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Cardinal Odds And Ends

Posted on November 5, 2012 at 7:16 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
There's not been just a whole lot going on with the Cards since the end of the baseball season, but enough small items to sneak in a post during the midst of the Exit Interview series.

The biggest is probably that Mark McGwire looks to be heading west, taking over the hitting coach duties for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  You really can't fault Mac for this move, I don't think.  Most every year, there's a little drama (that might be overstating it, but it's the best word I've got now) on whether he'll return as he weighs the pull of family versus his love of coaching.  With this move, he gets the best of both worlds.  He's got young triplets at home and he didn't get to see the kids with his first wife grow up as he was playing ball, so this should be an ideal situation for him.

I think the other thing to take away from this is that McGwire is making a name for himself as a hitting coach.  We know that the only person who would have hired him three years ago was Tony La Russa, who had such a relationship with him.  McGwire set what should have been the template for any steroid user.  He admitted he did it, put it up front, answered all the questions, and it faded into the background.  While some people--usually opposing fans--will occasionally bring it up, it's really a non-issue these days.

McGwire did good work.  In his first year, he had the offense putting up similar numbers to what Hal McRae had done in his last season.  McRae was a long-time hitting coach, McGwire just a rookie.  Which meant either the position was fairly irrelevant or McGwire kinda knew what he was doing.  The offensive explosion of the last couple of years seems to show that it was the latter.

McGwire will be replaced by John Mabry, who was the assistant hitting coach last year.  Mabry will likely keep a similar plan in place, especially since there won't be many new faces for him to deal with.  It should be interesting to see if and who they get to be the assistant coach.  There's been some rumors lately that management wants to increase Jim Edmonds' role with the club.  Whether that means putting him in that job, we'll have to wait and see.

The Cardinals made the minimum qualifying offer to Kyle Lohse at the end of last week, which meant one year at a bit over $13 million.  This gets filed into the "well, duh" section of things, as there is no way that Lohse takes that offer (unless he falls down and breaks a leg in the next few weeks) when he could get similar money for a longer term somewhere else.  St. Louis had to make the offer, though, to get the draft pick that they coveted.  This club has funded its recent resurgence with players coming up through the system and that doesn't look to change anytime soon.

Bernie Miklasz writes a glowing piece about John Mozeliak over at the Post-Dispatch and there's nothing in there that I'd disagree with.  I remember thinking that Mozeliak was a compromise candidate, that the club missed a chance to really set a new course by sticking with someone already known in the organization.  I'm sure I could have been more wrong, but I'm not really sure how.  Mo has come in and gotten everyone on the same page and set a consistent philosophy throughout the organization.  There's no doubt that he's running the show (unlike the Walt Jocketty years, when there was often debate about whether Jocketty or TLR really held the power) and he's got everything going in the right direction.  When it's all said and done, he's got a chance to be up there with Bing Devine and Branch Rickey (well, maybe not Rickey) in the "great Cardinal GMs" discussion.

Newly minted head Cardinal writer Derrick Goold (who takes over from a promoted Joe Strauss, something most fans will be excited about) has a nice article up about Adam Wainwright and the extension discussions.  I hope this doesn't turn into a "you come to me/no, you come to me" situation.  It sounds like both sides want him to stay in St. Louis over the long haul and you won't find many fans that disagree with that notion.  Revenues from TV contracts are going up, which helps offset the fact that extensions like Matt Cain's are going to raise his price.  The odds are the price only continues to climb as he pitches well in 2013.  I still think this is at the top of Mo's offseason list (perhaps after finding a shortstop) and that it gets done this winter.

Finally, if you follow this blog on Facebook you have already seen this, but in case you don't, the Burton folks put out the key to their Cardinal tree this weekend.  It still needs some detail work (I've emailed them about a couple of things they need to change) but it gives you some idea of just how cool the tree is going to be.  Click to make it more readable.  You know all the details about buying this--if not, just check out any of the Exit Interview posts.  Enjoy!

Burton key.jpg

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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%)

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%)

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%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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