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.

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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.

Back in Red

Just when we thought he was out, they pull him back in.  The Cardinals resigned Aaron Miles to a $1.4 million contract.

What exactly does Miles bring to the table to warrant that kind of money?  I mean, I know that’s not a lot for a baseball team to spend on a player, but shouldn’t they get some bang for their buck?

According to the always-impeccable VEB, Miles brings….well, nothing really.  Except the knowledge that TLR is still calling the shots.

Look, I’ve been a fan of LaRussa’s since he was wearing the green and gold of Oakland, even before his “mastermind” turn in George Will’s Men at Work.  But his obsession with scrappy veterans is going to be the death of a lot of Cardinal fans.

There’s probably nothing that Miles will do this year that Jarrett Hoffpauier couldn’t do.  The difference, at best, would be minuscule in favor of Miles.  So why spend an extra million to bring him back?  There was a reason you non-tendered him.

I’m glad that Larry was able to get sources to show that TLR was behind this move, otherwise we’d have to have another round of questioning Mozeliak.   The ownership of the Cardinals has an unhealthy fascination with Tony, I believe.  The logical thing to have done this offseason was to shake things up completely and let TLR walk if he wanted.  Instead, not only did ownership not do that, they didn’t wait to hire a GM before hiring him back on.  Which told us that no matter who got the GM job, TLR was going to have more influence on the comings and goings than a normal manager.

I hate to be critical of TLR or ownership, but this really is nonsensical, especially after freeing up roughly $6 million in the Edmonds trade.  You spend over 15% of that savings on a guy with 19 extra-base hits last year?  When you have someone you can play for the bare minimum in a year that’s already looked at as a rebuilding and regrouping year?  It just doesn’t make sense.

Year In Review: Top 5 Cardinal Stories

The United Cardinal Bloggers strike again, this time with a recap of 2007. We each selected the five stories that we thought were the most important for 2007 in relation to the Cardinals. Check out CardinalNationGlobe, CardinalGM, Readin’ Redbird, Rockin’ the Red and Stan Musial’s Stance for their takes. (I’ll direct link to their stories when they are up.)

And, after the jump, my selections:

Read the rest of this entry »

So Long, Mr. Edmonds

It’s rare when I get a Saturday post up, especially this early, but the news I saw last night before going to bed about Jim Edmonds being traded to the Padres meant I had to get over here and write.

The dismantling of 2006 continues, as key players Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver, David Eckstein and now Edmonds are all in different locales.  The others I understood and expected, but this one really surprised me.  I’d written a couple of times over here that I thought Jim would stick around, especially with that new restaurant having just opened.   I guess the idea of going home and playing for a winner in his last season was pretty appealing.

Which makes you wonder if this was more about him than the Cardinals.  I know that the prospect that the Cardinals are getting back, third baseman David Freese, is supposed to be a pretty good one, but he’s just in A ball.  Some of you may remember the last trade of a star for an A baller in Cardinal history.  (OK, the last one I can remember without looking up.)  Lee Smith was sent to the Yankees for pitcher Rich Batchelor.  Batchelor never amounted to much (though I do think he got a cup of coffee with the Birds eventually).  I would hope that Freese will do more than that.  I also hope that the Cardinals didn’t take on too much of Edmonds’ salary in the deal, since that has to be the point of the deal in their eyes.

But Mozeliak may have thought that, with ’08 being pretty much a lost season, Edmonds deserved to go out better than that.  If 2008 truly is his last season, at least he’ll be on a competitive team with a chance to go deep into the playoffs.

And, hey, the last time we traded a St. Louis icon to San Diego, it worked out fairly well.  Remember Ray Lankford for Woody Williams?

But we thank Jim for the memories.  The walk-off home run in Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS stands out, of course, as do many of his home-run or base-hit robbing catches.  The one that stands out over all others, though, is The Catch in Game 7 of the ’04 NLCS.  That will be replayed so often in the talk about his trade, because it was one of–and possibly the–most important catches in Cardinal history.

