Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
On the NL Cy Young Award: So did Carpenter and Wainwright steal votes from one another: yeah, probably, but it's also hard to really argue that one of them got for sure robbed. There were three equally deserving candidates. I would've gone with Wainwright for his body of work. He was a horse. Carp was justifiably punished I think for missing the first month of the season. Lincecum kinda was the easy choice. He had great numbers and was there the whole year for a winning team. Hard to argue with that.
On the NL MVP: Obviously, it would've been an all-time shock had Albert not won it. It's nice to see so many talk about him now as the hands-down best player the game and as a guy that will likely go down as the best right-handed hitter of all time.
On Matt Holliday: Though it seems that the Cardinals front office still holds-out hope of signing him, the fan base is starting to feel more realistically that we don't have much of a shot. Boras wants a Texiera-type deal for him. I can tell you now he won't get that, but something in the 6-7 year 120 million+ range seems likely from the Mets, the Red Sox or the Angels. One thing in our favor is that the Yankees don't seem to be in the hunt, and they would obviously up the the ante.
On other free-agent hitters: I certainly feel that re-signing DeRosa should be a priority. He has a lot of interest out there, but should still come cheaper that what we've been paying our 3B the last several years (Rolen, Glaus). As for other corner outfielders, it's tough sledding. It's doubtful we will be in on Jason Bay, and the best hitters other than him and Holliday are all probably on the downside of their careers (Damon, Dye, Vlad, etc.). My preference would be to maybe trade for someone like Dan Uggla and move Shu back to LF.
On the Brad Penny signing: Love this deal, and not just because Penny is from the Tulsa area like myself and John. First, it's a one year deal (no long-term commitment with Carp and Albert needed extensions in the near future). Second, the Cardinals made a great move by promising Penny that they would not offer salary arbitration after the season. This means he'll be highly motivated to have a great year to possibly earn himself a big money, multi-year deal the next offseason. Penny has great stuff, but motivation has been an issue with him in the past, so I like the structure of this deal. I think there is a good chance he'll replace Pineiro's production and then some. Does this also close the door on Smoltz? I don't think so. Smoltz was never a guy you'd look at to make 30+ starts, so we could still sign him to be a 5th starter/reliever hybrid.
On the rest of the offseason: The Cards still have quite a bit of cash to spend, but other than DeRosa and the unlikely event they sign Holliday, it's hard to see where the money can be put to use on the free agent market. You may see the bullpen bolstered, but not likely with a closer and at low cost (man, I would love to have had Billy Wagner, but the Braves beat us to the punch). I hope that means they'll be actively looking at trades, because the offense certainly needs some help. The starting pitching looks solid already at least, even if Smoltz doesn't come back. Right now, you'd have to still consider us the favorites in the NL central, but a lot can change before spring training starts.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I do think one of the side benefits to this is that it is going to make McGwire talk about his past, as it were. I know that Mike and Nick disagreed with me last night on the radio show, but I don't think McGwire takes himself out of the shadows and puts himself into the spotlight unless he's ready to deal with the issue.
It's not going to go away. Unless he gives a definitive statement and answers questions, it's going to follow him all year long. If he does do that, then he can more legitimately say, "Guys, I've answered that and I'm not talking about it again."
If he wants to be an effective hitting coach and not just a sideshow, he's got to get past the issue, at least for reasonable people.
As an actual coach, I'm interested to see what he can bring to the table. I know Schumaker's done wonders from working with him, but you also have some that still struggled after his instruction. We'll see what he can do with full-time access to players.
is proven to be one of the top hitting coaches on the market. Should the Cardinals hire him? Will there be a fan backlash?
McGwire must address the PED issues from the onset in order to lessen the media scrutiny he will face. Many star players have moved past the issue to where it is a footnote (instead of the main byline) to their career. This is important to his image, his hall of fame chances and (less importantly) my opinion of him. Without addressing the issue, he could easily become a distraction to the team and a target for negative media. If he puts everything behind him, he could be a major coup for this team.
The Cardinals aren’t the first team to try to hire McGwire as a hitting coach and he isn’t some novelty act. He has a proven history of helping players become better hitters and could bring a lot to a team. His credentials are numerous and intriguing. Yes, he was a hall of fame caliber hitter, but a great hitter does not always translate into a great hitting coach ( , for example). When people site his career as why he will/or won’t be a good hitting coach they are (respectfully) missing the point.
