Cardinals beat Brewers, both clinch postseason berths
ST. LOUIS (AP) Harrison Bader tripled and homered to help the St. Louis Cardinals clinch a postseason berth on the final day of the regular season with a 5-2 win over Milwaukee, and the Brewers also earned a playoff spot Sunday via help on the West Coast moments later. St. Louis (30-28) will be the fifth seed in the NL and open a three-game wild-card series at San Diego on Wednesday. By winning, the Cardinals avoided having to travel to Detroit for two makeup games Monday. St. Louis finished the regular season with 23 games in 18 days as it made up a slew of postponements caused by a coronavirus outbreak in the clubhouse.
The Cardinals, like many other clubs throughout the league, have a fairly robust slate of guaranteed salaries on the books for 2021 and could face limited financial flexibility this winter as ownership tries to recover from the revenue losses that swept the sport in the shortened 2020 campaign. To that end, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cards “are expected” to talk to second baseman Kolten Wong about a contract extension that would lessen the immediate cost of keeping him on the roster.
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© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports The St. Louis Cardinals will try to sign second baseman Kolten Wong to a new deal.
Wong, who turned 30 over the weekend, has just one year of control remaining, but that comes in the form of a non-guaranteed $12.5M club option for next season. The option comes with a $1M buyout, meaning there’s a net $11.5M decision to be made when it comes to keeping the 2019 Gold Glover or cutting him loose.
Wong hit .265/.350/.326 this season. The on-base skills displayed by Wong were roughly in line with his previous three seasons, but the second baseman’s already limited power went up in smoke, as Wong connected on just one home run, adding four doubles and a pair of triples. His .061 ISO (slugging minus batting average) was the lowest of his career by more than 50 points. Defensively, he remained elite; his six Defensive Runs Saved were the second-most among second baseman and ranked 19th in Major League Baseball at any position.
Goldschmidt, Cardinals win 7-4 in Padres' return to playoffs
SAN DIEGO (AP) Given a chance to catch their breath after a crazy month and a half, the St. Louis Cardinals settled into the playoffs with yet another win against the San Diego Padres. Paul Goldschmidt hit a two-run home run during a four-run first inning, St. Louis' bullpen held strong after starter Kwang Hyun Kim stumbled in his playoff debut and the Cardinals ruined the Padres' long-awaited return to the playoffs with a 7-4 victory Wednesday in the opener of their NL wild-card series.The Cardinals got a welcome two days off before this series began.
The Cards have just shy of $110M committed to next year’s payroll — not including Wong’s would-be $12.5M salary — and have a rather substantial arbitration class that will feature Jack Flaherty, John Gant, Alex Reyes, Harrison Bader, Jordan Hicks and John Brebbia. They’ll also be forced into decisions on franchise icons Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, both of whom are free agents but have interest in returning for another go-around in St. Louis. And, of course, none of that group would do much to address the team’s frequently anemic offense, which will be a focal point for president of baseball ops John Mozeliak, GM Mike Girsch and the rest of the front office this winter.
On the surface, there would be good reason for Wong to hold some mutual interest in a reworked deal. Beyond staying with the only club he’s ever known, the offseason market is expected to be rather frigid for mid-tier free agents due to the aforementioned revenue losses. The second base market, in particular, would also hold plenty of competition, most notably in the form of Yankees star DJ LeMahieu. He’s far from the only starting-caliber second baseman who’ll hit free agency this winter, however. Cesar Hernandez, Jonathan Schoop and bounce-back candidate Jonathan Villar will all be on the market alongside myriad utility types who could capably hold down a second base gig on at least a part-time basis. The expected deluge of non-tenders should only add to the competition.
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There’s no telling to what extent Cards chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. is willing to spend in the wake of revenue losses, but it’ll presumably be at a lower level than the rough $168M projection (pre-prorating) that Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez put on their 2020 roster. DeWitt is the same owner who famously claimed that the baseball industry simply “isn’t very profitable” earlier this year.
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Related slideshow: Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise? (Provided by Yardbarker)
Who has the most home runs in a season for every MLB franchise?
