Results tagged ‘ Matt Holliday ’

Sunday Warm-Up tidbits: Schumaker, Holliday, Freese, Rasmus

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Hello from what is likely the most memorable Winter Warm-Up day in the eight years I’ve covered this event. The McGwire introduction and news conference were certainly experience. Hopefully later in the week I’ll be able to post an entire blog entry on all the weirdness, but if you haven’t checked out my tweets and Twitpics, that should provide at least a little color. And I have a story on all of it going up on the site shortly.

On with the tidbits:
* Skip Schumaker said that he’s very close to getting a 2010 contract squared away. Schumaker, of course, is under team control for ’10, so it’s not like it’s a matter of keeping him or losing him. It’s just a matter of dollars, and ideally of avoiding an arbitration hearing.
“Getting close, but no deal done yet,” Schumaker said. “I don’t think either of us wants to go to arbitration. I don’t have anything bad to say about them, so I don’t want to go. But it all works out. I understand the business side of it. It all works out.”
Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick are the Cardinals’ only arbitration-eligible players.
* Matt Holliday told reporters that he no longer takes any kind of supplements.
Holliday was asked whether he would ever put something in his body without knowing what it was — an excuse that has sometimes been used by players who have used steroids, claiming they did it unknowingly.
“No,” he said. “I think it’s my responsibility as an athlete to know what I’m putting in. I’m not willing to take risks if I don’t know it’s been approved. They have those approval things that the Players’ Association hands out. I quit taking any supplements altogether, just stick to a protein shake and that’s about it. I don’t feel that that’s any area where I’d take a chance.”
* I’ll have a full-length story on David Freese going up on the site this evening. He talked at length about the aftermath of his drunk-driving arrest this winter, so I’ll avoid that topic here. But another bit from his chat with us: Freese said that he has lost weight and drastically reshaped his body this winter.
“I’ve lost 16 pounds, down to 9 percent body fat, working with [conditioning coach] Pete Prinzi,” Freese said. “I’ve been real focused. Obviously I had a little bump in the road but getting down there to Jupiter and trying to make that squad and help this team win is one of my top priorities.”
* In another conditioning-related story, Colby Rasmus is going about a different program this winter. Last year when we saw Rasmus at the Warm-Up, everyone was struck by how much bulk he had put on. This year, in hopes of holding up better over the course of a full season, he’s worked much less on mass and more on endurance.
“Last year going in I tried to focus more on putting on a lot of weight and getting bulked up,” Rasmus said. “Tis year I’m doing more conditioning, running, sleds, hills, that type of thing. Just to try to see if that will change up a little bit and be able to last a little longer instead of being big and looking for more power. Just be able to keep my body more maintained.”
Today’s playlist is a wind-down after a long day:
The Who, “Getting in Tune”
Rolling Stones, “Ventilator Blues”
Jimi Hendrix, “Castles Made of Sand”
Bob Marley, “No Woman No Cry”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”
-M.

Holliday tidbits

Just a few odds and ends from today’s Matt Holliday deal…

* It’s likely that the deal will officially be announced, with a formal news conference, on Thursday rather than tomorrow. The Hall of Fame election announcement is on Wednesday, and they likely will try not to steal any of the spotlight from that.

* I laid out the terms in the story on the site, but here they are in a nutshell just in case. Holliday will receive $17 million for each season from 2010-2016. He has full no-trade protection. If he finishes in the top-10 in MVP balloting in 2016, a $17 million option vests for 2017. According to AP, there is a $1 million buyout if the option does not vest. I was told it is not a club option in any way, simply a vest or no-vest situation. That would make the guaranteed value $120 million (at minimum, $119 million plus the $1 million buyout) with a potential value of $136 million.

* My personal take: I’m fine with the AAV. $17 million per year is pretty reasonable for a player of Holliday’s caliber. I am not at all sold on the combination of seven years and complete no-trade protection. That could definitely put the club in a precarious spot over the final few years of the contract. I think Holliday and Scott Boras got a very good deal.

* By my estimation, the club still has approximately $6-7 million left to spend this winter.

More blogging coming soon, including my top-10 albums of 2009.

-M.

Signing off for a while

The Winter Meetings have just about wrapped up. The media workroom is less than half full, the lobby is empty and all the teams are long gone. A few thoughts before I take a little bit of vacation.

