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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals Winter Warm-Up autograph prices up selectively

Every year at this time, I receive the autograph details for the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up. The fan event is always held over Martin Luther King weekend, this time from Saturday, January 14 through Monday, January 16.

In my annual just-for-fun endeavor, I look at rising and falling autograph prices from year to year. These are set by someone within the Cardinals hierarchy, and offer at least some estimation of the expected supply and demand for the autographs.

In addition, the list of those signing for free includes over 40 names of former, current and aspiring Cardinals. Also included for the second consecutive year are a trio of former Negro Leagues players, DeMorris Smith, Jesse Rogers and Sam Taylor.

As always, the proceeds go to charity, Cardinals Care, so the needy are the true winners. Autograph tickets will go on sale online at cardinals.com at 9 A.M. on Wednesday, December 21. There is a limit of three tickets per player except for Lance Berkman and David Freese at one each.

Those two vaulted up to the top prices, replacing Albert Pujols. Also at the top of the pecking order are Matt Holliday at $75, down from last year and Yadier Molina, returned to his $75 from two years ago.

Top dogs 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Lance Berkman $100 $40 The new top dog – at least in autograph pricing.
David Freese $75 $5 free A 15-fold jump. What did he do last year, again?
Matt Holliday $75 $100 $100 I wonder if he can be motivated by signature prices?
Yadier Molina $75 $90 $75 $100 $90 One-year price increase rollback. How about a new contract?

The signatures of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are considered equals as Tony La Russa’s price is up following his retirement. His replacement, Mike Matheny, sees an expected increase, but still seems a good bargain. Allen Craig and Jason Motte move right on up.

Middle of the pack 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Adam Wainwright $50 $45 $50 $60 $80 A big test for his right elbow coming up.
Chris Carpenter $50 $40 $50 $60 $75 He was a real bargain last year. Won’t sign for Nyjer.
Tony La Russa $40 $30 $30 $30 $30 Retiring increases his price? It’ll be worse in five years, then.
Mike Matheny $30 $10 $10 New responsibilities are more than three times greater.
Allen Craig $30 $5 free No word on whether or not Torty can hold a Sharpie.
Rafael Furcal $30 Let’s keep him healthy at all costs. Bubble wrap is cheap.
Jaime Garcia $25 $15 free Financial security and a price bump.
Jason Motte $25 $5 $5 $10 Not officially named most expensive reliever autograph.
Jon Jay $20 $10 Put him on the left end of the table, please.

Shelby Miller and Matt Adams make their first for-fee appearances, with the prospects being shown as much love as several long-time starting pitchers.

Bargains 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Skip Schumaker $15 $10 $25 $30 $5 No confirmation he will also be the utility signer for others.
Lance Lynn $15 For $15, he had better make the team!
Daniel Descalso $10 free free Least expensive projected starting position player by far.
Shelby Miller $10 free Same price as Westbrook and double Lohse? Hmmm.
Jake Westbrook $10 $10 Heard his slot is up for trade, but requires $5 up front.
Marc Rzepczynski $10 Fewer tickets sold due to longer signing time per customer.
Fernando Salas $10 Hoping he won’t be bumped from the program.
Kyle McClellan $5 $5 $5 $10 Consistency is good.
Kyle Lohse $5 $5 $15 $25 So what? He still has his $41 million and we don’t.
Mitchell Boggs $5 $5 free Only signing if not sent to Memphis between now and then.
Matt Adams $5 May as well start taking it all in – except the buffet.
Tony Cruz $5 Quiet guy seems on verge of a major league job.
Tyler Greene $5 free free It’s now or never…
J.C. Romero $5 Laps the rest of the pen in sheer veteranness.

The ranks of the Cardinals Hall of Famers are halved, down two this year, with  Bruce Sutter and Lou Brock apparently not signing. Bob Gibson is again staying away and those hoping for an Ozzie Smith return look to be disappointed.

Hall of Famers 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Red Schoendienst $75 $75 $75 $75 $60 Still one of the greatest.
Whitey Herzog $75 $60 $60 $40 $50 Hall election and retired number.

The roster of past Cardinals heroes signing for a small fee is down quite a bit, though Mike Shannon is a nice addition.

Ex-Cards players 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Mike Shannon $10 Working and signing both.
Jack Clark $5 $5 $5 $10 Should have talked to Albert about not leaving.
Ray Lankford $5 $10 $10 Many have fond memories of the ’90s.

The article would not be complete without noting those former Cardinals who signed in past years, but are not a part of the 2012 event – for a couple of different reasons, no doubt.

