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It's about Baseball, and Off-season Sports

What We Know - Cardinals Randal Grichuk Is Moving To Leftfield. What We Just Learned

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals had to postpone their Winter Warm-Ups Friday and Saturday due to predicted ice storm heading into the area. Yesterday was the show went on. Fans had their autograph vouchers in hand for their favorite player(s), getting selfies with them - a great day in Cardinals Nation. Each of our Cardinals talked with the media before heading to their appointed seats to greet fans and sign their voucher. 

Announced early in the Cardinals offseason, CF Randal Grichuk would be moved to left field to replace the exiting Matt Holliday.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

One of the Cardinals, outfielder Randal Grichuk, revealed to the media, what had been going on for him in the off-season. Per Carly Schaber, KSDK, Grichuk, quietly and under the radar, had minor surgery done to his left knee. The surgery was done to remove loose cartilage which was causing him discomfort and seemingly became worse as the season progressed. Per Grichuk, "..... he felt some "clicking, soreness, and tightness" as the year went on." 

He had the procedure done early in the off-season. He's feeling good, back on a running regiment and back on track; to what I'm presuming, he is referring to complete recovery.  From what I'm reading 'In between the lines', he will be ready to go for Spring Training and the new season coming up. This is his first experience with any knee problems. 

Last season some fans noted that he didn't have the speed in centerfield that he needed. Maybe this is why. And, the back spasms that have bothered Grichuk, in the past, could very well have been from the left knee 'breaking down' with cartilage getting in the way of full mobility. You know ~ "The knee bone is connected to the leg bone. The leg bone is connected to the hip bone, and hip bone to the back bone" type of syndrome. Bottomline, if one part in our body is out of kilter, the body responds to overcome. Just not necessarily in a positive manner. 

With corrective surgery, we may see better results at the plate for Grichuk, also. All the body "pieces parts" work together for the best performance. 

FA Reliever Seth Maness ~ The First MLB Player To Undergo Alternative Elbow Surgery

St. Louis Cardinals reliever Seth Maness, ground ball and double play specialist, was release by the Cardinals this offseason into free agency. He was reportedly to undergo Tommy John's surgery for his elbow injury that shortened his 2016 season to only 29 games and 31.2 innings pitched. He closed his shortened season 2-2/3.41 ERA.  More than likely, being ready for the 2017 season was doubtful. 

Former reliever Seth Maness for the Cardinals. Mid-to-late inning double play specialist. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat, Getty Images)

With recent news, Maness became the first professional baseball player to undergo a fairly new procedure to correct his elbow issue. Primary repair” versus Tommy John surgery for a torn UCL. As we know, a pitcher who does go through TJ surgery, they are out a full season (upwards of 18 months recovery) before they are able to return mound. With this new procedure, recovery time is a predicted seven months and would allow a pitcher to return to work far sooner. "It is a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, not Tommy John’s reconstruction of the ligament."

Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (January 12, 2017) was the first to report on this new procedure. One that is being monitored; and, if proven to be successful, would be a major breakthrough for modern sports surgical procedures. Yes, Maness became the first 'guinea pig' for this type of surgery by a professional baseball player. Being put under, reportedly he expected to be another TJ victim. But, hoped, the primary repair would be the result. As it stands now, from the article, the surgeon can not say absolutely "which" procedure can be done until he actually sees the damage "inside" the elbow. 

Per Goold, "He [Maness] woke up a potential trailblazer."  That was soon after his 2016 season ended in August; and, with surprising reports, he would have to undergo surgery. Now ~ 

Maness already playing catch, a bit less than five months after surgery, with former teammate Kolton Wong at John Burroughs High School in Ladue - January 6, 2017 (Photo by David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

"Maness, 28, completed three sets of throws at a distance of 90 feet on Friday in the John Burroughs School gymnasium. He is scheduled to take the mound next week for the first time since his Aug. 18 surgery. He has been encouraged by how his arm feels at every stride in his rehab, which is accelerated from the usual Tommy John timetable. The Cardinals did not offer him a contract in early December, making him a free agent — one of the leading groundball relievers now available to any team. Sooner than expected." (Derrick Goold)

Maness' goal is to be ready by Opening Day. And, seemingly, proving the primary repair surgery has been a success. At least in these first few months.  Longevity, only time will tell. "Now, the doctor and his patient are eager to watch as Maness’ first time toeing the rubber could be, in their words, “a significant step forward” for the industry. Another doctor who performs the repair surgery, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, said there is “cautious optimism.” He is just a week away from throwing from the mound. 

