Friday, January 30, 2009

[UCB Blog Swap] Cardinals and free agency: a patchwork history

[Editor's note: The UCB's latest project is a blog swap. A few of us have written posts to be published on someone else's blog, and no one knows who is writing where (except the writer and host blog, of course). The following post was written by one of my fellow bloggers. Can you guess which one? And can you find my post out there in the blogosphere? If you want to guess whose work this is, please do so in the comments section. To read the other participants' entries, please visit C70 at the bat, Cardinals Diaspora, Fungoes, Pitchers Hit Eighth, and Play a Hard Nine. Enjoy!]

With Cardinal fans clamoring more and more every off-season for the Cardinals to be big spenders in the free agent market, I thought I’d take a brief look back at this ownership’s forays into free agency and how they turned out:

Keep in mind, I said brief, so I’m going to limit my scope here to relatively significant contracts, for multiple years and significant dollars – none of the one-year “low-hanging fruit” variety – since that’s what everyone’s after anyway, the big contract and big names.


Gary Gaetti, 3B, 2 years
Andy Benes, SP, 2 years
Ron Gant, OF, 5 years

Gosh, it’s been that long ago that Ron Gant was roaming the outfield at Busch II? Seems like just yesterday. So Gaetti wasn’t bad in his time, but then pulled an Edmonds and signed with the Cubs after being released (or maybe Jimmy pulled a Gaetti?). Benes had a great 1996, going 18-10 as the Cards went to the playoffs.


Delino DeShields, 2B, 2 years

DeShields played two solid, if fairly unspectacular years for the Cardinals. What’s worse is that those two unspectacular years might rank as a couple of the best since new ownership took over.


Kent Bottenfield, RP/SP

Bottenfield was (kind of) the first conversion project for the Cardinals. He broke into the bigs as a starter, then went to the pen for several years before the Cards put him in the rotation. He won 18 games in 1999, which the Cardinals parlayed into Jim Edmonds.


Eric Davis, OF, 2 years
Scott Radinsky, RP, 2 years

Meh. Neither had much of an impact.


Mike Matheny, C, 3 years
Andy Benes, SP (again)

Matheny worked out great for the Cards both as their star defensive catcher (something Tony craves) as well as a mentor for Yadier Molina. Benes was now on the downside of his career, but provided veteran leadership and toughness. Probably not enough to be worth what they paid him.


Nothing of note

Perhaps sitting on their laurels after the 2000 playoff run?


Jason Isringhausen, RP, 4 years
Tino Martinez, 1B, 3 years
So Taguchi, OF, 3 years

Here’s the big spending. Isringhausen, for all of the hatred he’s received the past couple of seasons, turned out to be an excellent signing. He is the Cardinals’ all-time leader in saves, and prior to breaking down was just as maddening, but at least reliable to go out there every day. Taguchi was a big rush of excitement as the team’s first Japanese signing, but was promptly sent to the minors. He turned into a crowd favorite in St Louis as a pinch hitter and defensive specialist. Plus, he really didn’t cost them much of anything.

Then there’s Tino. Ah, Tino Martinez. You never could’ve filled the previous first baseman’s andro bottles. It was a no-win situation for you, and you took advantage. This is probably the worst contract (injury issues aside) of this Cardinal ownership regime. I would also classify it as perhaps the beginning of the Cardinals’ proclivity to shy away from the free agent market. They had to pay Tino a bunch of money to play poorly and then pay a bunch of money on top of it just to get rid of him.


Nothing of note

Well, at least they didn’t sign Tino again.


Nothing of note

By this point, Walt Jocketty had settled into his master plan. Trade for the veterans and make sure they fit with the team before handing out huge contracts. See Mark McGwire, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, et al.


David Eckstein, SS, 3 years

Eckstein was the hero of the 2006 World Series Champion team, and arguably at a bargain compared to the contract outgoing shortstop Edgar Renteria received from Boston .


Braden Looper, RP, 3 years
Juan Encarnacion, OF, 3 years

I’m not sure how Looper’s contract would’ve looked had he remained in the bullpen. As it were, his two seasons starting made him look cheap in comparison as he was eating up innings in the rotation. Would Cardinal fans be singing a different tune if he were lumped into a group with those scallywags in the bullpen? Poor Juan Encarnacion. I just hope Juan can eventually find a return to some sort of normal life after baseball.


Adam Kennedy, 2B, 3 years

The modern-day Tino Martinez? Kennedy is reviled in St Louis, not only for perceived poor performance (I say perceived because he is hanging right around his career numbers – you get what you pay for), but also for feuding with the manager, demanding a trade but then being basically so worthless that the Cardinals can’t give him away, and then ultimately being settled into the 2009 starting 2B slot (albeit likely prohibiting the Cardinals from making another bad move by overpaying one of the available free agent 2B).


Nothing of note

The team at this point is clearly heading in the direction of self-sufficiency. Having some great drafts under their belt since Jeff Luhnow took over, the Cardinals’ farm system is experiencing a renaissance. Jocketty would’ve long traded these guys away for veteran stars, but Cardinal fans have seen where that puts the team down the road when the prospects run out.

