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

Cardinals where are they now? – LaPoint and Ryde

How in the world did Dave LaPoint and Ryde Rodriguez end up together?

Recently, I posted a series of photos and a recap of the St. Louis Cardinals Legends Camp, held in Jupiter, Fla. two weeks ago. One of the 21 former Cardinals who came back together for fun with each other and with the fans who paid for the opportunity to take the field with them was LaPoint.

The now-52-year-old pitched for the Cards from 1981-1984 and again for a half-season in 1987. LaPoint first arrived from Milwaukee in the Ted Simmons deal and departed for San Francisco as part of the cost of acquiring Jack Clark, both mega-trades engineered by Whitey Herzog.

In between, at the age of 22, the left-hander threw 8 1/3 innings in the 1982 World Series, allowing just three runs. Overall, LaPoint went 35-23 with a 3.90 ERA in his five years with St. Louis and pitched a dozen seasons in the majors with nine different clubs.

Back in 2006-2007, Rodriguez, a mysterious Cuban, passed through Argentina, Nicaragua and then the Dominican Republic before signing with the Cardinals. His bonus of $460,000 was the highest paid by the organization for an international signing to that date and is still the fifth-largest in team history (link to subscriber-only article with details).

At 6-foot-3 and 232 pounds, the outfielder has the chiseled look of an athlete, but could not put it together on the diamond. Rodriguez advanced only as far as A-Advanced Palm Beach before his release last May. He played in 259 games over four seasons as a Cardinal with a line of .276/.317/.374/.691. His long awaited power never developed.

Last July, Rodriguez signed a contract and joined LaPoint, manager of the Rockland (County NY) Boulders of the independent CanAm League. The right-handed hitter, now 24 years of age, batted .267 in 56 games and slugged .393. Rodriguez is on the club’s 2012 roster as well.

LaPoint, a native of Glens Falls, NY, is entering his 11th season coaching or managing in independent ball. From 2002-2005, he served the pitching coach for the Long Island Ducks, and then went on to manage the Bridgeport Bluefish, both in the Atlantic League. LaPoint returned to Long Island in 2007 as manager and also served in that role in 2009-2010. In between, he was the club’s pitching coach in 2008.

Last season, LaPoint became the Boulders’ first manager, leading them to a 40-52 seventh-place finish in their inaugural campaign. The club recently announced he is coming back for 2012.

Here is hoping both LaPoint and Rodriguez find what they are looking for while in a place far from St. Louis and Cuba.

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37 Responses to “Cardinals where are they now? – LaPoint and Ryde”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Despite a magnificent physique, Ryde was not the Cuban to land $30MM in bonus from the notriously tight-fisted Uncle Walter. No this was flamethrowing Cuban southpaw Arnoldis Chapman. Hunky Ryde only landed a measly under half million. No wonder Ryde felt humiliated and wilted from embarassment at high A.

  2. CariocaCardinal says:

    Jumbo, I don’t think I’ve ever thought of a man as having a magnificent physique. You are obviously much more open minded than I am to these kind of things.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Brian labels Ryde “mysterious” and “chiseled”. Ryde sounds like a cross between the Marlboro Man and Desi Arnez.
      When signed, Ryde was compared to Felix Jose, a switch-hitter who needed a shoe-horn to squeeze into his tight uniform.

  3. blingboy says:

    Yadi has come out with the “Its out of my hands” line.

  4. CariocaCardinal says:

    You would think he would understand the negative conotations of that line. Either he is naive or he is signalling he doesn’t want to be a Cardinal.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      But next year is out of his hands, so it is fair to say this.

      For now, Yadi needs to focus on 2012 and getting us to the playoffs again. This is within hs control, so he wants to get after it. Go Yadi Go!

    • blingboy says:

      I think it means its all about the money, and who offers the most is out of his hands.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        “Whatever they like to do is how it is. They let Albert go. It’s business for the team, too. It’s out of my hands.”

        “Yadi’s a very important part of this organization and has been for a number of years. At some point I would hope we could work something out.”

        Until something is close, that’s between the team and my agent. When something is close, he’ll call me.”

