The Cardinals used 46 players on their way to a World Series victory, and given recent precedent, every single one of them will be getting some bling.
Of course, some will deserve it more than others. Here’s a glimpse at a few of the lesser lights on the 2011 Cardinals…
Ryan Franklin: An effective, if underpowered, closer the previous couple of years, Franklin was the main culprit in an astoundingly awful bullpen early on, racking up an 8.46 ERA in 21 appearances. He was eventually released having converted just one of his five save chances.
Corey Patterson: The Cards felt they needed some extra outfield depth when they traded Colby Rasmus to Toronto, so the Blue Jays gave up Patterson as a throw-in. Patterson went on to hit .157 in 51 at-bats, and he nearly lost the Cardinals a key game with a ninth-inning drop against the Phillies on Sept. 16. Needless to say, he wasn’t included on the postseason roster.
Pete Kozma: At 23, Kozma was the youngest position player to appear for the Cardinals this season. The former first-round pick went 3-for-17 in a pair of first-half callups and was never heard from again. The Cards didn’t bother giving him another look in September after he hit just .214 in Triple-A.
Trever Miller: A formerly reliable lefty specialist, Miller had more walks (10) than strikeouts (nine) in his 39 appearances before being sent packing.
Miguel Batista: Also had more walks than strikeouts in his 26 appearances for the Cardinals. The 40-year-old Batista went on to finish the season with the Mets, but he’ll be getting his second World Series ring anyway.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.