Finally, this list only takes into account “new” free agent signings. This list doesn’t include contracts like Joel Pineiro, Mark Mulder, Chris Carpenter, Scott Spiezio – other deals that have certainly wasted a few dollars and tested patience. Heck, you might even put Kyle Lohse on there – he readily admits now that he was pressuring management to extend his contract – he saw the writing on the wall, and wanted to get in before the market fell out from under him again. Think the Cardinals regret that just a bit now? Or how about Mark McGwire? The Cardinals are darn lucky that he left his guaranteed contract extension on the table in 2001 rather than signing it and walking away. I wonder how different the team would’ve been in 2004 if they had to pay McGwire that $30mm over 2002 and 2003?

While I hope it’s not the case, because eventually the time will come when it will be necessary to dive in and make a big free agent splash to supplement the homegrown kids, I can’t help but wonder if the Cardinals have gotten burned one too many times with big open-market free agent deals? Are they gun-shy?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

pitching tuesday (brevemente)

Andy Pettitte re-signed with the New York "we [heart] capitalism" Yankees, which disappoints me somewhat. I think he would have rounded out our rotation quite nicely, and while I realize that he probably wouldn't have given any other team (namely, us) the obvious discount he gave the Steinbrenners, I don't think it would have cost us an arm and a leg either. Yes, he's approaching the end of his career, and yes, he declined a bit last year, but I still like him, and no, I don't have any fabulous reasons for this.

Spring Training starts soon, and chances are once we see what we've got (and other teams take stock as well), there might still be some deals waiting to be done.

Wish I had more....

Oh, well, I do have this. There's an article to accompany it (en español) which basically says that some designer (Adam Norton) turned a dresser/wardrobe into a "house" (if you can call it that), complete with bed, kitchen, and bathroom, and which is described as "not small, [but rather] intimate." Everything in the "house" serves double-duty except, the author hopes (as do I), the trash can which collects "intestinal excretions." There's also an article in English, if you're interested (although it's not as funny). Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

a link to pass the time

The Pitch with Joe Aiello and Brandon Rosage, minute 18:15. For about 3 or 4 minutes, they dissect the chat Moze had with fans, talk about TLR making "soup out of nothing", and examine Khalil Greene's value.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

John Mozeliak goes shoe shopping, part 6

John Mozeliak was a patient man. Everyone knew it. He had never been accused of being impulsive or spontaneous, and never would. He was meticulous. He was thoughtful. He could out-wait anyone or anything. 

Once, as a boy, he had waited so patiently for the price to come down on a new sled, that by the time he was willing to buy it, the snow had all melted and he didn't need it anymore. That shrewd move had saved him not only the three dollars he would have spent, but also countless hours in the cold, wet snow with his friends, during which time he probably only would have gotten sick or injured anyway. 

His son's voice snapped him out of his trance. "Dad, would you please just decide already?" 

John stared at the Monopoly board and bit his bottom lip. His game piece rested on Marvin Gardens, and John was trying to decide whether to purchase a house for his newly acquired property. The decision to buy the square lot had been difficult enough. He glanced at his piles of cash on the table in front of him. Did he have enough? Should he risk the investment? Would it pay off in the long run? 

"Dad, please. I have to go to school in 14 hours." Bobby sighed and propped his head with his hand, his elbow resting on the table. 

"All right." John drew out his words in an attempt to buy more time. He began to count out some bills, but then stopped and took a deep breath. He was having second thoughts about the purchase. 

Exasperated, his son got up from the table and opened his mouth in a silent scream as he walked out of the dining room. 

The game had been going on for almost two hours, and John and his son had each had exactly eight turns with the dice. John could understand his son's feelings. He had seen them before in his parents, his classmates, his friends, and his wife. People usually got quickly frustrated with his patience

John looked up when he heard his wife enter the room. He hadn't noticed until then that his son was gone. "Oh. I guess he gave up on me." He smiled sadly, then began packing up the Monopoly game. 

"Yeah, hon. Don't worry, though. He just has homework to do," she said, trying to soothe him. 

"That's alright," he sighed. "I need to get on the internet and look for some shoes, anyway." He carefully placed Monopoly back on top of the stack of board games in the closet, then sat down at the computer in his study and began his search for new footwear. 

John had his favorite shopping sites bookmarked, so he started there. He surfed through outlet sites, retail sites, and specialty sites. He browsed casual shoes, dress shoes, and athletic shoes. He checked prices and compared details. He stared at the computer screen until he thought he might go blind, and then after a quick snack break, got right back to it. 

After hours of searching, John ended up on a site he'd never visited before. It was small and new, and featured a limited selection of shoes along with various shoe accessories (socks, laces, inserts, and so on). There was nothing too fancy, nothing too pricey, and John was excited. 

Had he stumbled upon a true bargain? Was this website the undiscovered gem he'd been waiting his whole life for? Well, maybe nothing that dramatic, but the prices were reasonable and the product, at least at first glance, appeared to be top quality. He scrolled through the items slowly, carefully examining each shoe, and making note of the styles and colors available. As he approached the bottom of the page, he noticed a link for a related website, one offering high quality shoes for rock bottom prices. 

