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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Happy New Year!

Hope everyone is having a great 2008 so far.  We are creeping closer and closer to spring training, which means that the Cardinals should start picking up the pace on transactions pretty soon.

Here are some predictions for 2008.  Some are serious, some aren’t.  (The ones that don’t happen are the non-serious ones, in case you can’t tell.)

*The Cardinals will win between 73-76 games.  The only chance for a contending season, in my mind, is a fast start somehow, then hanging on until Carpenter gets back.  The Cardinals would need Mulder to start strong from the get-go for this to happen, I think.  Still, even with another sub-.500 season, we’ll have a lot to talk about and enjoy.

*Albert Pujols will hit .300 with 30 HR and 100 RBI.  In other news, the sun will continue to rise in the east and set in the west.

*Scott Rolen will not be traded.  After he starts off the season closer to his normal form, his attitude improves and he’s much more able to tolerate LaRussa.  With his increased performance coupled with the lack of an immediate successor, Mozeliak decides to keep him on, though rumors will fly close to the trading deadline.

*Jim Edmonds gets at least two standing ovations in his first game back in Busch Stadium.

*Even with the rag-tag nature of the starting rotation, the team will post a better team ERA than they did in 2007.

*Colby Rasmus will be on the major league roster by the middle of June.  He’ll struggle at first, but will show the form that has everyone excited by mid-August.

*The Reds will surprise people, coming in a strong second to the Brewers in the division.

*The Red Sox will not win another World Series title.  Boston has to return to losing sometime.  (Doesn’t it?)

*Brian Barton will play all season in the majors and become a fan favorite off the bench.  He will get some starts, but TLR will not overexpose him.

*Chris Carpenter will not pitch in the major leagues until August.

*The Cardinals make a big splash in the 2008 free agent pool, signing an ace for the rotation and temporarily shutting up those that question ownership.

*I’ll keep blogging away on a regular basis.

Got your own predictions?  Let’s see them in the comments.

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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More on the Edmonds Trade

Well, we’ve had a weekend to digest the big news of the offseason, and it still doesn’t sit well with some people.  It is interesting, though, that the trade was Edmonds’ idea.  Apparently Jim was a little disappointed with the answers to the playing time question he was getting.  Which is probably fair–if he played like he did last year, both Ankiel and, later in the year, Rasmus would probably cut into him playing every day.  Plus we know that TLR doesn’t like to put Edmonds out there against lefties anyway, so he probably was looking at less than 100 games in the field unless his offensive numbers bounced back.

Doing some reading of articles, it doesn’t appear that the organization is quite ready to give Rasmus the job in center yet, which is understandable.  I do think he’ll make a fairly early ’08 appearance, though, for various reasons.  One, there probably won’t be anyone just dominating the position.  Two, it gets him experience in a season that’s pretty much a loss anyway.  And three, it could keep some heat off of the front office if there is a slow start after a fairly disappointing offseason.

It will seem very strange, though, not to see number 15 out patrolling the Busch Stadium grass next season.  To think that the fourth-leading home run hitter in Cardinal history was obtained for a pitcher that had just had a career year (and most everyone expected to revert to his norm) and a middle infield prospect (that is now back with the Cards).  When Walt was on, he could make some moves, couldn’t he?  It will be interesting to see if there isn’t some groundswell in a couple of years to retire his number as well, like there is with fan favorite Willie McGee.  Heck, retire them on the same day.  Two center fielders, one 15, one 51.  It’s perfect!

Of course, more and better analysis at VEB today and the weekend posts as well.

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.

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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