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December 2011

UCB Project: Top 5 Cardinal Stories Of 2011

Posted on December 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM
Every December, the United Cardinal Bloggers mark the end of another year with a look back at the top five stories that happened during this season.  As always, you'll be able to find links to all the various posts over at the official site.  And, if you are interested in a real walk down memory lane, here's last year's post, here's 2009, here's 2008, and finally the original version back in 2007.

This year, I expect that many of the top two or three stories will be the same across the participating UCB members.  A lot of these Jon Doble and I discussed on this week's UCB Radio Hour.  Due to that and the lack of drama a countdown would provoke, we'll start from the top and work our way down.  After the jump, we'll dive into the top story.
  Continue Reading

Links To Pass The Time

Posted on December 28, 2011 at 9:35 AM
This time of year, news slows to a crawl.  The big names have signed (well, mostly), clubs are working at less than capacity as people take vacations, and everyone just kinda catches their breath before the push to February and pitchers and catchers reporting.

The Cardinals are no different.  They've had their action, signing Carlos Beltran to replace their departing free agent and save for a discussion of what he brings to the table and how he's going to be used, there's not much else over in the Post-Dispatch sports section.

I've got one more post in me for the year, the United Cardinal Bloggers' regular December project, and that'll go up Friday (if not before).  To pass the time, though, I've received a lot of different links and news in my inbox that I've been meaning to get out there.  This seems like a great time to do it.

--You may remember that I mentioned the raffle that the St. Louis Men's Group Against Cancer was having.  That for a dollar, you can buy a ticket and have a chance to win a spring training trip.  The raffle is still going on, in case you have any Christmas money left over, and the first person that emails me with the subject title Raffle can get 10 free tickets for that drawing.  You should know the email, but if not, it's in the about section of the blog.  First come, first served!

--Michael over at The Grubby Glove wrote a nice piece a couple of weeks back about the passing of Bob Forsch.  It's part of a series about other baseball men that died in 2011, so check out the whole thing, but obviously Forsch is near and dear to our hearts.

--This is a very unique idea and I'm hoping to contribute in some way.  Michael at Old Time Family Baseball is going to have a charity blogathon in the middle of January.  It's to raise awareness and money for Doctors Without Borders and I'm hoping it will be a grand success.  Be sure to check it out!

--I've linked to Gary's cartoons over at 7th Inning Sketch before, but this one strikes home to Cardinal fans.  When you think about it, we never had a chance.

--Chris Jaffe from The Hardball Times always passes along interesting Cardinal tidbits.  This one, from a couple of weeks ago, marked the date when the Cardinals went over .500 as a franchise, a mark they've not slipped under since, nor are likely too anytime soon, given their success.

I think that's all I have in my inbox now, but I suggest you check them all out because there's a lot of good stuff there.  Also, if you are available this evening, Jon Doble and I will be hosting the UCB Radio Hour and doing our year-in-review stuff there.  Should be fun as we talk about all the many and varied stories that have come out of St. Louis this year.

As I say, there's one more post that's scheduled for Friday but I may put up earlier if I have the time.  Otherwise, have a wonderful New Year and we'll chat in 2012!

Belting It Out

Posted on December 23, 2011 at 9:33 AM
As Nick said in the latest Pitchers Hit Eighth podcast, we've been talking about the Cardinals acquiring Carlos Beltran for so long and the fit seems so right that it seems like it's already happened.  Yesterday, the formalities were completed and Beltran agreed to terms with the Redbirds.

This was such an obvious fit after Albert Pujols left that there hardly seems much to discuss.  Lance Berkman moves to first and Beltran can either play some center or right, filling in for Allen Craig while he continues to heal up from surgery or spelling Jon Jay once Craig is back.

It's obvious that Craig needs some regular time once he returns, but I don't see Beltran impeding that much at all.  Craig will move around the diamond, it's true, but his versatility and Beltran's ability to play center means days off for Matt Holliday and Berkman as well as limiting the strain and stress you put on a couple of guys with knee issues in their past.

I found it interesting that it is being floated that Beltran will hit in the two-slot of the lineup.  I had immediately thought that he'd be a potent five or six guy, but if Mike Matheny subscribes to the "damage" theory espoused by Tony La Russa, Beltran would look nice right after Rafael Furcal.  A lineup of this, perhaps?