Unable to resist, John clicked on the link and was connected to a dimly-lit page with a minimal design and flashing ads in every corner. It was a forum of some type, and there appeared to be several discussions going on. John clicked on the heading of a topic entitled "the best shoes: what it takes" and began to read the entries. 

shoelvr56: well i just think thta u hafta spend lots of $$ to get a god product. u get wat u pay for. 

spikedheels4: riiiight. accept, what about teh Strikers from 2003??? the were good, AND they were cheap. YOu could get a decent pair of sneakers 4 cheap cuz nobody knew about them. 

heirJordan: i agree with shoelvr. you can't wait around for a deal, customers need to buy whats gonna give them teh best fit even if they have to pay a lot for it. 

John was intrigued by the conversation, and decided to join in. He did know a thing or two about shoes, after all, and was more than happy to share his knowledge with the other consumers out there. He chose a screen name, signed in, and began to type. 

GrandMarquis: Hello there, fellow shoe aficionados! I'm new to this forum, but I'm kind of an expert on shoes, and I'd love to discuss shoes and shoe shopping if anyone is interested! 

To be continued continued continued ....

creating conspiracy where there may or may not be any

There's some semi-disturbing news out there in Cardinal Nation. Troy Glaus had surgery to debride his shoulder, a non-worrisome procedure in and of itself. Debridement is basically done to remove dead tissue that may be preventing proper healing in an old surgical site. The disturbing part is that, because of the timing and the dubious explanation given, I can't help but wonder if any part of the story is true.

Let's examine this, shall we?

1. Neither Troy nor anyone affiliated with the team mentioned this "problem" at the WWU mere days ago. From this we can draw one of two conclusions:

(a) there was no problem at that point, or

(b) no one wanted fans to know at that point.

2. The surgery is taking place at such a time that Troy will almost certainly miss regular season playing time due to recovery or extended Spring Training. This begs the question: Why not have the "procedure" done earlier in the off-season? The answer to that question lies hidden in the reason for the secrecy.

If (a) there was no problem previous to, say, yesterday, then the explanation for the "procedure" is inaccurate. I can't think of one sound medical reason for "emergency debridement" in a case where there was no recent surgical wound that might need it. If Troy was having a "healthy winter" as he said, then there's something else going on we're not privy to. If this was in fact an emergency, chances are it wasn't a debridement, as they claim.

If it is what they say it is and no one mentioned it because (b) no one wanted fans to know at the WWU, then the secrecy becomes even more intriguing. If it is a case of a routine procedure, why wouldn't they mention it before now? Is this just another example of the CIA-like covertness of the Cardinals front office? Or is there something more serious going on?

Am I starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist? Maybe I should wait until more information is released before I start getting my foil hat ready. John Mozeliak is supposed to make some comments later today about the situation. Maybe he'll slip up and actually give us some solid information.

The good news (if you want to look for the silver lining) is that this could be a big break for some of the up-and-coming third base stars we have, kids who are just waiting for the chance to prove themselves.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


First of all, it was gracious of John to do the whole "chat live with fans" bit, and I appreciate his willingness to answer pre-screened (if not completely coherent) questions. 

That being said, once you get right down to it, I'm not sure what the point is, seeing as he never really says anything of substance or use. (I also worry a little about the impression he's getting of Cardinals fans based on the sample.) 

I'm not trying to belittle the idea, though. Please don't confuse me with Mr. "I hate Bill Dewitt!!" 

Here's my breakdown of what he shared: 

Rotation: set for now, but once we get into ST and determine once and for all how effective Carp will be, there could possibly be a trade for a starter. Don't look for any moves before the end of March. 

Shumaker: will get a look in the infield, but will probably only play there if he gets on some crazy offensive tear and needs to be in the lineup every day and that's the only way to get it done. 

Fans' outrage: deep in their hearts, fans understand the system (and wouldn't want this job for a second if they knew half of what goes on). 

Payroll/economy: you can't judge (or predict) a team's success solely on spending. And stop asking. 

Rebuilding: not here. Rebuilding means a change in philosophy and re-working the system from the ground up. We're not starting over, we're simply carrying on. The plan is what it has always been: winning. 

TLR in 2010: still unknown. 

Low-hanging fruit: it helps to have a good sense of humor about these things. 

His own awesomeness: aw, shucks. 

All in all, he basically confirmed what we've all guessed: don't hold your breath for any big moves. I think his outlook is reasonable, and maybe there is a point to this excercise after all. Maybe it was a reminder that GMs don't get paid nearly enough for the BS they have to put up with.

Monday, January 19, 2009

béisbol mundial

So we've all heard by now that ba-Dunc-a-dunc ($850K with $500K incentives) and Wellemeyer ($4.05 million) have agreed to one-year deals with the Cardinals, and now we're all waiting on pins and needles to hear how discussions go with Thompson, Ankiel, and Ludwick.

