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.

You Can’t Go Home Again

“Who says you can’t go home?”–Jon Bon Jovi

“You can’t go home again.”–Thomas Wolfe

The Rolen trade, while not yet official as far as I can tell, does seem like it’s going to happen.  The guys over at VEB have broken it down statistically and financially and pronounced it, if not good, at least acceptable.  Looking past the batting average and the past usage of performance-enhancing drugs, it’s possible that Glaus will be a good addition to the club.  Hopefully, that will be the case.  But I still hate the deal.

I hate the fact that it came to this.  That LaRussa and Rolen had to butt heads so much that it made playing on artificial turf in a new league in a totally different country more acceptable than playing in a new ballpark in front of some great fans.   There’s a failure here.  Whether it’s Rolen’s for not being more accepting of Tony’s management style or of TLR not finding some way to make nice with his third baseman, I’m not sure.  I will say again, though, that Rolen never complained to the press, never made it an issue.  You can’t say the same about LaRussa.

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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:

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Lineup Retrospective

A thread over at CCH got me wondering if anyone had done a comparison of the Cardinal offense with the pitcher hitting eighth compared to when the pitcher was hitting ninth. I figured I could do a rough calculation, see what the numbers told us.

First off, since the switch happened very early in August, I took the April-July numbers from ESPN.com’s stats page and used them for the pitcher-hitting-ninth group and the August-September for the pitcher-hitting-eighth. I didn’t figure a few games here or there would skew it too much.

No park adjustments, etc. done either. Like I said, this is just quick and rough.
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More Scott Talk

Well, I see there’s been more public sparring between the Cardinals manager and his third baseman.

Maybe I’m the only one reading it this way, but does anyone else think that LaRussa is really going out of his way to try to take Rolen down a peg? I really don’t know why, but the whole tone of the article and quotes from TLR give that impression to me.

As I noted yesterday (and other times before) at the Clubhouse, for all this talk about Rolen being a bad presence and he should grow up and keep quiet, you very rarely hear anything directly from Scott. Even in this article, the only statement he had was the following:

“These are matters that I never discussed publicly and are matters that should have remained private,” Rolen said. “I will not dignify Tony’s comments with any response at this time.”

Tony seems to have a personal grudge against Rolen now.

“He’s got a contract to play, and we need him to play,” La Russa said Wednesday at the baseball winter meetings. “And he’s going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays. And if he doesn’t, he can sit. If he doesn’t like it, he can quit.”

Rolen’s effort has never been questioned, I don’t think. He may not have been physically able to perform at the level he has in the past, but no one has ever said, “Man, Rolen is really dogging it out there.”
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