From what I gather, he brings many admirable qualities to the position. He supposedly has an eye for video and how it translates to each hitter, a varied approach to driving the ball (home run hitters and singles hitters), plate discipline teachings and a respect (from players) that may even be greater than . You won’t see hitters tuning him out like they did McRae last year.
The fan backlash is overstated by the media (and bloggers). If you read the comment sections on the post dispatch, you would think that McGwire is going to have a rough time with the fans. What is amazing to me is how unrepresentative this form of media is to the masses. Most of the people that comment are the people that feel strongly against him being on the team. The Post Dispatch ran a poll online and found over 80% of the people were in favor of the move.
McGwire’s “celebrity” has its disadvantages, but there is a positive side. He has an added value of taking pressure off of Pujols. For the first time in many years, Albert will not be the main focus of sportswriters during spring training. This can only help our best hitter and make it easier for him to prepare.
The Cardinals are taking a chance on Big Mac, but winning is the main objective. He may have the ability to help them do this. After their first round flameout from last year, what do they have to lose?
My own thoughts? I think it all comes down to team performance. Unless Big Mac comes completely clean before the season starts, he is going to be a distraction, but there is a very good chance he could improve our hitters. I big criticism of McRae was that he preached a free-swinging style. The Cards have been among the worst in the majors at drawing walks the last few years, especially if you take Albert out of the equation. Another area I see a need for improvement is hitting with runners in scoring position. If we improve under these two areas with McGwire, we'll win more games, and whatever distractions there are will be worth it. Maybe it's morally corrupt of me to think of it in such a bottom-line way, but that's the way I view baseball. Anyway, I appreciate everyone who participated. There is only a couple of more days left in the roundtable, so I hope everyone checks them out! Till next season......
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Most of the questions so far, due to the time of the year, have been front-office-esque--as they should be. Yet let's switch gears for a second and prognosticate. Do you believe next year's team will be better than this year's team? Why or why not?
Daniel from C70 at the Bat: That's such a tough question given the different variables involved. On the whole, though, I'd probably have to say no for one big reason--the pitching.
Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright put up ridiculous numbers this year. I can't imagine them improving on those results in 2010. They may get close, they may do well (and I figure they will) but two top Cy Young-worthy contributions is pretty hard.
Then you have to replace Joel Pineiro's stellar season. Kyle Lohse will hopefully be better, but he can't improve so much as to fill Pineiro's 2009 shoes. You will get a boost from not having Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation, hopefully replacing him with John Smoltz, but all in all the pitching numbers will probably come back to earth somewhat next year.
The offense could improve, especially if Matt Holliday or someone of that ilk is out there in the outfield instead of Chris Duncan and Rick Ankiel, and I still expect the Cards to contend for October, but to expect them to do better than this year is a stretch in my book.
Our own Trey: I have to agree with Daniel on this one. While you'd expect that if we can get consistent contributions at 3B, SS, and LF for the entire season, we may have a better everyday line-up than last year, our pitching almost certainly has to take a step backwards. Daniel mentioned already the high levels of the starting pitching that will be tough to sustain, but you'd have to say the bullpen was much better than expected as well this year. That was a huge question mark coming into the season, and it was actually pretty solid for the most part. Maybe Hawksworth will stay there and continue be that solid set-up guy for Franklin, but I think there's a good chance there could be some issues in the mid-innings there next year. So overall, I'd expect us to contend in the central again, but not run away with it.
Mike from Stan Musial's Stance: One of my favorite non-Cardinal blogs is USS Mariner. Dave Cameron has repeatedly stated, in posts there over the last 3 years, the relative difficulty in taking an 85-team to a 90-win team, because of the amount of money that would need to be spent on players with a high enough WAR to affect the club's won/loss record.
Obviously we're not an 85-win team, having won 91 games in 2009. But I think the philosophy applies, especially when we consider what positions are question marks for 2010 (3B, LF, starting pitching), and the value of the players that manned those spots in 2009 who most likely won't be back in 2010 (specifically Holliday and Pineiro). The Cardinals probably don't have the money to put a Type A free-agent at 3B, in LF, and in the rotation - the kind of player that would provide a high enough WAR to push this team past 91 wins.