In the meantime, I'm anxious for the World Baseball Classic. released the list of players on their respective 45-man rosters. (Apparently, no one can be added after today, and the list will be whittled down to 28 before February 24.)

From the Cardinals (and I assume those of you more familiar with the minors will have a better idea who some of these guys are):

García, Isa (PAN)
Hawksworth, Blake (CAN)
Ludwick, Ryan (USA)
Molina, Yadier (PUR)
Nieto, Arquimedes (PAN)
Ottavino, Adam (ITA)
Piñeiro, Joel (PUR)
Pujols, Albert (DOM)
Smith, Curt (NED)

I could've sworn that I'd heard mention of Ankiel playing for team USA, but no Ankiel.

p.s. - Sounds like Albert won't be playing after all.

Anyway, Puerto Rico's team looks like this:

Alvarado, Giancarlo
Baéz, Federico
Cabrera, Fernando
Calero, Enrique ("Kiko")
Feliciano, Pedro
Figueroa, Nelson
Gutiérrez, Carlos
López, Javier
Maldonado, Iván
Matos, Josué
Padilla, Juan
Piñeiro, Joel
Rivera, Saúl ("Monaguillo")
Roman, Orlando
Romero, J.C.
Sánchez, Jonathan
Santiago, José ("Iche")
Santiago, Tomás
Snell, Ian
Vázquez, Javier

Casanova, Raúl
Molina, Bengie
Molina, Yadier
Rodríguez, Iván
Soto, Geovany
Valentín, Javier

Avilés, Mike
Cora, Alex
De Jesús, Iván
Delgado, Carlos
Figueroa, Luis ("Wicho")
González, Andy
López, Felipe
Lowell, Mike
Valentín, José ("Tony")
Vázquez, Ramón

Beltrán, Carlos
Bocachica, Hiram
Feliciano, Jesús ("Motorita")
Matos, Luis
Montañez, Lou
Padilla, Jorge
Ríos, Alex
Torres, Andrés
Williams, Bernie

Oquendo, José ("Cheíto")

Pool A gets us started March 5 (with China and Japan). USA and Puerto Rico each have their first game March 7 (versus Canada and Panamá, repectively).

Saturday, January 17, 2009


What a fabulous idea! (Are you allowed to use the word fabulous on a baseball blog? Ah well....) John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer has written a list of predictions, but it's not exactly what you think. He predicts what the Reds aren't going to do as the off-season progresses. Yes! I thought so too!

So sin más preámbulos, here's what I predict the Cardinals aren't going to do between now and, say, the beginning of Spring Training.

I'll start off with some easy ones.

(1) The Cardinals aren't going to bring Russ Springer back. Maybe this is cheating since they just officially announced it, but after reading his remarks, I think this will turn out to have been a mistake. However, as I may have mentioned before, no one ever asks me.

(2) The Cards won't sign any more middle infielders. Short is set. Second is all but set. The role of the utility man (formerly played by Supermiles) will now be played by someone who's already on the payroll. What with the salaries we have and the surplus of young talent, the only thing yet to be decided is how Tony's going to work 154 different lineups out of what he's got.

(3) The Cards won't bring back Izzy. As much as it saddens me to admit, I don't think Jason has a home in the organization anymore. I won't get up on my soap box right now, though. I'll spare you that.*

*This doesn't mean I'm ready to take his name off the roster, however.

(4) The Cards won't sign any of the big name free agents still on the market. Sheesh. Did I startle you with that one? If so, you haven't been paying attention. (Just to clarify, if the 'Birds do bring in another starter, it'll be someone nearly unheard of.*)

*I'm still hoping for Andy Pettitte, but I'm trying to be realistic here.

Now on to the harder stuff.

(5) The Cards won't sign Ankiel to a long-term contract. Even if he does get a one-year arb deal for more money than he made last year, he is (a) represented by the baby-eater, and (b) far too valuable for the likes of our outfield. Either he'll get traded for some pitching help, or this will be his last season with the club that grew him.

(6) The Cards won't designate a "closer". This will continue to be a sore spot with both management and fans, but lacking a veteran with big league closing experience, Tony will allow the duties to be split between Perez, Motte, and Franklin, much like last year.

(7) The Cards won't trade Schumaker. Ludwick had a spectacular season last year, and Ankiel is our own little living piece of history, but either of them is worth more than Skip overall. Therefore, his head is safe as long as the outfielder market isn't completely dried up.

(8) The Cards won't count out Carpenter until his arm literally falls off on the mound. And can't be sewn back on. Or duct taped. And he can't learn to pitch left-handed. You will never hear Mozeliak (even as prone as he is to choosing the wrong words) say that Carp is done unless he is really, truly, completely done. And by that I mean dead.

It's hard to imagine things going any more slowly, but I also know that there's still plenty of time, and it's not like the Cards haven't done anything. I'm just trying to stay awake.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

you didn't see anything...

