This edition of Redbird Droppings touches on recent transactions, rumors, and an unhappy manager.
The Cardinals have been busy over the last few days; the roster cleanup as started. They’ve also been tied to a Japanese pitcher. And finally, a former Cardinal could be switching managerial positions if he has his way.
The Cardinals announced a few transactions since the last post. First up, Adam Wainwright officially retired; the move was to free up a roster spot for waiver claim Buddy Kennedy. Kennedy, an infielder who mainly played second and third, was a member of the Athletics until he was removed from their 40-man. He’s struggled to hit at the MLB level, but he’s been a solid Triple A bat (133 wRC+). He’s a depth piece with options remaining, so they can have someone ready for the inevitable Tommy Edman/Brendan Donovan IL stint next season.
(And for those who think this is a piece for a bigger deal, stop it; this was like acquiring Jose Fermin before this past season. Kennedy is not a replacement for Edman and/or Donovan)
The Cardinals followed up this move by clearing 5 more roster spots; they announced that they outrighted pitchers Casey Lawrence, Andrew Suarez, and Kyle Leahy, and infielders Juniel Querecuto and Irving Lopez. Lawrence and Suarez rejected their assignments and opted to become free agents; the rest were assigned to Memphis.
We’ll see some more roster maneuvering over the next few weeks. Drew Verhagen is a free agent and will come off the roster; that will put the 40-man at 39 players. The Cardinals have until November 14 to add players to protect them from the Rule V draft; a list of Rule V eligible players is here. They’ll also need roster spots for those 3 pitchers they’ll sign, plus any other roster changes.
A New Name In The Rumors
There is a new name in the Cardinal rumors: Yuki Matsui. The 28-year-old Japanese reliever has caught the team’s eye, and I can see why. The 10-year NPB veteran owns a 2.40 ERA in 501 games, with 236 saves and 32.4% strikeout rate. He’s on the small size (5’8″, 167 lbs), but proven to be pretty durable. He’s got 4 pitches: 4-seam fastball, splitter, slider, and curve. The fastball sits 92-93, tops out around 96, and has good carry. The slider is considered a plus pitch at an averaged 84 MPH. The splitter is the out pitch and is considered plus.
The downside is seeing how he adapts to the Major Leagues; Japanese players have been hit or miss. It was reported that he struggled with the WBC baseball, which is closer to the ball used in the MLB.
If he’s inexpensive, he’s worth a shot. He’s a full free agent, so he won’t cost a posting fee. The issue is other teams have been scouting him (Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Padres) and he’s already received a 4-year deal from his current club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
Skip Schumaker is in the news. There were rumors he was interested in the Padres manager position and questions as to whether the Marlins would allow him to interview for the position. Now it’s report that Skip is unhappy in Miami since they parted ways with GM Kim Ng, who was responsible for hiring Skip. In his first season with Miami, Skip led the team to 84 wins and a wild card.
If Skip goes to San Diego, expect Cards fans to be up in arms; they are very unhappy with Oli Marmol and would prefer to have Schumaker leading the team on the field.
Recapping the Minor League Awards and All Stars
The Cardinals did alright in the Minor League Awards and All Stars.
- Ian Bedell, SP – All Star, Pitcher of the Year
- Jimmy Crooks, C – All Star
- Victor Scott II, OF – All Star
- Pete Hansen, SP – All Star
- Max Rajcic, SP – All Star, Pitcher of the Year
- Hansel Rincon, SP – All Star
- Sports Illustrated lists 4 Cardinals who are of interest of other teams: Donovan, Edman, Nolan Gorman, and Alec Burleson.
- Redbird Rants looks at the pros and cons of trading Paul Goldschmidt.
- The Dodgers may be asking about Nolan Arenado again.
- Clutch Points considers the 2006 and 2011 Cardinals as a couple of the worst World Series Champions of the last 25 years.
- The Cardinal Nation names Alex Cornwall as the Comeback Pitcher of the Year.