And as was already mentioned, improving on this year's team assumes returning players perform at least as well as they did this year. Reasonable for AP, and I would argue plausible for Wainwright, but probably not realistic for Carpenter given his injury history, Franklin given his regression to the mean in Aug/Sept, Ryan given a possible 'sophomore slump', etc.
So no, I don't think they'll be better. I'm hopeful Mozeliak will construct his roster so the team is AS good as they were this year - 91 wins will make us competitive for the NL Central and the Wild Card in 2010, if not the winner of one of those positions.
Michael from Whiteyball: The cause for optimism is the hitting, right handed middle relief, bottom of the rotation and defense. They almost have to have a better bench than last year (full season of Lugo, couple of guys hitting above .220).
The first half of the season, the Cardinals were weighed down by huge drop offs in expectations from the hitters. This is a list of batters by positions that were doing worse than their counterparts from the year before ( first half): LF, CF, RF, 3B, C, SS, P. That’s virtually everyone. Only second baseman Skip Schumaker, who was a huge drop off in defense from Adam Kennedy, and Albert Pujols (who was having a career best first half) were hitting above the positions from the previous year.
If they sign Holliday or someone of the Abreu ilk, the team will see massive improvements over a full season from LF, CF, 3B, SS and some improvement from 2B (especially backup) and RF (Ludwick could be in between 2008 and 2009).
The Cause for pessimism is top 3 starting pitchers and closer. The question isn’t will they drop off but by how much. The team could be a little better next year (with a good left fielder) or it could be slightly worse. 90 wins is a good guess at this early stage of the off-season.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Thursday, October 08, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Friday, October 02, 2009
NL team breakdown:
Strengths: deep, powerfull line-up, great left-handed starting pitching.
Weaknesses: generally poor contact hitters, seemingly atrocious bullpen
Last year the Phillies won it all basically on the strength of one great starter, and a nearly flaweless bullpen. Despite bring-back largely the same team, they are going to have to win games in a much different manner this postseason. Lee and Hamels give them a terrific duo at the top of the rotation and Happ and Blanton give them pretty good 3rd and 4th options which they really didn't have last year. The line-up has tons of thunder, but a lot of strike-outs also, so they can be somewhat feast or famine. The strength of last year's team, the bullpen, now seems like a weakness, and that's usually a fatal one in the post-season.
Final analysis: This is probably the most dangerous team for us to play in the post-season because we've been so bad against left-handed pitching this year, but they are still very beatable. I'm glad we aren't playing them in the first round, because I like our chances much better in a long series where their line-up might have more bad games than good and their bullpen is likely to cost them any close games. Hopefully they'll lose in the first round and make it a moot point.
Strengths: Best bullpen of the four teams, deep line-up, experienced coaching staff.
Weaknesses: No "Aces". Manny no longer seems to be like Manny.
I'm not sure what to expect from this team really. They lack any star power, and certainly they don't scare me, but they still can stay-in a lot of games a win them late with their great bullpen. The concern if we play them in the first round is that we'll probably see two lefties in Wolf and Kershaw. Not as scary and Lee and Hamels mind you, but still concerning. Their line-up doesn't seem to be real tough either with Manny not playing well since coming back from suspension and Etheir and Kemp struggling recently as well. They do have terrific pen, with power arms from both sides, so if we let them stay in games, they'll be tough late.
Final Analysis: Unlike the Phillies, I'd rather play with in a short series, where we can potentially throw Carp and Waino at them 4 out of the 5 games and shorten our pen. In a long series, they have good depth and may wear on us. Still, they don't scare me too much overall.
Strengths: Best home-field advantage in NL, surprisingly deep pitching staff, strange "mojo"
Weaknesses: Line-up has big holes, lack of experience.
I'd actually like to avoid this team in the first round. They are probably playing the best right now, and really have probably the best overall pitching staff. Street and Moreles can shut teams down in the last two or three innings, and their starters are pretty good. De La Rosa and Jimenez are young, but have been aces the last three months. The one good thing when facing them is that aside from Helton and maybe Tulowitski, you can get their guys out and they don't even really have great power. The key will be to get ahead early if possible, because it seems this team wins all the close games late this year.
