The Kahoki

Cardinals 2017 Off-season Review

Joe Spotanski, Staff Reporter/ Web Designer

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As we draw closer to the 2018-2019 MLB season, we must bid farewell to the 2017 offseason. For most teams it was a relatively slow offseason with little to no moves for some organizations. There was one team that stood out from the rest of the pack. The St. Louis Cardinals, compared to years in the past, had a busy offseason full of coaching additions, free agent departures/ signings, and trades.

 

Kicking off the offseason the Cardinals had a slew of coaching moves.

 

Subtractions

  • Pitching Coach: Derek Lilliquist

He was brought in to the Cardinals in 2011. During their 2011 World Series run he replaced, at the time, Dave Duncan as pitching coach. Lilliquist would later replace Duncan permanently in 2012. Lilliquist was hired by the Washington Nationals soon after his departure from St. Louis.

 

Additions

  • Pitching Coach: Mike Maddux

Former Washington Nationals pitching coach who had a two year tenure with them.

  • Third Base Coach: Jose Oquendo

The former Cardinal player and third base coach will return from his two year recovery from knee surgery. His return should show in the Cardinals infield defense and baserunning next season.

  • Assistant Coach: Willie McGee

Former Cardinal outfielder from 1982-1990 was hired before the end of 2017. He will be brought in to help with the Red Birds fielding and baserunning struggles.

 

A big reshape of the Card’s this offseason was with the departures/ acquisitions with free agency and through trading with other teams.

 

One process that caused many players to walk away from the Red Birds was their contracts. There was a disagreement between the player and the organization about how much the player was worth.

 

Subtractions

  • Relief Pitcher: Trevor Rosenthal

Rosenthal was the Card’s closer in 2015, when he set the single season save number for a Red Birds. After that season he was riddled with injuries and inconsistency when he pitched. He would eventually lose his closing job to Seung Hwan Oh in 2016.

  • Relief Pitcher: Seung Hwan Oh

Oh is the all-time save leader for the Korean Baseball Organization. He signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in 2016. His first season was lights out, boasting a 1.92 ERA with 19 saves. Like Rosenthal he slumped for the 2017 season, with a 4.10 ERA at the end of the year.

Oh signed a one year $2.75 million contract with the Texas Rangers.

  • Relief Pitcher: Juan Nicasio

Towards the last legs of the season the Cardinals acquired Juan Nicasio from the Phillies after he had two appearances with Philadelphia. Nicasio was brought in to compete for the closing role, which he earned at the end of the season. He possessed a 1.64 ERA with four saves in 11 innings while in St. Louis.

Nicasio signed a two year $17 million contract with the Seattle Mariners.

  • Relief Pitcher: Zach Duke

Duke, 34, has played in Cardinal red for the last two seasons with an excellent 2.81 ERA, 1-2 record, and 41.2 innings in 55 games.

  • Starting Pitcher: Lance Lynn

Lynn tried to bounce back after sitting out for the entire 2016 season due to Tommy John Surgery. The main concern was his velocity. Lynn is a fastball pitcher that depended on his location and speed to get outs. After he lost a chunk of his velocity he began to focus more on his location and plate battles. His walk count slightly increased, strikeouts decreased, but his walks/ hits per inning went down (WHIP). He made batters popup and ground out more than he previously would. He threw for 181.1 innings with a 11-8 record and a 3.43 ERA.

 

Additions

  • Starting Pitcher: Miles Mikolas

Mikolas last played with the Texas Rangers where he finished that season with a staggering 6.44 ERA with 57.1 innings pitched in the 2014 season. He was released and then played for the third season with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan where he put up a 2.18 ERA with a 33-13 record in that stretch.

Mikolas signed a two year $15.5 million contract with the team.

  • Relief Pitcher: Luke Gregerson

Gregerson has played the last three seasons with the Houston Astros with declining success. His WHIP and ERA have slowly risen along with his age at 33. Not long after his signing he was announced to be the opening day closer.

Gregerson signed a two year $11 million contract with the team.

  • Pitcher: Bud Norris

Norris played last season in Los Angeles with the Angels. He finished the year with a 4.21 ERA, but don’t let that number fool you. Kicking off the season with the team he had a masterful 41 game stretch; in which he threw for a 2.23 ERA with an opposing hitters only batting .193 against him. It was around late July when Norris fell of when his ERA in his last 19 games was 7.89.

Norris is pending a one year contract with the team.

 

The second cause of player movement was with trading. A total of four trades happened with the Cardinals this offseason.

 

Toronto: J.B. Woodman – St. Louis: Aledmys Diaz

A one for one trade with the Blue Jays that sent former All-star shortstop Aledmys Diaz for outfield prospect J.B. Woodman.

Miami: Marcell Ozuna – St. Louis: Daniel Castano, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen, and Sandy Alcantara

The Cards received All-star Marcell Ozuna for prospects Castano, Sierra, Gallen, and top prospect Alcantara. Ozuna is coming off his best career season where he crushed 37 home runs with 124 runs batted in while finishing with a .312 batting average with one season left on his major league contract. The most recognizable names that the Cards gave up for were Sierra and Alcantara. Sierra was a wildcard A ball player that was called up midseason, he would light up the league with a .317 BA in 22 games. The speedster outfielding prospect rose quickly in the Cards farm system after he was sent back down, but he made his mark on the team and showed his potential as a major league player. Then there was Alcantara. Alcantara was ranked the number nine prospect in the Cardinals system going into the 2017 season. The power pitching 22-year-old stud pitched a mear 8.1 innings with a 4.34 ERA, but he showed his electric fastball that impressed clubs around the league.

Oakland: Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock – St. Louis: Stephen Piscotty

Piscotty had a sluggish 2017 campaign with varied success. He will be sent to Oakland, where his mother is receiving treatment for her ALS. In return the Cardinals will receive shortstop Yairo Munoz, number 7 prospect in the A’s system, and second baseman Max Schrock, number 20 in their system.

Toronto: Dominic Leone and Conner Green – St. Louis: Randal Grichuk

The trade that capped off the Card’s busy offseason was with Toronto again. The Red Birds sent outfielder Randal Grichuk to for relief pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Green. Last season Dominic Leone was dominant for the Jays, pitching for a 2.56 ERA with 81 punch outs in 70.1 innings. The other player, Green, is a 22-year-old pitching prospect who was ranked 10th in the Blue Jays system in 2017.

 

The Cardinals had one of the busiest offseasons in the league this season, with 12 departing players and 8 additions. With all of the managerial moves to strengthen their fundamentals and teamwork status and adding top players into the mix, the Cardinals look much stronger going into this season. They have the potential to be a threat in the NL Central. Only time will tell until we see if they can regain their playoff form or they falter like their last two seasons.

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