Has the home run been diminished by the fact the ball seems to fly out of the park these days? Perhaps a little, but we still love the long ball. We know who has the greatest home run seasons in MLB history, but every franchise has a single-season record for homers as well. That’s just math. Who is the slugger with the most dingers in a year for every team? Here they are, in alphabetical order based on team city.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Luis Gonzalez
2001 was a magical year for the Diamondbacks. Not only did they win the World Series over the Yankees, but Gonzalez also had a career season. Shockingly, the 33-year-old hit 57 homers after never hitting more than 31 in any of his other campaigns. Of course since this was 2001, some are skeptical in hindsight. We’re not here to pass judgment.
Atlanta Braves: Andruw Jones
Jones should be a Hall of Famer. He made his MLB debut as a teenager and quickly became the best center fielder in baseball. Eventually he would bulk up a bit and become a slugger as well. Jones hit 51 homers in 2005. When you can do that one year and win a Gold Glove the next, you should be knocking on the door of Cooperstown.
Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis
How quickly things can change. In 2013, Davis hit 53 homers to lead the majors. He did it again with 47 in 2015. Now? He’s arguably the worst hitter in baseball. Davis batted a combined .172 between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and even set a record for consecutive at-bats without a hit.
Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa
Oh, to put up 66 homers in a season and be an afterthought. That’s what happened to Sosa in 1998. Only two men have ever hit more home runs than Sosa in a year, but one of those guys did it the same year the Cubs slugger hit his 66 jacks. Well, at least he still has the single-season record for a storied franchise.
Chicago White Sox: Albert Belle
We get to the first team without a 50-homer season in its history. Pick up the slack, White Sox! Funnily enough, it was also 1998 when Belle set the "other" Chicago team’s franchise record. He couldn’t quite hit 66 homers though, settling for “only” 49.
Cincinnati Reds: George Foster
Who? You may not recognize the name, on account of the fact he isn’t a particularly famous player and also because he retired in 1986. It was in 1977 that Foster not only hit 52 home runs but also won the NL MVP. Alas, he was overshadowed by a few of his teammates on Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine.
Cleveland Indians: Jim Thome
Thome had a reputation for being “country strong.” Maybe that’s because he wasn’t cut or muscular but instead seemed like a big slab of man. Despite not being the pinnacle of fitness, you can’t deny the power in Thome’s bat. He racked up a ton of homers in his career, including 52 in 2002.
Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker and Todd Helton
Yes, we have a tie in Colorado. In fact, it’s the only tie among MLB’s 30 franchises. Walker hit 49 homers in 1997. Helton did it in 2001. Yes, despite the thin air at Coors Field, no Rockie has a 50-homer season.
Houston Astros: Jeff Bagwell
Apparently sign stealing didn’t help any Astros set a new franchise record for homers. Instead, famed Houston slugger Bagwell, forever remembered for his funky stance, has held the record since way back in 2000. He hit 47 dingers in the heyday of the “Killer B’s.”
Kansas City Royals: Jorge Soler
Soler was considered one of the best prospects in baseball out of Cuba, but he couldn't stay healthy with the Cubs. Prior to 2019, he had never played more than 101 games in a season. In 2019, he played a full 162 game season and hit 48 homers.
Los Angeles Angels: Troy Glaus
Nope, it’s not Mike Trout. It isn’t even Vlad Guerrero. Instead, it’s the largely forgotten Glaus who has the record for the Angels. In 2000 Glaus smacked 47 homers for Anaheim. Given the era, some may view that with skepticism. Well we have news for you. A lot of these records were set between 1998 and 2002.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Shawn Green
So many great players have worn Dodger blue, but it’s Green who hit more homers in a season than any of them. Not that Green was a slouch as a player. He had a solid career, but he made only two All-Star Games. Weirdly that doesn’t include 2001 when he set a Dodgers record with 49 homers.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
So many great players have spent parts of their careers in Miami, but they all end up moving on. Stanton is one of them. He hit 59 homers in 2017 and won the NL MVP. That offseason he was traded to the Yankees. And they wonder why there are attendance problems in Miami.
Minnesota Twins: Harmon Killebrew
The Twins set a new record for most home runs as a team in 2019, but no individual player hit more than Killebrew. The man rumored to be the source of the silhouette in the MLB logo was a tremendous slugger, leading the AL in homers six times. He hit 49 home runs twice in his career, so he in a way is tied with himself for the record in Minnesota. Killebrew did it the first time in 1964 and then again in 1969.
New York Mets: Pete Alonso
You know in what season this happened. After all, Alonso was a rookie in 2019. Yes, he stepped into the majors and immediately hit 53 homers. Naturally, he won Rookie of the Year. He hit more homers than any other rookie in baseball history. Of course he did.
