Cardinals counting on Heyward to fill outfield hole

Acquisition joins Holliday, Jay as starters; Bourjos, Grichuk provide depth

Cardinals counting on Heyward to fill outfield hole

This is the fourth of a seven-part Around the Horn series that will take a position-by-position look at the Cardinals' projected starters and backup options heading into next season. Previous installments examined the catchers, corner infielders and middle infielders. Up next: outfielders.

ST LOUIS -- When the book closed on the 2014 season, the Cardinals' outfield plans appeared fairly finalized. Matt Holliday and Jon Jay would return in their starting roles, while Oscar Taveras and Randal Grichuk would provide coverage in right field. Unexpected tragedy, however, soon shattered the well-intentioned plans, leaving the Cardinals to quickly revise their offseason to-do list while also grieving over the loss of 21-year-old Taveras.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Cardinals are still the team to beat in NL Central

Even with the Cubs' many moves, St. Louis primed for another division title

Cardinals are still the team to beat in NL Central

The Cubs grabbed the offseason headlines in the National League Central.

Don't, however, overlook the defending division-champion Cardinals.

More

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards prospects make strides with offseason work

Tuivailala refines pitches in AFL; Scruggs adapts to outfield in winter ball

Cards prospects make strides with offseason work

ST. LOUIS -- Experience gleaned from September callup experiences led both Xavier Scruggs and Sam Tuivailala to extend their 2014 seasons with an eye on improving their respective chances for a return to the Majors this year.

After closing the regular season with the Cardinals, Tuivailala reported almost immediately to the Arizona Fall League, where he made 12 more appearances. There, he worked extensively with Cardinals Minor League pitching instructor Jason Simontacchi to refine his curveball and changeup.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny's book seeks to affect change in youth sports

Letter to parents in 2008 gave way to Cardinals manager's 200-page 'manifesto'

Matheny's book seeks to affect change in youth sports

ST. LOUIS -- Taking the concepts he presented to parents of youth baseball players back in 2008, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has written a 200-page book that he hopes can encourage change at the youth sports level.

The book, co-written by longtime author Jerry B. Jenkins, is titled "The Matheny Manifesto," taking the name given to the five-page letter Matheny presented to a group of parents after they asked him to manage their team. In that letter, he outlined his desire to coach "a team of orphans," pointing out that, in his opinion, the biggest problem within the youth sports community is the parents.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Out of options, Kozma, Freeman could stick in St. Louis

Cards can't send infielder, reliever to Minors without risking losing them on waivers

Out of options, Kozma, Freeman could stick in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- For the first time in several seasons, the Cardinals will open Spring Training with the added roster complexity of having players out of Minor League options. In this case, there will be two, Sam Freeman and Pete Kozma, neither of whom will enter Spring Training with assurances of a place on the Major League roster.

Their being without options, however, could help their cases.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Busch Stadium set to host U.S. Women's soccer

National Team to take on New Zealand as primer for World Cup

Busch Stadium set to host U.S. Women's soccer

Busch Stadium will play host to the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team in its first domestic game of 2015, when the American club takes on the New Zealand National Soccer Team on April 4.

The game, to be broadcast at 2:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1, will serve a warmup for the U.S. team's run for the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada in June.

More

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals eye consistency from double-play duo

Getting strong years from both short, second has been tough, but Peralta, Wong set to change that

Cardinals eye consistency from double-play duo

ST. LOUIS -- This is the third installment of a seven-part Around the Horn series that will take a position-by-position look at the Cardinals' projected starters and backup options heading into next season. Previous installments examined the catchers and corner infielders. Up next: middle infielders.

Over the last two seasons, the Cardinals have had unbalanced production from their two middle infield spots. In 2013, Matt Carpenter emerged as the best offensive second baseman in the league, while the Cardinals got anemic results at short. That production disparity flipped in 2014, when Jhonny Peralta thrived in his first year as St. Louis' shortstop and second baseman Kolten Wong endured his share of growing pains at a new level.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mueller comes home for newest coaching opportunity

Missouri native excited to work with Mabry as Cardinals' assistant hitting coach

Mueller comes home for newest coaching opportunity

ST. LOUIS -- Though a first-time participant at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up event over the weekend, the setting was plenty familiar for Bill Mueller. For this was less about introductions and more about a homecoming for the newest member of manager Mike Matheny's staff.

