Birds with New Nests by Bob Ryan

It’s fun to “check in” on some of the former Cardinals every so often….these ex-Cards have changed their nest…so to speak….this isn’t meant to reflect good or bad moves by the Cards but merely updates on some familiar names that you may have “missed” .. one way or the other…

….Daniel Descalso(Cubs)has played more…probably much more…than expected. The unavailability of Addison Russell and Ben Zobrist opened up a spot for him. Playing in 70 games already, batting just 185 with OBP .283, Descalso is in his 10th year of MLB as a 32 year old. He’s been with Col & Arizona between the Cards and the Cubs.

…. Sam Tuivailala was reinstated by Seattle from the 60-day injured list last week. Tuivailala will join the MLB bullpen. It was less than a year ago that the Cardinals traded Tuivailala to Seattle in exchange for minor league righty Seth Elledge as part of a “dramatic” midseason roster shakeup. Shortly there  after  Tuivailala suffered a torn Achilles tendon just weeks after being traded and hasn’t pitched in the Majors since that time. Seattle has  hopes that he’ll strengthen their bullpen in the middle innings

…John Jay (CWS) has a minimal role with the White Sox. The 34 year old, 10 years MLB  vet is batting .298.. sound good…but he’s 14 of 47 from the plate this season. This is his 5th team since leaving StL.

….Detroit Tigers are hoping for lightning in a bottle with Trevor Rosenthal. After a disastrous spring with the Nats (6.3 inn, 8 hits, 16 runs, era of 22.74), the Tigers are throwing him a bone. What do they have to lose….they are 1 of the worst MLB teams, no long term commitment, cheap. If he DOES, rebound, they win BIG. If he doesn’t… it was a “nice knowing ya” situation for them.

…Randall Grichuk of Toronto is now in his 6th year in the MLB. Batting .238, 16 HR, 42 rbi (on course for career averages). He’s in the 1st year of a 5 year, $48m contract. He was traded for Dominic Leone.

…Greg Garcia moved on this season to SD Padres. Garcia is now 29 in his 6th MLB season. He’s batting .261 with 47 hits, 180 AB. He has 20 rbi’s which is 1 rbi every 9 AB. He has played all 4 infield positions this season for San Diego.

….Sandy Alcantara was the big “chip” in the trade with the Marlins in Ozuna trade. The 23 year old has 18 starts in 2019, 4-9, 3.94 ERA,  6 quality starts, 107 inn, 76 strikeouts .

…Arizona has 3 former Cardinals in 2019. Carson Kelly, at 24 years of age is now the every day catcher  for the D-Backs. His batting stats–.268, 10 HR, OPS .872; Luke Weaver is 4-3, with 3.03 era, 62 inn, 68 strikeouts, 55 hits—currently on 10 day IL; Greg Holland is the AZ closer at 33 years of age—1-1, 15 saves while finishing 23games, 31 inn, 19 hits, 37 strikeouts

…NY Yankees have Luke Voit(from Lafayette HS—same HS as David Freese)…..batting .280, 17 HR, OPS of .897, 50 rbi’s. Relief hurler, Adam Ottovino, began his career with the Cards, now in his 9th year and has appeared in over 400 MLB games.. spent 7 years with Colorado…in 2019, he’s currently holding a 3-3 mark, 44 appearances, 41 inn, 56 k

…Oscar Mercado of the Indians is in his 1st year of MLB play @ 24 years of age. Currently he holds a .284 average, 6 HR, 14 rbi’s, 7 sb in 200 ab. Starting every day now for the Tribe. Traded last summer for Connor Capel.

…Texas Rangers own Lance Lynn who’s now 12-4, 3.69 era, 122 inn, 120 hits, 19 starts and Shelby Miller. Lynn pitched 5 full years with the Cards piling up 943 innings.  He was 71-49 with no losing seasons during his tenure. On the other hand, Miller pitched his 1st 3 years in the Lou and was 26-18. But, in this last 6 years since departing StL, Miller is 12-38. This year, Miller has been pushed into the bullpen for middle inning work. He’s carrying a 1-3 record, 8.59 era, 44 inn, 58 hits (my own barometer is 1 hit for 1 inning ratio is OK…get below that 1:1 ratio …that’s good….above it…not so much. Texas also has Patrick Wisdom on their roster. Wisdom is a utility player, batting .154 (4 of 28) and has struck out 15 times. He was traded by Cards  for Drew Robinson.

…Stephen Piscotty was traded….supposedly….to help him take care of his ailing Mother. Last year @ Oakland he hit 27 HR while holding a career .264 average in his 5 years of MLB play. This year , he’s at .242 with 9 HR. He was traded for Jairo Munoz. One must wonder how  the OF of Piscotty, Mercado, Grichuk would compete as the Card outfield.