* I like the Penny signing, for the most part. I believe he’ll be successful this year for a variety of reasons, mostly that his stuff and ability should play pretty well at Busch Stadium and in the NL Central. It seems like a bit of a steep base salary, but not ridiculously so, and someone smarter than me once said that there are no bad one-year contracts. I don’t entirely agree with that, but there’s a lot of sense to it. You just can’t get hurt that badly with a one-year deal.
* The Holliday situation remains difficult to get a read on. Just from talking to people, listening, getting the lay of the land, there just doesn’t seem to be that much of a market for him right now. And yet, I’m not at all sure that benefits the Cardinals. If there’s no market right now, it’s likely as not that the Boras Corp. will remain patient rather than leaping at an offer that falls short of their goals.
* ‘Plan B’ seems to be this winter’s catch phrase for the Cardinals’ hot stove. As for what Plan B actually looks like, I think it’s still pretty fluid. My read is they’re not targeting a specific shape for how things go. It’s not like they’re saying, “We’re going to spend $10 million on a third baseman, $6 million on another starter and $4 million on the bench and bullpen.”
Instead, it’ll be case-by-case, as they did with Penny. If a DeRosa deal that makes sense can be reached, they’ll do it. Then they’ll look at what fits beyond that. If the next move that makes sense is a starting pitcher, they’ll do that, then analyze what the rest of the moves look like.
There’s definitely a lot in play, a lot of moving parts here.
And with that, I head out. Will catch up with all of you again after New Year’s. I’ll probably tweet a little (@MatthewHLeach) but you won’t see me here at the blog. News will be handled by my capable colleagues at MLB.com. And I expect there will be news.
Happiest of holidays to everybody. Thanks so much for reading, commenting, tweeting, emailing, and everything else all year. It’s been a fun year. The last playlist of ’09 is five of my favorite Christmas songs…
The Waitresses, “Christmas Wrapping”
Band Aid, “Do They Know It’s Christmas”
Bruce Springsteen, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”
Run-D.M.C., “Christmas In Hollis”
Keith Richards, “Run Run Rudolph”
-M.

Tuesday Winter Meetings tidbits

Lots and lots of tidbits from today…

* The Cardinals met with the agents from Career Sports and Entertainment today, among others. That’s the group that represents both Mark DeRosa and John Smoltz. It doesn’t sound like there’s any serious traction, right now, with either player, but there’s definitely interest. I wouldn’t rule either one out at this point.
* TLR was insistent that the Cardinals not be ruled out in the pursuit of Matt Holliday.
* TLR also acknowledged that the Cards have a real interest in Miguel Tejada. Both of these points, and some others, are included in my daily wrapup story that will soon be going on StLCardinals.com.
* Both TLR and Mozeliak expressed a strong reluctance to move Skip Schumaker off of second base. In the context of conversations about “Plan A,” “Plan B,” etc., Mozeliak referred to such a move as plan “quadruple-Z.”
* TLR acknowledged that there are likely more third-base fits than outfield fits in the current market.
* Mozeliak said that there’s very little likelihood of a trade while the Cardinals are here, and that in fact “more doors are closing” than opening as far as trades.
* The Cardinals will not talk with John Lackey’s agent. This is no surprise, since they consistently, steadfastly emphasize that they have no interest in a deal of longer than one year with a starter. They could yet add a starter, but it would be another one-year contract.
* They’d like to add a lefty power bat off the bench. However, moves like bench and bullpen upgrades will likely wait until the lineup and rotation are squared away.
Today’s playlist:
Nirvana, “All Apologies”
Modest Mouse, “Ocean Breathes Salty”
Jesus and Mary Chain, “Reverence”
Smashing Pumpkins, “I Am One”
Radiohead, “Airbag”
-M.

Monday night tidbits: Holliday, Penny, arb offers, more

Just got back about an hour ago from the Cardinals’ suite at the Marriott in downtown Indianapolis. Here’s a rundown of some of the newsworthy notes from the media session with John Mozeliak.

