The Thanksgiving holiday week brought little news regarding the St. Louis Cardinals, as the Hot Stove season continues. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty was honored as the Cardinals’ annual Minor League Player of the Year. Piscotty made his debut with the big league club on July 21 and was an impact player for the Cardinals in the second half of the season. In 63 major league games, he slashed .305/.359/.494. Prior to his call up, Piscotty played 87 games with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, where he slashed .272/.366/.475 with 11 home runs and 44 RBI.
The upcoming week brings the deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration eligible players. Seven Cardinal players await the decision, which will be announced on or before December 2. These seven players are Trevor Rosenthal, Brandon Moss, Tony Cruz, Seth Maness, Matt Adams, Steve Cishek and Peter Bourjos. Those players who are tendered contracts will have their 2016 salaries determined by an arbitrator sometime in February, unless the player reaches an agreement with the Cardinals prior to that hearing. In the past, the Cardinals have avoided arbitration with their eligible players; the last player to go to arbitration with the Cardinals was Darren Oliver in 1999.
Outfielder Randal Grichuk is keeping busy this offseason. In an interview with St. Louis Baseball Weekly, Grichuk talked about getting involved with Operation Food Search, a St. Louis based charity that provides food to the poor throughout the St. Louis bi-state region. Anyone donating to Operation Food Search through Christmas will be entered into a drawing to receive prizes from Grichuk, including game used bats and Winter Warmup passes to meet with the outfielder.
Grichuk also revealed that he is healing nicely from his elbow ligament strain that put him on the disabled list in August. He has yet to begin throwing, however, but expects to begin doing so by late December.
It was announced this past week that the Cardinals have signed free agent pitcher Deck McGuire to a minor league contract. The 26-year-old has had previous minor league stints with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Oakland Athletics, and most recently the Los Angeles Dodgers. McGuire pitched in 30 games with the Dodgers’ Double-A and Triple-A clubs in 2015 and had a record of 9-6 with a 3.69 ERA.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Jon Heyman, baseball writer for CBSSports.com, reported on the Cardinals’ interest in free agent utility player Ben Zobrist this past week. The Cardinals’ interest in Zobrist had been previously reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney and noted here several weeks ago.
The Cardinals are showing major interest in free agent starting pitcher David Price, reports Fox’s Ken Rosenthal. Price, a former Cy Young Award winner, is a highly coveted prize in the free agent market and is expected to receive a substantial deal, both in dollars and in years. With the loss of starter Lance Lynn for the 2016 season from Tommy John surgery, the Cardinals are in the market for a starting pitcher to round out the rotation. In addition to the Cardinals, the Cubs, the Giants, the Dodgers and the Red Sox are also in the hunt for Price. Peter Gammons reports that a NL GM speculated the Red Sox will go as a high as $30-40 million more than any other team to snag the highly sought after pitcher.
The Cardinals signed free agent pitcher Deck McGuire to a minor league contract.
Outfielder Randal Grichuk (right elbow ligament strain) is expected to begin a throwing program sometime in late December.
The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is this coming Wednesday, Dec. 2. Seven Cardinals players are arbitration eligible and the decisions on whether to tender contracts to those players will be announced this week. It is expected that at least five of the seven players will be tendered contracts, with Steve Cishek and Peter Bourjos being the two players whose futures with the Cardinals are potentially most in doubt.
The Winter Meetings are scheduled to begin on Monday, December 7 in Nashville, TN. The Winter Meetings are a hub for Hot Stove activity, and the Cardinals will have representatives in attendance, including GM John Mozeliak and other front office personnel. Look for news on Cardinals trades and signings during that four-day event.
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