Cards counting on refocused Wong at second

Cards counting on refocused Wong at second

ST. LOUIS -- Following a season in which he lost his everyday job and found himself back, albeit briefly, in the Minors, Kolten Wong spent his offseason assessing what went wrong while also listening to the Cardinals repeatedly affirm their intentions to open the 2017 season with him as their starting second baseman.

That commitment isn't necessarily new. The Cardinals entered the last two seasons with Wong as their everyday second baseman, and, 10 months ago, awarded him a five-year extension. They're still waiting for the payoff, though, and are willing to take on the risk that Wong's response to another opportunity brings with it changed results.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals focused on building division winner

Mozeliak optimistic about club's chances of dethroning Cubs

Cardinals focused on building division winner

ST. LOUIS -- Perhaps it's fitting that the Cardinals and Cubs have dueling winter conventions this weekend, as both teams find themselves still having to talk about the other.

This local obsession with catching the Cubs has been a talking point since the Cardinals finished the 2016 season 17 1/2 games behind their National League Central rivals. It marked the first time since 2008 that the Cubs finished ahead of St. Louis in the standings.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards prep for Wacha, Martinez arb cases

Mutual option for '18 in Molina's deal also being discussed

Cards prep for Wacha, Martinez arb cases

ST. LOUIS -- After 17 straight years of avoiding arbitration hearings, the Cardinals are now preparing to engage in two after changing their organizational approach to negotiating with arbitration-eligible players.

General manager John Mozeliak revealed that the club has shifted to a file-and-trial philosophy, meaning that any players still unsigned when arbitration numbers are exchanged will have his case settled at an arbitration hearing. That unofficial deadline passed on Friday with Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez unable to reach agreements with the club.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Grichuk ready to rebound after knee issue

Grichuk ready to rebound after knee issue

ST. LOUIS -- Randal Grichuk, the Cardinals' projected starting left fielder, divulged on Sunday that he began the offseason by undergoing a scope to remove floating cartilage in his left knee. The club had not previously announced the surgery.

The procedure required six weeks of rehab, and it addressed discomfort that Grichuk said began one month into the 2016 season. He managed the issue with constant treatment, but Grichuk noted that it was a constant irritant.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards' Harris, Gonzales healthy, ready to compete

Cards' Harris, Gonzales healthy, ready to compete

ST. LOUIS -- Marco Gonzales and Mitch Harris, a pair of pitchers who had their 2016 seasons scrapped due to injury, are both positioned to be at or near the end of their rehab programs when the Cardinals open Spring Training next month.

Harris, who underwent a repair on his right elbow ligament in June, is closer to that endpoint and expects to be throwing uninhibited by the end of the month.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosenthal, Siegrist settle to avoid arbitration

Cardinals have not yet agreed to deals with Martinez, Wacha

Rosenthal, Siegrist settle to avoid arbitration

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals settled half of their four arbitration cases on Friday by reaching one-year deals with relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist. The organization did not disclose the financial terms of either contract, though MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reported that Rosenthal's contract is worth $6.4 million.

These agreements come one day after Matt Adams agreed to a $2.8 million deal for 2017, thus avoiding an arbitration hearing. This leaves the Cardinals with two arbitration-eligible players unsigned: Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wainwright ready to sing for Cardinals Care

Cards ace to host Big League Impact Sing Off and Karaoke Challenge on Monday

Wainwright ready to sing for Cardinals Care

ST. LOUIS -- Adam Wainwright will be trading the mound for the mic on Monday when he hosts his first Big League Impact Sing Off and Karaoke Challenge to raise money for Cardinals Care and other local charities.

The event, which is scheduled from 5-8 p.m. CT at the Dave and Buster's location in Maryland Heights, Mo., will feature Wainwright and other St. Louis-area singers competing on stage for a cash prize. Dave and Buster's will donate 50 percent of the ticket sales to Big League Impact, Wainwright's charitable foundation.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Corner shift part of Cardinals' infield evolution

With Carpenter taking over at 1B, club hopes to see improvement from Peralta at 3B

Corner shift part of Cardinals' infield evolution

ST. LOUIS -- This is the second of a six-part Around the Horn series that will take a position-by-position look at the Cardinals' projected starters and backup options heading into the 2017 season. After looking at the club's catching depth last week, we'll examine the corner infield options now.

Once fixtures together on the left side of the infield, Matt Carpenter and Jhonny Peralta are now projected to anchor the Cardinals from the corner spots. It's part of a shifting look to the Cardinals' infield, which, in the last 10 months, has unexpectedly evolved.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals, Adams agree to 1-year deal

Infielder expected to enter 2017 season as backup first baseman

Cardinals, Adams agree to 1-year deal

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals and Matt Adams avoided arbitration on Thursday by agreeing to a one-year contract.

