Thursday, December 30, 2004

Aw, crap

Ankiel is hurt again. Poor kid. Looks like this happened before the Myers signing, so that makes a lot more sense now. Anything we got out of Rick was going to be a bonus, but man this sucks. I just hope for his sake that it's not serious. He was just coming back around; he's gotta be petrified.

Update: According to Cardinal Nation, the shutdown is precautionary. However, I'm taking this with a grain of salt. If his elbow is screwed up, what's he going to do-have Tommy John again? Looks like we won't know anything until mid-February, and he's going to be up with the big club (out of options; the Cards will not put him on waivers) during the season, so he'd better be alright.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A Random Aside

For the second time this week, Stuart Scott has quoted Wicked on SportsCenter. Why?

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Through the wonders of the internet I was able to listen to an interview with Eckstein on KFNS this afternoon. He knows his cliches. The only bit of information is that he is willing to play second or short, wherever Tony wants to put him. So what's out there at shortstop? Well, this guy is the only free agent under 30 and he's not exactly a full-time player. Ok. At second? The choices are almost as slim.

This has made me depressed.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Season's Greetings from Walt Jocketty

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the park
Not a creature was stirring, even tho’ we have Mark;
The stockings were hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St. Abner soon would be there;

The players were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of base hits danced in their heads;
And Fredbird in his foam head, and I in my cap,
Were hoping and praying we didn’t get a bench full of crap,

When out on the field there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the office to see what was the matter.
Away to the dugout I flew like a flash,
I feared that Matty had found an old stash.

The moon on the crest of the newly raked mound
Reminded me to not count on Ankiel’s rebound,
When, out from right field what should appear,
But the bullpen cart fully loaded with beer,

With a dyed-haired driver you couldn’t help but like,
I knew in a moment that it must be Ol’ Mike.
And then, as if he were addressing the crowd,
He pointed to his companions, and named them out loud;

"Now, Albert! now, Scott! now, Jimmy and Larry!
On, Chris! on Jeff! on, Jasons and Yadi!
Right into the glove! Over the top of the wall!
Put your cleats on! Get ready for baseball!"

How well I remember those bats that they wield,
And the roar of the stands when they took to the field,
How to rebuild this team I had not a clue,
Could we live up to last year, and the Moon Man, too?

And then, in a twinkling, I had a good thought,
I would just have to be sure that the baseball was caught.
As I turned to the office to look up Zone Ratings
I found that behind me there he was waiting.

He was dressed all in red, from his jacket to shoe,
They didn’t quite match, but that’s the fault of the brew;
He looked at me and said, “You’re in quite a pickle,
The team lost a lot of defensive strength up the middle.”

I looked down at the turf and nodded my head,
“I must do something more than re-sign Eldred!
The outfield is old and the bullpen has holes,
O! How I wish we had the Yankees’ payroll.”

“You know,” he said, looking crazy as Tavarez,
“Things are not always as they appear to be as.”
I sighed and I moaned, thinking of dollars and cents,
We didn’t need hitters, just a solid defense.

I knew that we had enough on-field commanders,
And as for veterans? Heck, we even have Sanders;
We don’t need a star and we don’t want a thug,
And in David we've got that little sparkplug;

I didn’t have much time, must get straight to work,
Else the fans anger and I look like a jerk,
Mike chuckled and said, “You’re not as rich as some clubs,
But please just remember, You Are Not The Cubs;"

He sprang to his cart, and drove off to the pen
Leaving me with a team that I think could win.
And I heard him exclaim, as he sipped his Bud Lite,

Thursday, December 23, 2004

One Down, One to Go

Isn't Walt on vacation in Hawaii?

Cards signed Eckstein to a three-year deal (does that seem like a long time to anyone else?) for $10.25 million. He's like a better Bo Hart, so people are gonna love him. Apparently, he can't throw so fantastically anymore, so I wish they'd put him at second, but he's gonna be better than Luna at short. He'll lead off and his OBP last year (.339-up from 2003) was only a little lower than Womack's (.349) and his career OBP is .347 (Womack: .319). Last year David walked more and struck out less.

So we'll have a little bit better leadoff man and Pujols will have to dig more throws out of the dirt.

My overall reaction: eh.

And: St. Louis-Renteria-Boston-Cabrera-Anaheim-Eckstein-St. Louis.

Edit: In this article, Eckstein calls Tony "Mr. La Russa." That's so adorable! And so wonderfully old-fashioned. I like the signing a little more. What can I say? I'm a sucker.

A Festivus for the Rest of Us

Ah, Festivus. Does everyone have their aluminum Pole? Are you prepared, if called upon, to pin the head of the family in a Feat of Strength? And what about the Airing of Grievances? I hope you have cataloged all the ways people have disappointed you this year.

