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After Cardinals Injuries, Oddsmaker Establishes New Division Favorite

As St. Louis Cardinals fans know all too well, the club announced Monday that starting pitchers Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia have been placed on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder problems.

While it could be tempting to react strongly and perhaps assume that the club’s post-season aspirations will be seriously wounded if the injuries are serious, I was interested in how a detached party might be reading the situation.

To get the straight scoop, who would be better to ask than the oddsmakers at

Sportsbook manager Kevin Bradley had a very interesting two-part reply to my query.

On one hand, Bradley characterized the adjustment in the Cardinals’ odds as “no huge change.”

As one would expect, the club’s odds grew longer. To win the World Series, the Cards slid from 9-1 to 11-1. To take the National League pennant, St. Louis’ odds have shifted from 9-2 to 11-2.

The National League Central race is really the attention-grabber, however. As Bradley notes, “For the first time all year, the Brewers are now favored to win the division.”

St. Louis’ odds to take the Central went from 10-11 to 11-10, while Milwaukee’s odds are now shorter, moving from 7-5 to 10-11 currently.

With Milwaukee having played 78 games and St. Louis 77, the Brewers lead the NLC by 4.5 games. Both clubs have won seven of their last 10.

The two teams still have 13 face-to-face meetings ahead with the next set at Miller Park from July 11-13. Those are the final three games prior to the All-Star break.

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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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37 Responses to “After Cardinals Injuries, Oddsmaker Establishes New Division Favorite”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    The mitey Birds slug it out with the Rocks, no marshmellowing tonite.

  2. Bw52 says:

    Starting pitchers dropping like flies at a picnic.Who`s next?

  3. crdswmn says:

    Question for Brian:

    Why did the Cardinals move Joe Kelly to the 60 day DL AND DFA Kozma to add Gonzales? Did they want to save moving Keith Butler to the 60 day DL for a later move?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Good questions. I will try to explain in some detail as others may wonder the same.

      A 60-day DL move to accommodate Gonzales on the 40-man had to be first since they can only be done when the 40-man is full. Moving either Kelly or Butler to the 60-day would accomplish the same thing today. The moves can be retroactive and Kelly has already been out over 60 days so he can still return whenever ready. (They could be required to make another 40-man move at that time.)

      They also needed to free up a 25-man spot for Gonzales, so that is Kozma. They could have optioned him right back to Memphis, but it appeared something was up in that they just recalled him Monday. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the two sides decided a divorce would be best. Technically, Kozma could still end up back at Memphis if he is placed on waivers and clears. My bet is he would be claimed, but I think it will be a moot point and he will be traded first. His glove means he has value. Remember that Ryan fetched Cleto. Something like that may be coming.

      A by-product of the Kozma DFA is that there is another 40-man roster spot now open. It could be earmarked for a pitcher such as Cooney, especially if Miller is worse off than we have been led to believe. Again, just my speculation. Or they could just hold the 40-man spot until Kelly is ready.

      • crdswmn says:

        Thanks for the explanation. Since DFAing Kozma freed up both a 25 man and a 40 man spot, I wondered why the Joe Kelly move needed to be made at all. Adding Gonzales makes the 40 man full without moving Kelly. If they need another spot later, they can move Butler to the 60 day. So I am still missing why Joe Kelly needed to come off the 40 man just to be returned again soon.

        • Brian Walton says:

          My speculative answer to your final question is in the final paragraph of my earlier reply. Anticipation of another move ahead between now and when Kelly is ready.

          P.S. The Cards could have made the Kozma move to better gauge market interest in him. When all is said and done, they could even still turn around, restore him to the 40-man and option him to Memphis. Likely not, but possible.

          • crdswmn says:

            I understand that but couldn’t moving Butler to the 60 day for the additional anticipated move accomplish that? If you just DFA’d Kozma to add Gonzales and kept Kelly on the 40 man, then the roster would be full and the Butler move could be made to open up an additional spot for another move. Moving Kelly just seems like rearranging the deck chairs.

            • Brian Walton says:

              You have two separate questions. Question 1 is why did they make a 60-day move at all? Question 2 is since they did, why Kelly instead of Butler?

              Answer 1 is that they seem to be preparing for something else. I offered several possibilities above.

              Answer 2 is that it made zero difference today whether it was Kelly or Butler who was moved to the 60-day DL. (For what it is worth, in this article on Monday, I noted both were possibilities, but felt Kelly was the most likely.)

              • crdswmn says:

                Okay, I just don’t see the sense in it being Kelly. Move him off then move him back seems weird when moving Butler would accomplish the same thing and Butler doesn’t need to come back until November. If they fill the other spot, then they are going to have to make another move to put Kelly back on, probably moving Butler then anyway. One more move than is necessary to accomplish the same purpose.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  You are making the assumption that the environment does not change between now and then.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    The environment can always change on a dime no matter what they do. There are other moves that could be made if something unexpected happens. It just seems making the least amount of moves with the knowledge you have now makes more sense.

                    I suppose it is possible there is more to the Joe Kelly situation than they are telling us. Nothing this team does would surprise me anymore.

              • CariocaCardinal says:

                “Answer 2 is that it made zero difference today whether it was Kelly or Butler who was moved to the 60-day DL. (For what it is worth, in this article on Monday, I noted both were possibilities, but felt Kelly was the most likely.)”

                Zero difference? If the Cards can avoid moving Butler to the 60 day DL it will save them approximately $250K this year, plus service time for Butler that could cost them down the road. Not sure but I think if still injured in the Spring it may have roster implications as well regarding whether they can option him to Memphis. It only makes sense to try to avoid moving Butler to the 60 day DL if at all possible.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  I think I see your point. He would have to be promoted to the bigs to go on the MLB 60-day DL, which comes with the financial implications you mention.