Furcal SS
Beltran RF
Holliday LF
Berkman 1B
Jay CF

I'm still not sold on Furcal as leadoff and I'm starting to think that Greene might be our surprise guy in 2012.  If he starts off strong, with his speed being a leadoff guy might be an option.  Nevertheless, you pair this lineup with the pitching staff the Cards have and there's no doubt they have to be favorites to get back to October.

Plus, after Craig gets healthy, that means you'll always have one of him, Beltran, Holliday and Berkman on the bench.  Talk about shoring up the reserves!  The bench had been looking pretty paltry (and it still isn't necessarily a strong suit) but getting that boost surely helps.

Beltran's put up some solid numbers in his return from knee surgery, as Bernie Miklasz lines out in his article today.  I also like the fact that he got better as last year went on, seeming to show that he improved the farther away he got from the surgery.  I don't know that he can have a Berkman-like impact on the squad, but I do think he can be the missing piece to an already-strong lineup.

Here's the press release from the Cardinals.  After that, please click on to read a personal message.

CARDINALS & OUTFIELDER CARLOS BELTRAN AGREE TO TWO YEAR DEAL 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., December 22, 2011 - The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have agreed to terms with outfielder Carlos Beltran pending a physical. The parties have agreed to a two-year contract for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. The 34-year-old free-agent has over 13 years of Major League service time with Kansas City, Houston, New York Mets and San Francisco. The club expects to make a formal announcement shortly after the holidays. 

"Beltran is a proven outfielder who obviously has been a tough opponent against the Cardinals for many years." said Cardinals' Senior Vice President John Mozeliak. "It is going to be nice to have his bat and competitive nature working for us instead of on the other side of the field for the next couple of years." 

The switch hitter is a career .283 hitter with 302 home runs and 1146 RBI. His 302 home runs rank 4th among switch hitters from his first full-season in the Majors (1999) to present. The 6' 1" outfielder has driven in over 100 RBIs in a season seven times, most recently in 2008 with the Mets. Last season, Beltran split his year between the Mets and Giants, where he hit a combined .300 with 22 home runs in 142 games. 

Beltran is a six-time National League All-Star (2004, '05,'06, '07, '09, '11) and a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove winner (2006, '07, '08). He won the Louisville Silver Slugger Award in 2006 and 2007 with the Mets, seasons in which he had 41 homers and 116 RBI, and 33 homers with 112 RBI, respectively. Beltran has made appearances in the postseason twice, in 2004 with Houston and in 2006 with the Mets. In both of those years, Beltran and his team faced the Cardinals in the League Championship Series, with the Cardinals advancing to the World Series each year. In 2004, Beltran set numerous MLB postseason records including a record-tying eight home runs and a ML postseason record with a home run in five consecutive games (Game 5 of the NLDS through Game 4 of the NLCS). 

The Puerto Rico native resides in his home country in the off-season and has played for Puerto Rico during the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic.
  Continue Reading

Keeping You Informed: Christmas With The Cardinals

Posted on December 20, 2011 at 1:33 PM
I've written my share of Cardinal Christmas songs, but there really is nothing like baseball for the holidays.  Fox Sports Midwest agrees with us and so is having a Cardinal marathon on Christmas Day.  Ignore those relatives and surround yourself with all those World Series presents that you have received as you watching some great Cardinal programming, including the last two World Series games.  Can you beat that?

FOX Sports Midwest will replay World Series Games 6 and 7 as part of Cardinals marathon on Christmas Day

Forget A Christmas Story. We have your Christmas Day, sit on the couch and stare at the TV marathon right here. FOX Sports Midwest will replay Games 6 and 7 of the World Series, along with new Cardinals specials featuring Tony La Russa and David Freese, on Dec. 25.

 

For details click here: http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com/12/16/11/Cardinals-Christmas-Day-Marathon/landing_stlcardinals.html?blockID=628086&feedID=3713.

 

Christmas Day on FOX Sports Midwest - Cardinals marathon presented by First Bank

1 p.m.              Cardinals Legends: Tony La Russa: Timeline to a Title (1-hour interview special)

2 p.m.              Cardinals Legends: David Freese (30-minute interview special)

2:30 p.m.         2011 World Series Game 6

6:30 p.m.         Cardinals Legends: Tony La Russa: Timeline to a Title (replay)

7:30 p.m.         Cardinals Legends: David Freese (replay)

8 p.m.              2011 World Series Game 7

UCB Fall Roundtable: The Conclusion

Posted on December 20, 2011 at 9:11 AM
As the organizer of the United Cardinal Bloggers, I always schedule myself as the last question of any particular roundtable.  There are a couple of reasons for that; one is that I want to make sure I don't take someone else's question, one is that I would rather answer other questions than come up with my own.

