Signs of Concern

I’ve spent a fair amount of time lately defending ownership.  However, the talk and actions of our new GM are starting to concern even me.

First, we have the Izturis signing.  While not worth the doom and gloom, sky is falling mentality some people had for it, it still was a bit of a headscratcher and not nearly the kind of moves most fans have been waiting for.

Then, we have the idea of shipping Scott Rolen off to the Brewers.  In case you aren’t paying attention, the Brewers are 1) a team in the same division as the Cardinals and 2) the team most likely to win the NL Central next year, in my opinion.  While I’m not one that thinks Rolen should be traded now, trading him within the division would just be nuts.

Coupled with that is the pursuit of Chris Capuano.  Larry at VEB broke down Capuano pretty well yesterday, and there are points to like, points to worry about.  This probably isn’t a terrible move, but it depends on what it costs.  I wouldn’t give Rolen for him, I don’t think.

Next, the ESPN winter meetings blog indicates the Cardinals have talked to the Indians about pitcher Cliff Lee.  Lee’s an Arkansas boy and in that regard, I’d like to see him come over.  Moving to the NL probably would help as well.  The price is supposedly Anthony Reyes and/or Brian Anderson.  It best not be and–that’s a ton to give up for a guy that has been down for a year or two.  Reyes, also according to that blog, is getting some attention from suitors.  I believe they’ll deal him–and he’ll probably do well away from the organization–and Lee would probably be acceptable.  But not if they overpay for him.

That blog also indicates Ankiel, Duncan and Edmonds are all available.  I can’t believe the organization would move Ankiel now, after all they’ve done for him, but it is a new GM, so maybe so.  At least you have to hear the offers.

There was talk about bringing Pedro Feliz in if Rolen is traded.  Yuck.  They aren’t even offering arbitration to Eckstein.  Nuts.

All in all, the best news around is that the Cardinals were in, at least on the periphery, on Eric Bedard.  If Mozeliak could pull that off, I’d take it all back.

My Ballot for the Cardinal Blogger Awards

This is the first attempt at a Cardinal blogger collaborative project. I hope that the bloggers involved enjoy it enough to try doing more things together in the near future.

Those scheduled to post their selections today include Readin’ Redbird, Redbirds Fun, CardinalsGM, Rockin’ the Red, Redbird Ramblings, and CardinalsNationGlobe. Check all of them out (I’ll direct link to their post when they get them up) and then come back here next week for a consolidated ballot. (Future Redbirds has theirs up now as well.)

So, without much further ado, let’s see my selections for the CBA. My selections are noted in bold.

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Rumor Check

First off, the rumor that died about as fast as it arose.  Apparently, Mike Lowell had been contacted by the Cardinals.  Bernie put that to bed pretty quickly, which was good, because it didn’t really make much sense from the Cardinal point of view.  You’ve got a guy under contract that would probably be cheaper than Lowell would be that you are trying to dump.  Why would you move him just to sign a guy that will probably decline significantly over the life of the contract?  I thought part of the reason for trading Rolen was to reduce payroll.  All and all, not a good idea if it was even broached seriously.

There’s another one floating around that the Padres have asked about Edmonds.  It wouldn’t be out of the goodness of their hearts, either–they’d expect the Cardinals to throw some cash into the deal.  With Edmonds’ new restaurant, I don’t think he’d be real excited about moving and he should be a 10/5 guy who gets some say in it.  I think the Cardinals are reconciled to having Edmonds back next year, even if they have to move him to a corner slot.  Besides, if Rasmus continues his ascent, I wouldn’t be surprised if management wouldn’t want Edmonds to pass on some tips when the rookie comes up.

The Cardinals are apparently interested in free agent pitchers Carlos Silva and Kyle Loshe.  I can’t say either of them is all that exciting and probably both will be overpaid.  However, if I was to choose one, it’d be Silva.  His pitch-to-contact style is right up the Cardinals alley and, if the defense can improve somewhat, he could be a pretty good pickup.  Loshe reminds me of Gil Meche from last offseason–never been much but will get paid like they have been.  At least Meche had shown some flashes of talent.  Loshe is a league-average pitcher, at best.