                  But after I looked into it a bit more, it appears to be even more restrictive than either one of us thought.

                  According to this, he cannot be moved to the MLB 60-day DL from the minor league DL, meaning the 40-man spot is effectively frozen until he is healthy.

                  “Players who are on the 40-man roster but get hurt in the minor leagues are placed on the minor league DL, but not on the major league DL. One problem this poses is that a player who is injured in the minors and who would be placed on the major league 60-day DL cannot be placed on the 60-day, meaning the 40-man roster spot is not freed up.”

                  • CariocaCardinal says:

                    hmmmm…..pretty sure I’ve seen that tactic used before (though the rule may have been changed recently because of it). That part of the Wiki article is not referenced so I am not totally convinced it is accurate.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      I get your point, but I have already spent way too much time on this today and am behind on regular work. If you have some more time to look into it, please let me know what you find. Thanks.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Now that you mention that, I remember reading something about that as well. It was when Matt Adams injured his elbow while at Memphis and had the surgery. He was on the 40 man at the time but was on optional assignment in Memphis. Someone asked me if he could be moved to the 60 day DL. I remember reading that it was prohibited. It may have been the wikipedia article or it may have been somewhere else.

                      If that is the case (I kind of think the wikipedia article is correct, but I can’t be positive), then that would explain why they moved Kelly instead of Butler.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      I dropped a note about this to a friend who knows the ins and outs for sure. If I get a reading, I will share it.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Carioca got it right. Butler could be recalled and placed on the 60-day DL, but it would be at the cost of service time and salary.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Well that explains why they didn’t do it.

                      When Joe Kelly is ready to return they will have to make some move though.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Kozma already cleared waivers and is being optioned to Memphis. So he remains on the 40-man and it remains full. He had to clear Optional Assignment Waivers to be optioned out since it has been three years since his MLB debut.

              • crdswmn says:

                Really? It’s three years on the 40 man and not 3 years of service time?

                • Brian Walton says:

                  No, it is three calendar years since a player’s MLB debut.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Learn something new everyday. I thought it was service time.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      No problem. I like to research this kind of stuff, but am now two hours behind in rest of work for today. Can’t help myself!

                    • crdswmn says:

                      Now that I have done some research, I realize I got confused about the service time issue because I was thinking of outright assignment rather than optional assignment. If a player has 3+ years of service time he can elect free agency rather than be outrighted. So I was thinking of that rather than the optional assignment.

                      The optional assignment waivers are what they used on Boggs and Scrabble last year when they sent them to Memphis. I remember a discussion on the message board about the “gentleman’s agreement” among teams not to claim a player who is put on optional assignment waivers.

              • crdswmn says:

                Why does the Cardinals transactions page say designated for assignment rather than optioned? I am very confused.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  I do not control the Cardinals transactions page, but I can assure you their initial press release this morning said Kozma was DFAed. A second announcement this afternoon said that he cleared waivers and has been optioned back to Memphis. He remains on the 40-man roster. That is it.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Okay. Maybe the transactions page will be corrected.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      They are going to have to correct the 40 man roster page too, because Kozma isn’t on it.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Blingboy thinks Matheny himself keeps those pages current. 😉

                    • blingboy says:

                      Very funny. I am well aware that it is the cleaning lady.

                      I appreciate the informative discussion BW and crdswmn. Maybe the Cards think Luis Mateo would be a more useful UT infielder type to have available in Memphis rather than shipping him back to Springfield. He’s been a soldier and it would be Cardinal-like to throw him a bone.

                      On another note, any poop on whether Miller has a problem?

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      On Mateo, they kept him around a long time this spring, but there doesn’t seem to be a 40-man spot for him and he seems to remain behind Garcia in the infield pecking order.

                      On Miller, the public answer is that they expect him to make his next start.

                      On the other hand, according to a Goold article today, they were prepared to send down a pitcher until Miller was hurt last night. That would seem to imply they are less than confident about Miller. At this point, the starting pitcher on his next day through the rotation is listed as TBA.

              • CariocaCardinal says:

                1. I thought waivers was a 72 hour process?

                2. Did the Cards want someone to claim him? They new when they brought him up that he would have to clear waivers the next day – if so, why not bring up Garcia or Oscar?

                • Brian Walton says:

                  1. I imagine they anticipated this and put him on waivers ahead of time. Those kinds of moves are not usually announced. Waivers are requested on many that we never hear about.

                  Perhaps the waiver period was not quite passed when they had to add Gonzales this morning, hence the interim announcement that Kozma was DFAed, only to update to optioning him a few hours later. 1 PM Eastern is the end of the waiver time (which I believe is 47 hours, not 72). The option was announced less than an hour later, just before 2 PM ET.

                  2. I doubt they wanted/expected anyone to claim him. Because these waivers are revocable, as a custom, teams do not claim other team’s players. As I said above, I believe he still has value, both to StL and to other organizations.

                  • CariocaCardinal says:

                    Notsure how you could put a player on optional assignment waivers ahead of time. It would seem you could only do it when the player is optioned. At a minimum i’d think he;d have to be on the major league roster before you could place him on those type of waivers but maybe not.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      I don’t think so. Not only do I think they can be requested in advance, I am pretty sure those waivers are good for a long period, rather than having to be requested each time a player is optioned. There are multiple waiver periods each year.

                    • Nutlaw says:

                      Yes, I am certain that one can pass through waivers whenever and count as having passed through for the remainder of that waiver period.

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