After signing a two-year, $26
million deal with full no-trade protection, new center fielder Carlos Beltran
said there had been four other challengers for his services.
But he made it clear he
thought the Cardinals represented the best shot for him to go his first World
"It was a team I had a
lot of interest in this offseason," said Beltran, who opened last year with the
New York Mets before being traded in July to the San Francisco Giants.
"Right now I'm just
looking forward to being with a team that can go to the playoffs and the World
Beltran, 34, has reached
the postseason only twice during a 14-year career. Both times the Cardinals
eliminated his team, the 2004 Houston Astros and 2006 Mets, en route to a World
A career .282 hitter,
Beltran has been even better on October's stage, batting .366 with 11 home runs
and 19 RBI in only 82 at-bats.
Right knee surgery two
years ago helped force Beltran to be exclusively a right fielder last year. But
Beltran said he would play center field if asked.
"Right now I feel good,"
Beltran said. "Last year I played in the outfield and the games I missed, it
wasn't because of the knee. It was because of an injury to my
New manager Mike Matheny,
asked how he might deploy Beltran, either as a right fielder with Allen Craig
recovering from knee surgery, or to challenge Jon Jay in center, said: "It's
going to be a juggling act to see how (Beltran) progresses through the
"Spring is really a good
test. That tells you a lot about how their bodies are going to be able to hold
up through the strain of a season. In a perfect world, I'd love to see him
healthy. And when he's healthy, we have options."
Retired manager Tony La
Russa quickly accepted an invitation from commissioner Bud Selig to manage the
National League in the All-Star Game on July 10 in Kansas City. La Russa said
he was looking forward to reuniting with some of his former players and coaches
from the 2011 world champions and hoped that Cardinal pitching coach Dave
Duncan, who is on leave of absence to care for his ailing wife, would be able to
serve as an All-Star coach. La Russa said he expects to be employed in some
off-field capacity in baseball very soon.
CF Jon Jay, who was a
teammate of Milwaukee's Ryan Braun at the
Miami, is rooting for the
reigning National League Most Valuable Player to have his 50-suspension
overturned. Braun tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and Jay
said: "I'm a big Ryan Braun supporter. It's an unfortunate situation right now.
I hope everything gets cleared up."
Among non-roster players
invited to spring training is INF Eugenio Velez, who was with Los Angeles last season.
Velez was hitless in 37 at-bats with the Dodgers last season but one had one run
batted in and one stolen base. Velez hit .262 and .267 with San Francisco as a
part-time starter in 2008-09.
RHPs Tyrell Jenkins and
Jordan Swagerty, who were taken in the 2010 draft, will be invited to big-league
spring training, joining 2009 first-round pick Shelby Miller, who is on a fast
track toward perhaps joining the Cardinals late this season. Jenkins, 19, hasn't
pitched above rookie ball but former Arizona State star Swagerty moved from Low-A to
Class AA last season.
The Cardinals had some
interest in free-agent RHP Roy Oswalt. A question is how he would fit with RHPs
Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook and LHP Jaime Garcia.
BY THE NUMBERS: 45-36 -
Cardinals' regular-season record both at home and on the road last season. In
the postseason, they were 6-4 and 5-4, respectively.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I have
two daughters who are single, and I wish he'd marry both of
- Former manager Tony La
Russa's endorsement of new manager Mike Matheny, who already is
The Cardinals are coming off a
World Series title, but general manager John Mozeliak realizes the big
turnaround in the season came in late July and early August when the club
changed 20 percent of its roster with five additions. Now that first baseman
Albert Pujols is gone, the Cardinals are entering a new era, and they replaced
some of Pujols' offense by signing OF Carlos Beltran.
OF Carlos Beltran (free agent from
Giants), LHP J.C. Romero (free agent from Rockies).
1B Albert Pujols (free agent,
signed with Angels), RHP Octavio Dotel (free agent, signed with Tigers), C
Gerald Laird (free agent, signed with Tigers), INF Nick Punto (free agent,
signed with Red Sox), INF Ryan Theriot (free agent, signed with
RHP Edwin Jackson, OF
Corey Patterson, LHP Arthur Rhodes.
OF Allen Craig (knee
surgery) is out until May.
RHP Adam Wainwright is in
to begin throwing in earnest. He expects to be ready for spring