Not signing 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Bruce Sutter $75 $100 Engine #42 parked this year.
Lou Brock $75 $100 Announced as appearing, but apparently not signing.
Bob Gibson $125 3nd consecutive year away for the Hall of Famer.
Vince Coleman $25 $10 Maybe he was swiping peoples’ Sharpies?
Brian Jordan $15 Appears on Hall of Fame ballot for first time.
Fernando Vina $10 Came and went quickly.
Steve Kline $5 Was in rare form at TLR roast last year. Very rare.
The departed 2011 2010 2009 2008 Commentary
Albert Pujols $175 $175 $175 $175 Just imagine the lines if Dee Dee would sign…
Colby Rasmus $30 $25 $30 $30 Luhnow autographs will not be passed out instead.
Ryan Theriot $10 Rumor that he kept dropping pen last year untrue.
Ryan Franklin $5 $10 $10 $10 The prices predicted the end was coming.
Trever Miller $5 $5 $5 It was past Miller Time.
Brian Tallet $5 We hardly knew ye, but knew ye too well.

Finally, here are those who will be signing for free. There are some nice names, so don’t think you have to drop big money to snare good autographs. For example, signatures of past stars like John Tudor, the Benes brothers and Wally Moon plus future Cardinals like Zack Cox can be had at no charge.

Matt Carpenter Andy Benes Jim Donohue Tom Lawless Kerry Robinson Sam Taylor
Zack Cox Glenn Brummer Chris Duncan John Mabry Jesse Rogers John Tudor
Brandon Dickson Danny Cox Cal Eldred T.J. Mathews Ray Sadecki Lee Thomas
Mark Hamilton Mike Crudale Neil Fiala Ed Mickelson Ted Savage Mike Tyson
Pete Kozma Boots Day Phil Gagliano Wally Moon Jason Simontacchi Bill Virdon
Shane Robinson Ken Dayley Rex Hudler Tom Pagnozzi DeMorris Smith Ray Washburn
Alan Benes Chuck Diering Mike Jorgensen Ken Reitz Bob Sykes

The 16th Annual Winter Warm-Up, a three-day event, will take place on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. weekend; Saturday, Sunday and Monday, January 14-16, 2012. Three-day event passes are $40 for adults and $10 for children 5-15 years of age, same prices as last year.

For full WWU information, including signing schedules and ticket ordering, follow this link.

January 5 update: Three late additions have been made to the autograph group – Lou Brock and Carlos Beltran at $75 each and Brian Jordan at $5.

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63 Responses to “Cardinals Winter Warm-Up autograph prices up selectively”

  1. crdswmn says:

    I have two of the above autographs already (for free) Thanks RC. :)

    I wouldn’t mind getting Carp’s and Waino’s, but I am not going to WWU.

    There is a certain person on that list for whom I wouldn’t walk out my front door to get his autograph. ;)

  2. blingboy says:

    I was hoping Big Mac would be signing.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    There are few bargains among free agents, with the possible exception of JC Romero because he got released 3 times during just one season.
    Unfortunately being honored as Executive of the year does not guarantee repeating as Executive of the new year (2012).
    Carlos Beltran is represented by Albert’s agent and will not provide a salary discount. There are rumors Mo asked about Fielder, who will want a mega deal, and Coco Crisp. Can we replace our 13th rounder from 1999 with our 7th round pick from the same year?
    Not easy, being Executive of the Year.

  4. Kansasbirdman says:

    Braun has an excuse, defense(?) to the positive test. A prescription?

    • Kansasbirdman says:

      Even if he is taking a prescription for a “private medical issue” is MLB going to reverse a suspension if the reason for the reversal is never allowed to be made public? What I am saying is, baseball fans or the public will think there is something fishy going on when the NL MVP is allowed to play after a positive test and the prescription or medical issue is kept in the dark.

      I am not saying that a player doesnt deserve privacy when dealing with a medical issue. But I just don’t see another way out.

      • Bw52 says:

        KBB-lets see now………………Ryan Braun MVP………………..Brewer…………………….Selig……….Former owner of Brewers……………………private medical issue………………………..get ready to smell the stink because Braun will get out of this …………………………………………I smell Buds behind the scenes meddling…………………………………….Can baseball have the current MVP suspended………………not happening.Its not about baseball…………………..its about public perception and fan trust……………………………..I think i just had a Westy moment or a 60`s flashback.

        • crdswmn says:

          Would taking prescription meds for a medical issue be an out for Braun, if he did not disclose it when the test was done? My understanding is that the policy is zero tolerance, so if Braun ingested it voluntarily ( i.e. it wasn’t given to him without his knowledge) even if it was a legal prescription, he would still be in violation. I may be totally wrong on this, and I would appreciate a correction if someone would provide it.

