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Cardinals news and notes: Christmas, Mike Leake, and prospects

It was a slow extended weekend for Major League Baseball, but there was still recapping of Cardinals goings-on to be had at VEB.

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I would be remiss to not first mention the passing of St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Joe Strauss, who died on Sunday at the much-too-young age of 54. Having never met Joe Strauss, I am woefully unqualified to eulogize the man, but I would strongly recommend reading Derrick Goold's collection of thoughts and memories from his sportswriting peers. Our own Joe Schwarz put it better than I could.

There is no easy transition from that, so I won't even try. Here's a rundown of the weekend at Viva El Birdos.

Christmas Day

The holidays are a time to reflect, and as such, the red baron reflected on the offseason on VEB's Christmas Day post. Many, including RB himself, have been upset at the relative inaction of the Cardinals front office over the last two months, but there's still a lot to be said about the organization's ability to exceed expectations over the years (not to mention the whole "it's still over three months until Opening Day" bit).

More Mike Leake analysis

Having read a below-average amount of hot stove content over the last week (a logical byproduct of far less of it being written over Christmas weekend), my concept of time is a bit off-kilter right now. For instance, did you know that Mike Leake just signed six days ago? It seems like yesterday just as much as it seems like it happened months ago. But there's plenty about his signing to still analyze, and Nick Lampe took a crack at it on Saturday, writing about whether Mike Leake can continue to prevent runs at a rate lower than his fielding-independent pitching statistics suggest that he would. Exactly how to apply fielding-independent pitching stats remains somewhat murky: some ignore them, others focus exclusively on them. Like most, I'm somewhere in the middle, and I am thankful that Nick's around to cut through the easy narratives and potential homer optimism and cynicism.


In the world of very long (but very good) posts is Part 1 of RB's annual Cardinals prospect rankings. I, for one, think I like this list, ranking prospects #21 through #11, more than I will like the top ten because it makes a farm system recently maligned as being thin seem very deep in its potential. Of course, not all of these guys will pan out, but since we have no real idea which ones won't, there is plenty here to wish and dream upon. And if RB's got me this excited about the second-tier of Cardinals prospects...wake me up when Part 2 comes out. Or when it stops raining. I don't know which will happen first.

Anyway, it's back to the grind at VEB. The holidays are over and it's back to reali...what? Really? Another holiday on Friday? Well, things weren't supposed to happen the week of Christmas, either, and the Cardinals still gave out an $80 million contract. Be sure to check back in to see if something happens during another short work week for MLB.