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St. Louis Cardinals: Lance Berkman and 3 Players Redbirds Shouldn’t Re-Sign

The St. Louis Cardinals are going to have a lot of personnel decisions facing them this offseason.

Some players are unfortunately going to have to be let go, as there won’t be enough money to go around.

From Lance Berkman to Tyler Greene, the Cardinals need to move on and let some other players get a chance to succeed.

Let’s take a look at three players the Cardinals shouldn’t re-sign for the 2013 season.


Lance Berkman, 1B

I love Lance Berkman, but there just won’t be room for an aging, injury-prone first baseman on the roster after the 2012 season.

With the emergence of Allen Craig this season, Berkman has even admitted that Craig deserves a bulk of the playing time at first.

And, with Matt Carpenter on the roster as a more-than-capable backup, there doesn’t seem to be much need for Berkman in the future.

Since Berkman can’t seem to stay healthy, hopefully he’ll retire after this season to avoid any contract drama this offseason.


Jake Westbrook, SP

Westbrook has had a very good year for the Cardinals, compiling an 11-8 record with a 3.79 ERA.

However, the Cardinals will face several tough decisions when it comes to starting pitchers in the near future, with Westbrook and Kyle Lohse set to have their contracts expire this offseason and Adam Wainwright’s and Chris Carpenter’s contracts expiring after the 2013 season.

There simply won’t be enough room to keep all four of these starters, especially with Jaime Garcia signed long-term and the emergence of Lance Lynn and Joe Kelly.

Westbrook is probably the odd man out in the rotation, so letting him go this offseason would be a good move.


Tyler Greene, 2B/SS 

The Cardinals signed Greene to a one-year, $483,000 contract before the 2012 season.

He hasn’t even come close to living up to that meager contract and hasn’t lived up to expectations at all during his time in St. Louis.

If any player has ever needed a change of scenery, it’s Greene. He needs to get away from St. Louis and get on with his career somewhere else.

Maybe he can be a productive player in the big leagues; I don’t know. But one thing is for sure: He’ll never be a productive player in St. Louis.

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MLB Trade Deadline 2012: Power Ranking the 5 Worst Trades from July

Every year, Major League Baseball teams make trades and improve themselves at the trade deadline.

The 2012 MLB Trade Deadline was no different, with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox and others putting themselves in great positions for playoff runs.

But the opposite is always true as well, with teams making questionable decisions that hurt their playoff chances.

Let’s take a look at five teams that made some very questionable moves at this year’s trade deadline.

(Check out my power ranking of the five best July trades, too.)

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St. Louis Cardinals: 3 American League Relievers Redbirds Should Target

The St. Louis Cardinals have a major weakness in their bullpen.

If this team is going to overcome this weakness and make another playoff run, they need to make a trade similar to the one they made at the trade deadline in 2011 that landed them Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel.

Once they shore up that area of their team, they can focus on catching the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates at the top of the National League Central.

If they can’t land an arm or two for the late innings and can’t start winning close games on a more consistent basis, this team will struggle down the stretch.

So, let’s take a look at three American League relievers who could help the Cardinals repeat their 2011 World Series magic.


Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals

The Royals haven’t used Crow very much this season. He’s appeared in only 39 games so far in 2012.

Despite having a respectable 12 holds, he has a disappointing 4.04 ERA. In 2011, he posted an outstanding 2.76 ERA in 57 appearances.

He has a great fastball and a couple of decent breaking balls to keep hitters off-balance.

The chance to move to a winning team like the Cardinals might be enough to allow Crow to develop into an elite relief pitcher.


Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s

Doolittle is a converted catcher, much like current Cardinals closer Jason Motte.

Motte has worked out pretty well for the Redbirds, so adding another converted catcher might be a good move.

Doolittle is a lefty, so he can help Rzepczynski and take some of the pressure off him.

He’s only pitched in 11 Major League games, but he’s compiled an impressive 2.45 ERA and has struck out 24 batters in just 14.2 innings.


Charlie Furbush, Seattle Mariners

Furbush has pitched 36.2 innings for the last-place Mariners so far this season. In those innings, he’s struck out 46 batters and has a 2.21 ERA.

He’s only been in the majors for two years now, so he has plenty of time to become an even better pitcher.

He hasn’t allowed a home run to a lefty all season, and lefties are hitting only .161 against the southpaw hurler.

He struggled as a starter last season, but seems to be settling into his role as a reliever quite nicely. He could be a great addition to the Cardinals bullpen and should still have plenty of gas left in his tank.

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St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Greene and 3 Players Who Need to Go

The St. Louis Cardinals have one of the most talented rosters in all of Major League Baseball.

Stars like Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran fill the batting order and pitchers like Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter are the anchors of the rotation.

But, that doesn’t mean this team is perfect. Like all teams, there are some holes on the St. Louis roster.

With that being said, let’s take a look at three players currently on the roster that need to be cut, traded or sent to the minors.


Tyler Greene 

When Mike Matheny took over for Tony La Russa as manager of the Cardinals, it was thought that Greene would start performing better since he was out of La Russa’s doghouse.

That’s ridiculous.

Greene was never in La Russa’s doghouse. If he was, he’d have been traded or cut several times.

La Russa, and now Matheny, have given Greene, a career .221 hitter whose only asset is his speed, way too many chances.

He should either be cut or traded before this year’s trade deadline. A change of scenery might be just what he needs.


Mitchell Boggs

Much like Greene, Boggs has been given more chances to succeed than he should have been.

The problem with Boggs is that he has a tantalizing fastball. It’s definitely a MLB-quality pitch.