        The fact that Molina/Agent is willing to use exactly the same approach as AP/Lozano isn’t without significance………………………….. “When something is close”………..means that Molina has a target number………… it means the BD/Mo are selecting a strategy based on that number……….

        Bottom line………..this is a message to the Angels……..and for BD it means “since I’m going to have to pay him that much if we keep him……… why not make him perform for it”……like Albert……..its not going to be a bigger number mid season or end of the season………. so why not see if he hurts himself……like Albert……….. the time sensitivity for Molina is this…….. and this is why he’s here early………. if he chokes, sliding back down to 260 with lots pf DP’s and Stolen bases against……….its going to cost him…if AP struggles in LA…… and Iinetta produces……he will never play with his big brother again………… he is pushing a trade up front…… weight loss and all …… or more simply..he is push his position of advantage………. it will be interesting to see how Mo/BD play it…I think I know…….and it ain’t about baseball………………

        Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/molina-moves-on-without-pujols/article_0273a1fe-4432-52a8-ba5f-758e466be914.html#ixzz1m01qE9BK

        • T8Ball says:

          I see the WB dictating how this all plays out. Nevermind that the WB doesn’t exist anymore. DIY might be an outside influence at the last minute. YADI CRASHERS!

          All in jest, Westcoast ;)

        • T8Ball says:

          The gameplan is to win now, just like last year. The whole band is back, save for the legendary 6 string player. But his backups are more than capable. They’ll be on tour this summer, playing to some large crowds. Get your roadie t-shirts while you can.

          Yadi isn’t going anywhere…..this season.

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            I don’t know if you’ve every talked to these guys 8……………. they are very aware……within a very limited framework……….. their agents though aren’t so restricted/dumb………….. They can count “real” high….
            Molina is acting out a plan……..given to him……… its same old same old on one hand………but they are serious in LA about balancing that Rotation…… thats big business………. same thing is true here……everyone knows there is going to be a big change without Dave…..everyone knows that Cards are going to go allot cheaper beginning next year……and beyond…….Lohse and Westbrooke gone…if Chris lasts.. he is going to be hurting by late 2013………… the kids are on there way……….I say they sweat Molina as I have suggested……….. the question is…….do they stop at some point and pay him? or do they risk their rotation if he starts to pout ………. Molina is no stoic AP……..and Tony isn’t there……………….If I were BD…I would off him for baseball reasons…….change is on the way…..why not start over………………. bottom line ………. Molina brought the family back early…….he is in shape to run better……… he is giving Mo more time to………what??? Why bother talking to the press using obvious …… and well worn clichés ………… does he think that BD fears that???????? He has a different view of recent events I’d guess ……….. why go that way…….unless that where you want to go…….???

            From a baseball stand point…….. I just trade catchers with Anaheim……..maybe get a prospect with Chris I……………….. this teams going to be good……..one of its only weakness is holding up the illusion that all was good with TLR..Dave..AP………. Angels would give him an extension right away.

            • CariocaCardinal says:

              “everyone knows that Cards are going to go allot cheaper beginning next year”

              You’ve been saying that for 3 years now. I think they might end up down slightly in payroll next year but not below $100 million. And it will jump back up the next year with re-signing Waino.

              • JumboShrimp says:

                “it ain’t about baseball” does not make a lot of sense. Baseball is a business. Accordingly money is a consideration for both players and teams. Baseball and money are intertwined and inseparable.
                Fortunately for Cards fans, we have the reigning Executive of the Year who can figure this stuff out.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Excellent article by Joe Strauss. Yadier says all the right things. He is ready for 2012. He is open to staying in St Louis for years to come, but its a business, for both teams and players, so a lot is out of his hands about next year.
          That all sounds reasonable. Yadier’s job this season is to play a hard 162 and see where that leads. This is inside his control, so he is going to do this.
          Meanwhile Mo says he hopes a deal can be reached. Everybody is saying the right things. So we will just have to play ball and see what unfolds.

  5. blingboy says:

    I thought this worthy of a raised eyebrow. From Jeff Gordon’s article tody.

    “Jocketty signed Ludwick to a modest one-year, $2.5 million deal. The Cards, meanwhile, took a two-year, $26 million plunge on Carlos Beltran.

    It’ll be interesting to compare and contrast the outcome of these signings.”