…we can’t forget “Mr Game 6”…David Freese…now a Dodger in his 11th year, despite beginning his MLB career at 26 years of age. Hitting .305 with 25 rbi’s in 131 AB’s (1 every 6 AB…not bad). When he reaches the stage of “moving on” from MLB competition, I’d suggest to him to open a bar/restaurant named “Game6”…we’d all know who owned it J

….wrapping up our birds in different nests, we look west again…this time to the Angels. While many fans cursed him, yelled about it, belittled him when he left….his return this year to the Lou showed that time does heal wounds.  Albert Pujols….clearly the best Cardinal in the last 20, maybe 40 years .. now toils for the Angels. His numbers currently are that of a “common” bird. But…I’m still hoping that he’ll buy out his service contract and enter the HOF as a Cardinal.  That’s the latest on some of the former Cardinals who have moved on to other nests.

For you NUMBERS guys…..he’s some of the current WAR numbers on some of our starting lineup…. Yadi 0.3, Goldschmidt 1.1, Ozuna 1.6, Matt Carpenter 0.3, Dex 1.5, Wainwright 1.0, Martinez 0.5, Mikolas 0.6, Miller -0.1, Wacha -0.5 Wieters 0.2. WAR (wins above replacement with a AAA player) 

The Cardinals pride themselves on their “farm” system. It’s very difficult drafting so far down the draft to develop true MLB “stars”. The Cards develop plenty of starters through their many prospects but not often the game changers. Myself….I’d prefer the Cards to trade some of their prospects for proven MLB stars. Oh….it’d have to be a package of prospects and a MLB player or 2 but…get the proven commodity. Even then it doesn’t always pan out e.g. Paul Goldschmidt to this point. However, check out some of the key, talented players that we got in trades over the decades—60’s –Lou Brock,  Curt Flood, Julian Javier, Orlando Cepada; in the 80’s it’was Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter, Willie McGee, Lonnie Smith, George Hendrick, Joaquin Andujar; in the 2000’s the Cards brought in Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Mark McGwire, Edgar Renteria, Jason Isringhausen, Fernando Vina. I’m sure that I missed a couple of the “stars” that the Cards acquired by using their prospects in trades. That doesn’t mean that you don’t keep the very best of your prospects but ……in my opinion…..many, many times these prospects don’t ever become the stars that some scout projected for them. They’re just prospects. Of late, MO hasn’t really landed a real star ( exceptions-Goldschmidt, Ozuna) via the trade route to supplement our younger players.

ODDS & ENDS…….

….Monday, Monday…..that wonderful song from the 70’s is the motto of the Cards. According to my totally unofficial stats, the Cards are 8-0 on Mondays in 2019.

….One of the most disappointing teams in the first half of 2019 was the Philadelphia Phillies. Hyped higher than a kite due to the signing of Bryce Harper and the acquisition of other quality MLB players (McCutheon, Realmuto, Arrieta, Segura) along with the expected development of their own system (Hoskins, Nola, Franco) , the Phils have stumbled to a 48-46 start. Harper’s many round trippers don’t offset his plethora of strikeouts. He seldom has the chance to show off his good  speed on the bases because either a) it’s a HR   b) he’s not on base. And….this is only his 1st year of a century long contract  well… almost J

….The Cardinals nest is always full as they continue to draw huge crowds. Currently, St Louis is 2nd in the entire MLB in attendance only behind the Dodgers. While I really don’t believe the numbers given on certain nights as I view the empty seats around Busch, you must tip your cap to the Cards. They have a “give-away’ almost every night, clean stadium, friendly workers but …ultimately…it’ll come down to winning. The Cards do have another advantage…no longer an NFL team to grab September games if the Cards aren’t contending close to the top.

….Why doesn’t the MLB use  split screen commercials in between batters and shorten the time between innings …go back to 1 minute. That would make the length of the game vastly improved.

….One player that has changed nests more than anyone…at least to my knowledge of birds…. Edwin Jackson. This bird entered MLB competition when he was 19 years of age as a Dodger. He was just released this week as a 35 year old pitcher—17 consecutive seasons in the MLB—WOW!. His resume of teams takes us around both leagues….ready for the flight?…here we go….LA Dodger 2003-04-05; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006-07-08; 2009 it was Detroit; 2010 saw him on Arizona & the White Sox; in 2011 it began with the White Sox and finished the season in St Louis (5-2, 3.58 era; the Washington Nationals had Jackson in 2012; in 2013 & 14 he was with the Cubs;  he began 2015 with the Cubs, finished the season in Atlanta with the Braves; 2016 saw Jackson with Miami Marlins & San Diego Padres; in 2017 it was Baltimore and Washington (again); in 2018 Jackson was 6-3 with Oakland A’s; he’s just been released by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019. What a journey that landed in many different nests!! Congrats to Jackson…he must be a “good guy” or teams wouldn’t want to deal with him….btw…it was 14 different teams!!! Another btw…he earned just  under $79m in his career.

I’m outta nests…old and new…..thanks for checking out these nests with me.

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