Kolten Wong. Complete game. Going to make good on that long-ago statement in a chat that he'll be an All-Star at least once before the end of his current contract.
The 4 1/2-hour drive, or more. That's it. Cardinals played then a few times in the past 15 years -- but once it was on a getaway day -- as in getaway from spring training day -- and another time it was a home-and-home worked out for the Yankees to visit Jupiter, Fla.
Endorsement deals. The reason is usually financial. One contract ends, another is negotiated, player shifts gear. I will add that for some time the Nike catchers' gear was considered stiff and difficult and there has been some improvement to it, allowing Molina to feel more comfortable making that move. He also got a chance to be in the Jumpman group. First catcher. Joins Dexter Fowler.
The Houston Astros looked good Sunday against the Cardinals. There was a statement there for anyone willing to see it: There is a gap between what the Astros send to the field and what the Cardinals have at this point, even in spring training. Look, I get that it's easy to dismiss these games -- and please don't put all that much stock in them -- but you couldn't miss the contrast in clubs at Roger Dean Stadium. Houston has a lot going right for it and is out to win a second consecutive World Series. The Cardinals need a lot to go right to contend for a division.
Thanks, Jon. I think you'll find the local beat writers and many baseball writers have the same approach. It's a good time for baseball coverage, in large part because newspapers have to distinguish themselves from the noise and from the competitors and that's keeping us sharp, not shrill or shills.
This isn't about 2018, per se, and what the predictions say for him in the immediate future. This is about Paul DeJong seeking security and wanting to have this conversation, and the Cardinals believing he could outpace that contract by a lot of production. Keep in mind, this contract escalates in value -- like Wong's. That means that it allows for the player to breathe and grow with it, and his salary to reflect what could a growth in production, or to even accommodate a slump or two in there. When you consider the Cardinals have two of DeJong's free agent years now in their control for a grand total of less than $28 million and you're talking about shortstops make more than half that much PER YEAR, then they are clearly betting his longterm production, not just 2018, and he is turning over that chance for security now.
I don't know about that. The Cardinals have expressed concern publicly about Miles Mikolas. It was just the other day that I asked Mike Matheny if there was concern about Mikolas' lack of swings and misses and the manager said he was. That's public. With Adam Wainwright, they are taking a more cautious and patient approach, and that was stated to us at the beginning of camp. They were going to make any calls on how he looks -- only how he feels -- until the middle of March. They wanted to get a few starts and some innings on his arm before they knew. Mikolas is in a different spot, and the fact that the Cardinals are sticking with a six-man rotation here this spring tells you about how they want to be prepared in the eventuality they don't have the five starters imagined to start the season and need a sub.
It doesn't work that way. The Cardinals have complete control over his salary, and so what usually happens is that they go to Tommy Pham and say here is what our internal algorithm has set your salary for the coming year. Do you agree? Pham's reps will reply that they don't agree with how the equation works and that it doesn't take into account, say, the historical significance of his season or what he brought to the clubhouse or whatever, and they say the equation needs to be redone to reflect these things and increase his salary. Cardinals can say: Good point, we'll do that. Or the Cardinals can say: Don't care, take it or leave it. That's their right. Pham and DeJong were set to break the algorithm in a way that hadn't been done since Lance Lynn. Pham even more so. That wasn't enough. From what I can gather at this point there was interest on his side to discuss a multi-year deal. Another year like he just had and he'll be handsomely rewarded in arbitration.
They'll hit better. They'll score runs. That will be their calling card, it seems. Be more concerned about the starting pitching, and maybe even some of the frayed play that were tell-tale signs of issues the previous two springs.
It's possible. But they're not actively in the market, I have been told recently.
(There is some internal push, however, for them to start being more engaged.)
He has to stay for the whole game, so why get him out of the lineup early, and they want to see other players get more at-bats because they know he'll get plenty. There isn't anything to the back half of the lineups or even when someone hits third, like Molina. That's done so he gets his at-bats and gets out of the game. No biggie.
No. 23. Bats fourth. Plays 7. Gets second All-Star appearance. Receives MVP votes.
Mikolas does not have any options, so to move him to the minors would take passing him through waivers and, I believe, his permission to accept the assignment. At least, he'd have to go through waivers and another team could snag him. His contract is guaranteed for the two years. So there is incentive for the Cardinals to keep him. They could buy it out or pay someone to take it like, say, they did with Mike Leake. This is WAY PREMATURE to have this discussion. There are starts ahead, improvements to be considered, and a bullpen to sort out, too.
It's part of their business model. A large part of it. Consider how they've done chasing free agents in recent years, and you see why they continue to use this approach.
You do have to play to impress. Can't win a bench spot while on the, ahem, bench.
He's in the same spot that Kyle Lohse was many years ago when the Cardinals eventually signed him in mid-March. The whole group of free agents still frozen out is unprecedented and unusual, and everyone is trying to figure out if this is just an outlier or, as one executive told me today, "a trend that we have to adapt for." Scott Boras' clients have lingered out there into January, February before, and he usually gets the deal (or close) that he seeks. Lance Lynn has had discussions with a handful of teams, and that group -- around six, seven or so -- is narrowing down to the true-pursuers. Cardinals have not engaged, though we'll see in the coming days if an attempt to have a conversation is made. There was a recent exchange at least, just no movement on the Cardinals part.
Nope. Carlos Martinez was one of the 10 best pitchers in the NL last year. His competition is against the other teams, the lineups ...
He would go into arbitration with a chip on his shoulder anyway. So, as they say around here, "100 percent." Have you read anything about Tommy Pham? That's how he motivates himself. That's how he drives himself. And given the career he's had he has every right. He has been dismissed more times than he should, and he was almost DFA'd and set free by the Cardinals several times, and it took a champion like John Vuch to advocate for him. He should go in with a chip. He's waited a long time for the crack at the big money that others have received. As for details: The game is going on so, as you can imagine, access to ask the player or others is limited. Although I have asked before for a chance to ask Mike Matheny questions from the dugout as he makes decisions just so he doesn't think it was a results-driven question, that access has not been granted. Unbelievable, I know.
Several. Was working ahead on a few stories that you'll see in coming weeks, and in the annual Baseball Season Preview that will run Sunday before opening day.