The Maryland Heights, Mo., native was hired in November to be the team's next assistant hitting coach, a position that opened when David Bell shifted to a bench coach role. Mueller will work alongside hitting coach, John Mabry, whose career overlapped much of Mueller's 11 years as a Major League player.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eckstein helps raise money for kidney transplant center

Eckstein helps raise money for kidney transplant center

Former Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein turned 40 on Tuesday, and he spent the day celebrating the gift of life.

Eckstein comes from a family riddled with kidney failure. His father, two brothers and two sisters all have had kidney transplants. His mother, who is in Stage 5 kidney failure, might be the next up for a kidney transplant.

More

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Grieving Martinez ready to compete for Cardinals

Righty will wear No. 18 in honor of his late teammate Taveras

Grieving Martinez ready to compete for Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Returning to St. Louis for the first time since his close friend and teammate Oscar Taveras was killed in a car accident in October, Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez presented himself ready to compete for a rotation spot but also still healing from his loss.

Martinez used the Spanish word "luchar" -- best translated as "to fight" or "to struggle" -- to describe his emotions over the last two-plus months, and spoke of his intention to dedicate "this year and every year to Oscar."

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rosenthal seeks efficiency in second year closing for Cards

Rosenthal seeks efficiency in second year closing for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Trevor Rosenthal may be donning a new number (44) next season, but for the first time in some time, he won't also be taking on a new role.

Rosenthal returns as the club's closer a year after saving 45 games, third most in a single season in franchise history. Yet there remains room for substantial improvement, given the dramatics that Rosenthal often allowed to occur under his ninth-inning watch. Of the 16 National League relievers with a dozen or more saves last season, only Jenrry Mejia had a higher WHIP than the 1.41 one Rosenthal posted.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wong wants to build on breakout postseason

Cards second baseman has seen highlights of his October heroics

Wong wants to build on breakout postseason

ST. LOUIS -- If a proud papa has anything to do with it, the high of Kolten Wong's postseason won't soon fade on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Reminiscing on the impactful October that Wong had last season, the second baseman admitted on Monday that he has seen highlights of his playoff success repeatedly this winter. He's viewing the clips, in fact, without even searching for replays of his seven extra-base hits (including three home runs, one a walk-off). All he has to do is find his father, Kaha.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wainwright, Wacha emphasize progress following injuries

Cardinals starters on track to return healthy for Spring Training

Wainwright, Wacha emphasize progress following injuries

ST. LOUIS -- Should the Cardinals refrain from adding to their rotation before the start of the season, it would serve as affirmation of their confidence in healthy seasons ahead for Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha. On Sunday, both pitchers were bullish about the forecast of staying on the field.

Describing his elbow as "fixed now," Wainwright was able to recover from late October surgery quickly enough to begin an offseason throwing program on the same date he did a year ago. He took the mound last week for the first time, and he expects to have no restrictions when Spring Training starts.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards reveal plans to honor Taveras in 2015

Club plays tribute video for late outfielder at Winter Warm-Up

Cards reveal plans to honor Taveras in 2015

ST. LOUIS -- With this being the 18th day of the new year, the Cardinals dedicated time during the second day of their three-day Winter Warm-Up event to remember outfielder Oscar Taveras and announce how the organization plans to honor him this season.

Shortly before taking the stage to talk about Taveras and introduce a tribute video, Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. disclosed that a black "OT" patch will be added to the sleeve of the team's 2015 jerseys. An "OT" decal, similar to the ones hung in the bullpen to honor Darryl Kile and Josh Hancock, will be displayed somewhere near the Busch Stadium field.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jupiter crew works the grounds year-round

Roger Dean Stadium plays host to much more than Spring Training for Cardinals, Marlins

Jupiter crew works the grounds year-round

JUPITER, Fla. -- Pitchers and catchers may be reporting to Spring Training on Feb. 19, but the grounds crew at the busiest complex in the Grapefruit League has been aggressively grooming the fields for months.