Final Analysis: Because of the great mojo this team seems to have, I'd love to avoid them if possible, but I'd rather see them in a long series where hopefully are superior depth and experience would get the better of them.
Strengths: Front-end rotation. Albert Pujols
Weaknesses: possibly bullpen
I really believe we are the team to beat in the NL, but obviously, the playoffs are a crap-shoot most years. We have the star power, and we are playing good ball in the second half of the year. The key will be how our hitters fare against left-handed started, because one way or the other, we are going to see a lot of them. The bullpen is a concern, but I feel much better about that on the whole than I have several years. A big question though is whether Smoltz can really help or not in that area. He's a gamer I know, but hasn't looked too good on the whole this year.
Final analysis: I believe Carp, Waino, and Albert carry us to the World Series, but again, you never seem to really know this time of year. Who would've pick us to win in '06?
Quick AL analysis: The Yankees are and should be a huge favorite to come-out of the AL. They finally have some real starting pitching, plus a great back-end of the bullpen. Also, they have a huge home field advantage in that joke of a new ballpark they play in. Certainly, the power arms the Tigers possess will test them in the first round, and the Angels and Red Sox both have excellent overall teams that will push them in a long series in the second round, but this seems to be their year.
Ok, so obviously I'm picking us to play the Yankees in the World Series. The only team I hate more than the Yankees is the Cubs. I would REALLY hate to see their 200 million payroll and ridiculous ballpark and celebrity fan base be rewarded, but it's tough to see all that talent losing. Sadly, they seem to have wisely spent their money this time around. Still, with our great starters and the best player in the world on our side, we'll have a puncher's chance. I'm picking the Yanks in 6, but I hope to God I'm wrong.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
I love this, except one thing. You don't suppose that TLR is working on a backup for DD's recent probs with the organization? I mean, don't get me wrong, he would be a few steps away than being a pitching coach. Perhaps the recent uncertainty made TLR think about the future more than he had been. What do you think?
Friday, September 04, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
"In '87, the Cardinals were so helpless in the Dome that Herzog was sure the Twins were stealing their signs.
'Lots of things were funny,' he says.
But years later, when former Twins Tom Brunansky and Tommy Herr came to play for the Cardinals, Herzog asked each of them about it, and both players told him no.
'I believe them,' Herzog says today. 'They're both good guys, and we changed signs an awful lot. Every few innings.'"
Now, maybe I'm missing something but just in case, let's break it down carefully.
1. Tommy Herr was on the 1987 Cardinals. Maybe we can believe that Miller meant that Herr, from 2B, could tell they weren't stealing signs. That is until...
2. Tommy Herr never came to the Cardinals after being traded to the Twins...
3. ...for Tom Brunansky...
4. ...in 1988. "Years later"? Since when does half a year later (Herr was traded early the next season) equal "years? Maybe he meant Herzog talked to them years later on the golf course?
5. But it says "to play for the Cardinals."
This all means I can't help but think this was a completely fabricated insert by Miller. Especially with Herzog's "quote" at the end of it. This silliness makes you wonder about all sorts of inside info stories that Miller shared in this article and in general. At best, and this is a reach, Miller simple doesn't care enough to look over what he writes.
So, yeah, believe it or not, I am not under any contractual obligation to do a rant on a Sportsline article once a year, but I really wonder how these people not only get these cushy internet writing jobs, but more importantly, how they keep them.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Not completely unrelated, Chris Duncan was released from the Sox the other day. I for one, unlike others, would love to see him signed to a minor league deal. Although Cardinal Nation is still wondering about the PTBNL in the Lugo-Duncan deal, this sure looks like it panned out well.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
And I guess he'll be right...when Lugo and Smoltz win alongside the rest of the Cardinals. BTW Trey has plenty of right to toot his own horn as MANY MANY others predicted doom and a downslide in Aug for the Redbirds.
Lugo-"Red Sox to pay all of approximately $13.5M still due Lugo in 2009 and 2010" -Cots Check out the difference between Lugo's play with the Red Sox and with the Cards.
