Archive for Lance Berkman

Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals a Good Fit?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2011 by Travis Green

There comes a time in a player’s career when money isn’t the only concern, a championship becomes a big part of it too.

Many players make it in and out of the league with out ever getting to try on that championship ring. Money can buy you a lot of things, but a World Series memory is not one of them.

Carlos Beltran has made an estimated $135 million in his 13 year career. But one thing Beltran has never done, win a World Series.

At the age of 34 Beltran is no longer in his prime years, he is no longer looking to sign the deal that will set him and his family up for life, it’s now about one thing and that is to play for a winning team and come away with some hardware.

Carlos Beltran is a lifetime .283 hitter with an average of 28 HR and 105 RBI’s. His average WAR (Wins above replacements) is 4.3, which a pretty good number. Last year in 142 games Beltran hit 22 HR and 81 RBIs while batting .300. While those numbers are not off the wall remember Beltran wasn’t hitting in the middle of lineups loaded with talent, nor was he hitting in hitter-friendly ballparks, having to play his home games in the cool air of San Francisco or the big ballpark in the Big Apple.

Injuries are always the question surrounding Carlos Beltran, but his production when he is on the field speaks for itself.

Beltran’s market for teams has been slow to develop, with the Rockies joining in the hunt yesterday according to Jon Heyman. Other sources report the Boston Red Sox have interest in the 34-year-old native of Puerto Rico.

John Mozeliak and the Cardinals are in a unique situation, they have the money to spend and the team that could appeal to a Carlos Beltran.

There is no official word on how much the Beltran camp is seeking, but some sources have it at a one year deal for $12 million or 2 years for around $20 million. If these numbers are true the Cardinals would be crazy not to put a call into Dan Lozano, Beltran’s agent, and begin to negotiate.

The Cardinals are in need of a little more security in the middle of their lineup, as well as some depth in the outfield. With OF Allen Craig out 4-6 month recovering from knee surgery, the Cardinals option in the outfield are Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Skip Schumaker, Adron Chambers, and Eric Komatsu, recently acquired through the rule 5 draft from Washington. This is of course assuming Lance Berkman is the successor to Albert Pujols’ vacancy at first base.

With those options in the OF on opening day the Cardinals can boost morale throughout the clubhouse and fan base with one simple, but not exasperating offer to Beltran.

The Cardinals are clearly not in the hunt for Prince Fielder, and with Jose Reyes off the market, the next best option on the market that fits their need is Carlos Beltran. A two-year $20-22 million contract with incentives would be a deal that may work for both Beltran and the Cardinals.

First for Beltran, it puts him in a place for more than one year, something many players passed the age of 34 seem to really push for. The deal would also him to settle into a lineup surrounded by other talent such as Holliday, Molina, Jay, Freese, and let’s not forget former teammate Lance Berkman. He could comfortably fit in and not be “the guy” like he may have been in San Fran and New York. Beltran would also be put into a winning situation. The Cardinals are coming off a 2011 World Series title, and regain ace Adam Wainwright. Even with the subtraction of Albert Pujols the Cardinals are the early favorites to win the N.L. Central, which give Beltran a chance at the hardware. Finally Beltran would be back in the Central somewhere he has played before, he knows how the parks play, and he knows the opposing teams, but more important throughout the NL Central the ballparks are a lot more hitter friendly which can only help the aging slugger.

For the Cardinals, this is a deal that will help settle fans down after the loss of Albert Pujols. It will show the dedicated fan base that the Cardinals are still focused on winning, and that they will not go into a shell much like the Pittsburgh Pirates did after losing Bonds. The signing would also help take some of the pressure that will be put on Berkman, Holliday, Freese, and Craig mainly to pick up the slack left behind by Pujols. The Cardinals are without Allen Craig until at least April, maybe dragging into May. Can they rely on an often injured Allen Craig? Can the rely on an aging Lance Berkman? Is Matt Holliday going to put up Albert Pujols type numbers? What about David Freese? Is he the real deal, after his showcase in the World Series? And if he is, can he stay off the disabled list? All these questions can not be answered right now, but the Cardinals can help alleviate some of the pain if one of them do get answers, and not in a good way.

Lance Berkman played in 145 games last year, Tony La Russa knew how to keep him fresh, can the Cardinals do that with the current team roster? Jon Jay at times looked lost at the plate and needed a day or two off can they do that and not feel the lack of production with the current roster? Allen Craig played in 75 games last year, and is injured to start the season, is it reasonable to think that he will jump right in after the recovery and be an impact player? And finally David Freese played in 97 games last year can the Cardinals rely on him to be healthy and make up for the production missed by the absence of number 5? And if Freese is healthy his production is higher when batting sixth than it is when batting 5th, so is batting Freese 5th best option for the Cardinals?

Carlos Beltran can start in RF, play CF when Jay needs a day off. And when Berkman needs a day off Craig is there to fill that role. Craig can still get ABs with the aging Berkman and Beltran in the lineup, as well as spelling Holliday and Jay throughout the season. The Cardinals need protection in the middle of the lineup – Beltran adds it, Cardinals need depth in the OF – Beltran adds it, and the Cardinals need more pop off the bench with the signing of Beltran in essence – Beltran add its.

This is a match made in “Baseball Heaven.”

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How do the Cardinals fill the void of Number 5?

Posted in MLB with tags , , , , on December 14, 2011 by Travis Green

Iconic figures can be found throughout sports, but as iconic and Hall of Fame worthy as an Albert Pujols is rare. Even more rare today in sports is an athlete sticking with one team, the St. Louis got a taste when Albert Pujols left for a “more committed” Angels team. Now the Cardinals are left with a void to fill, the question is how do they do it?

