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

Ex-Cardinals, now Angels doing their thing

David Freese and Albert Pujols played a tremendously important role in the most recent World Championship captured by the St. Louis Cardinals. Less than two years later, they are employed elsewhere, but together again and still in the news.

Pujols departed a few months after the trophy was hoisted, playing out a messy free agency process during which he turned down a lesser, but significant series of offers from the Cardinals.

Instead, he accepted a huge, 10-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels that includes a personal services contract after his retirement as an active player. Perceived sour remarks made by Pujols and his wife as they left town turned the sentiment of many St. Louis fans against them.

After cementing his name in team lore for his 2011 post-season and especially World Series heroics, Freese soldiered on for two more uneven seasons with his hometown club before being traded to those same Angels this past winter.

Gracious about the Cardinals and complimentary of his new team and teammates, Freese has handled the career jolt publicly as well as anyone could expect. Not turning his back on his former club, the third baseman requested uniform number six with the Halos in a move to honor the late Cardinals Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

“It’s obviously something that crossed my mind, being a Cardinal and being around Stan,” Freese told “It’s just an honor to kind of wear his number. I don’t think I look at it and not think about him for sure.”

Having headed west with a two-year head start on Freese, Pujols is now 34 years of age and coming off two below-par seasons – the worst of his career. With eight years remaining on his Angels contract, there is plenty of time for Pujols to improve.

It is seemingly all dependent on his health. Pujols has been putting in the work to try to convince his body – and fans – that he has plenty left in the tank.

Pujols still has one important tool in his kit, that perceived slight he often seemed to use effectively earlier in his career as motivation despite already being the best player in the game.

“I’m still in my prime. If I’m healthy, I’m going to show that on the field and shut a lot of mouths,” the first baseman told USA TODAY Sports.

One could see how the Angels’ 2014 hopes may hinge on a return to past form by the two ex-Cardinals.

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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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40 Responses to “Ex-Cardinals, now Angels doing their thing”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    The Scout forums will be down until approximately 5 PM Central time to fix a system problem.

  2. blingboy says:

    Speaking of Dr.Paletta, he was the Surgeon who operated on Garcia. According to the P-D, Garcia is meeting with him to figure this out. We are supposed to get some info later today. Realistically, we won’t know anything today, whatever is said. I wish Jaime well. At least he should have financial security.

  3. blingboy says:

    I saw that the Yankees are not interested in Diaz, which doesn’t surprise me after seeing his offensive numbers.

  4. blingboy says:

    Brian I think you are wasting your time trying to predict minor league pitching staffs. Minor league camp hasn’t even started yet and its been scrambled twice. First a cascade effect from Garcia, now Jordan Swagerty, NRI from AA goes down. I think Dr. Yocum did his TJ.

    I do like some of the firepower you have starting on the Palm Beach staff. Another wave that should be emerging in the upper levels by the end of the year. It will be interesting to see if Llorens continues to miss bats as he moves up and if Sam T’s arm hold up throwing 99. And of course we will get an idea if Gonzales is the safe, work-a-day, ‘mid rotation’ guy or maybe something else. Of course, Millers and Wachas are mid rotation guys for the Cards, so a ‘mid rotation’ guy would be fighting for a back of rotation/PB slot .

    • Brian Walton says:

      From an ultimate accuracy perspective, it will surely be better to revisit possible rosters as spring training winds down, but I don’t see making a pre-camp cut a month earlier as a waste of time, either. It is surely not represented as being anything more than one man’s point in time view, but it is an educated view, at least.

      • blingboy says:

        An educated view, I agree, and appreciate it. Hopefully, they will start letting your ink dry before shifting things around.

        On another subject, Jennifer Langosch seems to think the Cards will not put Taveras on the roster just to sit on the bench. Also the Cards would not want to have Adams in a part time role right off the bat so as to get taveras some playing time. But on the other hand, she says OT could play his way onto the team. Also something about getting called up when he has nothing left to prove. Really a deft job of covering all the bases. She will be proved right whatever happens. They must teach that in J school.

        (I believe the article I refer to was her response to Q of the day on her blog)

    • Brian Walton says:

      Actually, Swagerty’s TJS was done by one of the most respected surgeons in the field, Dr. Louis Yocum.

      • blingboy says:

        Yes, I recall a lot was written and said about his contributions when he passed away. He, Dr. Job the TJ guy and Dr. James Andrews had a pretty close professional relationship I believe, as far far as advancing the art of salvaging players’ careers.

        Earl Weaver had said Dr. Yocum knew when to tell a guy he needed to focus on being able to play catch with his son rather rather looking to return to the mound.

  5. blingboy says:

    The Orioles DFAd a AAA lefty named Chris Jones who looks like a promising loogy.

  6. Brian Walton says:

    I’ve been working much of the day and will be continuing into the evening on images. Today is Photo Day for the Cards. The pitchers and coaches are posted now.

  7. blingboy says:

    Well, it is past Monday afternoon, which is when we were led to believe there would be news about Garcia.

  8. blingboy says:

    I wonder if Garcia’s previous elbow problem contributed to his subsequent shoulder problem. I have heard speculation that this is what happened with Kyle McClellan, and I believe Kyle has said it may have.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      McClellan had injuries when used as a starting pitcher in the Midwest league. It took a couple of years to recover. After Dave Duncan moved McClellan from terrific reliever to starting pitcher, his shoulder could not hold up. In McClellan’s case, the problem was the strain of innings workload.

      Garcia’s elbow bounced back and remains ok today. The shoulder then failed and that is a much more difficult problem.

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