Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cardinal Blogger Awards

If you have the time, please check-out the winners for the 2nd annual Cardinal Blogger Awards. The official score is now up on c70's page. As with every UCB project I've been a part of in this short time, I've learned a lot participating in it, and I can't wait to do it again next year because I know I'll be able to do it more justice in the future! I'm not sure how much I'll be able to post over the holidays, and I'm sure John is even busier with finals, term papers, etc., but keep your eyes open, especially if there are any major developments in free agency or trades as I'm sure one of us will have something to say. One last quick thing: thanks to all of you that have read our blog this season, it's been fun to share our thoughts with you and to have you share yours with us. Most of all, thanks to John for so graciously sharing this space with me. It's been great great to be able to again share our love for the Cards, despite being separated by an ocean! Hopefully, I'll muddle it up less the during my second year! Happy Holidays and God bless to all.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trey Cardinal Blogger Award Votes:

Be sure to check-out all the UCB blogs to see how they voted. I haven’t heard for sure from John if he will be voting as well as myself, but keep on eye out just in case. A quick disclaimer for my votes: I’m still getting used to the blogging world, so I really wasn’t sure what to say in some of the categories, so I’ve abstained if I had no clue and did my best otherwise. Sorry to any of my fellow bloggers if I unintentially slight you! I’ll get better at this, I promise. So, without any more whining on my part:

Player of the Year: Albert Pujols, not explanation necessary.

Pitcher of the Year: Kyle Lohse. Wainwright was clearly our best, but he missed too much time with injury to be eligible in my opinion. Lohse was about the only guy on the staff that was good for pretty much the entire season.

Game of the year: 7.5.2008 vs. Cubbies. Ankiel walk-off hit off Kerry Wood was one of the few moments to smile about in late-game situations this year as a Card’s fan.

Surprise player of the year: Ryan Ludwick. This was a pretty easy one. No one could have guessed he go gang busters like he did, but can he do it again?

Disappointing player of the year: Jason Isringhausen. Several candidates here, but most of the other ones had some serious injury factor. The bullpen on the whole was the major factor in missing the playoffs, and Izzy lead the way in that regard. He did get injured also, but was horrible before that happened as well.

Cardinal rookie of the Year: Chris Perez. No real great candidate here. Liked the brief bits we saw of Mather, but the promise Perez showed is more important because of the way we are hurting in the pen right now.

New Cardinal of Year: Kyle Lohse. See above explanation on him. Glaus was solid as well, but not spectacular.

Most anticipated Cardinal: Jason Motte. I know he already made the majors and Rasmus hasn’t, but since he hasn’t used his rookie status up, I’m going to still pick him. Besides, we are stacked in the outfield, and bullpen, not so much, so I think Motte could potentially make more of an impact.

Best individual blog: Mike on the Cards. Maybe not the most original name for a blog, but I always enjoy what Mike has to say. Again, I’m not super familiar with all the work in the UCB yet, but I make the time to read Mike’s work as much as I can, and I like the streamlined format and personal touch he gives his blog's page. Honarable mention to Redbird Ramblings.

Best team blog: Well, I’ll have to abstain on this one, as John and I are the only team I’m aware of presently. Chances are, I read some that are teams and I'm just don't know it!

Best Professional blog: Deadspin. If you don't read it regularly, you should. If only I were that witty.

Best UCB project: Well, I missed some early in the season, but I’ll go with top 7 prospects because that’s a topic I’m not well educated on myself, so I learned a lot from it.

Funniest blog: Hmmm…..can’t think of one I read regularly that is overtly funny. Talking about the Cards is serious business after all!

Best blog post: I only knew about this post from earlier in the year because of a link from c70, but how can you not go with Scott Rolen vs. Eddie Vedder from the Redbird blog? It’s classic.

Rookie Blog of the year: Pitchers hit eighth. This is another blog I try to read regularly. I didn’t realize it was a “rookie”, so it will probably only get better!

Well, that's it. Hopefully I didn't forget anything! I look forward to participating with the UCB more in the future, so hopefully I'll be a lot more familiar with the other blogs next year!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet Justice

Well, I'm sure you've heard, but Albert Pujols is your 2008 NL MVP. He obviously deserved it, but I was a little afraid he'd get jobbed because we didn't make the playoffs. Fortunately, enough people had the sense to realize you shouldn't be win the MVP if you strike-out 200 times in a year (ahem, Ryan Howard). Anyway, I don't have much time today, so I'll leave it at that. It's not a world series win, but it does validate the season somewhat I think. Some food for thought: if Albert didn't play another game, would he be a first ballot hall-of-famer? I think so, he's put up unprecedented numbers up to this point, but I think it's an interesting topic. Hopefully just a theoretical one of course!

P.S. Be on the look out for the 2nd annual Cardinal Blogger awards this week on all the UCB blogs. C70 will be posting the winners I believe on the 21st. John and I will hopefully get around to our votes sometime before then!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Better late than never

Two fairly major news items for the Cardinals today:

1. Yadier Molina won his first gold glove. We all know he should've won last year, when he had one the great statistical catching seasons in history. His numbers weren't as good this year, but perhaps the writers are just noticing him a year late. He did help the Cardinals starting pitching to better than expected numbers, so perhaps that had something to do with it as well.

2. Carpenter had surgery on his right elbow yesterday. This procedure is similar to the one that Pujols had recently to reduce numbness and discomfort from the nerve in the elbow. Since that was seeminly what was bothering him on his return this year, hopefully it's fixed now. Carpenter had been rehabbing on his own hoping the nerve problem would go away, but I guess that wasn't working. Supposedly, like Albert, this won't have any effect on Carp's availability for spring training. I think that it just makes that question mark next to his name in the rotation for next year a little bit bigger. Remember: it usually takes more than a full year to recover from the tommy-john type surger Carp had, so hopefully his setbacks are nothing more than typical and he'll be OK in a few months. Not holding my breath of course.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Revised Off-Season Plan

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.