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Cardinals news and notes: Shortstop, Wong, and projections

You may have thought that shortstop would be the only thing VEB would cover on March 8, but you would be Wong. Well, not really. But you know. I'm sorry.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Happy 123rd birthday, Billy Southworth!

Some of you may not remember Billy Southworth's history with the St. Louis Cardinals (if you under the age of 70, you were not even alive for his last game as Cardinals manager, so most of you), but the Cardinals Hall of Famer has an important role in Cardinals history.

Although Southworth was a grizzled veteran of thirty-three by the time he reached St. Louis, he made an immediate impact: he produced a 124 OPS+ while playing right field for the 1926 Cardinals team which brought St. Louis its first ever World Series title. He then served as player-manager in 1929 and again as manager from 1940 through 1945, during which time Southworth won two more World Series titles. Southworth is one of only two men, along with Tony LaRussa, to have won multiple World Series titles as skipper of the Cardinals.

Anyway, here is what happened on VEB yesterday.

Brayan Pena

Craig Edwards posted the survey for Brayan Pena's 2016 projections. Do you think the new Cardinals backup backstop will represent a substantial improvement over Tony Cruz, or will he get lost in the shuffle this season? Weigh in and let your voice be heard.

With the re-launch of the former @PitcherGIFs as @ThePitcherList, Joe Schwarz took the opportunity to share some GIFs of some of the best pitches of Cardinals pitchers. As you watch Spring Training innings get logged by guys who will have no realistic shot at the majors in 2016, feel free to check out Carlos Martinez's changeup until April.


Evidently, somebody called Lil Scooter a pessimist, and she (and I, for that matter) disagrees with this assessment. One does not conjure the (metaphorical) ghost of Dick Vermeil without confidence, and that is just what she does in yesterday's Hunt and Peck. She understands the value of a commodity such as Aledmys Diaz and the Cardinals shall build upon such an asset and build a tremendous powerhouse for the future and probably win 150 or so games. Probably.

The game thread!

Check out the real-time community analysis of yesterday's tilt against the Minnesota Twins right here.

The Kolten Wong extension

Ben Markham wrote about one big reason the Kolten Wong contract extension is sensible: the lack of organizational depth in the middle of the infield. While WAR-based analysis often falls into the trap of assuming, say, a 1-win player is the same as a sub-replacement level player, the actual quality of players varies by circumstance, and in the case of the Cardinals, Kolten Wong represents a sizable improvement over his actual replacement.

Ian Desmond vs. Aledmys Diaz

compared and contrasted yesterday's starting shortstop, Aledmys Diaz, with new Texas Rangers left fielder Ian Desmond, who recently was the top shortstop on the free agent market. While Desmond is the safer bet of the two, I question if he would have been worth the cost, even if the Cardinals had known what would happen with Jhonny Peralta.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, folks.