Whatever the reason, the roundtable that started back on Halloween has finally reached its conclusion.  We've had a number of outstanding questions and many of the transcripts can be found linked at this post.  So, to tap the collective wisdom one final time, I posed the following question:

"What is the thing you are most looking forward to in 2012?"

The answers after the jump.....  Continue Reading

Keeping You Informed: Winter Warm-Up Tickets

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 6:24 PM
It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Oh, yeah, Christmas is great too, but when you can start seeing the finish line for the long winter, that's great stuff.  Winter Warm-Up always signals the thawing of the winter and the idea that spring training is coming soon.  I've never been able to go, but the real job tends to keep me away.  If you don't have that problem, this information is for you!  (Apologies for the formatting at the end--hope you can piece it together!)

AUTOGRAPH TICKETS FOR WINTER WARM-UP ON SALE 
16th Annual Event to Celebrate 2011 World Champions 

ST. LOUIS (December 19, 2011)- Cardinals Care, the charitable foundation of the reigning World Champion St. Louis Cardinals, today announced the start of the online process for fans to purchase autograph tickets for the 16th Annual Winter Warm-Up. 

Starting at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, December 21st, fans can purchase autograph tickets at the team's website (cardinals.com/winterwarmup). Fans may also purchase admission passes for the three-day Winter Warm-Up at the team's website, in the official Cardinals Team Store at Busch Stadium, by phone at 314-345-9000 and at Cardinals Clubhouse stores around St. Louis. 

Player autograph sessions are one of the most popular attractions of the Warm-Up. While some players' autographs are free with the admission pass, others require an autograph ticket available through a specific additional donation. Every dollar donated for autograph tickets and all proceeds from the Winter Warm-Up benefit Cardinals Care, the team's community foundation that cares for kids. 

This highly anticipated annual event will take place Saturday, January 14th through Monday, January 16th (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day) at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. The event hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday. 

This year fans will get the chance to meet members of the 2011 World Series Championship team, starting with pitcher Chris Carpenter on January 14th from 9 to 11 a.m., slugger Lance Berkman on January 15th from 3 to 5 p.m., and World Series MVP David Freese on January 16th from 12 to 2 p.m. 

Fans can also greet the newest addition to the Cardinals coaching staff, manager Mike Matheny, as well as other former Cardinals greats and National Baseball Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, and Whitey Herzog. 

"The Warm-Up is the perfect opportunity for fans to meet their favorite players and help kids in the St. Louis community," said Michael Hall, Executive Director of Cardinals Care and Vice President of Community Relations. "We hope fans will join us in welcoming our new manager and celebrating our recent World Championship." Hall urges fans to check the Cardinals website (cardinals.com/winterwarmup) frequently for details, including player autograph dates, times and, if required, additional donation amounts. 

Since its inception in 1997, Cardinals Care has maintained a direct focus on "Caring for Kids" by distributing funds to area non-profit youth organizations and establishing Redbird Rookies, their flagship program that supports youth on and off the baseball field. Most of the organizations who are recipients of Cardinals Care charitable grants are based in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. Grant funds are intended to support purchases such as school supplies and uniforms, computers, software, instruments, books and games for educational programs, as well as basic needs such as winter clothing for needy children. 

The Winter Warm-Up and annual 6K Run are Cardinals Care's two largest fundraising events each year. In 2011 Cardinals Care raised over $700,000 at the Warm-Up and nearly $160,000 at the second annual 6K Run for Kids. Cardinals Care also raises funds through memorabilia auctions online and throughout Busch Stadium during the season. Cardinals Care has now partnered with Papa John's Pizza for a special promotion where proceeds of pizza purchases in January will be donated to their cause. 

16th Annual Winter Warm-Up 
Saturday, Sunday, Monday 
Thank you for supporting area kids with your donation for autographs at the Winter Warm-Up.  

*Limit 3 autograph tickets per player; except Berkman, Freese--Limit 1. 
*Cash and Credit Cards accepted. 
*Dates, Times, & Players may change prior to Winter Warm-Up. 