However, in my opinion, this new procedure could become a definite alternative (dependent on circumstances of tear) for MLB pitchers in the future. The potential to be an excellent choice, successful repair and with less recovery time. 

 Being a free agent, all Maness needs now is a team to fully prove - he's ready to get back to the business of baseball. To return to work. 

Cardinals Kevin Siegrist, Trevor Rosenthal Avoid Arbitration Hearings. Carlos Martinez, No Extension?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The St. Louis Cardinals announced Thursday that they and 1B Matt Adams had reached a deal, 1 YR/$2.8 MM, for his second year arbitration eligible. "IF" the Texas Rangers are still interested in the lefty, they would get a solid first baseman, in my opinion; and, still a controlled salaried player. As of yesterday morning, Cardinals still had four AE players to negotiate with. Pitchers, starters Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha; along with, relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist

Closer/reliever Trevor Rosenthal, in his second year of arbitration eligibility, signed a one year deal to return with the Cardinals.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Announced on Friday evening, Rosenthal and Siegrist signed one year contracts to avoid the AE hearings, which will begin at the end of this month. 

Cardinals News Release ~ Friday, January 13, 2017

From CardinalsFarm on Twitter @CardinalsFarmSiegrist was projected to make $1.9 million and Rosenthal $6.3 million by @mlbtraderumors    


Information provided by Jon Heyman on Twitter, @JonHeyman: Michael Wacha filed his "desired salary" .... Wacha filed at $3.2 MM, Cardinals have countered with $2.775 MM. With Wacha's history of a rare shoulder injury, in my opinion, for his first AE year, a satisfactory "mean" will be agreed upon prior to January 30, 2017. 


The final AE negotiation, that of Carlos Martinez. A fireball on the hill, and the main-stay starter for the Cardinals during their 2016 season, 16-9/3.04 ERA with 31 game starts. No real news during this off-season, other than "interest and available talk" about an extension between the Cardinals and C Martinez. Not enough to say it was in stone. Even though, fans have concluded no information, timeline that has passed and Arbitration Eligible Hearings soon to begin equaled both sides have been talking an extension for the 25 year old to cover the arbitration years, plus. However, again reported by Jon Heyman

This bit of news, to me, is the most shocking of the five. There again, a lot of baseball business is above my knowledge level. And, last season, Cardinals fans were "for sure" an extension would be inked for Rosenthal in his first year of AE. He had two prior seasons with 45/48 saves, respectively. The Cardinals and Rosenthal signed for a 1 Yr/$5.6 MM. Evidently, the Cardinals are looking, once again, to keep a young player on a controlled salary. I feel the two parties will definitely "make the deal".... 

Looking back, Martinez was taken out of the end of the 2015 season with shoulder stress and was unavailable for postseason. After the Cardinals experience with Rosenthal this past season, did that play a part in the Cardinals consideration of an extension for Martinez. But, he was fine in 2016. Rosenthal, by far fewer save situations, struggled on the hill which retired him as closer; and, he admitted to a shoulder injury which eventually put him on DL. In the scheme of contracts, good the Cardinals didn't lock-in Rosenthal for six-seven years? Was Rosenthal's demise in 2016 a "caution light" for Martinez in 2017? 

This is Martinez first year AE. He is being considered to be the Cardinals #1 starter for 2017, by different reports. He has held steady in the past two seasons with his 3.01 ERA/3.04 ERA in 2015-2016, respectively. Should he maintain his solid performance through this upcoming season, will the Cardinals be ready to seriously consider a long contract for his future? They don't hand out extensions like candy. However, in my opinion, the Cardinals should have used the same 'do-diligence' regarding 2B Kolton Wong (5 Yr/$25.5 MM) last season. As of yet, to me and many Cardinals fans, Wong still has to prove he is the player the Cardinals 'hold faith' that he is. That subject has been hashed and re-hashed several times. 

I believe in Heyman and the above figures he reports are fact. Such a small margin of difference, I would think (which is a stretch concerning the Cardinals organization and summation) Martinez should see a 1 Yr/$4.25 MM. To me, Martinez should have filed at least $6 MM for this coming year. But ~ is what it is, evidently.  Or, is the above, file and counter, just "figures" that must have been logged due to a deadline? Martinez will be key to the Cardinals rotation in 2017. In my opinion, there is still could be time to lock him in. 

Personally, I'm still amazed as I reread the Twitter statement above.