In case you’ve not seen it, Matthew Leach got an interview with John Mozeliak.  Mozeliak doesn’t really say anything that gives definite direction, keeping a lot of things close to the vest.  I do like that he doesn’t think there’s a front-line starter in free agency–because there’s not–and I hope he keeps that in mind when negotiating with whatever pitchers he might be talking to.

In my mind, the only way we get a good solid pitcher is to trade Duncan.  But to do that, we have to bring in an outfield bat to protect Pujols.  We’ll see if either of those happen.

Curt and Colby

The GM meetings start today in Florida, and Derrick Gould has a good primer on them and the off-season activity that may get started at those meetings.

The biggest name tied at all to the Cardinals is former World Series MVP Curt Schilling.  Owner of three rings and one of the top pitchers in the game, at least in his prime, a team that was hurting so much for pitching last year has to be in contact with a guy like that.

I’m not seeing the attraction.  Well, to be more accurate, I don’t share in the attraction.  Don’t get me wrong.  Schilling still has some left in the tank, as evidenced by his 9 win, 3.87 ERA season in a very tough division.  Schilling could move to the NL Central and probably post 10 wins and a 3.60 ERA.  So that’s not the problem.

The problem is, without a fairly serious makeover, the Cardinals aren’t going to be that competitive in 2008.  Sure, there’s hope that Rolen will rebound from the surgery (and I do think his numbers will improve over last year’s) and Pujols shouldn’t have that slow start again, but you can’t count on Edmonds to be better and this team was deep on the wrong side of the run differential issue last year.  It’s not that one pitcher will get us over the hump.  Make the team better, sure, but is it worth $12-$13 million to finish over .500?

I’d much rather see them save up some of that money and go after some of the stud younger pitchers that are going to be on the market after 2008.  To be able to invest in a top pitcher to go along with Wainwright and Carpenter, plus some of the young talent that is starting to work its way to St. Louis would be a much better idea, even if 2008 has to be sacrificed. Read the rest of this entry »

Daydreaming

Mike Claiborne of AM 550 said it last night on the pregame show.

“I want Santana.”

Well, duh, who doesn’t?  That’s something I’ve been talking about here for a little while.  However, can we make it happen?  I was expecting that we’d have to wait until the 2008 offseason, when he’d be a free agent, to even be able to consider it.  That’s probably still true, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do some daydreaming.

I’ve never been good at coming up with trades, so I would expect ridicule in the comments for this one.  (Hey, at least then I’d be getting comments!)  I’ll explain why I think it might be feasible, but let’s lay it out there.

Johan Santana for Chris Duncan, Anthony Reyes, Bryan Anderson, and another prospect.

OK, so let’s look at this semi-rationally, if at all possible.   Minnesota will have to decide 1) if they are going to contend next year, 2) if they have a chance of resigning Santana and 3) whether it makes sense to maximize the yield by trading him in the offseason rather than the trade deadline.

Santana’s contract for next year is $13.25 million, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts.  There are a few bonuses, and as I read it he does have a no-trade clause.  However, after his comments at the deadline, he possibly could be persuaded to have that bought out.

Money-wise, this would be a slam dunk for the Twins.  From the same site, Duncan made $400K this year.  You’d expect that will go up a bit, but he is not arbitration eligible yet, so the Cardinals don’t have to do anything big.  Reyes made just under $400K, and the same applies to him.  Anderson would make the league minimum, whenever he made the majors, and likely the other prospect, maybe Jamie Garcia or Mark Hamilton, would do the same.  So, add that all up, you get not even a million for next year.  That’s a large savings for Minnesota, which has often been pinching pennies in the past.  That would let them make a run at Torii Hunter, if they wanted, or come to terms with people like Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan or Justin Morneau.

So, financially, it’s good for them.  How about talent?

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