitchers.

That doesn't mean there are no guys on the list, however. We have a couple really good fits.

As a reminder, we're only talking about the contracts from now until the conclusion of the deal. Any money already banked doesn't count in this exercise.

Right-handed starters

Worst: John Lackey
Remaining contract: 3 years, $47.85 million

Ignore that Lackey is injured now and will miss all of the 2012 season. In fact, that actually helps the Red Sox here if last season was any indication. Lackey was brutal in '11, putting together a 6.41 ERA, 1.62 WHIP while leading the majors in earned runs and wild pitches. He allowed a whopping 203 hits in his 160 innings pitched and posted a negative WAR (Wins Above Replacement player). And when he's healthy again, he'll be 34.

Honorable Mention

A.J. Burnett, Yankees: He helped the Yankees win the World Series title in 2009, but was he really integral? He was bad in the ALCS and was terrible in one of his World Series starts after leading the league in walks and wild pitches during the regular season. Since then, Burnett is 21-26 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.47 WHIP. He's now the Yankees' fifth starter and will make $33 million for the next two seasons.

"Fausto Carmona," Indians: He may miss the season after being caught for identity fraud (his name is actually Roberto Hernandez Heredia). He's due $7 million this season.

Jake Peavy, White Sox: It's hard to not appreciate the way Peavy is an absolute bulldog on the hill, but he was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA last season as he battled back from a severe injury and he's set to make $17 million in 2012.

Jake Westbrook, Cardinals: Twelve starts in 2010 got Westbrook a two-year deal with the Cardinals. He's going to make $8.5 million this season after a pretty bad 2011 campaign.

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs/Marlins: He'll make $19 million this year, but the Cubs are paying most of it so Big Z can pitch for the Marlins.

Derek Lowe, Braves/Indians: He'll make $15 million this year, but the Braves are paying most of it so Lowe can pitch for the Indians.

Left-handed starters

Worst: Barry Zito
Remaining contract: 2 years, $39 million

Perhaps the worst news is there's actually a club option for 2014. Now, obviously the Giants won't pick that up, barring Zito becoming Tim Lincecum overnight, but there's a $7 million buyout if they don't pick up the option. So Zito will cost the Giants $47 million more, at the very least, before they can wash their hands of him. This actually has to be one of the worst contracts of all time. Zito is 43-61 with a 4.55 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and zero postseason innings pitched in his five seasons with the Giants.

Honorable Mention

Johan Santana, Mets: He was earning his deal pre-injury, so this one isn't really anyone's fault. Santana is due $49.5 million for the next two seasons, though, so that is rough.

Relievers

Worst: Rafael Soriano
Remaining contract: 2 years, $25 million

Soriano wasn't even the Yankees' best setup man last season (David Robertson was way better). Soriano was a stud in Tampa Bay in '10, so it's possible he's a great closer for the Yankees in 2013, if Mariano Rivera retires. But even when Soriano had a good second half last season, his numbers weren't awesome. And, again, we're talking about a non-closer making eight figures per season.

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies: It will be interesting to see how Papelbon performs throughout this contract. He could very well earn his $50 million over the course of the next four years, but I'm wondering what the Phillies' front office thought when they saw that the Reds signed 2011 Philly closer Ryan Madson to a one-year, $8.5 million deal. I also wonder how this deal will feel if the Phillies can't find a way to lock up Cole Hamels long-term (he's a free agent next offseason). So this one has less to do with Papelbon and more to do with what the deal might end up costing the Phillies, because $50 million is an awful lot to give to a closer.

Brandon Lyon, Astros: Lyon will make $5.5 million this season. His 2011 season was cut short due to an injury, but he had an 11.48 ERA with as many blown saves as actual saves (four).



Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part II: Outfielders and designated hitters

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 3:35 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:14 pm
 

Rally Squirrel upstages Skip Schumaker on card

Skip Schumaker
By C. Trent Rosecrans


As if Skip Schumaker wasn't already better known by the guy at the plate when the "Rally Squirrel" ran across the field in Game 3 of the NLDS between the Cardinals and Phillies, Topps cemented it as the squirrel has even bogarted Schumaker's baseball card.

If you don't remember the Rally Squirrel -- well, you're probably not a baseball fan and I'm not sure what you're doing here -- here's a reminder:



Skip SchumakerAbove you see the real 2012 Topps Skip Schumaker card -- with only a picture of Schumaker's right foot. The only way you can tell it's Schumaker is that his name's on the card. It's the first time in Topps history that a card doesn't feature a player's face (and the first to show part of the face of a squirrel, I'm assuming). Although, according to Beckett, there will be cards with Schumaker's face, with the squirrel version a "short-print" variation.

