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

Mets return to GCL a positive for the Cardinals

In a cost-cutting move made last fall, the New York Mets exited from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League (GCL), while maintaining their presence in the Appalachian League, the next rung up in the rookie-level food chain.

The organization recently announced that their hiatus from the GCL was just one season in duration, with the Mets set to compete in both leagues in 2013.

The Mets return to the GCL is good news for the St. Louis Cardinals, whose Jupiter, Florida base is located just 33 miles away from the Mets’ Port St. Lucie facility.

Due to the geographic disbursement of baseball’s Florida training facilities, the 2012 GCL Cardinals played their entire 60-game schedule against just three opponents. They were either within walking distance or a long van ride away, with nothing in between.

Only one organization, the Miami Marlins, is nearby, as they share the Roger Dean complex facilities with the Cardinals. The other two – the Astros and Nationals – are at least two hours away – in a league where overnight stays are not made.

GCL rosters typically consist of a mix of newly-signed players, often high schoolers, and first-time arrivals from the academies in the Dominican Republic. The Mets note that the earlier signing deadline in the new collective bargaining agreement was a factor in their decision. Draftees signing more quickly need an immediate place to play.

With the GCL return of the Mets in 2013, the Cardinals youngsters will benefit, having more diversity in opposition and less windshield time to endure.

The Cardinals organization should not be too comfortable, however. The Nats have been actively seeking a new home with one prime possibility being on the Gulf Coast. If Washington does leave the area, it could set off a chain-reaction among the remaining organizations, each of which has a clause that would enable them to break their respective leases.

Barring external changes, the Cardinals are committed to Jupiter through 2027.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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12 Responses to “Mets return to GCL a positive for the Cardinals”

  1. blingboy says:

    What is the Arizona equivalent of the GCL?

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    This fall, we have heard that Raffy Furcal’s elbow ligament has been healing, after injections. What a miracle. Brian has compared this to injections received by Bartolo Colon back in 2010.

    This reminds me of the unexplained performance of Albert’s elbow ligament. It was once said to be injured. The Cards did an operation to move a nerve.

    And thereafter the ligament miraculously continued to perform. One wonders if Albert got some injections while in the Dominican Republic during 2007-11 that helped his injured right elbow ligament? If so, it has not been reported.

    • Brian Walton says:

      A miracle, indeed. Furcal was so badly injured he could not play in October but in November, we are told the ligament is “completely healed.”

      If that is all I could take to the bank as collateral, I’d never get a loan.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        I remember when Ozzie had a shot rotator cuff. How on earth was he going to continue playing the incredibly demanding position of SS?

        Yet somehow, there was no operation. We were told Ozzie was going to use his experience to release the ball quicker, so he would not have to throw it as hard, since his shoulder was toast. And then he played some more!

        Baseball sure contains its fair share of mysteries and miracles!

      • blingboy says:

        The Cards med staff is probably looking at the wrong elbow.

  3. crdswmn says:

    I have been with first graders all day. From what I can surmise from the internet, today (1) Marvin Miller died; (2) the Dodgers are the front runner to overpay Zack Greinke; (3) The Mets offered David Wright a boatload of cash; (4) The Angels signed Ryan Madson; (5) The Yankees are doing doing Yankee things.

    Have I missed anything?

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