Cardinals, Royals adding pieces in the offseason
COLUMBIA - While both the Cardinals and Royals made the MLB playoffs in 2014, there has been a substantial amount of change for both Missouri teams so far this offseason.
For the Royals, gone is fan-favorite designated hitter Billy Butler. Butler signed a 3-year, $30 million deal with the Oakland Athletics back in November. Butler made an interesting trade with new teammate Josh Reddick to keep his number 16 jersey.
Also gone is relief pitcher (and former Missouri Tiger) Aaron Crow. Crow was traded to the Miami Marlins for pitchers Brian Flynn and Reid Redman.
Kansas City was able to resign two key bullpen contributors from the 2014 American League Championship team of this past season.
The Royals agreed to a one-year deal with an option for 2016 with reliever Jason Frasor. Frasor was 3-0 with a 1.53 ERA for Kansas City last season after being acquired from the Rangers.
The 2014 AL Champions also came to terms with relief pitcher Luke Hochevar on a two-year deal.
This biggest splash of the offseason for the Royals so far has been the signing of Kendrys Morales. They signed the Cuban slugger to a two-year, $17 million contract earlier this December. Morales is expected to fill the DH void left by Billy Butler.
For the team on the other side of Missouri, a big trade has dominated the offseason talk so far.
The Cardinals kicked off the 2014-2015 hot stove season by acquiring outfielder Jason Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.
Heyward will patrol right field for St. Louis, who was left without a starting right fielder following the tragic death of Oscar Taveras earlier in the offseason.
Like Billy Butler, Heyward was able to keep the number he wore for his previous team after an agreement to switch with manager Mike Matheny.
Nice gesture by Mike Matheny to give his No. 22 to Jason Heyward. Here's why Heyward wears No. 22: https://t.co/DVqc1EIFKt— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 25, 2014
The Cardinals made another move by signing former Rockies reliever Matt Belisle to a one-year deal. Belisle and Walden will help to fill the void in the bullpen left by the departure of 2014 All-Star reliever Pat Neshek, who recently signed with the Houston Astros.
The most recent addition by the Cardinals, first baseman Mark Reynolds, has led his league in strikeouts an astounding four times. Reynolds is expected to add some thump to a St. Louis bench that had just two pinch-hit home runs in 2014.
Both the Cardinals and Royals have made some significant changes so far this winter, and with Spring Training still two and a half months away, more moves could be on the horizon.