* The Cardinals met with Scott Boras for approximately 90 minutes on Sunday night, but Mozeliak didn’t give the indication that he feels the team is any closer to understanding where it really stands with Boras. The conversation was heavily about Matt Holliday, rather than about any of the other players of note (Xavier Nady, Adrian Beltre) represented by Boras in this market.
* As noted elsewhere on the site, a deal with Brad Penny is evidently imminent. It hinges on a physical, which could take place Tuesday or Wednesday. Multiple reports have pegged the 1-year deal at $7.5 million in base salary with incentives that could take it up to $9 million.
* Mozeliak said that although things can still change in the next 3 1/2 hours, the Cardinals are not currently expecting anyone to accept arbitration.
* The Cardinals are not necessarily done adding pitching. Obviously if they make something happen with Holliday, they won’t add another starter. But if no deal with Holliday gets done, Mozeliak said tonight that they could sign another starter, rather than giving the fifth spot to an in-house option. I don’t think this is very likely, but it’s on the table.
* Mozeliak was cagey about whether he felt they’d need a “caddy” for Penny, ie somebody who could safely be relied on to provide innings in case Penny breaks down. But basically he didn’t sound like he considered that a priority.
* No surprise here, but Mozeliak said they do not intend to non-tender anyone next week.
* The Cardinals expect to be much busier talking with agents than with other teams this week. That makes sense, because the farm system just doesn’t offer many trade chips right now.
* Asked about the “Cardinal mystique” and whether it did or did not take with Holliday, Mozeliak was blunt about Holliday/Boras’ perspective: “This, right now, is a market-driven deal.”
A playlist of melancholy tunes for a gray day:
Dinosaur Jr., “Thumb”
Morphine, “Cure For Pain”
Beta Band, “Dry the Rain”
Radiohead, “Fake Plastic Trees”
Aimee Mann, “Wise Up”
-M.

Sunday lineup: Holliday, Molina out

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Odd looking lineup today against LHP Jorge De La Rosa. Explanations below:

1. Lugo, 2B
2. Ryan, SS
3. Pujols, 1B
4. Ludwick, LF
5. DeRosa, RF
6. Freese, 3B
7. LaRue, C
8. T.Greene, CF
9. Lohse, P

* Matt Holliday is sick and not in the lineup. A few guys have been dealing with illness in the clubhouse for a good while now, and it seems to have hit Holliday. He was in the clubhouse this morning, so it’s not so severe that he stayed back at the hotel or anything. But TLR said last night that he was getting weaker as the game went on, and Holliday is not in today.

* Yadier Molina is still sore after taking a ball off his left knee last night. Tuesday is a possibility for Molina’s return, but far from a certainty. That’s obviously why LaRue is starting.

* De La Rosa has a huge left/right split, which explains a couple of the moves — Lugo, for example. As for the outfield, this was the explanation. If Holliday had been well enough to play, he would have started in the outfield with DeRosa, and Ludwick in center. With Holliday a no-go, they needed another right-hander to play in the outfield, so they went with Greene. TLR said he simply didn’t like the idea of starting either of the LHH center fielders against De La Rosa.

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Holliday, Rasmus, Ludwick, Smoltz, more

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

It’s time for some tidbits as I prepare to head home from Milwaukee. This is the best kind of road trip: one that only involves two nights away from home. Will be nice to have the off day before settling in for a nine-game homestand, starting on Friday.

Hopefully I’ll have a Lucky Seven for you tomorrow, plus I’ll be filing an off-day story that will go up on the site during the day. And for any Achievers in St. Louis, don’t forget that tomorrow night, they’ll be screening The Big Lebowski outdoors at Third Degree Glass Factory.

Anyway, on with the tidbits:

* Matt Holliday played down his bruised knee after Wednesday’s game. Still, it can only help that the Cardinals are off on Thursday. See my story on it, with video, at this link.

* Colby Rasmus said he wasn’t really feeling much better on Wednesday than on Tuesday, but he was back in the lineup.

“It don’t seem like nothing that serious to me,” he said. “I’ve played through worse.”

* TLR also said that Ryan Ludwick had a bit of an issue on Tuesday night, dealing with some cramping in his legs. But he said Ludwick checked out fine upon arriving on Wednesday, so there was no hesitation to play him.

* Couldn’t fit this in anywhere on Tuesday night, but John Smoltz said something interesting after the game that night.

“I’ve been told I’m going to start the rest of the year,” he said.

This isn’t exactly earth-shattering, as most of you could probably have figured it out. But TLR has yet to commit so firmly to it, so it was fairly noteworthy.

* During the scribes’ morning chat with the skipper today, we got some more idea of what the callups will look like, once they take place. It sounds like David Freese will not be coming up, as the Cardinals are having a hard enough time getting the guys they have into games at third base. On the other hand, Tyler Greene sounds like he probably will be getting a call.

Beyond that, of course, they expect to call up a third catcher (presumably Matt Pagnozzi) and a left-handed reliever (presumably Royce Ring).

* One more thing off of Tuesday night’s game: speaking of the play where he was visibly annoyed at Brendan Ryan’s baserunning, TLR let Ryan off the hook. He said that at first, he had thought Ryan had gone without the sign from the dugout. But instead, he explained that what happened was a miscommunication between himself and Dave McKay, and Ryan was doing what McKay had indicated he should do.

