This news is a little late, but two fairly major signings occured last week that related to the Cardinals. First, Fuentes signed with the Angles. Then, Miles signed with the Cubs, which in turn allowed them to turn around and trade DeRosa to the Indians for three minor leaguers. I know I've harped upon how imperative I thought it was for us to sign Fuentes, but I'm actually going to give the Card's management a pass on this one. The deal he reportedly got from the Angels (Two years, 17.5 mil with a vesting option at 9 mil for the third year), was arguably a worse one than Kerry Wood got from the Indians. I'm going to assume the Card's offered him a deal better than that, and that the Angels were where Fuentes wanted to sign all along, so he signed for less than he could have somewhere else. Miles I find somewhat more troubling. Not only does he sign with our main rival, but it also allowed them to trade DeRosa and (possibly) get enough minor leaguers in their system to help them rework a deal for Peavy. They also save some money on DeRosa vs. Miles' saleries (plus they jettisoned Marquis to the Rockies), so that will help them sign an outfielder, obstensibly Milton Bradley. Now the Cubs were already the decided favorite in our division, so it really gets my goat to see them get better at our expense. Miles was by no means a superstar, but he was extremely valuable to us last year. He can play all four infield positions, and is a switch hitter. That's not going to be easy to replace. Certainly, DeRosa is a loss of the the Cubs as he is even more versatile and has more power than Miles, but it clears the way for them to add some more parts while still having an excellent utility guy on their team. Anyway, it's tough to see what moves are really out there for the Cards to respond at this point. Their main need is relief, especially left-handed and closer. There are some good lefties still out there, Joe Beimel is still the guy I want to see them get, but closer is likely an issue that will sadly continue to plaque us. Hoffman is the only established free agent available, but he's done in my opinion. There's been some talk the White Sox might be willing to part with Jenks, but my guess is his price via trade would be more than the Cards would be willing to do. That leaves us with Motte, Perez and Franklin. It's pretty rare to see a guy close in their first or second year (even K-Rod and Mariano tutored under Percival and Wetteland for a while and neither Motte or Perez have the kind of otherworldly stuff those two have) which probably means Franklin will get the first look again. One guy I'd like to see maybe get a try is Josh Kinney. He was unhittable after coming back last year, and his slider is the kind of go-to out pitch you want a closer to have. Just a thought. Man, am I rambling today. Anyway, back to free agency options. The Cards still have money to spend supposedly, so what can we use it on? Don't need on everyday player (though maybe O. Hudson could be an option - the market for him seems to have come down quite a bit?). Bullpen yeah, but one more lefty like Beimel won't cost too much. So starting pitching? But who? The most attractive guy is Oliver Perez. Young, left-handed, great stuff. Unfortunately, I'm guessing it will take a deal more than what Lohse got to get him, so no thank you. Lowe? Even more over-priced. I've heard some noise about Sheets. If we can get him to sign only a one or two year deal, I'd say great, but more than that - no way. I've had my fill of injury-prone starters. Personally, I think we should get a veteran guy that will sign only a one year deal as insurance for Carpenter/Pineiro. Pettitte, Wolf, even Pedro Martinez. Someone along those lines. Then save whatever money we have left for the trading deadline or even next year. Hey you win some, and you lose some. We clearly haven't won with the moves we've made since the last offseason, but we have some young talent and we have Pujols. No need to panic, just move on and hope for the best I guess.
Trying to be optimistic,