First the Cardinals management, players and fans alike must realize there is no replacing Albert Pujols. No player in the game put up the numbers over their first ten years like he did, and it’s unlikely anyone will (At least for a while.)

A fresh start is what the Cardinals are looking at. This team will have to win a different style of baseball; they’ll  no longer have the big force at the third spot in the lineup and that’ll affect the team from one through nine.

It’s not all as bad as it seems. With new manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals will now see a different style of baseball. While it may have some similarities to Tony LaRussa’s style, Matheny is his own man and he will bring a new culture to the clubhouse, one that says we can win without Albert!

For this to ring true throughout 14th and Clark, the Cardinals must have a few key element and the most important is execution. No longer can you rely on the MVP stepping into the box and winning you two games in a row against the rivaled Cubs, you must execute in every facet of the game.

But also leadership is a key component. And who better than Lance Berkman? The good ole’ boy from Texas was the Cardinals Superman at times last year, he stood in front of the media when things weren’t going well, and joked about his age and other players when things were riding high. Lance Berkman is the perfect guy to fill in at the 3 position that has been filled by a legend over the last 11 years.

Berkman will step up to the media in spring training and tell them the Cards can win without Pujols, he will rally his team around Matheny’s message, Lance Berkman will take the heat if things start going south. Lance may not hit .330 40 homer run 120 rbi’s but he will load his shoulders down and take the blunt of the negativity when it approaches.

On the field the team collectively must come together. No one person will fill #5’s shoes and no one player will be asked to either. The likes of David Freese, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina will all have to pick up the slack if no one else is signed. They will all have to stay healthy and do the things that win championships.

Mike Matheny’s job isn’t easy, taking over a manager with Hall of Fame credentials such as TLR is hard enough. Now add losing a potential Hall of Famer, and the best player in the game, Mike is instantly behind the black ball, but if the 2011 World Series champions St. Louis Cardinals taught you anything that is: never count anyone out. Because all it takes is the a group 25 men on the field pulling together for one common goal, believing in each other, and letting nothing get in their way to make the unthinkable happen.

Cards Savior? Not Quite, But Better Than Other Options

Posted in MLB, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2010 by Travis Green

Pedro Feliz will take over at 3B for the Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals have been openly discussing their involvement in the waiver wires. As they continued to look for a move that would “address a need.” They may have found part of their solution on Thursday afternoon.

The Cardinals acquired veteran 3rd baseman, Pedro Feliz, 35, from the Houston Astros in exchange for prospect David Carpenter. Carpenter is a 24-year-old relief pitcher who has yet to make it out of High A ball, but has electric stuff with averaging more than a strikeout per inning.

Feliz is not a long-term solution for the Cardinals, and may not be a home run for the Cardinals, but right now the Cards need a stop-gap and that’s something Feliz can do.

When looking at Feliz compared to the other options at 3rd, he is a much better option providing more range and a fielding percentage that is on par with the rest of the league. (.950)

Feliz at times has shown himself to be an above average fielder while handling the bat, this year as GM of the Astros Ed Wade said, “It’s been a tough year for him.” Tough year is an under statement .031 points below his career average of .252. His power numbers are down as well, with only 4 dingers to his name, in limited action.

Yes, those are tough numbers to fathom, but when you look at it this way, no one has lived up to their averages for the Astros this year: Carlos Lee, a lifetime .288 hitter, with an average of 30 Home Runs a year, has seen his average dip to .248 and only seen 15 balls leave the yard this year, while still hitting at the hitter friendly, Minute Maid Park.

It doesn’t stop there: Lance Berkman before being traded was batting a mind numbing .245 which came in .051 points below his normal average. He has also seen a decline in power as well seeing only 13 Home Runs this year compared to his average 33 HR in his career.

AP Photo / Rob Carr

Now yes you can say that “all these guys are aging”, and there is no argument there, but these guys don’t just fall into oblivion over night. This is a result of being on a bad team, even Roy Oswalt struggled in his last few months as an Astro.

I am not here to tell you Pedro Feliz is the man to carry the Cardinals down Market, with another World Series in hand, but I am saying he’s the best option.

The Good:
He hits lefties well, batting .260 against them with 40 HR and 160 RBIs
He gets runs in, when they’re in scoring position…he has 443 RBI’s with a .260 average.
He puts the ball in play, averaging only 84 strikeouts per season
He like Busch Stadium, .288 average is his 3rd highest avg. in a ballpark with at least 60 plate appearances in

The Bad:
He doesn’t take a lot of pitches, which leads to not as many walks taken either..just over 3.3 pitches per AB
Power has decreased in each of the last 5 seasons
Career .244 average after the 7th inning

The Ugly:
He doesn’t hit well after the start of September…it is his worse statistical month…batting .235, but his power does increase in Sept./Oct.
He has batted .228 dating back to last August 18th

The displeasure of many fans with this team performance is warranted, but let’s not let that affect your opinion of Pedro Feliz, let this play out, they need a 3rd baseman. They got one.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Pedro Feliz has a career batting average of .263 with 78 HR’s and 351 RBI’s against the remaining teams on the Cards schedule….That’s more than half his career RBI and HR totals, while batting .011 points better than his career average. AND the Rockies is a team he has been most successful against batting .287 with 20 HR and 80 RBI, they just so happen to be the Cards last series of the season.