Man, it's been a long time since anything has been posted on this blog. I have no excuse either, because there actually has been some interesting things happening in the Cardinal nation, I've just been too lazy to write about them. So let's play catch-up:
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.