Well, what a difference a year makes. Last year, everyone in the Cardinals' Nation was screaming and begging for management to do something, anything, to keep us in the race with the Cubs and Brewers. This year, they did quite a lot. Obviously, Holiday has been on absolute fire since he was acquired, but DeRosa has hit SEVEN home runs and been a huge upgrade at third and Lugo has added almost as much to the offense in the middle infield. He looks like a huge get right now especially with Brenden Ryan's injury. The question is of course, did we savage our farm system for the next couple of years to get all these guys? I don't really think so, as Wallace was the only A-level guy we gave-up. I think there is a real good chance we re-sign at least DeRosa after this year. He'll come cheaper than what we are paying Glaus this year for instance. Lugo is on the team basically for free next year. Holliday might be another matter, but we will have some cash to play with with Pineiro, Glaus, and K. Green all coming-off the books. And if we lose him, we get two new first-round picks to re-stock the farm system. Now, for the rest of baseball:
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!