*Some players may be added after today. 
Player Donation Signing Date Signing Time 
Adult Admission Passes $40 
Child Admission Passes (5-15 years old. Under 5, free) $10 
Adams, Matt $5 Sunday, January 15 10am-12pm 
*Berkman, Lance $100 Sunday, January 15 3-5pm 
Boggs, Mitchell $5 Saturday, January 14 1-3pm 
Carpenter, Chris $50 Saturday, January 14 9-11am 
Clark, Jack $5 Monday, January 16 9-11am 
Craig, Allen $30 Monday, January 16 10am-12pm 
Cruz, Tony $5 Saturday, January 14 11am-1pm 
Descalso, Daniel $10 Sunday, January 15 2-4pm 
Freese, David $75 Monday, January 16 12-2pm 
Furcal, Rafael $30 TBD TBD 
Garcia, Jaime $25 Sunday, January 15 1-3pm 
Greene, Tyler $5 Saturday, January 14 11am-1pm 
Herzog, Whitey $75 Monday, January 16 10-11am 
Holliday, Matt $75 Sunday, January 15 3-5pm 
Jay, Jon $20 Sunday, January 15 1-3pm 
Lankford, Ray $5 Monday, January 16 11am-1pm 
La Russa, Tony $40 Sunday, January 15 11am-1pm 
Lohse, Kyle $5 Monday, January 16 9-11am 
Lynn, Lance $15 Monday, January 16 10am-12pm 
Matheny, Mike $30 Monday, January 16 11am-1pm 
McClellan, Kyle $5 Monday, January 16 10am-12pm 
Miller, Shelby $10 Sunday, January 15 10am-12pm 
Molina, Yadier $75 TBD TBD 
Motte, Jason $25 Sunday, January 15 1-3pm 
Romero, J.C. $5 TBD TBD 
Rzepczynski, Marc $10 Sunday, January 15 11am-1pm 
Salas, Fernando $10 Saturday, January 14 11am-1pm 
*Schoendienst, Red $75 Sunday, January 15 10-11am 
Schumaker, Skip $15 Sunday, January 15 9-11am 
Shannon, Mike $10 Sunday, January 15 2-3pm 
Wainwright, Adam $50 Saturday, January 14 1-3pm 
Westbrook, Jake $10 TBD TBD 
 *Indicates baseballs and photos only will be autographed - no bats or jerseys. 

The following players will be signing free autographs and will not require a ticket. Check cardinals.com/winterwarmup for their dates and times. 

Matt Carpenter 
Andy Benes 
Jim Donohue 
Tom Lawless 
Kerry Robinson 
Sam Taylor 
Zach Cox 
Glenn Brummer 
Chris Duncan 
John Mabry 
Jesse Rogers 
John Tudor 
Brandon Dickson 
Danny Cox 
Cal Eldred 
T.J. Mathews 
Ray Sadecki 
Lee Thomas 
Mark Hamilton 
Mike Crudale 
Neil Fiala 
Ed Mickelson 
Ted Savage 
Mike Tyson 
Pete Kozma 
Boots Day 
Phil Gagliano 
Wally Moon 
Jason Simontacchi 
Bill Virdon 
Shane Robinson 
Ken Dayley 
Rex Hudler 
Tom Pagnozzi 
DeMorris Smith 
Ray Washburn 
Alan Benes 
Chuck Diering 
Mike Jorgensen 
Ken Reitz 
Bob Sykes

A Cardinal Christmas Carol, Revisited

Posted on December 15, 2011 at 11:45 PM
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Mozeliak."

John Mozeliak, the current general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, turned toward his door.  He'd been standing at his window, staring out and thinking.  Seems like he'd been doing a lot of that this week.

"Merry Christmas, Terry.  Everything looking good?"

Terry nodded.  "We've been working on some of the dynamic pricing promotions for next year."

"Well, stop it.  Send everyone home--it is the day before Christmas Eve, after all.  Might as well knock off a bit early."

"Will do, sir.  Hope you have a great holiday," Terry said as he left the office.

A great holiday.  Mozeliak snorted.  He was pretty sure that was out of the question.
  Continue Reading

Putting A Bow On It

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 7:01 AM
I promise, I'm not going to harp on Albert Pujols from now until the beginning of the season.  Odds are, this will be one of the last entries on him, but since he was introduced this weekend as an Anaheim Angel, it seems still relevant.

In an interview after putting on the Angels jersey for the first time, Pujols seemed to be hurt with how negotiations went in St. Louis and really torn about leaving there.  If you take it at face value--which some are understandably not--there seems to be more blame on the organization than was originally thought.  The biggest thing to me was the reluctance for a personal services contract on the back end of his deal.

