Moving Holliday to first would make great Christmas gift

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported Friday that current Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday is working to make a transition to first base in 2016. The biggest talk after the Cardinals allowed Jason Heyward to sign with the Chicago Cubs was how the Cardinals would recover.

Free agent left fielder Alex Gordon was one of the names that popped up a lot, but those talks quickly fell off a cliff after word got out that Matt Holliday wouldn’t move from left field. Reports say Alex Gordon isn’t really comfortable moving from left field either.

If the “spies” Jon Heyman refers to in his article are correct, then this could be the best move the Cardinals make this off-season. Matt Holliday playing first base would not only open up a spot for Alex Gordon to play, it would also lengthen Matt Holliday’s career.

Let’s face it, Holliday isn’t getting any younger. He’s 35 now and will be 36 January 15th. The reason he went down last year from an injury was because of a play he made in left field. I think by making the shift to first base, he’s easily adding another two to three years to his career. If the National League played with the Designated Hitter, it would be a no-brainer to move him into that role.

Plus, he would be a great right-handed compliment to Matt Adams. A second option would be to trade Adams and try to get a starting pitcher out of the deal. Fans are still waiting for the “non-dynamic” signing General Manager John Mozeliak mentioned could be coming earlier this week.

I think the fact that Matt Holliday is supposedly doing this voluntarily, and the fact that he is already training in Jupiter, Florida is a positive sign of things to come this season for the Cardinals.

As always let me know your thoughts about what the Cardinals should do this off-season.

-tvteddy

Advertisements

A list of “non-dynamic” signings the Cardinals should make

Earlier this week Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he was not looking to make a “dynamic signing” after allowing Jason Heyward and John Lackey to sign with the Chicago Cubs.

While that news may upset a lot of Cardinals fans, and believe me I was disappointed, there are some “non-dynamic” names who are still looking for a team to call home come March. Here is a list of players I think the Cardinals should go after and why.

Mike Leake:

The Arizona Diamondbacks seemed to be on the heels of signing the former Cincinnati Reds pitcher earlier this week, but now say they’re no longer interested in the 28 year old righty. Leake pitched his way to a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts with the Reds last year before being traded to the San Francisco Giants where he posted a 4.07 ERA. One of Leake’s downsides is he gives up the long ball, a lot. Last year he gave up 22 on the year, 14 of those while pitching for the Reds. I’m not sure how cheap of an option Leake would be, but at this point I think the Cardinals should be more willing to open up the wallet.

 

Tim Lincecum:

Once referred to as “The Freak”, Tim Lincecum has gone from a player who was once known for his unique windup, to someone we feel like we haven’t heard anything about. So, why should the Cardinals sign him? Well, while his best years were probably between 2008-2011, he could prove to be an asset to the Cardinals pitching staff. I did mention that Lackey signed with the Cubs and Lance Lynn is out for the year recovering from Tommy John Surgery, right? Although Lincecum hasn’t posted an ERA under 4.00 since 2011, he is a four-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner. My biggest question with Lincecum is health. He’ll be 31 at the start of the season and will turn 32 in June. Plus, he only pitched 76 innings last year. I’m not saying he’s the best option, but the Cardinals have had a history or taking older players and making them feel young again.

 

Wei-Yen Chen:

If you don’t watch a lot of baseball then you probably just read that name out loud and screamed “WHO?!” However, Chen would be a great addition to the pitching staff, but the Cardinals might have to spend a little to get him. Last year with Baltimore, Chen fanned 153 while just walking just 41 hitters. He also posted a 3.35 ERA. Chen is considered “old” for a pitcher at 30, and he only has 4 years of big league experience. Last year the Orioles had him for $4.75m, if you watch a highlight reel of Chen you’ll understand why I like him.

 

Gerardo Parra:

I have ALWAYS loved Gerardo Parra’s defense. In 7 seasons, Parra has only committed 31 errors in over 7400 innings played in the outfield. In right field, where the Cardinals would probably play him most, he’s committed just 8 which is the least amount of errors between the three outfield positions. If that doesn’t get your attention, he hit 14 home runs last year between Milwaukee and Baltimore (which is more than Jason Heyward), and he drove in 51. On top of that, he’s a two time Gold Glove winner as well. I really think he would be a great addition, and the Cardinals could probably get him for around $2m a year.

