Cardinals interested in Miguel Tejada?

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On the heels of manager Tony La Russa saying last week that the Cardinals need to find a big bat to hit behind Albert Pujols, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team is interested in Miguel Tejada.

Tejada would be an interesting pickup on a few different levels. First
and foremost he’s leading the league with a .355 batting average and
hitting .355/.378/.521 overall, so that would seemingly fit La Russa’s
description of a big bat even if the 35-year-old is highly unlikely to
keep up that type of production.

Guys like Matt Holliday have also been linked to St. Louis recently,
but the Cardinals have received little production from the left side of
the infield and finding a hitter like Tejada who can man shortstop or
third base would allow them to keep their better-hitting outfielders in
the lineup as well.

With that said, Tejada to the Cardinals isn’t quite a perfect fit.
For one thing, Khalil Greene is making his way back from anxiety
problems and should be ready to rejoin the team soon. Plus, Tejada’s
defense at shortstop has declined to the point that he’s somewhere
between “solidly below average for the position” and “terrible.”

If he’d be willing to slide over to third base the Cardinals could
replace the unproductive Joe Thurston-Brian Barden-Tyler Greene platoon
without further weakening their up-the-middle defense, but Tejada has
never played even one inning at a position other than shortstop during
13 seasons in the big leagues and may not want to make the move with
free agency looming.

And last but not least, while the financially strapped Astros would
no doubt like to shed the $8 million or so that Tejada is owed for the
remainder of the season, the team’s management is still clinging to the notion that they can contend and even if that stance changes they may not be willing to help out a division rival.

Wade Davis? Greg Holland? Who needs ’em?

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Joakim Soria #48 of the Kansas City Royals throws in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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The story of the two-time defending AL champion and current defending World Series champ Kansas City Royals cannot be told without talking at length about their bullpen.

In 2014, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Kelvin Herrera formed a shutdown brigade that not only made it next to impossible for the opposition to mount late rallies, but managed something which seemed utterly impossible before 2014: they turned Ned Yost into a tactical genius. Indeed, the only time Yost got criticism at all that fall was when he messed with the autopilot formula that had that three-headed monster handling the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Much the same happened in 2015, of course, despite Holland’s sharp decline and eventual injury. Davis and Herrera continued their dominance. They were joined by Ryan Madson and a cast of other effective relievers who, along with timely hitting, great defense and good health, helped propel the Royals to the title.

This year had not been quite the same story. Holland has been out all year and Davis, while effective when he’s pitched, has missed time due to injury. As has longtime contributor and presumptive next-man-up Luke Hochevar. Herrera is basically still Herrera, but Ned Yost has been presented with a decidedly different set of choices. Lots of choices and Ned Yost don’t always go together well, but lately that hasn’t mattered.

Last night the Royals’ bullpen came in to a close game and tossed three scoreless innings. That set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless frames, besting the previous record set back in the club’s inaugural season in 1969. The streak is a huge part of why the Royals have won nine games in a row.

Unlike the success of 2014-15, the streak is not a three-man show. As Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star notes, eight different relievers have appeared for Kansas City during the streak, with Joakim Soria and Matt Strahm leading the crew with five and a third innings pitched. Herrera has tossed five scoreless. Otherwise it’s been a group effort with even Peter Moylan offering a couple of scoreless frames. And here you thought Moylan was, I dunno, gearing up for the upcoming Brisbane Bandits season. Nope.

The Royals are still not, in my view anyway, a lock to make the postseason. It’s a a crowded field right now. They’re seven and a half back in the AL Central and four back in the Wild Card with a bunch of teams in front of them. But they’re certainly playing themselves back into the conversation. They’re interesting. And they’re doing it in much the same way they’ve done it the past two years. Only with different dudes doing the do.

Video: Mookie Betts made a ridiculous throw last night

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Mookie Betts was an infielder once upon a time and the knock on him both then and since his move to the outfield was that maybe his arm was not fantastic. As an infielder there was talk that he was better suited to the right side than the left. As an outfielder people were saying that, with work, his arm could be average and/or serviceable. Not bad, of course, but not anything to write home about.

Maybe we need to reassess that, because last night he uncorked one from right field that would make Dwight Evans says “dang, man.”

 

And the throw mattered, as Kiermaier represented the tying run in a game that, at the time, the Sox were leading 2-1.

Betts is a dangerous middle-of-the-order bat at age 23. And now he shows that he’ll nail a fast runner with a frozen rope if he has to. The guy is going to win an MVP award some day. And maybe not just one.