Monday, February 16, 2009

the elephant in the room

Don't think for a second that I haven't been keeping my eye on the rumors revolving around a certain free agent (and thus un-signed) oser-clay. However, the more I follow baseball, the more ridiculously superstitious I become. (It's weird, really. I think Tony's rubbing off on me.) Therefore, I will abstain from commenting lest I jinx anybody or anything.

Spring Training sounds like it's off to a roaring start with the only no-show so far being Troy Glaus (who is currently recovering from alleged shoulder surgery and wouldn't be much use to anyone, anyway). Ludwick even showed up early, hoping to avoid an arbitration hearing in Phoenix tomorrow, a prospect which sounds more and more likely with each passing minute. Done. Honestly, after paying Adam Kennedy $4 million to am-scray (no, I don't know what's up with all the pig latin), I find it passingly amusing that the Cardinals' front office is being so stingy with two guys who will actually contribute to the team this year.

Of course, the big Cardinals news swirling all over the wide world of baseball involves (of course) Albert. Actually, there are two pieces of news about el hombre: (1) he won't be representing RD in the upcoming WBC (and depending on how you look at it, this could be good or bad news), and (2) he recently made some cryptic remarks to reporters at camp concerning his future as a ballplayer.

First, I guess it's okay that Sir Albert (not my favorite of his nicknames) won't risk injury by playing games that don't matter to the Cards (although if you wanted to argue you could say that ST games don't really matter either) at least as far as the standings. The counter-point here is that in 2006, he seemed to get a boost from playing for RD and started the season like a bat outta hell. Either way, with his elbow being the concern it is, it's probably best not to tempt fate.

Second, when Albert says that he'll sign with the team that shows that most commitment to winning, you have to admire his motivation. He's not after the biggest paycheck or the most glory, he just wants to be on a team that competes. Therefore, in 2011, when he becomes a (deep breath) free agent, if the Cardinals aren't that team, then I'll gladly bid him "God speed" because he's right. For as long as he's been on the team, the Cardinals have been (more or less) serious competitors. Even when they haven't made it to the post-season, they have put a good product on the field, and they have done what it takes to win. This year promises to show us more of the same. If this (somehow) changes dramatically over the next three seasons (leaving St Louis in the basement of the division and fans calling for Mozeliak's head), then Albert probably would be better off playing somewhere else. On the other hand, if we continue to be one of the biggest spenders with one of the largest fan bases, winningest records, and most impressive attendence figures, then I can't imagine AP finding a better home in baseball, assuming, that is, he's honest about his motives. (That last part was just to see if you were still awake....) So you see, I'm not worried. And I don't think you should be, either.