I hope all of you enjoyed the end of reason round table discussion. It was a lot of fun for me personally to participate in a round table for the first time. Anyway, it's been a while since I wrote something for this blog, and with players filing for free agency the past few days, I thought it would be a good time to review the the Card's off-season plan. One consensus that seemed to be reached by the round table was that with the re-signing of Lohse, it is unlikely the Cards will sign a "major" free agent in the CC/K-Rod/Burnett mold. Instead, an addition of any all-star caliber player is more likely to come via trade, and even that is unlikely. In the current economic climate, I don't see DeWitt suddenly becoming a free-spender. We'll be lucky if the last season's 99 mil payroll stays about the same level. Taking that under consideration, here's the more conservative plan I'd like to see the Cardinals follow.
1. Sign Joe Beimel. He'd be a huge upgrade as a LHRP. He's also one of the few lefties out there that is equally effective against right-handed batters as left-handed. He earned about 2 mil last year, so I'm guessing it would take about a 3 year deal for 4 per year for 12 mil total. Well worth it and well within the budget.
2. Attempt to trade for Tampa Bay's Edwin Jackson. He's likely to be a hot commodity because the Rays will look to move him to make room for David Price. Still, he's likely to a lot cheaper prospect wise that Jake Peavy for instance (and definitely cheaper salary wise). He only began to show his talent last year and I think getting him to the national league under Duncan's tutelage could be a real boon. He's be a great insurance policy for Carpenter and a possible closer candidate if Carp is available.
3. Sign Renteria to play SS and Re-sign Lopez at 2B. Edgar will come a lot cheaper after being let go by the Tigers - maybe two years at 5 to 6 mil per? He's not a great defender anymore, but he always seems to play better in the national league. Lopez is also not great on defense, but together they would be a huge upgrade offensively and probably give us the deepest line-up in the NL. It might be a good idea to also re-sign Izturis for a defensive back-up in this scenario.
4. Sign one other veteran bullpen arm like Bob Howry or Eddie Guardado. I know we have some nice young arms, but we need at least one good yet to help Franklin out, and preferably someone who could close in a pinch.
Well, that's my plan. It's not sexy I know, but I see it as filling our holes without compromising our strengths. We won 86 games last year, and I think 5-6 more wins makes the playoffs easily. The Brewers likely won't be as good, but the Astros could be better, so competition will still be tough in the division. Standing totally pat won't get it done.