New York Yankees: Roger Maris
While Maris’ 61 homers have been passed a few times now, his 1961 season is still the stuff of legend. For years, Babe Ruth, a fellow Yankee, had the record with 60 homers. Then, Maris bested it to set a new major league record. Since he played in more games, though, some wanted to put an asterisk on Maris’ 61 homers. Then there are those who still say he has the record, but we aren’t going to debate.
Oakland Athletics: Jimmie Foxx
This is the oldest season on the list. In fact, it was so long ago the Athletics were still in Philadelphia. Foxx was one of the original true sluggers in baseball. When he hit 58 homers for the A’s in 1932, it was almost unheard of at the time. Heck, it’s still almost unheard of.
Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard
From Philly’s old team to the current one. Howard’s one skill was slugging, but he could do that with aplomb at his peak. He was certainly at the prime of his powers in 2006 when he hit a whopping 58 dingers. Yes, that’s the same number Foxx hit in the same city over 70 years prior. Maybe it’s a Philadelphia thing.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Ralph Kiner
Kiner made the Hall of Fame despite playing in only 10 seasons. He got a lot of bang for his buck though. Kiner led the National League in home runs seven straight seasons to start his career. That includes the 1949 campaign when he went yard 54 times.
San Diego Padres: Greg Vaughn
This was before the Padres moved to the spacious confines of Petco Park, which has suppressed homers quite a bit. Vaughn is one of the lesser-known names on this list, as he bounced around the majors and never led the league in homers. Vaughn did hit 50 homers in 1998, though. Of course, that year he wasn’t close to sniffing the lead in the NL.
Seattle Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr.
There are complicated feelings about Alex Rodriguez, and maybe even Randy Johnson, in Seattle. That doesn’t feel like it’s the case with Griffey. The Kid made himself a star in Seattle before heading to Cincinnati where his father played. Griffey hit 56 homers in back-to-back campaigns, first in 1997 and then again in 1998. That first year he also led the majors in RBI, which helped him win his only MVP.
San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds
Remember this guy? We’re sure you do. Bonds is one of the most polarizing players ever, and to some, he’s the face of the steroid era. Say what you will, but the man was an incredible hitter. In addition to having the most career home runs in MLB history, he also had the best individual season ever. In 2001, he hit a staggering 73 homers. Nobody is ever going to do that again.
St. Louis Cardinals: Mark McGwire
That 1998 season? The one where Greg Vaughn hit 50 and Sammy Sosa hit 66? In the end, that year belonged to Big Mac. He and Sosa were racing to beat Maris’ record. They both did it, but in the end McGwire got the upper hand. He was the first player to ever hit 70 home runs in a season and one of only two guys to do it.
Tampa Bay Rays: Carlos Pena
The Rays and the Diamondbacks are the two most recent teams to join the majors. Arizona has that one crazy season from Luis Gonzalez. Tampa doesn’t have that. Pena set the franchise mark in 2007 with 46 homers. That’s tied with the fewest homers to be a team record.
Texas Rangers: Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez got a lot of guff when he left the Mariners to join the Rangers. Signing a truly insane contract didn’t help. People wanted him to fail. He didn’t win a ring in Texas, but you can’t blame Rodriguez for that. A-Rod won the MVP in his final season with the Rangers, but it’s the year before, 2002, when he hit 57 homers.
Toronto Blue Jays: Jose Bautista
It took a while for Bautista to get his career going. Heading into 2010, he had 59 home runs in his career. Joey Bats was 29 and seemed like a journeyman. Then suddenly, he exploded for 54 homers. It wasn’t a total fluke either, and more a sign of him being a late bloomer. Bautista made six All-Star Games in a row and added two more 40-homer seasons in his career.
Washington Nationals: Alfonso Soriano
This includes when the Nationals were known as the Expos, but evidently none of Montreal’s sluggers ever hit that many homers. After all, Soriano’s record, which he set in 2006, is only 46. That means he is the guy tied with Pena for the most meager home run record. How long will the record be safe? Well, now that Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon are gone, it may be a bit safer.
Cardinals expected to discuss new contract with Kolten Wong .
An angry Philly fan challenges Jim Schwartz to a fight just as Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was hopping on the line. Doug defends his defensive coordinator after the Philadelphia Eagles week 5 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers