News, Notes and Historical Information on the St. Louis Cardinals
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The Cardinals picked up Adam Kennedy to fill their hole at second base. He’s a slap hitter who you’ll never expect to hit for much power but he’s a career .280 hitter and he should do fine down in the bottom of the lineup. He’s a left handed bat, which is nice as well. They signed Kennedy for three years at $10 million.
Kip Wells will enter the Cardinals rotation and he’ll join Chris Carpenter and Anthony Reyes in the Cardinals pursuit to defend their championship. Wells had a horrible year and he’s three years removed from his last good season back in 2003. They’re only paying Wells $4 million and despite his numbers, I hope he pans out and makes a good back of the rotation starter.
The Cardinals still need two more pitchers. Jason Schmidt sure would look good in a Cardinals uniform although the rumor I heard was that he’s close to signing with the Cardinal’s arch nemesis, the Chicago Cubs.
Lou Brock came in late in the season in a trade with the Cubs to help the Cardinals win the 1964 season and in 1967, he put together one of his best seasons to help the Cardinals win it again in 1967. Brock was a prototypical lead off hitter in that he got a bunch of hits and stole a ton of bases. He did have his faults in that he struck out too much but there’s no doubt he was a key player on the 1967 team.
In 1967, Brock led the league in at bats (689), runs (113), and stolen bases (52). He was second with twelve triples and 206 hits. On top of all that, he set personal career marks in hits, homeruns (21), RBIs (76) and slugging percentage (.472). 1967 was also the first time Lou Brock was named to play in the All Star game and he finished seventh for the NL MVP.
The Cardinals won their first six games in 1967 and Lou Brock played a big part in that winning streak. In back to back blow out wins on April 15 and April 16, Brock had four hits and two homeruns in each of those games. He drove in eleven runs in those first six games and he had 14 hits. He’d hit his sixth homerun on April 20 and then he wouldn’t hit another until May 19th. Lou Brock had four hits in a game four times in 1967 and five times he scored at least three runs.
April was by far Brock’s best month. He hit .400 in 70 at bats and he hit six homeruns and drove in 18. He was almost as good down the stretch in the final month of the season. In September and October, Brock hit .371 in 105 at bats and he scored 26 runs. His toughest stretch was June in July. In June, he hit only .244 and in July he hit only .241. Brock struggled against left handed pitching (.239/.264/.377) but he was very good against right handed pitching (.333/.362/.525).
Here are Brock’s final 1967 stats.
Stolen Bases 52
Caught Stealing 18
Whether it makes sense or not, the Cardinals are busy lining up the players that led them to their first World Series win since 1982. Super sub Scott Spiezio signed a two year, $4.5 million contract with the Cardinals and it’s expected that the switch hitter will play all over the field again in 2007. The Cardinals have an option to keep Spiezio in 2009 if they so desire.
This was a solid move. Having a guy like Spiezio gives Tony LaRussa a ton of flexibility. And it comes at a pretty low price (relatively speaking). If anyone goes down, you can rely on Spiezio to fill in the spot.
The Cardinals agreed to terms with Jim Edmonds for two more years. For $19 million over those two years, I can that this is definitely a good thing. Jim Edmonds’ better days might be behind him, but even 75% of Jim Edmonds is better then 100% of most center fielders.
In only 110 games, Edmonds still hit 19 homeruns andhe drove in 70 runs. Here’s to hoping he plays closer to 150 games in 2007.
Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter were both awarded Players Choice awards. These are awarded by the players so it’s equally sweet because you know you’re being honered by your peers. Albert Pujols walked away with top honors, which is the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award. Chris Carpenter walked away with National League’s Outstanding Pitcher.
There’s no doubt these two are very deserving. Pujols is being honored not just for his on field performance but also for his contribution to the community. Whether he walks away with another MVP or not, there’s no doubt that Pujols is the very best player in all of baseball.
I think I’m about finished basking in the Cardinals World Series win. Now, it’s time to start looking at next year. There’s no rest for baseball fans these days. The playoffs morph right into free agency and then before you know it, spring training is starting all over again. Between now and the start of the 2007 season, the Cardinals have some decisions to make, namely how their rotation will be made up.
Outside of Chris Carpenter, the only returning starter will be rookie Anthony Reyes. Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, Jason Marquis and Mark Mulder are all free agents (or will be) which means the Cardinals have to find three starters. One could be reliever Adam Wainwright, who shined as the team’s closer in the 2006 World Series. I’d much rather see Wainwright show his stuff over 200 innings as a starter then 75 as a closer. Even then, we have to find two more starters.
I wouldn’t mind the Cardinals going after Mark Buehrle. He’d give us a nice left handed option in the rotation and the White Sox are looking to trade one of their starters to make room for Brandon McCarthy. Of course you have to consider the price, but Buehrle would make a nice option if the Cardinals are unsuccessful in the free agent market.
Then again, Jason Schmidt or Barry Zito would look really nice in a Cardinals uniform. We’ll just have to wait and see how things play out over the next couple of months.
For those of you who enjoyed the 1926 Cardinals diary, I’m going to move up in time and take on the 1967 Cardinals next year. Like last year, I’ll do some bios so you can get comfortable with the players. And while that’s going on, you can also check out the 1967 American League Pennant Race, which was historic in and of itself. So you’ll get some pretty solid coverage of what went down in the 1967.
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