I've decided I'm not going to get my hopes up anymore this off-season. I'm not going to jump at every rumored trade or implied offer. I'm not going to let my heart skip a beat every time I hear that a certain zurdo still hasn't signed a contract for next year. I'm not going to get all excited about the possibilities of players coming to St Louis (or others leaving St Louis), at least until such time as something actually happens. Therefore, I am not going to re-publish what Matthew Leach wrote about the free agent pitching market and its appeal to the Cardinals, specifically concerning that certain zurdo and his impressive inning counts throughout his impressive career....

Andy Pettitte: In some ways, he's a perfect fit. A left-hander would add some balance to the St. Louis rotation, and Pettitte reconsiders his desire to keep pitching each winter -- so he could likely be had on a one-year deal. He's the only remaining free agent who reached 200 innings in 2008. In fact, he's hit that milestone four years running. Pettitte would likely cost quite a bit -- he reportedly turned down $10 million from the Yankees -- but also might well be worth it.

Of course, I'm also not going to mention the other starters whose attributes he breaks down, because I'm just not going there anymore.

Garland: not really a ground ball pitcher

I don't know much about this guy. He did recently turn down an offer from Arizona (maybe in the one-year/$4 million range), but with the pitching that the D'backs have, I'm sure they weren't offering the moon. He apparently made $12 million in 2008, then rejected an arbitration offer from the Angels. Either he's looking for a long-term deal that he anticipated LA (Anaheim?) wasn't willing to give, or he's completely off his rocker.

Looper: dependable

We all know what Looper can and can't do. I wouldn't be averse to bringing him back, but again, could you really call that improvement?

Wolf: coming off his first season of more than 23 starts or 136 2/3 innings since 2003

Honestly, maybe we could turn him into a reliever. Other than that, I'm not interested.

Sheets: elbow trouble... probably won't be cheap

Ha! Probably? Sounds like the Mets are sniffing him, and with the injury history, he won't be worth whatever he ends up signing for.

Odalis Perez: Albert Pujols' personal punching bag

The only benefit I can see is that we could probably get him cheaper than any of the others.

Oliver Perez: in line for one of the bigger pitching deals this winter

Busch Birds pretty well summed up the importance of limiting any deal to one year in order to provide some flexibility in the rotation in seasons to come. If we give Wellemeyer a three-year contract, it would be nice to have a place for some of our pitching prospects (yes, I said prospects) to spread their wings.

But you didn't hear that from me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

it's pitching tuesday (sort of)

It's been awfully quiet around Cardinal Nation lately.

I keep trying to remember my weekly focus on pitching, but inevitably forget and let several weeks go by between installments. (I'll bet you didn't even know I had a weekly segment, did you? Ha ha!)

Let's start around the league (since that's where all the interesting news is). Derek Lowe got 4 years/$60 million from the Braves. Thanks to Mets Grrl for providing a link to an article pointing out some of the racially insensitive baggage he'll be checking on his flight to Atlanta. Kenshin Kawakami also signed with ATL. I'm guessing the two won't be having lunch together in the near future.

These two signings may have been an attempt by the Braves' organization to offset (and possibly divert attention away from) the loss of Atlanta pitching icon John Smoltz.

Elsewhere, the Brewers picked up Trevor Hoffman, and the Dodgers signed Guillermo Mota to a one-year blah. The 'Stros re-blah blah-blah Blah. Blah blah, blah blah-blah-blah. Blah.

That's right. Moving on....

In local news, Chris Carpenter recently told reporters that he's begun tossing the ball in preparation for Spring Training and strengthening. He indicated a willingness to do whatever his manager and pitching coach ask of him.

I'll say now what I said then, and that is I'll do anything they ask me to do. When I came back last year I was in the bullpen, so if that's where the team feels they need me, I'll do it. I just want to pitch again.

I suppose that's encouraging, at least. If there's one pitcher out there that I would say could tough it out and come back, it's Carp (and since we're counting on him, I guess that's a good thing). Keeping my fingers crossed, as always.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

my kinda numbers

I have zero comment on the HoF voting. If anything more needs to be said, someone else can cover it. I'm not sure I agree with the way a lot of awards are determined in MLB, and this is no exception. Take that for what it's worth. I'm also very disappointed with the Mets. Have you seen the patch? Wow. You should see it.
Impressive, no?
Mets spokesperson: "It's a very understated design. Eloquent in its simplicity, even. Asymmetrical yet balanced. As inspirational as a blank page."

Fan: "It looks like the Domino's pizza logo."

Spokesperson: "Yes, but navy and orange."
The Sports Hernia shows us some of the rejected options. And finally, in an effort to avoid thinking about this article (which is so conveniently posted on and which is truly and deeply ticking me off), I decided to take a cue from another article (from DG) and have a look at the jersey numbers that will be available for all our big signings this season. (Did you pick up on the sarcasm there? Yeah.)