Smoltz-signed for league minimum (Red Sox, after releasing him are on the hook for >$5M) It's a bit early to call this one a win, but in the world of baseball $100k is a drop in the bucket. It's certainly a no-lose. However, I'm still gonna call this a win as Smoltz delivered a dazzling performance against the Padres the other night.
Next, we hear that the Sorcerer Dave Duncan is at it again. Turns out that Smoltz was tipping his pitches. Look what happened when they fixed it.
So, to Dave and the Red Sox, we here at the Cardinal Virtue say: Thanks and good luck making the playoffs.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
NL Central - the Cubs made a couple of additions to their bullpen, but that's it. They are pretty cash-strapped with the NL's biggest payroll and an ownership transition. Unfortunately, their line-up has started to wake-up, so I see it as a pick'em between them and us down the stretch. The Brewers weren't able to do anything, and their lack of pitching is catching-up to them. Ditto for the Astros. We have a great chance to help bury them this weekend as they are sans Lance Berkman for a couple more weeks it looks like. Strange trade by the Reds to get Rolen, as it looks like they are out of it with Volquez and Bruce still on the DL.
NL East - Obviously, the Phils are the big winner here. Big favorite to not only win the Division, but get back to the World Series with Cliff Lee in the fold. Smart move to go for him rather than give-up the farm (literally) for Halladay. Braves could make a run at the wild-card if LaRouche can help-out the offense. Mets are playing better, but it looks like Reyes and Delgado won't be back anytime soon.
NL West - Nice move by the Dodgers to get Sherill. They needed help in the pen, especially from the left side, so he was a perfect fit. They should win this division easily, and will be a threat in the post-season, but I think their starting pitching is just not quite good enough. Giants upgraded the offense some, but weren't able to really get that "impact" bat. Still, I see them as the favorite for the wild-card because their pitching is just so good. The Rockies weren't able to do anything to match and seem to be cooling-off a little, but they are streaky team and could always get right back in the wild-card race.
AL: Red Sox made the only moves really in the east, which is surprising. Victor Martinez adds not just power, but versitillity to there everyday line-up. The Yanks are playing great right now, so I guess they didn't want to mess with anything. The Rays obviously, have limited resources and seem doomed to being the third-best team in the entire AL, but not making the playoffs. In the Central, the Tigers and White Sox both bolstered their starting rotations. Peavy to the White Sox was the big move, but it seems questionable if he will really be healthy in time to have a big impact this year. He's signed though 2012, however, so the next couple of seasonsthe White Sox will have a great rotation. The Tigers have to be favored to win the division this year, as Washburn gives them the left-hander they needed to split-up Verlander and Edwin Jackson. The Twins made a nice move to get help in the middle infield getting Cabrera from the A's, but it's doubtful that will be enough. In the West, nothing much happened, so you have to still favor the Angels if they can get even marginally healthy, but unlike past years, they don't look like much of a post-season threat.
That's it. I've gotten to see the Cards on TV a bunch recently between the Astros' games and a few nationally televised games as well. I like what I've seen from the new offense, but the bullpen has shown a few kinks recently. Hopefully, they'll get things turned back around. Last night was a good start. The rotation looks solid aside from the 5 spot. Boggs was rocky last night, but much better than Wellenmeyer sadly. We have a lot of off days the rest of the year thankfully, so we'll be able to skip that spot quite a bit. I'm more excited to be a Cardinal's fan right now than I have been since 2006, I know that!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
1. DeRosa turned out to be a lot more expensive than I thought. I was shocked to learn that the PTBNL was Jess Todd. However, I still like this trade. We traded out of our bullpen surplus to acquire a solid 3B. Effectively this allows for the Cards to make another move...more on this later.
2. The Lugo deal is perfect...so far. We still don't know the PTBNL. Nevertheless, we get a player for free. We shore up a weakness. We don't have to pay for Duncan. We make room for...
3. ...Matt Holliday. Another player who turned out to be more expensive than I thought. I thought as a rent a player he was worth Wallace alone. But I wasn't taking into consideration the two draft picks Beane gives up by dealing him. The other two really make one worry about the future. However, it really didn't look like Wallace was working out at 3B. Viva El Birdos have raised the objection that if Skippy can play 2nd than Wallace would have been fine at 3rd. Going into the draft, Wallace's suspect defense was no secret. Red Bird Row speculates that the Card's merely drafted the best prospect as opposed to needs based drafting. I.e., they fully intended to trade him. I didn't get to hear his full thoughts on the UCB Radio hour but I don't know why he's surprised. My main concern is even if Wallace was never intended to be a Cardinal, did we get the best value for him?"