According to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, the deal is worth $2.8 million. Adams made $1.65 million last season as a first-year, arbitration-eligible player.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Poor weather forces Cards to cancel Saturday's Winter Warm-Up

Sunday, Monday events expected to go on as planned, weather permitting

ST. LOUIS -- The start of the Cardinals' annual Winter Warm-Up event will be delayed one day, as the organization announced that it has canceled Saturday's schedule due to the forecast of severe winter weather.

This decision comes one day after the Cardinals decided to cancel their Friday and Saturday caravan stops. St. Louis and the surrounding region is bracing for an ice storm that is expected to snarl traffic and delay flights of players traveling in specifically for those events.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fowler, Rajai catch up at MLBPA charity event

2016 World Series foes ready to start new season with new clubs

Fowler, Rajai catch up at MLBPA charity event

LAS VEGAS -- The last time the two of them were in the same building, they were playing in and witnessing one of the great games of all time.

It was Game 7 of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Rajai Davis was the little Indians center fielder whose unlikely eighth-inning home run off Cubs super-closer Aroldis Chapman tied the game and stunned the sport. Dexter Fowler was the Chicago center fielder who walked away with a championship not too long after when the Cubs re-rallied to take their first title in 108 years.

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Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Oh reportedly to pitch for Korea in WBC '17

Oh reportedly to pitch for Korea in WBC '17

ST. LOUIS -- Initially left off Korea's World Baseball Classic roster because of a gambling controversy, Cardinals closer Seung Hwan Oh will now participate in the international tournament after Team Korea reconsidered his status.

His addition to the roster was first reported by Yonhap News Agency late Tuesday.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For Cards' outfield, first Fowler, now ... Fuld?

St. Louis could take low-risk chance on rehabbing free agent

For Cards' outfield, first Fowler, now ... Fuld?

ST. LOUIS -- Aside from the buzz generated by the recent Winter Classic at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals have been quiet since introducing Dexter Fowler at a Dec. 9 press conference.

To assume, however, that the organization's offseason work is done would be erroneous. General manager John Mozeliak and his staff remain engaged in the free-agent and trade landscapes, ready to pounce if the cost and fit is right. And with five weeks remaining until Spring Training opens, that's likely to happen.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced

Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.

The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs. 

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Inbox: Will Cards move to improve rotation?

Beat reporter Jenifer Langosch answers fans' questions

Inbox: Will Cards move to improve rotation?

ST. LOUIS -- With 41 days left before the Cardinals' first official workout of Spring Training, let's take a dive into another batch of your questions about the year ahead.

I am still concerned about starting pitching. Is Adam Wainwright on the tail end of his career? Does Lance Lynn make a full recovery? Will Alex Reyes progress? Will Michael Wacha show enough consistency? Is there any chance the Cards make a move in this area?
-- Jack T., Baton Rouge, La.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter, Reyes commit to play in Classic

St. Louis third baseman, prospect will compete for Team USA, DR

Carpenter, Reyes commit to play in Classic

ST. LOUIS -- Two more members of the Cardinals' organization are poised to play in the World Baseball Classic, as infielder Matt Carpenter (USA) and top prospect Alex Reyes (Dominican Republic) both recently accepted invitations to join as first-time Classic participants.

Carpenter said he was approached by the U.S. team about three weeks ago and accepted the offer without hesitation. Reyes similarly described his decision as "pretty easy" after Moises Alou, general manager for the Dominican team, reached out to him.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

What songs should Adam Wainwright sing during his karaoke contest?

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What songs should Adam Wainwright sing during his karaoke contest?

Adam Wainwright will be hosting and, more importantly, singing in his Big League Impact Sing Off and Karaoke Challenge on Jan. 16. Last Friday, he gave us a little preview of what's to come with a Taylor Swift shower routine. On Monday, he talked to MLB Network about the upcoming sing-off, but, unfortunately, he wouldn't reveal what songs he had planned. So, what do you think? What songs will he sing? What songs should he sing? Help us decide below.

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Blues goalie finds creative use for a batting cage

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Blues goalie finds creative use for a batting cage

Last we saw St. Louis Blues goalie Carter Hutton, he was preparing for the Winter Classic with a pretty awesome Cardinals-themed mask. A few days later, the Blues won the Classic, 4-1, over the rival Chicago Blackhawks. 

While most would be willing to shrug this off as mere coincidence, Hutton isn't so sure. Maybe it's nothing, or maybe he caught onto something with that brief moment of baseball-hockey synergy. Either way, he isn't willing to take any chances -- so, before the Blues took part in the One Nation Classic skills competition on Sunday, Hutton decided to take his practice to the batting cage.

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Hot Yadi: Molina still cornerstone at catcher

Hot Yadi: Molina still cornerstone at catcher

ST. LOUIS -- With pitchers and catchers scheduled to report to Spring Training in less than six weeks, it's not too early to begin dissecting the Cardinals' 2017 roster. This is the first of a six-part Around the Horn series that will take a position-by-position look at the team's projected starters and backup options heading into next season. Up first: Catchers. 

Perhaps it's fitting to start this series behind the plate, where, for the last dozen years, there has been one constant: Yadier Molina.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Will Cards pursue impact free-agent bats?

