Last night, TLR was on with Ronnie “Night Train” Lane on XM’s MLB Live. Some bulletpoints on what he talked about:
*His contract extension. He said he was a little surprised that he was asked back, but pleased. He was happy with the response of the players on the issue as well.
*2007 was “by far” one of his most difficult seasons ever. Called it “relentless” and that it showed the character of the coaches and team that the results were as good as they were. To turn the page, he focuses on what the team has control over, trying to get players healthy. He does think that there are things that can be done better (not sure if by the coaching staff or the organization) to get those players ready to play.
*Mozeliak did a good job with Walt and Mo likely learned a lot from Walt. Said Mozeliak is “primed for it” and said that now it was about talent and how well he did the job, that talent comes out and you stand on your own two feet.
*There is work to do this offseason, lot of coordinating and getting on the same page.
*Got to get some more pieces. Looking for impact guy. Talked about Eckstein in brief, saying they have to see what works out there. Noted the problem was that most every team is looking for an impact hitter and an impact pitcher, like the Cardinals are. Not as worried about the bullpen as the starting rotation.
*Would like to have Eckstein back and talked about players (Matheny, Suppan, Renteria) that they lost when the player got on the market. Did say you have to assign a value to the player in relation to your payroll. Doesn’t know what Eckstein’s market is going to be.
*Discussed the health of players. Carpenter, TLR says they aren’t pushing. Would love to have him in June, but he feels like the All-Star Break is a possibility. Mulder, health-wise he should be ready to go at the beginning of spring training, but they have him on a conservative program so he may have to take a while to get into baseball shape. Molina is feeling fine already and should be 100%.
*His relationship with Scott Rolen came up, of course. He said he has told Rolen that there should be nothing that is a problem between them because he’s been treated well by the coaches, etc. since he got to St. Louis. “Whatever the issues are, you just got to deal with it.” His shoulder “may have been strung a little tight last time” and he feels Rolen should be good to go at spring training.
*The division has some terrific young strength in it. Cubs are solid. Improving division and the Cardinals want to be a part of it.
*Dusty Baker. Three veterans (himself, Baker, Pinella), three tigers (John Russell, Ned Yost, Cecil Cooper). Should be a lot of fun, as Baker is always fun to compete against, but it’s a player’s game, not a manager’s.
*The postseason. The layoff was a factor for the Rockies, but when a club hits it right, they are tough. It was more about Boston’s pitching than the delay.
*Still concerned about Encarnacion. Jury is still out on whether he will be vision-impaired or not.
All in all, a pretty good interview. Not a whole lot that wasn’t known by fans that follow the team closely, but still good to hear from the skipper.
He really seemed to call out Rolen, though. Basically, in so many words, saying, “Let’s get this over. There’s nothing here. Grow up and move on.” Whether that’s the right tack to take on it, I’m not sure. He also seemed to want Eckstein back, but appeared to realize the cost vs. benefit argument that is likely going on in the front office.
As for Carpenter, if he’s back before next September, I’m personally shocked, what with the record of this medical staff.