But, he relies on it too much. Big-league hitters will hit a 98 mph fastball if they see it enough.

He’s had plenty of time to develop a secondary pitch, but he hasn’t done it. It’s time for the Cardinals to cut ties with him and move on.


Fernando Salas

The problem with Salas is that he doesn’t have MLB-caliber pitches.

His fastball isn’t that fast and his secondary pitches are so-so at best.

And, with his recent command problems, he’s become highly ineffective as a pitcher.

I’m not as ready to give up on Salas as I am with the first two players on this list, but a stint in the minors might do him so good.

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St. Louis Cardinals: 3 Keys to Series Against Pittsburgh Pirates

The St. Louis Cardinals have played 21 of their 22 games this season against NL Central opponents en route to a division-leading 14-8 record.

That trend won’t change this week, with the Cardinals taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates have struggled their way to a 10-12 record this season, good for fourth in the NL Central.

How do the Cardinals keep their hot start going? Let’s take a look at three keys to this week’s series.


Get Adam Wainwright Back on Track

Wainwright has struggled mightily this season, compiling an 0-3 record and a 7.32 ERA. He’s also allowed five home runs, something that he doesn’t usually do.

The Cardinals ace is clearly not at 100 percent after Tommy John surgery in 2011, with his velocity suffering the most.

If he can get back on track with a quality start against Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, it’ll be a good sign for the Redbirds.


Keep Pirates Hitters in Their Slump

As a team, the Pirates are only hitting .228. That’s the fourth-worst team batting average in all of Major League Baseball.

Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, despite hitting .302, has yet to hit a home run and has only driven in seven runs.

Pedro Alvarez (who struggled for much of last year) leads the team with five home runs, but has only nine RBI and is batting a measly .203.

If the Cardinals pitchers can keep both Alvarez and McCutchen from taking them deep, the Redbirds will be in a great position to sweep the series.


Find a New Pirate Killer 

Albert Pujols absolutely destroyed the Pirates during his time in St. Louis. It seemed like he hit at least one home run in every Cardinals-Pirates series.

Someone else needs to step into that role and start dominating Pirates pitchers on a regular basis.

With the way he’s been playing lately, that guy might just be third baseman David Freese.

Freese is hitting .333 with five home runs and a team-leading 20 RBI this season. If he can keep that up against Pittsburgh, the Cardinals will be just fine.

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Fantasy Baseball 2012: 5 Players Who Will Struggle to Match 2011 Numbers

Several players, like Matt Kemp and Jacoby Ellsbury, had huge years in 2011, leading many fantasy teams to league championships.

But, don’t count on these guys to put up similar numbers in 2012.

Some players simply aren’t capable of matching last season’s production again.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t draft them. It just means you shouldn’t draft them as high as they are being projected.

Let’s take a look at five of these players now.

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MLB Free Agents 2012: Roy Oswalt, Hiroki Kuroda and 5 Best Remaining Pitchers

Mark Buehrle is going to the Miami Marlins, C.J. Wilson is heading to the Los Angeles Angels, and closer Heath Bell is also going to the Marlins.

So, the free-agent market for pitchers this offseason has certainly dwindled significantly, but there’s still some talent available.

Guys like Roy Oswalt and Hiroki Kuroda can be top-of-the-rotation guys.

Then, there’s guys like Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson who can be a solid No. 3 or 4 on playoff contenders.

So, with that being said, let’s take a look at the top five remaining free-agent pitchers.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Rankings: David Wright and The Top 10 Third Basemen

David Wright will set the tone for third basemen during the 2011 Fantasy Baseball season, but he’ll have some competition for the top spot from Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman.

The biggest story to watch is Jose Bautista. Can he repeat his Major League leading 54 home runs from 2010?

If he shows that last year wasn’t a fluke, he’ll vault into the ranks of the other “elite” third basemen.

Kevin Youkilis is also an interesting option. He played first base for most of last season, but will move to third base to make room for Adrian Gonzalez. That adds some much-needed depth to the third base position in fantasy baseball.

Though it’s a pretty thin position aside from the top five, there are still some decent options to be had in later rounds.

Here are the top 10 third basemen for the 2011 Fantasy Baseball season.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Rankings: Troy Tulowitzki and The Top 10 Shortstops

Shortstop is the shallowest position in fantasy baseball this season, so plan accordingly.

If you can’t grab a guy like Hanley Ramirez or Troy Tulowitzki, wait until a late round to grab some of the other guys on this top 10 list.

Guys like Stephen Drew and Alexei Ramirez will be decent, but they aren’t worth taking in the first seven or eight rounds of your draft.

Jump on the great ones early, and if you can’t get one of them, patience will be the key to success. Let your opponents panic and draft shortstops way too early while you sit back and grab some key pitchers or outfielders that they miss.

Here are the top 10 shortstops for the 2011 fantasy baseball season.

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Fantasy Baseball 2011 Rankings: Albert Pujols and The Top 10 First Basemen

Albert Pujols is the best player in the game of baseball, so it’s no surprise he headlines the list of first basemen in 2011.

But, first base is such a deep position that, even in a 12-team league, if you aren’t getting strong production from that slot, there’s something wrong with you.

I mean, Justin Morneau and Billy Butler barely made the top 10 and Kendry Morales didn’t make the cut at all.

Yet, if you can get any of those three guys, you’ll be in good shape for your season.

Of course, if you can get Pujols, by all means, do it! But there won’t be much of a drop off with any of the other nine guys on this list.

Here are the top 10 first basemen for the 2011 fantasy baseball season.

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