Good luck, Jimmy.  And a standing ovation awaits you when the Padres come to Busch July 17.

And I guess this means the Colby Rasmus era might be starting earlier than we thought.

More Random Thoughts

Just because there’s not that much out there:

  • The Mitchell Report is due tomorrow.  Assuming that the dog doesn’t eat his homework, I’m sure Mr. Mitchell will give us plenty of things to talk about in the grand scheme of baseball.  Will there be any Cardinals on the list?  Supposedly 60-80 current and former players will be, so it’d be hard to have the Cardinals passed over.  Also, what are the odds that the report makes it to tomorrow with no leaks?  I’d place those odds pretty darn low.
  • Apparently our good friends to the north have picked up another outfielder.   We’ll see how well he translates to the major leagues.  He’s 30, so he’s in the middle of his prime.  Being the Cubs, you’d figure it’d blow up in their faces.  Even if he does well, I don’t think he’s a difference-maker, but maybe I’ve just not followed him enough.  I still think the Brewers are the team to beat in the NL Central.
  • That same article indicates that Mark Prior will be non-tendered today.  I’ve talked about picking up Prior a couple of times, under the non-tender scenario and the trade route.  I think Mozeliak should be on the phone with his agent as soon as the paperwork clears the MLB front office.
  • I remember reading something (and I’ve searched for a link, to no avail) that Mozeliak said before the winter meetings that he expected to have stuff done by mid-December.  It’s getting to that point and not much has happened.  I know the Cards are in an awkward position of basically giving up on ’08 for ’09 and ’10, but still Mo, throw us bloggers a bone and make some sort of move!
  • If you want to look around the Cardinals minors while the news is slow, check out Future Redbirds’ prospect lists.  That should give you a pretty good indication of who is who in the farm system.  I’m guessing Erik and company will be adding the community top 25 they just finished to that page soon.

December Doldrums

My apologizes for missing a day of posting yesterday. (I’m assuming at least SOMEONE noticed!) It’s just that there is so little to talk about right now. I’m sure that Mozeliak and company are doing wonderful things behind the scenes, laying groundwork, perhaps getting close to a signing or trade. But for us outside the loop, well, it’s a lot of rehashing and bottom scraping.

Mozeliak has been on the job six weeks now, and with all the caveats of small sample size, too soon to make any judgments, etc., I’m starting to wonder just how good of a GM he’s going to be.

On the pro side, he did get Barton in the Rule V draft. While it took some luck (the teams before the Cardinals had to skip over him), he did take the best player available, which is more than we can say for the amateur draft back in June. He also has wisely committed to not commit to David Eckstein for a long period of time and is determined not to give away Scott Rolen for free. And, as far as we know, he has really put Colby Rasmus far out of reach for other teams.

On the down side, we have the Cesar Izturis signing, which can’t be considered a good thing overall. (Perhaps neutral, maybe, but it’s not really an improvement on the team.) We have the fact that they aren’t even offering arbitration to Eckstein, though with the shortstop jobs drying up, that may turn out OK, even though I think a year of Eckstein wouldn’t be a terrible thing, and that’s the worst you get with offering him arbitration, the best is, of course, the draft pick from the other team that signs him. (Wow, that’s a terribly long sentence!) Also, it seems the team is reluctant to trade Chris Duncan and Rick Ankiel. I agree, you probably should keep one, but you have to move one of the other for pitching. There are no prospects you want to move and no other players people want. If you are going to make a trade, something that you’ve stated you are going to try to do, Duncan or Ankiel is your best, maybe only, trade chip.

As Larry says today at VEB, today’s deadline to offer arbitration could tell us some more about the front office, especially when it comes to Aaron Miles. If Miles is offered arbitration, it’s the same old same old, with LaRussa firmly in charge. If he’s not, there’s a chance for some rational thought in the organization. It’ll be interesting to see which way it goes, but I would think Miles would be let go.

Other than that, not a lot going in the world of baseball.