So, just for Mrs. Schumaker, to the right is Skip's face. We here at Eye On Baseball know what he looks like.

And speaking of picturing something -- Topps went ahead and altered photos to show what two of the biggest free-agent acquisitions, Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes, look like in their new uniforms:

Albert Pujols


The 2012 Topps Series 1 is scheduled to hit stores on Wednesday, so you can try your luck at getting a squirrel in a pack.

Hat tip: Big League Stew.

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Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 3:58 pm
 

Giants OF Pat Burrell will retire



By C. Trent Rosecrans


Just days after J.D. Drew said he was retiring, Pat Burrell is also ending his career in baseball. It seems only fitting that the two will go out after the beginnings of their career were intertwined. CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman reports Burrell will retire.

The two were picked within the first five picks of the 1998 draft, but the story goes back to 1997.

The 1997 Golden Spikes Award winner from Florida State, Drew was taken by the Phillies with the second overall pick in 1997. However, Drew and agent Scott Boras wanted a record $10 million contract from Philadelphia, which wouldn't meet that demand. Instead of relenting, Drew went to play in an independent league and re-enter the 1998 draft.

It just so happened the Phillies had the top pick in that draft as well. But instead of trying their luck with Drew, they took Burrell, the 1998 Golden Spikes Award winner, out of Miami. Drew went to the Cardinals with the fifth pick.

Burrell signed quickly and was immediately cast as the anti-Drew.

While Drew would make his big-league debut in 1998, Burrell spent two more years in the minors before appearing with the Phillies in 2000. That year he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting 18 home runs and driving in 79. In nine years with the Phillies, he hit .257/.367/.485 with 251 homers, winning the World Series in 2008, his final season in Philadelphia.

The Phillies didn't have need for the outfielder anymore in 2009, letting him sign with the Rays as a DH in 2009, but he struggled in that spot, hitting just .218/.311/.361 with 16 homers in 2009 and the first part of 2010. Hitting .202 with two homers in his first 24 games in 2010, the Rays released him.

Burrell signed with the Giants and rebounded, hitting 18 homers in 96 games for San Francisco, winning another World Series.

After signing a one-year deal with the Giants for 2011, he couldn't replicate his magic of the season before, hitting .230/.352/.404 with seven home runs in 92 games thanks to a right foot injury that had a large part in his retirement. In parts of 12 seasons, Burrell finishes with a career .252/.361/.472 with 292 home runs.

Drew's career line stands at .278/.384/.489 with 242 home runs in parts of 14 seasons.

While both players had good careers, neither turned out to be among the better players of their generation as so many predicted.

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Posted on: January 29, 2012 4:37 pm
 

Cardinals shopping RHP Kyle McClellan

Kyle McClellanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are "actively shopping" right-hander Kyle McClellan, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Joe Strauss writes, but general manager John Mozeliak told him he expects McClellan to be with the team when pitchers and catchers report next month.

According to Strauss, the Orioles are the leaders if the Cardinals do indeed move McClellan, who is due $2.5 million next season. The Padres and Diamondbacks are other teams who have expressed interest. However, an Orioles official told MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko that he didn't expect the Cardinals to move McClellan.

The 27-year-old McClellan began 2011 as a starter, but moved back to the bullpen after the team acquired Edwin Jackson. He was not on the team's roster for the division series or World Series. Overall, McClellan was 12-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 43 games and 17 starts last season. He was 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in his starts and 6-1 with a 4.14 ERA in 26 games. He struck out 76 batters in 141 2/3 innings.

McClellan was a starter in the minors, but didn't start a game in the majors until 2011. He had a 2.27 ERA in 68 games in 2010 with 60 strikeouts in 75 1/3 innings. He's 19-22 with a 3.61 ERA in his career, picking up six saves.

THe Cardinals have a surplus of relievers, with Eduardo Sanchez, Lance Lynn, Fernando Salas and Mitchell Boggs as right-handed set-up men for closer Jason Motte, with lefties Marc Rzepczynski and J.C. Romero.

The team could also use the money saved on McClelllan, a St. Louis native, for starter Roy Oswalt, who has expressed interest in joining the Cardinals.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.


