Name: Junior Spivey
DOB: January 28, 1975
College: Cowley County (Kan) Community College
Became A Cardinal: A free agent, Spivey signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract on December 23, 2005 for $1,200,000. Spivey can earn an additional $350,000 in performance bonuses.
2005 Season Highlights: Spivey struggled in 2005, hitting only .232 for the Brewers and Nationals before a wrist injury in July effectively ended his season. He holds a career .270 batting average and solid .354 on-base percentage in six seasons, and he becomes the frontrunner to win the starting second baseman job for the Cardinals in 2006.
Spivey doesn't have much pop in his bat. He is a better fastball hitter than breaking ball hitter. He has problems with right-handed pitching. He is at best when he tries to take the ball back up the middle and lets his natural strength drive the ball to centerfield. He will swing at the high fastball and on occasion, hit the ball out of the park.
Spivey had a freak accident last season and ended up with a broken forearm. He didn't get a single at bat in the final month of last season. He'll need every bit of spring training to get ready to start the season.
Spivey's defense is his strong suit. He has excellent range with an amazing ability to track down popups from the right field line to medium deep center field. He isn't going to remind you Ozzie Smith. Spivey isn't the smoothest guy around the bag, but he finds a way to get the job done. He'll hang in at the bag to turn the double play. He has a strong arm that can be erratic at times.
Spivey never developed into the base stealing threat that some projected because of his natural athleticism. He is still a plus-runner who will take the extra base if needed.
The Cardinals have Hall of Famer Lou Brock in camp as a special instructor. Some time should be set aside for Brock to work with Spivey.
The Cardinals cannot afford to put an All-Star at every position, so they went out and got an All-Star from 2002.
Junior Spivey is considered by most as the front runner for the starting job at second base. He has trouble staying healthy, breaking down when forced to play on a semi-regular basis. Don't be surprised to see him on the DL. To put things in perspective, last season his 259 at bats were only seven more (ABs) than former Cardinal outfielder J.D. Drew had with the Dodgers. (When am I going to stop picking on JD Drew?)
The Cardinals have a lot more confidence in Spivey than I do. To his credit, he showed up early at spring training and we could see him return to the form that led him to the All-Star game in 2002.
While Spivey is a gifted athlete, the number of games he has played each year has steadily decreased over the last three seasons.
The reserve infielders on the bench should get some significant playing time, if Spivey wins the starting job at second base out of spring training.
As a fan, I continue to hope that Cardinals General Manager Walt Jocketty knows a lot more about this than I do. J