Tuesday, February 17, 2009

is it pitching tuesday? well, yes

I'll have you know, I wrote most of this last night (on infield Monday, ha ha!) but decided to save it for (and finish it) today. (There isn't really an infield Monday, but maybe there should be....)

First on my list, St. Charles native (and lefty starter) Mark Buehrle is considering "retiring" from the White Sox after his contract expires in 2011.

He said

I miss my family too much when I'm away [from St. Charles].


Maybe I'll just want a one-year deal [after 2011].

Know what my first (well, second, right after boy, does this guy plan ahead or what?!) thought was? Great. Another name I can't spell right the first time. Yep, that's where I am in my life right now.

The truth is, even if he were interested in joining the Cardinals, it wouldn't be for another three years. Lots can happen in three years. Including Mark Buehrle aging three years. I suggest no one get too excited about this deal just yet. In fact, forget I even mentioned it.

The latest reports from Jupiter concern the bullpen and the numerous questions surrounding the various roles to be filled. The projected needs include six or seven relievers, including one (or possibly two) LOOGY(s), an 8th inning set-up guy, and a closer. Dave Duncan basically summed up the entire process when he said

A lot of things fall into place if we answer the closer question.

Well said, sir. Closer by committee only complicates everyone's lives, and as we saw last season, the game-to-game uncertainty can add further pressure to an already high-stress situation. My one (big) hope for camp this year is that they get that settled once and for all (or at least for the season). I agree with Dave that if you can get those edge pieces, the puzzle is much easier to put together.

The three (well, four) lefties we have at camp right now (Miller, Ring, Manning, and Ostlund) will compete for the one (or possibly two) opening(s). Miller, according to the article, is the favorite to win the job. He's also the one, if you'll recall, who nearly wasn't signed because of an injury issue that came up during his physical. He then agreed to a rather extreme pay cut (supposedly because of some sentimental interest in signing with the Cardinals) with lots of incentives, and now sits there like some kind of ticking time-bomb as we all hold our breath to see if anything "pops". But don't let me get ahead of myself.

The righties include McClellan and Thompson (each considered to be the "sixth Beatle" in line to pick up starting duties if the need should arise), Perez and Motte (competing for the closer role), Franklin (the likeliest candidate for the set-up job), Kinney (who didn't pitch last year at all as he recovered from TJ surgery), and Todd (a reportedly promising righty looking to prove himself straight out of AA).

My votes for who goes where? Well, aside from waking up in a cold sweat at the thought of Franklin closing out games, I'm pretty content at this point to let the chips fall where they may. After all, that's what ST is about, right? Giving everyone an opportunity to earn playing time for the big club. So I won't start making my case for certain players to get certain jobs, I'll just wait to see who performs when called upon, and we can go from there.