Today’s playlist comes straight from my iPod. The following sequence came up on shuffle, in this exact order. It was a fun drive to the park this morning.

Mike Doughty, “Sunken-Eyed Girl”
Nine Inch Nails, “1,000,000″
Public Enemy, “Welcome to the Terrordome”
Madonna, “Borderline”
White Rabbits, “Leave It at the Door”

And now, I’m off to catch my flight home.

-M.

Tuesday tidbits: Rasmus, Ludwick, Holliday, Lohse, Smoltz

By Matthew Leach
MLB.com

To folks reading this on Facebook: if you like this, please come visit my blog at Yourenotagolfer.mlblogs.com, as well as checking out StLCardinals.com. And of course for more Cards stuff, follow me on Twitter, where my handle is MatthewHLeach.

On with the tidbits from Dodger Stadium, where of course it’s another perfect night. There are very, very few better settings for baseball than this place. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend making a trip sometime.

* Colby Rasmus has significant swelling in his tonsils and generally isn’t feeling good. That’s why he’s not in the lineup tonight. It’s unclear exactly what his condition is, or how long he’ll be out, but he would have been in there if he were well.

“I started to feel it a little bit yesterday, and the night we got off the plane when we got here,” Rasmus said. “I felt all right yesterday, but today it’s worse. My tonsils are huge right now.”

Ryan Ludwick also has some kind of bug, but to a lesser degree. He’s hoarse and not in tip-top shape, but playable.

The combination means that Matt Holliday is in the lineup. Holliday, who fouled a ball off his toe last night, said he’s feeling fine today. Still, with Billingsley on the mound, TLR had intended to play both Rasmus and Rick Ankiel in the outfield tonight. Instead, Rasmus sits and both right-handed hitters play.

* Kyle Lohse threw a bullpen today and remains on track for a Friday start. He said he lost feel for his pitches in his last start, but declined to attribute it solely to any lingering forearm issues.

* ESPN.com reported tonight that John Smoltz is “strongly leaning” toward signing with the Cardinals once he clears release waivers.

Today’s playlist is all L.A.-related:
Guns N’ Roses, “Rocket Queen”
Motley Crue, “Home Sweet Home”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Taste the Pain”
Rage Against the Machine, “Know Your Enemy”
Metallica, “The Four Horsemen” (they were formed in L.A.)

-M.

Tuesday lineup; tidbits to follow

Matt Holliday is in the starting lineup tonight, as he expected he would be.

Lineup vs RHP Chad Billingsley:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Ludwick RF
6. Ankiel CF
7. Greene 3B
8. LaRue C
9. Boggs P

All makes sense, only real point of intrigue is Rasmus sitting for a second straight night. Will ask the manager about that. Greene is 7-for-12 against Billingsley.

-M.

Saturday tidbits: Ryan, K.Greene, Pujols, Holliday

* Brendan Ryan said today that his sore left ankle has made a great deal of improvement. He hopes to play tomorrow, but that looks very unlikely. Tuesday in New York is definitely not out of the question, though.

“I want to be out there,” Ryan said. “I want to help the team. So if I can help with defense or whatever, I want to be out there. With Carp going today, I would have liked to be behind him, but that’s not going to happen. … But there is that off day after [tomorrow], so they might just bang me regardless. That off day wouldn’t hurt. But we’ll see. It’s either going to be tomorrow or it’s going to be Tuesday. And it’s likely going to be out of my hands.”

* Khalil Greene was activated from the disabled list today, with Mitchell Boggs optioned to Memphis. That doesn’t mean Boggs is out of favor, or anything of the kind. The Cardinals just don’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 11.

As for Greene, he’s not in the starting lineup, and it sounds like he figures in more as a bench player than anything.

Said TLR: “We can definitely use him as a pinch-hitter. I think we’ll look for a start someplace.”

* Several people mentioned last night that on the umpire-interference call, the only contact between Rodriguez and Gary Darling came on Rodriguez’s follow-through. La Russa said that Darling acknowledged that, but told him that even so, it still counts as interference.

* TLR when asked today about Pujols’ health: “He’s got his aches and pains, but he’s feeling good enough. he’s felt like this and gotten a bunch of base hits.”

* Matt Holliday, like Rick Ankiel, has a blog with MLBlogs. It was updated today. Check it out at MattHolliday.MLBlogs.com.

Today’s playlist:
Bob Mould, “Life and Times”
Jason Isbell, “Good”
Son Volt, “The Picture”
Matthew Sweet, “Sick of Myself”
My Morning Jacket, “Off the Record”

-M.

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