Roger Dean Stadium, the spring home of the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, is the only facility in Florida to house two big league clubs. Hosting a pair of teams doubles the challenge to maintain the facility, which hosts 250 total events a year.

More

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals seek improved offense after dip in 2014

Matheny, players expect home run numbers to rise following season in NL basement

Cardinals seek improved offense after dip in 2014

ST. LOUIS -- While the Cardinals may not have a plethora of Spring Training battles to decide, manager Mike Matheny's tinkering with the lineup is certain to be under a microscope given the number of potentially moving pieces within it.

Though he has already scribbled down several batting order possibilities, Matheny insists that he'll wait through Spring Training before settling on season-starting spots in the lineup. He should have great flexibility in that process, too.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Siegrist 'probably 100 percent' on road back to Cards

Left-handed reliever dealt with nagging arm injuries during 2014 season

Siegrist 'probably 100 percent' on road back to Cards

ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Siegrist, whose 2014 season was marred by arm injuries, is progressing through an accelerated offseason throwing program that has already had him throwing long toss, playing catch on flat ground and has his first mound session scheduled for the coming week.

It's all positive progress for Siegrist, who ended last season not healthy enough to be considered for a postseason roster spot. It was a disappointing finish for a pitcher who opened the year projected to be the Cardinals' lefty setup reliever.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heyward willing to listen to potential extension offers

Outfielder happy with 'good situation' in St. Louis, focused on settling in with club

Heyward willing to listen to potential extension offers

ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals have not yet broached the subject of an extension with newcomer Jason Heyward, the outfielder said on Saturday that he would not be opposed to in-season negotiations if the organization chooses to pursue a longer deal.

Needing to fortify the right field position this winter, the Cardinals pursued Heyward early this offseason and then gave up two young pitchers to acquire him despite no assurance that Heyward's stay would last longer than a year. He is set to become a free agent for the first time next winter, at which time he will likely garner widespread interest as a defensively elite outfielder entering the open market at the age of 26.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards 'not actively shopping' for front-line starter

GM Mozeliak satisfied with depth, may not go after free agent Scherzer

Cards 'not actively shopping' for front-line starter

ST. LOUIS -- Though reports continue to speculate of the Cardinals' interest in acquiring a front-line starting pitcher before Spring Training, general manager John Mozeliak stated at Saturday's Winter Warm-Up that the organization is "not actively shopping" in that portion of the market.

That would suggest limited interest in meeting the asking price of free-agent starter Max Scherzer, the St. Louis native who remains unsigned after reportedly entering the winter seeking a contract worth around $200 million. Recent reports have also linked the Cardinals to starters Cole Hamels and David Price, both of whom would be available via trade if St. Louis was willing to part with a package of talent.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bourjos cleared to start swinging before Spring Training

Cardinals outfielder deemed healthy after October surgery on right hip

Bourjos cleared to start swinging before Spring Training

ST. LOUIS -- Peter Bourjos may have traveled to St. Louis primarily to participate in the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up activities this weekend, but he'll head home to Arizona having gained a little bit of something for himself, too.

During his stopover in St. Louis, Bourjos had a follow-up visit with team orthopedist Dr. David King, who performed right hip surgery on Bourjos in late October to address an impingement that had nagged Bourjos for several years. At this most recent visit, Bourjos received the green light to resume swinging.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Belisle, Reynolds excited to be part of Cards' 'great era'

Free-agent acquisitions expect to be key components of championship run

Belisle, Reynolds excited to be part of Cards' 'great era'

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' two prominent free-agent signees received their first public welcomes to St. Louis at Saturday's Winter Warm-Up. Yet, it was the anticipation of such a setting that lured them here in the first place.

Infielder Mark Reynolds and reliever Matt Belisle spoke glowingly about the opportunity to join the organization and how each was willing to sacrifice some salary and/or security to be a member of the Cardinals. As Belisle remarked: "It's a great era to be a Cardinal."

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heyward meets, greets Cards fans at Ballpark Village

Matheny agrees to give jersey number to outfielder acquired in trade with Atlanta

Heyward meets, greets Cards fans at Ballpark Village

ST. LOUIS -- After two months of debating where he'd fit in the lineup and whether he'll be with the team for more than a year, Cardinals fans enjoyed their first opportunity to welcome new outfielder Jason Heyward to town.

