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Cardinals news and notes: The bench, the staff, and the clubhouse dynamic

Four days.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals-related countdowns are a golden time for numerology. Magic number countdowns and countdowns until Opening Day each rely heavily on former and current Cardinals players. Sure, you could say "there are 29 days until Opening Day"...or you could say "there are Stubby Clapp days until Opening Day." Obviously, this is the player most synonymous in 2016 with the uniform number 29.

Well, today is a pretty easy one, as there is not only presently a #4 on the Cardinals in catcher Yadier Molina, but there is a realistic possibility that the number will eventually be retired by the team in his honor. But Molina is not the first #4 in franchise history. Here are a few notable others to don the uniform.

  • Although Molina will likely surpass him, the longest-tenured Cardinal to wear #4 was Marty Marion, who wore it throughout his entire Cardinals career, from 1940 through 1950. And for good measure, Marion also sported #4 while playing for the St. Louis Browns in 1952 and 1953. Marty Marion was worth 31.6 WAR as a Cardinal and was inducted in 2014 to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.
  • From 2000 to 2003, second baseman Fernando Vina won two Gold Gloves, developing a reputation as a master of the double play turn, as the "4" not only in terms of uniform number but in many-a-masterful 6-4-3 double play.
  • In 2004, just two years before Yadier Molina inherited the number, Tony Womack had a career year in his lone season in St. Louis. Womack had a 13-year MLB career and he produced a mere 2.3 WAR, but in St. Louis, Womack was worth 3.2 WAR. By contrast, he was worth -0.9 WAR in 1997, during which he received MVP and Rookie of the Year votes and was an all-star. Baseball is weird, sometimes.
Here's what happened on VEB yesterday.

NL Central pitch movement

Joe Schwarz analyzed movement among the starting rotations in the NL Central. Joe is the resident expert on pitching mechanics and I couldn't even begin to do the metrics he referenced justice. So just click on the link or something instead.

Cardinals clubhouse chemistry

Yesterday morning, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there may be some tension in the Cardinals clubhouse. Are you worried? Maybe you are, maybe you aren't, maybe you should be. But lil scooter is not worried. So there's that.

Additionally, Alex Crisafulli has some theories on what caused dissent in the ranks. Personally, I'm signing off on the theory that live birds caused a ruckus. One glaring omission, however, is the possibility that Cardinals players are upset about Drake LaRoche.

Cardinals/Nationals game thread

The Cardinals and the Nationals played a Spring Training game yesterday. Here is the game thread.

The bench

Ben Markham wrote about the Cardinals' bench in 2016 and the ways in which it is an improvement over previous seasons. It is a good read which will inspire a newfound confidence in the 2016 Cardinals, in spite of  some Ty Wigginton blasphemy with which I have some philosophical opposition.

Have a great day. We're only Einar Diaz days away from baseball.