1 - OOC
2 - OOC
3 - Greene (Izturis)
4 - Molina
5 - Pujols
6 - OOC
7 - Kennedy
8 - Glaus
9 - OOC
10 - TLR
11 - Oquendo
12 ______ (Miles)
13 - Ryan
14 - OOC
15 - OOC / (McRae)
16 - C. Duncan
17 - OOC
18 - D. Duncan
19______ (T. Johnson)
20 - OOC
21 - LaRue
22______ (López)
23 - Barden
24 - Ankiel
25 - OOC
26 - Lohse
27______ (Villone)
29 - Carpenter
30______ (Mulder)
31 - Franklin
32 - OOC
33______ (Clement)
34 - Ring* (Flores)
35 - Piñeiro
36 - Manning* (Springer)
37 - Wellemeyer
38 - (Mason)
39 - (McKay)
41______ (Looper)
42 - OOC
43 - Miller
45 - OOC
46 - McClellan
47 - Ludwick
48 - Thompson
49 - (Pettini)
50 - Wainwright
51 - OOC
52 - Kinney
53 - M. Johnson?
54 - Barton
55 - Schumaker
56______ (Jiménez)
57 - OOC
60 - Motte
61 - Stavinoha
62 - Mather
63 - Pérez
64 - García
68 - Boggs
70 - Hoffpauir
77 - Hawksworth
85 - OOC
OOC = Out Of Commission 
* According to Yahoo!Sports 
º I will be forced to completely ignore any player who dares wear this number

Let me know if I missed any. 

As far as the unofficially retired numbers, I don't think 57 will ever be back on the table (at least not for many, many years). 32 needs a couple more seasons, and should be worn first either by someone who shared the field with Josh or whom other players have deemed worthy. 15 could go back into circulation this season, as far as I'm concerned (although McRae's wearing it now). 51 will be officially retired someday, so that's not an issue. I won't say anything else about 44. I think you know how I feel.

Friday, January 9, 2009

pensamientos revueltos

I have written another spastic post. I'd thought I'd give a little forewarning this time. Read at your own risk.

David Brown has made a plea for MLB to bring back the stirrups, and I wholeheartedly second this suggestion. (And not just because David appealed to my love for A-Rey, I promise.)

Indians right-hander Anthony Reyes is one of my favorite ballplayers. Oh, not because he can pitch.... No, Reyes exudes coolness to me because of his socks, specifically that he wears old-fashioned stirrups over them. He wears 'em long and he wears 'em thick. Can we say "badass" here on the Yahoo!? Because that's what Reyes' socks are. They're badass.

Yes! Yes! A million times Yes! 

Okay, it hurts a little bit to read about Anthony as the "Indians right-hander", but other than that, I think DB is on to something. 

The stirrups were bold. 

They were tight. 

They kept players' pants legs from getting caught in their bicycle gears as they rode to the ice cream parlor after Sunday games. (Isn't that a darling picture?) 

Oh, and can you imagine how ridiculous Prince Fielder would look in them? That alone would be enough of a reason.

Other things on my mind (and yes, there are a lot, because of all the empty space up there, but I'll try to narrow it down to the comprehensible stuff):

I still want Pettitte. We probably (ha ha!) aren't going to sign him (or even try), but such reasons have never been enough to stop me from wanting Bonnie Hunt's hair or a car that runs on Sweetgum fruit a.k.a. gumballs from hell (anybody know what I'm talking about?), and they won't stop me now. I tell you what, I wanted him before the wave of calm washed over Cardinal Nation, and even though he's (a) old, and (b) not the best hitting pitcher (though he's not the worst either), I still want him. (As much as anyone can want a 36-year old LHSP with 14 years of ML experience including two All Star selections, two 20+ win seasons, a lifetime ERA of 3.89, and a 215-inning per 162 games average, anyway.) I won't give in to the peer pressure.

So what if he's been linked to "steroids"? How many other Cardinals are on that same list?

So what if he's got a history of arm problems? Obviously he used HGH and fixed them. (But in all seriousness, HGH is bad and no one should ever use it unless that person happens to be a young boy with a hormone deficiency. And now back to your regularly scheduled program.)

So what if he's a disloyal cretin (although considering his height maybe this is a misleading insult) whose best friend is a cheating pendejo? We wouldn't be paying him to be a good person, just a good pitcher. Besides which, being disloyal to the Yankees is like telling Corky Simpson that you didn't mean to forget his birthday (and heck if you wouldn't get him something if you had it to do over again).

Not that it matters. Obviously Mozeliak is done shopping and has decided that he's good for shoes. But that's okay, because the only thing that matters now is that Spring Training starts soon (36 days until pitchers and catchers report, 47 days until the first game against the Marlins), which means there will finally be some real baseball to talk about again.

You know, when all is said and done, the trades and acquisitions during the off-season really don't mean much. I know all us fans and bloggers spend a lot of energy thinking about them and a lot of time discussing them, but when you get right down to it, baseball's not about how much money each player is making or how many minor leaguers get traded, or even which team spends the most. When you get down to the heart of it, baseball is about nine guys and twenty-seven outs and a bat and a ball. Heaven help me, but I'm ready for some baseball.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

a minor issue

I feel I should address one particular issue first, and that is the rage. It's just been boiling and bubbling, and it's about to consume us. 