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        I dont understand your comment.

        • Brian Walton says:

          IMO, there is no relevant comparison other than they are both major league outfielders.

          • CariocaCardinal says:

            Unless you think we had no chance to sign Ludwick for near that price I think it is very relevant. That is what being a GM is all about – making the right choices. Those choices are not made in a vacuum and witthout other alternatives. As a RH power hitting OF who can serve as a backup CF I think it is a very relevant comparison to make.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Apples and oranges. Beltran is a switch-hitting OF with a career OPS of .857, including .910 last year. He may play as much CF as his knees allow. Ludwick is a marginal MLB starter at this point, a RHH corner outfielder who is an emergency CF at best (47 career games there). He hasn’t OPSed .750 since leaving St. Louis.

              Ludwick has only one OPS season higher than Beltan’s CAREER OPS.

              Reasonable FA comps to Ludwick would be guys like Juan Rivera and Jonny Gomes, not a five-time all-star with three Gold Gloves and two Silver Sluggers.

              • CariocaCardinal says:

                I’d agree with you if the price was the same. But when I make my fruit salad I often have to see if I can get nearly as much satisfaction out of a cheaper fruit as I can a more popular, more expensive fruit. Even if it is not quite as tasty, sometimes it is a better value.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  The Cards could afford a clearly better player and they got him.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  Ludwick is a good sign for Uncle Walt. Walt likes to buy smart and in Cinci he has to be careful with dollars. Ludwick and Beltran are both RFs. One costs about 6 times the other. Cinci is a hitters park, Ludwick could clear the fences there. If Ludwick does well, reporters will salute Jocketty’s brains, while if Beltran does well, people will say he gets paid to do so.

                  • LarryBird says:

                    Ludwick is one of my all time favorite Cardinal players! There was just something about him that did this for me. I was devastated when they traded him and figured it was all about the money. With that being said it is obvious now that the Reds way overpaid for him. To try to compare his signing with the Beltran signing is a joke!

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      The difference is in the ticket sales BB …………… Walt has no money ……… he’s down to prayers and mind games ……………. that being said ……….. who knows where the Baseball might fall ………. I guessing the Reds youngsters are tired of these X Cardinals………Walt might have done more damage than good to his core……regardless of how Ludwick plays………..

    • blingboy says:

      Luddy had 37 homers a few years ago. If he’s healthy, playing in Cincy’s bandbox, he could have a very respectable year.

      Carlos is much more of a health risk. If he’s bunged up with this and that all year, Uncle Walt will look smart. If healthy, he could have another all star season, and Uncle Mo will look smart.

      Probably we can all agree that if it turns out Luddy and Carlos have comparable seasons, it will be a long year.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Right, Luddy played for a while in a tough park for hitters, San Diego. He could rebound in a hitters park like Cinci.
        The Cards had to outbid everybody in the game for Beltran, so we had to pay a pinnacle price. By February, players are providing discounts and Ludwick is an underpriced bargain. He has not been injured or suddenly become “too old.” He could thrive for the Reds. Walt is a value shopper and Ludwick is good value.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        I hope Ludwick hits 50 hr………….and leads the Reds to the Wild Card ……… thats going to be a tuff spot this year…………. I hope they get by Philly and we meet them in the Championship series…..high drama…………tons of fun………… but if I have Ludwick and Beltran sitting side by side…..I’m going to pick Belran every time…………… he is as good as Berkman using his skill set…………… he has struggled with lifestyle issues in cities where he is misunderstood to others and himself………. Just watch Furcal and Yadi and Carlos set up a little Caribbean triangle ……….. amongst the Country club boys ……… now that were rid of “distractions”…….. I think we are going to kick azz…………………. but that has its own challenges ………. the worst thing we could do would be to run away with the central ………. we need a fight……we need hero’s…………… we need blood on our swords ………… we need the cheapest fruit available ………… because ……… thats what its all about ……….. and that ain’t Carlos Beltran …….. Walt can’t get anybody to come …… BD is making huge dollars ,,,,,,,,,, which party do you like ……….

  6. Brian Walton says:

    Looks like Ryde Rodriguez isn’t going to be back with Rockland after all. He is getting another chance at affiliated ball with the Twins.

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