4. Funny enough, the newest Cardinals have played CRUCIAL roles in our two most recent wins. Big enough roles that you could reasonably say that we might have lost without them. Of course you never know how someone else might have done in their situation. Yet, if we get more performances out of them like we did this weekend, it should be a good second half.
5. I honestly don't think Mo is done yet. It is no secret that Glaus is on the block, and I believe that we'll see a new 5th man from outside the organization before or even after the deadline. The DeRosa deal really made this possible.
6. IF the Cards can land Holliday to an extension before the end of the season then wow. But I just don't see this happening--Boras is his agent after all. Yet, I don't know how we won't be able to afford him.
7. One thing I really like about DeRosa, Lugo, and Holliday is the speed they bring. The Cards weren't a slow team as it was, but it's so nice to see someone like Holliday with so much power and speed. Not only that, but the recent additions have made the Cards an EXTREMELY flexible team. It's like we have Figgons at every position...okay, maybe not. But there are many players that are capable of moving around. For a TLR team...is nice.
The future is less bright...but really. I honestly don't believe we gave up ANYONE that our hopes were riding on. Instead, we have a very exciting season that actually has promise. With key players playing like they are, now was the time to strike. And when we're hosting a trophy up at the end of the season, we are going to look back at these three deals as the difference.
P.S. I think the clubhouse is happy about their new teammates: Check out this celebration after DeRosa's HR.
Friday, July 24, 2009
It's a good trade if......
1. We win the world series this year.
2. We can sign Holliday long-term to pair with Albert.
It's a bad trade if.....
Neither of the above happen. Wallace looks like a future star, and we know we have a big whole at third. The silver lining here is we should have some financial flexibility this off-season with Pineiro, Glauss, K. Greene and Ankiel all likely being let go.
Overall, I applaud Cardinals management for really going for it this year. If DeRosa and Holliday do turn the offense around, we definitely have the pitching to win it all.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
In a really cool twist, a defensive sub, Dewayne Wise made an outstanding juggling catch to rob Gabe Kapler of a HR and to preserve the perfect game. It's not the hardest catch ever made, but considering the circumstances, I defy you to name a better individual catch in the history of baseball. Maybe there's some catch to win a post-season game....maybe I'm just not thinking of it.
Anyhow, it's up there. And I loved it. Congrats to Mark Buehrle and the White Sox.
Photo courtesy: Dustin Winter.
Check out DG's blog as he makes this comparison Minute Maid Stadium. Brilliant!
First things first, another strong start is wasted thanks to an anemic offense and a ultra rare blown save by Franklin. Playing in the fun-house against Oswalt I guess we should be happy to be in it. Nevertheless, a sweep to the not-surprisingly resurgent Astros puts us only 1 game ahead of those with the stadium that closest resembles Never-land Ranch. Same good news as last night--DeRosa looks to be finally transitioning well.
Where to start? For those of you who haven't heard, Chris Duncan was dealt to the BoSox for Julio Lugo (who had been DFA), cash considerations (which means that the BoSox will pay nearly all of Lugo's salary), and a PTBNL. In one day, the Red Sox have channeled Phil Donahue and broken up not just one but two baseball families.
Before I go into my opinions on this deal, I want to thank Chris Duncan for his service to the Cardinals. He had a great year in 2006 and has fought through some nagging injuries this past year. I also believed he probably battled a good deal of nepotism rumors and a good deal of reverse nepotism. He handled it all with class. It was no surprise to see him become so popular in the dugout. I really enjoyed him as a part of my Cardinals.
Sooooo, the day before the trade, TLR goes on a rant about the public's treatment of Duncan.
The next day, we were getting seemingly conflicting reports that Duncan had been traded or demoted.
Apparently, they weren't conflicting reports after all: Duncan was officially optioned (How the heck does he have any remaining options?! I musta missed some clause in the rules.) to Memphis before being dealt. It looks like he'll join up with Pawtucket. I wonder why both happened... Speculations galore! Supposedly, it was coincidence that TLR's rant was the day before the trade.
