The Cardinals have already made some headlines this winter, with a few offseason accolades, some wise and unwise moves and, of course, the Great Albert Pujols Contract Extension Saga. The year ahead will certainly bring more happy and not-so-happy headlines. As part of the United Cardinal Bloggers’ January project, we present five headlines that we expect (not necessarily want) to happen during the coming year.
- Carpenter, Freese land on DL — again
May 1 — The Cardinals placed third baseman David Freese and starting pitcher Chris Carpenter on the 15-day disabled list after neither player responded to treatment for nagging injuries. It was the second trip to the DL this season for each player, Freese having begun the year on the shelf and Carpenter missing time due to a "tired arm." The Cardinal righty faced a career-high 969 batters in 2010, but he denied the possibility that his problems this year are related. The Cardinals moved quickly to sign Jason Marquis to take Carpenter’s spot in the rotation.
- Berkman cuffs homer, then Phillips, as Cardinals beat up on Reds
July 4 — Lance Berkman wanted to help his new team win in any way possible. On Monday against the rival Reds, he came to the Cardinals’ aid twice. He broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a mammoth blast. Then, when benches emptied in the eighth, he bailed out teammate Yadier Molina, whom Brandon Phillips had accosted, by restraining the Reds’ second baseman with a big bear hug.
- Cardinals clinch NL Central
Sept. 25 — Jake Westbrook shut down the Cubs at Busch Stadium and Colby Rasmus hit two home runs as the Cardinals clinched their second NL Central Division title in three years. The Milwaukee Brewers won their game against the Marlins, but the Cardinals needed only one more win to secure the championship. It’s possible, though, that the two Central teams will meet again in the playoffs, as the Brewers currently lead the Braves in the wild-card standings.
- M’s Ryan wins first Gold Glove
Nov. 10 — With Brendan Ryan playing Wii in his family room, his Mariner teammate Felix Hernandez summed up the news of his shortstop’s first Gold Glove: "Hey, I love that guy. He keeps our clubhouse loose and our defense tight, and he makes me a better pitcher." Leading the majors in Ultimate Zone Rating, Dewan +/- and just about every other defensive metric, Ryan picked up his first Rawlings Gold Glove, a year after the St. Louis Cardinals traded him to Seattle for a song. Chris Carpenter and Tony La Russa could not be reached for comment.
- Pujols set to test free agency
Dec. 1 — After failing to reach an agreement before spring training and playing the season without a contract extension, Albert Pujols has perhaps played his final game as a St. Louis Cardinal. Talks between Pujols and the Cardinals deteriorated last night as the two sides made a last-ditch effort to keep the star with the only team he has ever known. But with the Cardinals going to the playoffs for the seventh time in his 11 years in St. Louis, Pujols, who once claimed that it was "not about the money … It’s about winning and that’s it," now appears ready to sell his services to the highest bidder, ending his career as the most iconic Cardinal since Stan Musial.