Posted on: January 27, 2012 9:17 pm
 

Report: Brad Penny has offer from Japanese team

Brad PennyBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Right-hander Brad Penny has an offer from the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

Penny, 33, was 11-11 with a 5.30 ERA in 31 starts for the Tigers last season. Penny made just one appearance in the postseason for the Tigers, starting Game 6 of the ALCS against the Rangers and was pounded for five runs on seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings, giving up homers to Michael Young and Nelson Cruz in a 15-5 loss to Texas.

In 12 seasons with the Marlins, Dodgers, Red Sox, Giants, Cardinals and Tigers, he's 119-99 with a 4.23 ERA.

The two-time All-Star has also heard from two big league teams, according to the report.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: January 24, 2012 3:33 pm
 

La Russa to manage NL squad in All-Star Game

Tony La Russa

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Tony La Russa hasn't managed his last game. The retired Cardinals manager will lead the National League in this year's All-Star Game in Kansas City, commissioner Bud Selig announced on Tuesday.

It will be La Russa's sixth time managing in the All-Star Game, third in the National League. The manager of the defending league champion gets the nod every year, but this is the first time a retired manager has gotten the honor. Twice before managers have left a World Series team and managed in a different uniform the next season. Dick Williams did it in 1974 after leaving the A's for the Angels, and Dusty Baker donned the Cubs uniform in the 2003 game after leading the Giants to the 2002 World Series.

"Tony earned this opportunity with the remarkable run that the Cardinals completed last October, and I am delighted that he shared my enthusiasm about his staying in this role," Selig said in a statement released by MLB. "The All-Star Game celebrated all the best of our game, and it is very approrpriate that we will have the chance to celebrated one of the greatest managerial careers of all-time as part of the festivities."

Only Casey Stengel (10), Walter Alston (nine) and Joe McCarthy (seven), will have managed more All-Star Games than La Russa. Joe Torre also managed in six All-Star Games.

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Posted on: January 24, 2012 1:21 pm
 

J.D. Drew likely to retire from baseball



By Matt Snyder


After 14 seasons and truckloads of cash, J.D. Drew is likely going to retire, CBSSports.com insider Jon Heyman has learned. Heyman notes Drew was only going to play if he found the "perfect" spot, and that evidently isn't going to happen.

Drew, 36, did have a very good offensive career. He hit .278/.384/.489, good for a 125 OPS-plus, with 242 homers, 944 runs scored and 273 doubles. He finished sixth in MVP voting in 2004 -- his lone season with the Braves -- and was an All-Star in 2008. His career 45.9 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is really good as well. He also won a World Series ring with the 2007 Red Sox.

On the other hand, many seem to scoff when hearing Drew's name and immediately think "overrated." That's because, in some ways, Drew's career could be considered disappointing. He entered the league as the top prospect in baseball, one of the most heavily hyped in the past 20 years. His agent, Scott Boras, continually got him paid like a megastar as well, as Drew accumulated $108,091,688 (Baseball-Reference.com) in his 14-year career. That's an average of roughly $7.72 million per season, which is pretty tough to do in the MLB system.

In addition to the hefty salary, Drew's inability to stay completely healthy contributed to the stigma that he was overrated. He never appeared in more than 146 games in a season and averaged just 470 plate appearances per campaign from 1999-2011.

This all led to Drew being one of the most polarizing players in baseball. He could have been one of the greats, but instead he's largely viewed as an overpaid, injury-prone slugger with great rate stats.

I would expect Drew to be on the Hall of Fame ballot five years from now -- I mean, Bill Mueller, Brad Radke, Phil Nevin and Tony Womack were on the ballot this year -- but just that one time, as he'll surely get less than five percent of the vote.

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Posted on: January 19, 2012 3:48 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 9:19 am
 

Joe Magrane's daughter impresses 'Idol' judge

So here's a funny -- or maybe creepy is the right word -- non-baseball-yet-kinda-baseball-rel
ated tidbit.

Remember Joe Magrane? He had an eight-season big-league career, most notably a run in the Cardinals starting rotation in the late 1980s. He also has a 15-year-old daughter who recently appeared on American Idol and advanced to the second round of the competition by virtue of the impressing the judges. Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler was evidently the most impressed, as he made things a bit awkward with his choice of words upon meeting Magrane.

Tyler told Magrane that his daughter -- again, who is 15 -- is "hot, humid and happenin'." The best part, however, is the death-stare reaction from Magrane in Tyler's direction, not to mention the weird reactions of the other judges. Magrane even appears stewing through most of his daughter's audition song -- finally smiling toward the end and then joining the celebration.

Check out the funny creepy video below.



Hat-tip: LA Times blog

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com