This was a great move, in my opinion. Chris has been struggling at the plate (and was a severe defensive liability) and the Cards have had a rotating outfield for too long. We've had a glut in the OF (so much so that we even converted Skippy to 2B) and many have been clamoring to deal from that surplus...some for a long time. Funny enough, this just might be a preemptive move... I mean, Ankiel's only strength over Duncan is his fielding--and I don't believe Slick Rick is the answer. I honestly wouldn't be shocked at all to see Dye or Dunn come our direction (Holliday too, but to a lesser degree). I really don't see us in the hunt for P Halladay. Although Welly is certainly the weakest link of the rotation, we're losing games with Carp AND Waino on the mound--ALL because of poor run support. Adding another arm won't help us in those games. But I digress, dealing Duncan for a middle infielder works great as we deal out of depth to add depth to an shallow area. Although we are selling low on Duncan, we are buying low on Lugo--both statistically and financially. We'll get Lugo for the remainder of this year and next year for virtually nothing. Sure, we need to find out who the PTBNL is (or if it is cash)--but Lugo will work great. Lugo is not better overall than Ryan. Ryan's glove is vastly superior, but against Southpaws we'll have a better option at the plate. Don't forget we also have to deal with another PTBNL.
If this is the only deadline deal we make, then I'll be disappointed. Although Mo's been infinitely more active this year than last year, we really need to make a run at it this year and next. We can't waste these performances from Carp and Pujols. If we don't take a stab at a major bat NOW we will regret it for years.
All that said, make us regret it, Chris! Best of Luck!
P.S. I've finally updated the lineup (blogroll) to the right. Due to the nature that is blogging there are too many blogs to have on a 40 man roster--so I added "Memphis". Most of the active roster blogs are the ones I read the most, but there are good ones from top to bottom, please don't take offense if you're merely on the expanded roster. ;)
P.P.S. Note this interesting tidbit. I don't want to give up too much for a Holliday.
P.P.P.S. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/UCB-Host/2009/07/23/United-Cardinal-Bloggers-Radio-Hour Excellent show guys!
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thudwick, Luddy, Luds, Studwick (for you ladies out there), whatever you want to call him. This is my temp tribute to him and the rest of the 70's-bad-stash-wearing-'87-wanna-be-Cards. By temporary I mean, 30 seconds after I took the picture, the stash was gone. Luds is on freakin' fire. Get that man in there EVERY DAY!
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
NL East - The Mets are probably the best team, but they've been killed by injuries. The Phillies are leading right now, but their pitching is a mess, and it's hard to see a way for them to fix that. The most complete team right now is probably the Marlins. They have a porous defense, but their pitching and line-up are quite good. I think they'll make a run at it, but that the Mets will get just healthy enough to win the division with a pedestrian 88 wins.
NL Central - I went over this quite a bit yesterday, but I'll just re-iterate that I think the Cardinals can and should win this division. They have the best pitching staff, and the offense should warm up enough for them to pull away. The Brewers don't have the starting pitching, and the Cubs' line-up and bullpen is a mess. The Reds could be a surprise team though.
NL West - Obviously, it would be a huge shock for the Dodgers to falter here.
NL Wildcard - As I said before, basically 12 of the 16 teams in the NL are contenders for this. The biggest contenders are the Cubs, Phillies, Marlins, Giants and Rockies. All of these teams have major faults. The Giants have by far the best pitching, but desperately need a bat. If they can get that in a trade, I like their chances. If not, I'll take the experience and talent of the Phillies, but really it's a coin-flip between any of these clubs.
My predicted results would pit the Cards against the Giants in the first round. Not a match-up I would love with Lincecum and Cain maybe the best 1-2 punch in baseball. Carp-Waino is nothing to laugh at, but still. In other words, I'm kinda hoping the Giants DON'T get another bat, because they'd be a real tough out in the postseason.