Why, exactly?  The first time I remember hearing about such deals was in Ozzie Smith's book Wizard, when he extracted one from the Cardinals.  (As an aside, I wonder how that one worked out given Ozzie's legendary feud with Tony La Russa.  Did he just do things for the Cards away from the ballpark?  Did they just pay him and he didn't really do much?  I don't know.)  It seems to me that it'd been a slam dunk to give Albert one of these.  Assuming he signed it, he'd have spent his whole career in St. Louis and you know the club was going to want to trot him out there every chance that they got.

Anaheim gave him that and now he'll spend the next two decades working for the Angel organization.  Which would seem to put the answer to whether Pujols will be around after he retires, showing up on Opening Day, hanging out in spring training, etc.  There's a slim likelihood of that while he's employed with a competitor.  And after two decades have passed, is there going to be a clamor to have him back?  I don't know.

The quote that made the rounds on Twitter, though, was his comment that "I believe they will continue to love me in St. Louis."

Oh, Albert.......

Cardinal fans may like you.  They may respect you.  They may appreciate what you have done with the club and what you have done for the club.

Love, though?  That ship has sailed.

It's tough to love a player that isn't in Cardinal red anyway.  Occasionally players traded off can still have that, because at least fans can tell themselves that the player really didn't want to go.  Scott Rolen probably still has a portion of the Cardinal Nation that loves him, even though he was ready to leave, because they took his side in the TLR feud.  Other than that, though?  There's not many.

It's basically impossible, though, to love a player that rejected the adoration he received from the fan base.  Who took off after so many had supported him.  Whatever the reasons, whether they were legitimate or phony, it doesn't matter.  What matters is that after the sting of betrayal, there's not going to be any love.  I appreciate what Albert did and I've come to terms with him leaving, but there's no love here for him anymore, I can tell you that much.

Of course, I could have made your reading much easier by just linking to Chris's post over at Birds On The Bat 82.  That says a lot of what I was going to say and in a better manner as well.

After the jump, we'll talk about the proactive news the Cardinals made this weekend.
  Continue Reading

The Cardinal Song

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 5:10 PM
It's been a long, tough week for Cardinal Nation.  I've written more than enough about the Pujols situation.  Perhaps you need something a little lighter.  Perhaps you need a laugh.  Hopefully you've thrown all the rotten produce.

After the underwhelming reaction to my last Christmas carol, I thought about not posting this one.  However, it's my blog and as long as there aren't nasty, venomous comments left, I can pretend that you at least liked it somewhat.

So, to the tune of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)", I give you "The Cardinal Song."  Have a great weekend everyone!

Season's just about to end in fire 
Dave Freese swinging from his toes 
Ballpark carols being sung by a choir 
And folks dressed up in a shade of rose 

Everybody knows 
The game's live 'till the final out 
And his blast made things go all right 
Rangers fans, they went home in a pout 
Cards fans found it hard to sleep that night 

They knew that seven was on its way 
Never dreamed that they'd be able to see this day. 
And every mother's child let out a sigh 
Because this team never did know how to die 

And so I'm offering this simple phrase 
To fans from one to eighty-two 
Although it's been said many times many ways 
"We're the champions" to you. 

They knew that seven was on its way 
Never dreamed that they'd be able to see this day. 
And every mother's child let out a sigh 
Because this team never did know how to die 

And so I'm offering this simple phrase 
To fans from one to eighty-two 
Although it's been said many times many ways 
"We're the champions" to you.

AP Now Stands For After Pujols

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 7:56 AM
First off, I want to thank everyone who stopped by and read yesterday's post.  It was the most traffic I'd had in a long time, and topped my big spike in November, when visitors came to read why Albert Pujols was staying in St. Louis.  I guess there's a big interest in crow eating!

Now that we start a new era in Cardinal baseball, we've got to move on to new topics, new thoughts, new arguments.  But before we do that, there are still a few loose ends from yesterday that need to be addressed.

As always, there seem to be two sides to what actually happened.  I watched John Mozeliak's press conference yesterday and, besides being impressed with his demeanor and his sarcastic streak (something I assume you have to develop when the press corp includes Joe Strauss), picked up on the fact that the Cards had really extended themselves to a place where they were getting "uncomfortable" and they never heard the Angels' offer, not that it mattered.  So there was no "this is where we are, can you match it" from Pujols' camp, which Mozeliak put down to professionalism by not forcing the issue.  That's a bit more charitable reasoning than I'd like to give them credit for.  It would seem that, if you really wanted to stay somewhere, you'd at least let them know what they were up against.