Cardinals' fans are incensed. Bloggers are at the ready with pitchforks in hand and torches burning. The revolution is coming, and it won't be televised (it'll be blogged). 

Yes, here it comes. Wait for it, wait for it.... ummmm.... 

Well, keep waiting while I address some other issues. I may have mentioned somewhere along the way that (1) I'm a Tony follower (and you can take that however you like), and (2) I'm not super-familiar with the farm system. 

Oh, I've heard about the farm system. I'd even go as far as to say that I think it's pretty swell for a farm system (as farm systems go). In fact, I'd buy it a soda if we were at the same soda shop and it realized it forgot its wallet. (And it's always forgetting its wallet, isn't it?) And I wouldn't even expect to be paid back. (Not that it would do any good, anyway.) But other than what I read on the interweb and in the paper (just kidding! who reads the paper anymore?), I know very little about it. 

I'm the last person who should be picked to answer the question about prospects when we're all sitting in the VFW on Thursday night playing trivia for a $50 Wal-Mart gift card and a new set of wiper blades. In other words, is Todd his first name or his last name? That's right. (Okay, so maybe it's not quite that bad, but you get the idea.) 

Anyway, my point is that while I may not exactly be the pitchfork-wielding, hang-em-high type, I do have my reservations when it comes to the ability of the minor leaguers to save us all from ourselves. 

Colby "self-aggrandizing" Rasmus may end up being the greatest outfielder of all time (and somehow incorporate that into his uniform). 

The aforementioned Todd (and, yes, I do know that his first name is Jess) could redefine pitching excellence for our generation. (Ha ha, I even know that he's a pitcher!) 

Brett Wallace could put the likes of Hank Aaron and (forgive me for this) Mark McGwire to shame with his bat. (Completely naturally too, I'm sure.) 

But what if they don't? What if we count on these guys and they don't come through? Now I know that the whole point of Spring Training (besides getting to spend February and March anywhere besides Missouri) is to give them a chance to prove themselves. 

Tony and the staff will put the players through all kinds of tests (probably baseball-related, although who knows?), and they will decide who is best fit to play each position. They will (as Mr. Leach so eloquently explained last night) take into account seemingly extraneous factors such as who has produced and proven themselves in the past, as well as sportsmanship, attitude, and willingness to do whatever it takes. (No, Matthew did not mention these things specifically, but I could tell that he was implying them.) 

Based on performance (and these other factors), Tony and his coaches will formulate an opening day lineup (and fill up the 25-man roster) with (hopefully) the best options available. 

Great. That sounds like a super plan, right? The only problem is, if certain free agent players are available now, what would be so wrong with improving the team now? It's unlikely that we would be so lucky as to find another Kyle Lohse-like situation come spring, and it would be irresponsible to make plans around such a fantasy. 

Now, I'm not saying I don't ever want the young (or rather, inexperienced) guys to get a shot. I'm not endorsing using veteran free agents for every empty spot (and heaven forbid turning into the Yankees). I'm just saying that when September call-ups come around (or if we have room earlier than that, so be it), that would be my first choice for introducing the baby 'Birds to the big club. 

Maybe this should have been done last year for some (not to second-guess anyone), and maybe there will be an injury or other misfortune that allows one of the prospects to come around early (as we saw so many come around last year). 

The point is, it's hard for me to imagine placing all my faith in a player (or players) who hasn't (or haven't) actually played at the show. There are guys in the system who have been up to the show and had that taste of the big leagues. These guys, in my opinion, have passed the most important test, and they deserve a shot at starting. Perez, Motte, Mather, et cetera. (Of course, what do I know?) 

I'm also not saying that I'm disgruntled or enraged or anything. I'm not going to stop watching games if Moze doesn't make a big move soon. I'm not going to burn my BP jersey if he doesn't spend crazy amounts of money on a starting pitcher. I'm not going to light up my torch and march down to the stadium if we go into Spring Training with the team we have now. And I'm certainly not going to write a long blog post about how I would run the team if I were in charge. That would just be silly. 

I guess what I'm asking for is compromise. Just a little balance between the newbies and veterans. Maybe we already have that. Maybe I'm just blowing hot air. (Does that apply to writing?) Maybe we'll go into the season and have exactly what we need. Maybe this team--what we have right now--is the next world champion. And then maybe we'll have this exact same discussion next off-season. 

Okay, I'll stop now, since I probably stopped making sense (or using real words) a few paragraphs ago. If you'd like to explain to me how ridiculous (or just plain stupid) my thoughts are, please do so in the comments section. I promise I can take it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

there's gotta be a cute title in here somewhere

This is what I wrote regarding the Braves (specifically el pitcheo) after we faced them at the end of July...

It's funny, but watching the Braves pitchers (sadly) reminds me of our staff. The starters are (for the most part) solid, but the bullpen tends to give up damaging runs late in the game.

I don't remember Royce Ring in particular, but maybe that's because there was nothing memorable about him.

Well, now the lefty reliever is ours. He pitched reasonably well (albeit a small sample) in '06 and '07, but had a terrible year last year, posting an 8+ ERA before being designated for assignment in early August (shortly after the series with the Cards). He hasn't pitched in the majors since then.