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Where we stand now: Well, the team obviously hasn't played great since April. The main reason for that is the offense. Amazingly, Albert is having probably his best season ever to this point, which is really saying something. The rest of team, however, has been not too good. Shu and Ryan have done a pretty good job of getting on base thankfully, or else Albert would never get pitched to. The so-called power hitters in Ludwick, Ankiel and Duncan have been dreadful, though Luds has begun to show signs of life this week. I'm beginning to wonder if Ankiel will ever to disciplined enough to truly be an everyday player and I'm glad he's a free-agent after this year right now. Rasmus looks like not just the future in CF, but the better player by far right now. Duncan to me has looked like he at least has a clue at the plate, but he just hasn't shown the power this year yet. You have to wonder if his neck is 100%. I definitely applaud the DeRosa acquisition by management. He is a big upgrade at third for starters, and is the kind of versatile player LaRussa loves. It's not Mozeliak's fault he got hurt right away, that's just bad luck. Certainly Perez has the potential to be a good closer in the future, but right now, Franklin has been golden and you have to give-up something good to get something good. IF we can get DeRosa healthy and a couple of the outfielders step-up a little, that should be enough offense -because the pitching has been outstanding. The best pitched game I've seen all year was this past Wednesday with Wainwright going 9 and striking-out 12. Carp has been great, Pineiro very good. Wellenmeyer has been the weak-link, but he showed good signs this past start. Thompson has been a decent fill-in, but fortunately Lohse should be back in a week. The bullpen has been almost the polar-opposite of last year. Led by the near-perfect Franklin, they've given-up few leads and often kept us in other close games late. Now, yesterday was one of the few times the offense has managed to take advantage of that and stoke a come-back, but I believe more of those are in the future. We'll need Kinney and Motte to pitch better than they have with Perez gone, but I'm hopeful they can do that.
So what about the future, Conan? Well, looking ahead, all the way to September, 2009, the NL Central is obviously still up for grabs, as well as the wild-card. As poorly as we've played, we sit today atop the division by one game over the Brewers. Granted, we only have a 6 game lead over the LAST PLACE team (the Pirates), so that shows we still have a lot of work to do. Personally, I don't think the Brewers have the pitching to stay with over the long run unless they can find another Sabathia-type deal out there. The Cubs, obviously, are a team to watch. Their line-up has been even worse than ours though, and they don't have a Pujols to carry them. Their bullpen has also been a problem. Honestly, the Reds could be a team to watch if they can get Volquez back, because that would give them a great rotation. Overall, however, I think this race is ours to lose. I feel we've weathered the worst from an offensive stand-point, and the team should just better from here on out. Lohse and DeRosa hopefully shouldn't be out much longer and there is even hope Glaus could return sometime in the next 6 weeks or so. Certainly, other injuries could happen. We always keep a watchful eye on Carp and I'm a little worried we've asked too much of Franklin so far (has has pitched the last three days in a row for instance). Still, I think the team has to start hitting and hitting for power, and even a little more run support should send us on a big streak which could easily allow us to run away and hide from this mediocre division. It would be nice to have a little lead heading into what should be a fun and historic all-star break for the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
1. I've seen all of Wainwright's last three starts on TV, and he's been quite impressive. As John mentioned earlier, the lowering of his arm-slot seems to have made all the difference in the world. Tonight, he had a little trouble locating the fastball the first three innings, which caused him to fall behind a few hitters. When he got ahead as he did later in the game, the Brewers had no chance, because the slider and ESPECIALLY the curve were lights-out. In his previous two starts, it actually seemed he didn't quite have the great curve if you can believe it, but he certainly did today. As awesome as it is to have Carp back, this is the guy we can count on every start for the rest of the year.
2. The offense finally woke-up. Albert had two RBIs, but really it was the supporting cast finally stepping-up. Shu and Thurston each had a couple of hits to set the table. Stavinoha, Rasmus, Duncan, and even Wainwright all homered. Stavinoha's was the first of his MLB career. That's nice for him because.......
3. Ludwick should be back Friday. This was probably the best thing I heard all night, and in such a solid overall game by the Cards at that. The ESPN crew seemed to think that Ludwick is close to 100% already, but will return officially against the Giants on Friday. Ankiel hasn't played the last two days despite being off the DL, but is thought to be nearing 100% as well.
All in all, probably the most pleasant experience I've had watching a game this year. A great performance by the team, and lots of other good news to boot.