Overall, I think any of the above players would make great alternatives to the players the Cardinals couldn’t sign this off-season. Let me know what you think about these players, or if you have your own suggestions.

Check back often for updates on the latest St. Louis Cardinals news.

-tvteddy

Small but smart moves keep Cardinals competitive

Although the Cardinals have allowed two former players to land in the hands of a division rival, the team has made some good moves that may have gone unnoticed.

First, the team signed FA catcher/first baseman Brayan Pena to a two year, $5m contract. I think this was a smart move by General Manager John Mozeliak. Pena provides little power, but will serve as the primary backup to four-time Platinum Glove winner Yadier Molina. The other upside to Pena is he can fill in at first base if needed. I think the $2.5m per year will be worth it in the end.

The second move, which may have been more noticeable to fans, was the trade that sent fan favorite Jon Jay to the San Diego Padres for Jedd Gyorko. A lot of people thought this was a head scratcher, but those are people who like Kolten Wong. Wong isn’t a vacuum glove, and last year he committed 17 errors. I think Gyorko will be a great addition to the team, especially defensively. Last year Gyorko was sent down to AAA to readjust a bit, but then played strong after being recalled to the majors.

A lot of people are sad to see Jon Jay go, and understandably so. However, in past years he’s just looked a little lost to me at the plate. He’s also had a nagging wrist injury which is never good for a hitter. I think a change of scenery and a chance to play everyday heading into his free agency year, which is something the Cardinals couldn’t give him. One thing nobody can deny is Jay gave his best effort each day he played wearing a Cardinals uniform, and he really made some jaw dropping catches in centerfield.

The last move was one that saw the team bring back a somewhat familiar face. The Cardinals picked up relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton in August from the Milwaukee Brewers via trade. On Thursday, the team re-signed him to a two year, $7.5m deal.  Broxton posted a 2.66 ERA and struck out 26 with the Cardinals in 26 appearances. I think re-signing Broxton was a smart move to anchor a spot in the bullpen behind closer Trevor Rosenthal.

Check back here for more updates regarding the Cardinals offseason.

-tvteddy

Why the Cardinals will be fine without Jason Heyward

As I sat at my desk Friday constantly refreshing my Twitter feed for the latest information on MLB’s “Silly Season,” I saw the tweet from CBS’ Jon Heyman: https://twitter.com/jonheymancbs/status/675377236837560320.

Just like that, the St. Louis Cardinals’ best all around position player from 2015 was now a member of the Chicago Cubs.

I was floored, but it’s not something that’s unfamiliar to me as a Cardinals fan either. Albert Pujols (a future Hall of Famer, and quite possibly one of the best hitters of his time) left for the Los Angeles Angels after the team won the World Series in 2011.

The biggest difference from Pujols to Heyward is obvious: Pujols is a much better hitter, and he went to a team the Cardinals rarely play, sometimes not at all in a given season.

After being distraught wondering how Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak could allow two free agents to sign with the Cubs, I took a breath.

Last year Jason Heyward hit .293 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. There are plenty of other free agent outfielders that could put up those numbers. Heyward has a 6.5 WAR (wins above replacement) which is very good, but if you look at how he performed last year, his upside was his glove.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t perform better in 2016, but according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/heywaja01.shtml?mobile=false, he’s projected to hit just as many home runs, and five less RBI’s. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a good player, to me that just means he really wasn’t worth the $20m a year he wanted.

I’m not going to speculate who the Cardinals will end up, but what I can say is Alex Gordon’s numbers are very similar to Jason Heyward’s if you want to simply replace him. The Gordon option would also be cheaper.

Chris Davis, if signed, could probably blast a ball to the Arch, but he comes with a hefty price tag of at least $168m. But, the Cardinals now have money to spend.

I look at Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and even Pedro Alvarez are players that could come into play this Winter. But for now, I’ll just patiently wait and trust in Cardinals’ management as I have my entire baseball fandom life. Because at the end of the day, it always works out.

– tvteddy