More details about the deal are due today. Will he be a AAAer or a big leaguer? Does it matter?

béisbol puertorriqueño

The reigning champions, los Gigantes de Carolina (the puertorrican team for which Yadi plays and which Oquendo manages) were officially eliminated from contention Friday. They played two games in a row, on Friday and then Saturday, against los Criollos, and needed to win both of them in order to have any chance at climbing back into fourth place. They lost Friday, cementing their place in the basement, but won Saturday and (as good spoilers are wont to do) ensured that los Criollos would have to play (and beat) the first-place Leones in order to stay in the postseason mix.

No one on los Gigantes played particularly good baseball this season, including our Yadi, who ended up with a .190 average. The GM, Enrique Cruz, said that there will be changes made before next winter, though he made no specific mention of Oquendo in particular. Cheíto (Oquendo) said that he wants to return, but realizes it is up to management. He puts some of the blame for the disappointing season on the fact that some players who had committed to playing never showed up.

Contábamos con unos muchachos desde el principio, que no estuvieron, y lo que conseguimos (en reemplazo) no fue lo que esperábamos.

We counted on some guys from the beginning, who weren't there, and what we got (in replacement) was not what we were expecting.

The link to the roster is here, and you can see for yourself how dismal the numbers were. Not hitting needs no translation.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

when did that ever stop me?

So, as I know next to nothing about this Kenshin Kawakami person (other than that he's a pitcher and, apparently, Asian), I haven't thrown my two cents into the mix as of yet. I watched the video over at the Redbird Blog though, and decided that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to get a piece of this guy. (He's got a pretty nasty-looking curveball.)

Rumor has it that the BoSox offered 3-years/$21 million way back in November, but that may or may not be the case. I guess I wouldn't be averse to 3-years/$30 million, but much more than that might be stretching it. Of course, signing him would eliminate the need for Pettitte, but I think I could find a way to live with that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

we're not cheap... ish

Bernie's latest article reminds us that the off-season is far from over, there are still plenty of fish in the sea, and having the worst job in the league is a distinction Jim Haslett should be proud of. Oh, and Tony wants a new closer or he's going to do something really drastic.

So besides the obvious truth-bending and the failure to actually say anything of substance or commit to any figure, DeWitt basically almost kind of halfway promised the fans that he may or may not possibly spend any more money. That's right, promised.

Aside from all that, I'm willing to give DeWitt and Mozeliak the benefit of the doubt regarding payroll and player acquisition (even though I still reserve the right to say 'I told you so' if it turns out that there is some covert, evil plan afoot). After all, other clubs' fans are busily complaining about the same things Cards' fans have been complaining about, and with few exceptions, nobody has made any really big moves. (Unless you count the Cubs shuffling players like a blackjack dealer.) Of course, that doesn't mean our time is infinite. I hope they're ready to back-up their equivocal words with ambiguous (and possibly reduntant) action, 'cause nobody will wait forever.

LaRussa reiterated his reluctance to give the closing job to the rookies, and then threatened to have Carpenter's arms and legs broken use Carp in that capacity if the higher-ups don't bring in a veteran to close games. Seems like we've seen that tactic used by Tony in the past. (Although he isn't exactly known for his use of restraint when it comes to the bullpen. Just the opposite, in fact.) To put it succinctly, I'm not okay with Carp closing, I don't care what the options are.

I'm still upset about losing Miles, but after reading lots of opinions and arguments, I'm willing to concede that at least a small part of my dismay comes from the fact that he didn't just leave the Cardinals, he left the Cardinals for the Cubs. It's bad enough when certain players move on, but to see them take up arms with the enemy is just too much to bear. I think I would have been better able to deal with it had he signed with the Padres or the Mets or even the Reds. (Yes, I said the Mets.)

So where are we this off-season? We re-signed Lohse, picked up Greene and Miller, let go of Springer, Looper, López, and Miles, and.... Well, judging by the numbers alone, I'd say we're in the red. (Or black. I can never remember which is the bad one.) Anyway, we're negative to the tune of a starting pitcher, a closer, and probably one more lefty reliever.

Suggestions: Sign Andy Pettitte to a 2-year/$20 million deal. Sign Ohman to a two-year/$10 million deal. Trade outfielder X (Ankiel, Schumaker, or Ludwick, or any combination of three minor leaguers) for a past-his-prime-but-still-effective-when-he's-healthy right-handed veteran closer... hey wait, don't we have one of those?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Well, what am I? 2 days in? And I'm already having difficulties with the web page. I'm back to the blogspot now, and I don't blame anyone for giving up on me.

On another note, I am thinking of taking a class in page-maintenance! Ha... ha... ha.

Update: I fixed it! (I'm sure you were all waiting with bated breath, those of you who have any idea what I'm talking about, that is.) Now I can get back to thinking up stories for the all-important John Mozeliak series....

happy new year!

Got your resolutions all ready to go? Yeah, me neither.

Okay, well, that's all. Go back to what you were doing.