A Short Followup

Found this link via MLB Trade Rumors. Apparently John Mozeliak says that he’s not necessarily done with making moves this off-season.

Which, to me, is kinda interesting. What else could Mozeliak be working on?

The starting lineup is pretty set, as far as we know. We don’t know who will be shortstop, but there are a lot of options there. There are more starters than starting rotation slots already and the bullpen is pretty strong. The bench is likely full as well.

Seems to me that, if something does happen, it’d either be of the “minor league signing” variety or a trade. I can’t imagine what he’d package together to get, but I’d hope he’s thinking about another big bat. The pitching staff, of course, could always be upgraded but I’m thinking that is passable now.

It’ll be interesting to see if anything does happen. I’m leaning toward nothing until about the first week of spring training games, maybe mid-March. If I remember right, that’s about the time we got Edmonds back in 2000.

Oh, and you’ll see TLR still isn’t over the whole Rolen thing again in that link. At least make your comments funny, Tony. That one is pretty lame.

EDIT: Joe Posnanski’s blog about the St. Louis writers dinner looks pretty interesting.

Long-Term Thinking

So the big news out of the last day of the Winter Warm-up was the Cardinals signing Yadier Molina to a four-year deal.  The money seems fairly reasonable and I don’t think you’ll find too many people that say Molina isn’t worth keeping around.  There is some debate about Bryan Anderson and where he fits into the organization.  If he keeps developing, either he or Molina will be a great trading chip in the next couple of years.  It could be that Anderson gets a chance to be an understudy at the major league level (like Jared Saltalamaccia did last year) before getting moved.  The defense and leadership Molina brings to the table is almost worth the money, but the contract really becomes good if the advances in hitting he had last year stick and he keeps improving with the bat.

Other things from the Warm-up wrapup:

  • Albert Pujols isn’t taking that false link to the Mitchell Report lightly.  He banned a reporting crew from the station that aired it from his press conference yesterday.  Personally, I kinda like this quote:

    “This is a hobby, man.  I fear God too much to do stupid things in this game.  Cheating on this game, that’s not right.”

    It’s often been said that we build people up just to tear them down.  Hopefully Pujols continues to walk the straight and narrow and make it very difficult for people to do that.

  • During that press conference, though, Pujols made it known how much pain he was in with his elbow last year.  Personally, that sounds to me like we’ll see him get some surgery mid-season if it flares up and the team is out of contention.  You’d hate to see him down, but if this year pans out the way some expect, it would be the best time for him to get it taken care of.
  • Mark Mulder is not too comfortable with setting a return date.  Can you blame him?  Especially with this organization, you take return dates with a silo of salt.  If he’s back at the beginning of May, it’ll be a bit of a surprise.
  • Adam Kennedy is already digging himself a hole.  Not a great idea given the weak season he put together last year and the plethora of middle infielders this team has.
  • And, if you had LaRussa in the pool of who would crack in public first after the trade, him or Rolen, congrats.  You’ll see in the Reyes link that TLR has already taken a shot in the press at Scott.

Warming Up the Winter

I’ve often thought I might like to make the effort to go to the Cardinals’ traditional Winter Warm-up. It’s baseball talk in the winter, a chance to actually see the players and hear some news. I’ve never been able to afford it, though, nor take out the time to get up there. Plus I’m not much on crowded areas.

The good thing about the Warm-up, combined with the internet, is that we finally get some Cardinal news. So let’s take a look at what came out over the weekend.

First off, Chris Carpenter is throwing again. The whole dynamic of the season could change if he’s healthy and effective earlier than schedule. He’s not pushing himself too hard, which is great. It’d be outstanding if he was back in June, but I wouldn’t count on it. My prediction is still mid-August, enough time for him to get back into baseball shape and let the Cardinals see what he’s got for 2009.

Staying on the injury theme, it looks like Josh Kinney could be back by time the season starts. A valuable part of the 2006 bullpen, he could help bolster the 2008 version as well. It’ll be interesting to see what he has when he comes back and if he can be effective.

The same article talks about the rehabbing of Chris Duncan and Braden Looper. Both sound like they are doing well and are basically ready to go, but there was no reason to think that they wouldn’t be. Still, nice to hear there aren’t any unexpected setbacks.

At the end of that article (wow, Goold really packed it in, didn’t he?) was a note about Ryan Franklin planning to be a reliever again this year. Larry at VEB has repeatedly made the case that Franklin should start, but with the number of starting pitchers already in camp, it probably does make sense to have a solid part of the bullpen return to that role. There’s nothing to say TLR won’t move him into the rotation halfway through the year anyway.

Which is bigger news, that Scott Spiezio is doing well in his personal rehabilitation, put out a CD, or that he doesn’t have the famous red facial hair anymore?

Then there are plenty of WWU posts over at Bird Land. Definitely check out the quotes quiz. I don’t see the answers yet, but the quotes are worth reading.

Oh, and some Santana news, one that the Cardinals did inquire, the second that they’d “kick the tires” if he became a free agent.  It makes you want to see what’d happen if he didn’t get traded, doesn’t it?

The Warm-up finishes today, so maybe more news will be made!

Week’s End

If you’ve not gotten your picks in for VEB’s all-time sim tourney, you better hurry.  Results are supposed to start showing up sometime today.  If you miss out on phase I, don’t worry.  The reseeded phase II tournament will have more points available, so you won’t necessarily be at that much of a disadvantage if you play II without I.  And kudos to The Angry Rant for explaining his picks.

Speaking of VEB, here’s red baron’s grading of Mozeliak.  On the whole, I’d say I’d have to agree with him.  It appears that LaRussa still has considerable say in the roster management portion of the team, which can be good, can be bad as evidenced by Miles’s resigning especially.  Mo came into a tough situation and a transitional phase in the organization.  It’s going to be tough to give him an accurate assessment until two or three years down the line.

Deaner expands his thoughts on the possibility that the Cards might sign Juan Gonazalez.  I’m pretty much fine with a spring training invite for him.  I don’t expect he’ll make the team, but if he plays well enough to merit going north, then he could help the bench get a little more pop.

Also, Winter Warmup is this weekend so perhaps some news will be made then.  Troy Glaus and Matt Clement get their first taste of Cardinal Nation and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.  I’ve always wanted to go to the WWU, though it’s so pricey and usually it’s tough for me to get away during January for something like that.

If you are looking for an all-sports website to comment on, CardinalsGM has a suggestion.

Kujo has an in-depth analysis of Rick Ankiel.   Rick’s always been one of my favorite players and I was very excited to see him return last year.  All that said, I’m afraid he’s going to regress some this year, especially if Rasmus comes up and takes that 2 hole away from him.  Still, if he can hit .260 with 20 HR, he’s got value to this team.  There may be a number of players doing that, what with Duncan and Glaus also being lower-average, higher-power type guys.

That’s a quick run around the blogs, though obviously there is much more out there.  Just go through my blogroll and check them all out.  I should have some news about this blog on Monday or at least early next week.

Starting Pitching

48 W, 72 L, 889 IP, 987 H, 115 HR, 321 BB, 532 K, 42 HBP, 5.04 ERA, 1.66 K/BB

That’s the line the St. Louis starters put up last year. Not real pretty, is it?

If there is any chance for 2008 to be more than a rebuilding year, for the Cardinals to actually contend, it may lie in the fact that last year’s team finished only 7 games out with starting pitching as bad as that. Can this year’s squad improve on those numbers? Let’s take a look.

Read the rest of this entry »

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