Heyward joined teammate Kolten Wong, manager Mike Matheny, team president Bill DeWitt III and principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. at a Hot Stove Live! event that drew an estimated 1,000 fans into Ballpark Village on Friday night. The program built up to Heyward's introduction, which marked his first public appearance in St. Louis since the Cardinals acquired him in a November swap with the Braves.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Candidates for Cardinals Hall of Fame unveiled at Winter Warm-Up

ST. LOUIS -- Though fan voting won't commence until next month, the Cards used Saturday's Winter Warm-Up platform to announce the eight modern-era candidates eligible for induction into the Cardinals Hall of Fame this summer.

Six of those candidates -- Ted Simmons, Bob Forsch, Mark McGwire, Joe Torre, Matt Morris and Keith Hernandez -- return to the ballot for a second year. The two new additions are Steve Carlton and Edgar Renteria, eligible for the first time now that he has been retired from baseball for at least three years. The other criteria for inclusion on this ballot was spending at least three seasons in a Cardinals uniform.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay, Cards exchange arbitration figures

Unless parties agree, hearing will be in February

Jay, Cards exchange arbitration figures

ST. LOUIS -- Thus far unable to come to an agreement on Jon Jay's 2015 salary, the Cardinals and Jay got a better understanding of one another's expectations by exchanging salary figures on Friday. Jay, arbitration eligible for the second time, filed for $5 million, while the Cardinals submitted a $4.1 million figure.

The two sides still have time to settle on a salary independent of an arbitration panel. Those hearings take place over the first three weeks of February, though both sides would prefer to avoid needing one. Oftentimes, the parties will meet at the filing midpoint, which in this case would be $4.55 million.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn agrees to 3-year contract with Cardinals

Deal covers St. Louis pitcher's remaining arbitration-eligible years

Lynn agrees to 3-year contract with Cardinals

ST. LOUIS -- Seeking to avoid an arbitration hearing and get cost certainty for both parties in future years, right-hander Lance Lynn and the Cardinals agreed to a three-year contract on Thursday. The value of the contract is $22 million, with appearance incentives included that could push the final value slightly higher.

The length of the deal buys out all three of Lynn's remaining arbitration-eligible seasons, but it does not cover any of his pending free-agent years. That means Lynn, 27, is projected to hit the open market after the 2017 season.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals avoid arbitration with Cruz, Bourjos

Jay is lone unsigned player on club's roster

Cardinals avoid arbitration with Cruz, Bourjos

ST. LOUIS -- In addition to announcing a three-year extension for starting pitcher Lance Lynn, the Cardinals finalized one-year contracts for backup catcher Tony Cruz and center fielder Peter Bourjos on Thursday. All that activity leaves Jon Jay as the only unsigned arbitration-eligible player on the Cardinals' docket.

Bourjos' deal is worth $1.65 million, which reflects a salary bump of $450,000 from the deal he signed last year as a first-time arbitration-eligible player. Cruz will earn $775,000.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter, Adams rocks for Cards at the corners

Club picked up righty-hitting Reynolds to complement slugging first baseman

Carpenter, Adams rocks for Cards at the corners

ST. LOUIS -- This is the second of a seven-part Around the Horn series that will take a position-by-position look at the Cardinals' projected starters and backup options heading into next season. Last week, we took a look at the catching position. Up next: corner infielders.

A year after moving Matt Carpenter to third base and offering Matt Adams his first chance as an everyday Major League player, the Cardinals prepare to enter 2015 with the two returning as lineup linchpins and corner-infield anchors.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: What's the latest on Garcia's status for '15?

Beat reporter Jenifer Langosch fields questions from Cardinals fans

Inbox: What's the latest on Garcia's status for '15?

ST. LOUIS -- Before answering a fresh batch of reader questions, remember that to have your submission considered for future inclusion, you must provide your first name, last initial and hometown along with it.

What is the news on Jaime Garcia? Is it wait and see come spring as to what his future holds?
-- Lonnie L., Ozark, Mo.

More

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.