Then again, it may have gotten to where Pujols didn't want to be here anymore.  We heard some talk earlier in the year about the relationship between him and the organization being strained, and the story in USA Today about the way everything went down may have confirmed that.  It quotes Don Mattingly as saying Pujols was frustrated with the organization and apparently had been wanting a deal for the last couple of years.

Flip side of that is that Bernie Miklasz indicated that Dan Lozano and Pujols had set the bar at Alex Rodriguez-levels (10 years, $275 million) to get a deal done early.  If that's the case, it's not surprising that nothing got done.  No team is going to give away a deal like that without some market pressures coming to bear.  (Apparently the Marlins were going to give him that deal, but he turned it down due to the no-trade clause, the Marlins' lack of winning tradition and the problems that might be coming in the clubhouse.)

Also, if it's true that the Cards took their January offer off the table in these negotiations and tried to replace it with deals of a shorter length, I wouldn't fault Albert for being kinda twerked. You are coming off a World Series, a Series in which you had one of the legendary performances in Game 3 and helped start the Game 6 rally.  The numbers were down slightly but you also missed two weeks--and just two weeks, hurrying back to the team--with a broken wrist.  That's not exactly the best way to show some respect, and we know that Albert is all about respect.


Financially, Pujols is a winner. I think he's lost something special, the chance to retire as the second-greatest Cardinal of all time, just behind Stan Musial and slightly ahead of Bob Gibson. That's all gone now. And maybe that's the way it should be. Now that Pujols has gone to Cali, Musial will permanently own all of the important franchise records. Pujols can't touch them now. 
Pujols willingly gave up his spot as one of history's inner circle Cardinals and will be viewed as just another athlete. 
Angels fans will go crazy for Pujols, but he'll never be loved the way he was loved in St. Louis. When he gets old and breaks down, he'll never receive the level of empathy that would have come his way in St. Louis.
That's where we stand. I think some of the anger and betrayal will fade, has faded to some degree for me.  I don't know that Albert gets a standing ovation whenever the Angels might come into Busch, I don't know that he's going to be that welcome to all the ceremonies with the Hall of Famers after he retires.  I don't know if they should issue his number in the next year or so or keep it in semi-retirement until he goes into Cooperstown.  These things will just take time, time to see if the disappointment and hurt fades and we can appreciate what he did in St. Louis.

Two last things:  As I Tweeted yesterday, if you can turn down $200+ million and a personal phone call from Stan Musial asking you to stay, there's not much more you can say about it. However, Cardinal John over at The Cardinal Virtue has done a great job of putting this scenario to a verse structure you may be familiar with.  Head over here and check it out!

Now the Cardinals have to go forward, and thankfully they don't have many holes to fill.  Lance Berkman will move to first and, when healthy, Allen Craig can play in the outfield.  However, with Craig out until mid-May (assuming the Cardinal history with injuries doesn't come into play and he's actually out all year long) the team probably will be looking for some outfield help.

Carlos Beltran's name will likely float out there for a while.  Beltran on a one-year deal might make some sense for the Cards.  Craig was going to have to scrap together at-bats with a Pujols return anyway, so I think with two guys (Berkman and Beltran) in more advanced baseball age, there'd be a lot of opportunities for him to give them some rest.  Throw Matt Holliday into the picture and I think Craig could get close to full-time status.

Not surprisingly, Ryan Theriot is probably going to be non-tendered in the next couple of days.  You'd have to be someone that hasn't followed the Cards at all to be surprised at that.  I still think the club is pretty set with Tyler Greene, but Rafael Furcal is running out of chairs in the game of musical shortstops, so it's possible the Cards will bring him back.  I know I'm in the minority, but I'd still like to see what Greene would do on an everyday basis.

Other than that, what's for the Cardinals to do?  The rotation is full, though I guess if you could trade for someone, the extra money the club has would help them eat part of Kyle Lohse or Jake Westbrook's contract.  The bullpen is stocked, though they still would like to see another lefty down there.  The lineup is pretty much taken care of.  The Cards aren't likely to spend their "Pujols dividend" all in one place and all at one time.

It's Day 1 of a new era.  That doesn't mean we're starting from scratch.

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Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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