St. Louis Cardinals links: Spring Training news and Memphis Redbirds blues

Rob Johnson and Keith Butler could be spending a lot of time in Autozone Park this year. - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Freeman has a new pitch, and the Memphis Redbirds' old new stadium is in prolonged financial trouble on Friday's VEB Monitor.

Spring Training photos! A whole new 2013 batch! That's veteran third-catcher Rob Johnson talking to unconventional relief prospect Keith Butler! Pitcher and catcher, reporting! Friday on VEB Monitor, John Sickels takes a look at top 2012 prospect Michael Wacha, FanGraphs dives into the Memphis Redbirds' tortured financials, and Sam Freeman takes up a novelty pitch, to my reluctant delight. Onward!

(If you have a link you think VEB readers would like—yours or someone else's—and you're not selling something, feel free to send me an e-mail. If you're a VEB regular who thinks writing up a semi-regular link-dump sounds like a good time, also feel free to send me an e-mail.)

Minor League Ball: Prospect Profile: Michael Wacha
John Sickels takes a detailed look at Michael Wacha, who appears to be moving a lot faster than the Cardinals' other college-pitcher first-rounders. Just in case you wanted to know who'll be a part of next year's rotation pile-up.

FanGraphs: Cards’ AAA Affiliate Shines On The Field, But Financial Problems Loom
The Memphis Redbirds are not getting a lot of return on investment from their beautiful, expensive baseball stadium. As a rule of thumb, if your minor league ballpark gets an extended look from FanGraphs, something's probably the matter.

RetroSimba: Will Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal make rookie history?
I link RetroSimba a lot in these, and it's because he's got an interesting way of contextualizing the usual Cardinals news. Here he looks at the Cardinals' No. 5 spot as it relates to their Rookie of the Year history.

The Cardinals' recent player-development prowess hasn't exactly translated to ROTY ballots, in large part because the ideal Luhnow-Mozeliak rookie is a 26-year-old who had 130 good major league at-bats the year before.

Well. I wasn't planning on it, but now that Sam Freeman has taken up a novelty pitch—you may remember the knuckle-curve from Mike Mussina in MVP Baseball for Gamecube—I'm required under the terms of the Dan Moore Baseball Fandom Charter to push for him to make the team. Sorry, Randy Choate. Maybe try a palmball.

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