  5. Kansasbirdman says:

    So, Rangers win posting/negotiating bid with the Nippon Ham Fighters for the sum of $51.7 million.

    They let Wilson go to the division rivals for a (4 year?) 77 million contract?

    I know Darvish is supposed to have a sub 2 ERA, but how does that make sense? Did they let Wilson go because they knew they were going to focus on Darvish?

    Also, Question, are the bids blind? Or can the teams keep upping the bids?

    51 million can buy a lot of talent on a yearly payroll, do they have to pay that in a lump sum?

    Is it in Yen or $? :-)

  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    Okay, if the last two posts didn’t get the discussion going…

    let me just say Hah!

    http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/Poor-poor-Albert-La-Russa-says-Pujols-8216-i;_ylt=AiyI5IoROmlePOyY1y30OxkHU84F?urn=mlb-wp28681

    I will say it a million times, I hope AP breaks every regular season record, but never again sees the playoffs let alone the World Series.

  7. Kansasbirdman says:

    Are the Birds in discussion with Crisp and Beltran? Or do ya’ll think it will be one or the other? I mean we have Jay and (hopefully a fully healthy Craig) back. I guess they could platoon? But we also have Schu that can fill-in in the outfield.

  8. Bw52 says:

    Wouldn`t mind seeing Coco Crisp return to Stlouis.He adds some speed and defense and switch hitting ability plus he`s younger than Beltran.I just think Crisp would be a better signing.Thanks my opinion.Should cost less than Beltran.

    • crdswmn says:

      See blog post below. Negatory on Crisp.

    • blingboy says:

      Saw this reader comment on a fangraphs article.

      “Crisp would move Jay to RF to start the season and to a 4th OF spot when Craig comes back. Jay should get an okay amount of playing time in that role.

      Beltran in center would be ugly, and Beltran in right would block Craig.

      Crisp is a better fit and will come cheaper than Beltran.”

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/who-will-play-center-in-st-louis/

    • blingboy says:

      It looks like Beltran can’t do much defensively since the knee injury, even though he’s bounced back at the plate.

      Sounds like Berkman.

      But the point is Beltran can do nothing but play RF and pinch hit. So, other than the first month, it would have to be a platoon in RF. Does that make us better than just having Craig out there? Yes, because Carlos is a good switch hitter, and we’d be better with either him or Craig on the bench every day than without. Is it worth the money, though. Or should the money be spent elsewhere? 2B, pitching?

      The other possibility is looking at Beltran as more of a longer term thing, and Berkman as a this year is it thing. Then its a one year platoon with Craig moving to first after that.

      But hell, Lance could outlast Carlos for all we know, so that sucks.

      And besides, there is Adams coming along to replace Lance eventually, hopefully, with Craig staying in RF.

      And consider the chance that Furcal/Freese/Berkman/Craig all go all year without DL time. Not. And our whole rotation holds together all year. Not.

      Maybe it would be best to go with what we have and retain the flexibility and money to address whatever emerges as the greatest need.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      The idea is that we need a solid RH hitting bench OF. Crisp is a switch hitter but has not been particularly strong against lefties.

    • blingboy says:

      Nice article. I like the analysis comparing the three choices.

      The thing I’m not really clear on about the whole ‘need a replacement bat’ thing is this: would we be talking about it at all if Craig were healthy to start the season?

      Or would we be willing to see if Craig in there everyday provided enough bat to compensate for Albert’s production? And if so, then we are really talking about making up for it at the beginning and perhaps insuring ourselves if Craig has continuing problems. Beltran would expensive overkill for that purpose IMO.

      • crdswmn says:

        Well, for me, I am just not as confident in Craig’s offense (yet) as others are. I don’t see him coming close to Pujols’ production even without the down time from injury. Couple that with Berkman not likely to match his 2011 numbers (imo) and Holliday being a toss up depending on how he responds to not batting behind Pujols anymore, and I see a net loss of offense from the 2011 team that is significant. Even the return of Waino is not a sure thing to balance out this net loss of offense. My pessimism may be unfounded, but it is the way I feel.

        • blingboy says:

          Persuasive. I’d add that Yadi likely won’t have another career offensive year.

          On the other side, which part of Albert’s production would you think Craig unlikely to approach? His OPS was the same, RBI rate higher, HR rate lower.

  9. blingboy says:

    What if Beltran were signed to play RF long term and Craig was traded for an equally promising 2B?

  10. blingboy says:

    Rhetorical question: Which would be the better leadoff hitter?

    A) .400 OBP, no speed
    B) .300 OBP, very good speed

  11. Brian Walton says:

    Three late autograph additions have been appended onto the main article above.

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