Kyle Russell said Cards gave him a bad vibe

8 Feb

The soap opera that we just won’t let die…

“You know basically when you get drafted by the New York Yankees that there’s a good chance you’re not going to come back because they’re going to offer you a great amount of money,” Russell said. “It was in everybody’s head that he’s going to go off and start his career in baseball. We figured that.”

The difference: (Bradley) Suttle’s deal was all but done from the start, but Russell didn’t get the same vibe from the Cardinals’


“All the puzzle pieces didn’t quite fit together,” Russell said.

The Cardinals aren’t the Yankees, to be sure, but Russell said there isn’t a team he wouldn’t play for. He wants to play for an MLB club, but he just didn’t feel comfortable enough to book a one-way flight to St. Louis.

Russell relied on his intuition and the body language of Major League reps to make potentially a $1 million decision.

Suttle was also a 4th rounder, and the Yanks paid $1.3 million. As angry as I was about this, the Cardinals did do their homework.

The Cardinals have kept close tabs on the left handed-hitting outfielder throughout this summer as he’s played for the Santa Barbara team in the California Collegiate League. As many as five different Cardinals scouts have seen him play this summer. A couple officials attended the opening games of the National Baseball Congress World Series — where Russell’s Santa Barbara team is the defending champion — earlier this week. In addition to watching him play, the two Cardinals instructors took video of Russell’s batting practice. It’s a practice the Cardinals have employed with other draft picks (like first-round pick Peter Kozma), and it allows them to zip what they saw to the laptops of the execs who will write the formal offer.

Russell probably doesn’t have anywhere to go but down after his record breaking year at Texas, so I really have no idea what he was thinking. If he’s following his gut, more power to him, I suppose. Now if he somehow shows improvement, would the Cardinals take another shot at him???



12 Responses to “Kyle Russell said Cards gave him a bad vibe”

  1. Bill February 8, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    Just remember that 29 other organizations, including the Yankees, didn’t take him, and then overpay him relative to “slot,” in the fourth (or late third) round either. Sounds to me like Russell is not entirely well screwed on.

    This may have come up here before, but if so, I can’t find it: For the 2007 Cardinals draftees who did sign, how did their contracts stack up to the nominal “slot” recommendations? How about compared to other teams? The Baseball Prospectus guys describe St. Louis as “a thorough, professional, and somewhat conservative organization,” which I think is accurate on all counts, and such an organization is probably less likely to go significantly over slot than some others. But again, 29 other teams didn’t take a shot at the guy after he fell below his nominal level.

    As for taking another shot at him, my vote would be to start the 2008 draft with a clean slate. In June, either he’s worth drafting or he’s not; the past is just a goodbye.

  2. Matt February 8, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    beating a dead horse, but wth? If someone wanted to toss a mill at me to play a game I loved, I’d think something was fishy too… but I’d still take the mill and play, even if my friend was tossed 30% more to play. Going on just your gut’ isn’t a great idea. If it doesn’t feel right, take the time to figure out WHY it doesn’t feel right. Getting 30% less than your teammate who got the highest 4th round bonus check in history from the richest club in baseball doesn’t seem to make the threshold of fishy. Did he just not like the cardinals reps that he met with? he doesn’t seem to have handled this with a whole lot of maturity. I would think his comments and actions torched any shot he had of playing in this org. “Play for any club”… sure… for the right price. Maybe he just doesn’t like the cardinals and needed more money to play for them.

  3. birdo February 8, 2008 at 9:50 am #

    I think Erik hit on something important in the last paragraph – Russell might have had the best season he could possibly have at Texas last year, and then struggled with the wood bat once again after the NCAA season ended.
    How much can his stock possibly rise from now until June? Will he really get much more than $1M after the ’08 draft? I get the feeling this guy might not sign on with a team until 2009…

  4. Sunil February 8, 2008 at 11:12 am #

    By shutting out a middle-of-the-road team like the Cards, Russell’s basically said that unless he’s drafted by a profligate club, his contract demands will be unrealistically high. It stands to reason that he’s limited the number of teams who will draft him, ultimately limiting the number of spots he can be drafted. That could end up hurting him, even if he does have a good season, one would think.

    Maybe he should’ve taken an agent’s advice.

  5. SleepyCA February 8, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    This sounds like sour grapes to me. It sounds like the cards drafted him, watched him play with a wooden bat, decided he wasn’t as good as they thought he was when they drafted him based off of his inflated aluminum numbers, and then decided not to overpay him, bruising his ego a bit.

    Either that or he’s making these statements so that other teams think it was him who decided not to sign rather than the cardinals writing him off (wasting a draft pick in the process)…

    I think he’ll get his money next year, though, and then go on to set a record for strikeouts in A ball.

  6. SleepyCA February 8, 2008 at 1:10 pm #

    Oh, also, missed this bit in the article- it looks like Russel (or the author) thinks Suttle is going right to the big league club:

    “Russell got an offer to play in the Cardinals’ farm system, while his ex-teammate got an invitation to play for the Yankees.”

    Sorry, but Suttle got an offer to play in the Yankees farm system, and Russell got an offer to play in the Cardinals’ farm system.

  7. erik February 8, 2008 at 1:14 pm #

    Yeah, he comes off looking really bad in that article, I didn’t like it at all. I’m glad they didn’t sign him with some sort of an sense of entitlement like that.

  8. Toddy February 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    He does has a tall, live body, but with a long swing and a tough time making contact. . .oh sure, there’s a CHANCE he could be Ryan Howard. But the odds are greater than he’ll be Billy Ashley, or Russell Branyan, or any number of guys who eek their way to the majors and end up with a littany of .220 averages. Too many holes in that swing to invest more than $1 mil. I think he’ll get to the majors because he’ll flash power and a club will have invested a lot of $$$ into him, but he’ll be lucky to put up Phil Plantier-type numbers.

  9. awpierce February 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm #

    Didn’t this site have a post during the summer about what should the Cardinals pay him? Was there a consensus $ figure?

  10. southeast redbird February 9, 2008 at 11:12 pm #

    If a player wants to really play pro ball, that extra money means nothing. It appeared at this point, he just wanted to go back to play college ball.

  11. knowhimpersonally June 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    How about the fact that he needed to make sure he had his education, the agent, and other expenses paid for before leaving a free college education. He is a classy guy, who had needs that weren’t met by the team making the offer, and he declined. Lots of speculatory bullshit on this thread. Seems like you guys would rather talk about how he’s not worth it than realize he set the college regular season homerun record now two years in a row. Seems like he should get a little more respect from a bunch of fans.

  12. knowhimpersonally June 5, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    haha drafted by LA, one of the teams that “passed” last time. I suppose you guys can remember that next time you are making baseless speculations.

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