Langosch analyzes offseason's remaining unanswered questions

Will Cards pursue impact free-agent bats?

ST. LOUIS -- The Winter Classic is in the rearview mirror, as is 2016, but six weeks remain before pitchers and catchers officially report to the Cardinals' Spring Training facility.

The club's winter priorities were addressed early with free-agent signings in November (Brett Cecil) and December (Dexter Fowler). That doesn't mean, however, that the Cardinals' offseason work is done. With the Hot Stove season still simmering and other loose ends to tie, here are some questions still to be answered before those spring workouts begin next month:

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline poll: Execs vote Reyes game's best pitching prospect

In survey, Benintendi edges Moncada, Reyes runs away with top-hurler tag

Pipeline poll: Execs vote Reyes game's best pitching prospect

A year ago, MLBPipeline.com introduced the Pipeline Poll, where general managers and scouting executives were asked to choose the game's top prospects. In that edition, Corey Seager was the clear-cut winner as the overwhelming choice for top overall prospect, and that seemed to work out pretty well.

The 22-year-old was an All-Star, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, finished third in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting and set a slew of franchise records, including most homers, hits, doubles and total bases by a Dodgers rookie shortstop.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blues are St. Louis proud in Winter Classic

Busch Stadium is 5th MLB park to host NHL's outdoor event

Blues are St. Louis proud in Winter Classic

ST. LOUIS -- Three months before the Cardinals open the 2017 season with a primetime home game against the rival Cubs, Busch Stadium served as the epicenter for another St. Louis-Chicago showdown on Monday afternoon.

In a spectacle that brought together the city's two professional sports teams, the Cardinals lent their stadium to the Blues and Blackhawks for the National Hockey League's ninth Winter Classic. With 46,556 fans in the ballpark and an overflow crowd packed inside neighboring Ballpark Village, the Blues used a pair of third-period goals by Vladimir Tarasenko en route to a 4-1 victory.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Questions facing Cards in postseason pursuit

St. Louis must improve defense, production from young players

Questions facing Cards in postseason pursuit

ST. LOUIS -- The process of evaluating ways to improve for the following season began a bit earlier than usual for the Cardinals this fall. Instead of spending October prepping for playoff opponents, the 86-win Cardinals passed the time beginning their work for 2017.

General manager John Mozeliak didn't see a need for a dramatic shakeup, but a shift in priorities was immediately evident. He wanted this club to be anchored by its pitching and defense, and he sought to inject athleticism onto the roster. More than a quarter of the 40-man roster has already turned over.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Musial family sends Blues goalie Carter Hutton a gift

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Musial family sends Blues goalie Carter Hutton a gift

St. Louis Blues goalie Carter Hutton is wearing a very Cardinals-centric mask for the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on Monday. And, as any true tribute to the Cardinals franchise will have, it prominently features -- along with Ozzie Smith's backflip and the Cards' World Series championships -- Stan the Man.

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6 surprising Hall ballot one-and-done hitters

Edmonds, Delgado, Lofton among players who compare favorably to HOFers

6 surprising Hall ballot one-and-done hitters

This is Tim Raines' 10th and final year of eligibility on the Hall of Fame ballot, and the campaigning for Rock has been strong. But there will also be, inevitably, those among the candidates who never get that full run of chances.

Since 1979, in one form or another, the 5-percent rule has applied for potential Cooperstown inductees: receive at least five percent of the Baseball Writers Association of America's votes, stay on the ballot for another year; fall short of that mark, fall off future ballots. (The number of votes needed for election to the Hall is 75 percent.)

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David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heat '16! Swing into '17 with fastest-pitch HRs

Heat '16! Swing into '17 with fastest-pitch HRs

There's a reason high velocity is prized in pitchers. It's not easy to square up heat that approaches or reaches triple digits.

When an at-bat ended with a pitch of 99 mph or harder this season, batters hit .205 with a .285 slugging percentage, according to Statcast™. By comparison, they hit .301 and slugged .514 on fastballs between 88 and 90 mph.

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Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blues' Hutton unveils Cardinals-themed goalie mask

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Blues' Hutton unveils Cardinals-themed goalie mask

Busch Stadium has spent the past few days transforming itself into an ice rink to host the Winter Classic between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues on Monday. Even with the diamond gone, though, the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry will be kept very much alive.

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New arrivals, veteran farewells mark Cards' 2016

Rookie debuts and Fowler signing high points of Holliday's final season in St. Louis

New arrivals, veteran farewells mark Cards' 2016

ST. LOUIS -- The ending did not go as scripted, but the Cardinals' 2016 season nevertheless brought with it a bundle of memorable storylines from a team whose identity took on unexpected forms.

The 2016 Cardinals flexed unforeseen power but also flubbed too often in the field. The up-and-down year included struggles to win at home, historic pinch-hit production, a slew of injuries and a postseason push that fell just short of fruition. It seemed, in many ways, to also be a year of transition, with young players finding their place as core pieces and veterans finding new norms.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.