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World Champion St Louis Cardinals 2012 Thread

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#1 InstantKarmma

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 01:51 PM

In spite of the departure of the best player in baseball (I'm referring, of course, to Nick Punto), there's reason for some optimism in St. Louis.

Sure, there's a gaping hole in the 3-spot in the order, but the departure of Albert Pujols (yeah, I was joking about Punto) has given the Cards a boatload of payroll flexibility.

They extended Rafael Furcal, Lance Berkman, Chris Carpenter and Carlos Beltran - but none for more than two years. After 2013, the only guaranteed contracts belong to Matt Holliday and Jamie Garcia.

Reportedly, the team is also close to an agreement with Yadier Molina - not only the best catcher of the Flying Molina Brothers, but arguably the best catcher in baseball. A deal with Molina would have been unlikely, if not impossible, with a 10-year, gazillion dollar contract extension for Pujols.

The minor league system is strong, too. It was recently ranked fourth by Keith Law and is well regarded by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America.

A much bigger question mark is rookie manager Mike Matheny. Picked over Tito Francona and a couple of internal candidates, it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to manage not only at the big league level, but any level. He is one of GM Mozeliak's "guys", and it seems that the succession plan was in place before Tony LaRussa announced his retirement.

Living in the area, I know a lot of Cardinals fans. Many were ready to jump off the Poplar Street Bridge with the announcement of Pujols' departure for LAAA. But like the buzzards to Hinckley, Ohio, Cardinals fans will return Busch Stadium in droves this year as they always do, and they'll have a pretty good team to watch.

Edited by InstantKarmma, 01 March 2012 - 01:53 PM.

#2 explicitus

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:18 PM

$75 million for Yadier Molina? Did not know he was worth that much.

#3 BucketOBalls

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:21 PM

$75 million for Yadier Molina? Did not know he was worth that much.

It's 5 years, but wow. 15M AAV? Seems like a pretty big overpay unless he continues like he did last year. After Pujols left I guess the money was burning a hole in their pocket?

Variteks highest salary years were '06-08 and they were all in the 10-11 M range. And Tek was a noticeably better hitter and somewhat worse defender IIRC.

#4 InstantKarmma

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:50 PM

"Somewhat worse defender" is understating it by quite a bit. Yadier has a cannon for an arm.

#5 allmanbro

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 04:52 PM

I think with Molina you are seeing the crowning of the new face of the franchise. People around here LOVE Yadi, so i think there is some value in demonstrating that he will be sticking around. And who knows, as a fellow catcher, Matheny may have made a case for him.

In comparing to Varitek, Yadi's actually been pretty much in the same ballpark offensively. He started a lot younger than Varitek, so its kind of hard to compare so far. He's definitely better defensively than Tek, and more atheletic, so there may be some hope he ages OK.

All that said, $75 million seems like too much. They already had one more year, and he was coming off his best offensive season, so who were they bidding against? It just seem a bit unnecessary. I don't think its really a good move, but I also don't think its as terrible of a move as some do.

Edited by allmanbro, 01 March 2012 - 04:53 PM.

#6 InstantKarmma

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:04 AM

Chris Carpenter (the real one, not the t-shirt) is going to miss opening day. Lance Lynn will be moving from the bullpen to the rotation.