A donation to the Human Fund has been made in your name.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

A Blockbuster!!!!

Taguchi and a LOOGY.

Taguchi's...fine off the bench. He can back up the very slightly older outfielders. His only distinguishing characteristic seems to be that he looks about 16. But he did have that homerun in Chicago, just to rub it in the Cubs' faces. Heh heh heh.

Myers looks like a OK pick up. Lefties batted .233, righties .344 against him, so definitely a one out guy. Groovy.

So we've got Eldred, Tavarez, Reyes maybe, Izzy, King, Ankiel, now Myers. Hold on. Three lefties? Something's not right here. Ok, King's the main guy. I suppose Myers is the new Kline (but not as good). Where does that leave Ankiel? He's probably not going to get into the rotation (once Morris is healthy) unless a starter is traded, but that's putting a lot of faith in him. I for one am still not comfortable with that. Love the kid, hope he's fixed, so glad he wasn't in the Mulder deal, but I still hold my breath. Eldred pretty much has the mop-up role taken care of. Maybe they will go with three southpaws. Curiouser and curiouser.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Middle Infield

Hello? Is there anybody out there?


No Cabrera (signed with Angels). Polanco accepted arbitration from the Phillies. Um.... Cairo's still not signed. Eckstein is available. Cora?

Is there an echo in here?

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Merry Christmas

The Cardinals traded Danny Haren, Kiko Calero, and Daric Barton for the A's Mark Mulder. Holy crap. This came out of nowhere. After Oakland traded Hudson to Atlanta and Clement signed with Boston (I hate them so much), I thought our chance of really upgrading the rotation were slim to none. And I figured there was no way the A's would give up a second pitcher.

There are some concerns with Mulder's hip. He was not good in the second half last year. But I really can't believe the trade would go through if he wasn't fully checked out. Billy Beane may be revered as a demi-god GM, but Jocketty's not going to take someone's damaged goods.

The loss of Haren isn't the greatest; he's young, cheap, and mostly reliable. He would have filled Williams' slot in the rotation or been in the pen. And I'd like to see who's going to take the spot starts and long relief Haren took care of last year. Barton's a great prospect. As a 19 year old catcher in A ball, he hit .313/.445/.511. I believe there was some concern with his glove, but he's 19. Clearly, he can hit. But he's 19. He would have to switch positions; Molina's the catcher for a while and the corner infield is taken care of. It's not great to give up our highest rated prospect, but it's not the same as a AAA 22 year old. Calero was great; he's the one I think the team will miss the most. Will Mike Lincoln or a Reyes take his spot?

So the Cardinals' rotation looks to be:

Morris (Ankiel if Matty isn't ready for April?)

That ain't not bad.

Mulder's 27 and gets $6 million next year and a team option of $7.25 million for 2006.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Rest of Them

So Woody went to the Padres. It would have been nice if he was at least offered arbitration with the understanding he wouldn't accept. But we weren't going to be able to afford him, and San Diego's a good team. They lost Wells so they needed that "Veteran Leadership On The Mound" thing. It's kind of amusing that we traded Ray Lankford for Williams, Lankford came back to St. Louis in 2004, and now Woody's going back to San Diego. Haren's probably a decent enough replacement.

The Giants are way overpaying Matheny. The Cards offered him a 2 year deal, essentially to mentor Molina. Given the opportunity to be the starter in San Francisco for $10.5 million over three years, Mike made the obvious choice. Molina won't be quite as solid defensively as Matheny next year, but damn, that kid is good. Any 22 year-old rookie that threatens to knock Manny Ramirez on his ass will be just fine.

Kline hasn't signed anywhere yet, but since he just had surgery, clubs are understandably reluctant. He's left-handed, so he shouldn't have a problem. Even Jeff Fassero has a minor-league contract for next year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Fetal Position

During the season, when the Cardinals lost, I childishly avoided ESPN, the newspaper, and the internet.

It looks like I'll be doing the same thing for awhile. Edgar signed with Boston.

I think Cardinal fans have become too accustomed to players signing for less to play in St. Louis. We've been told too often that it's the BEST BASEBALL CITY IN AMERICA and guys LOVE PLAYING THERE. Some players are happy to take the hometown discount; the Cards just have a relatively higher percentage (and they're higher profile) than most teams. McGwire and Rolen took less money; Pujols signed for somewhat less than he could get on the open market in a few years. Hell, Jimmy would probably play for free. Lots of players have deferred money (the intelligence of which is a topic for another time) which looks good to fans. But none of this is the norm, especially this year. Just take a look at Cards Talk on the P-D website to see how personally people are taking the signing.

I can't even imagine the outrage if Sexson had been on the Cardinals last year. Many fans would probably want him to sign for less because he was being paid while injured. Well, he's going to his hometown team and he's getting $50 million for four years. Not a discount.

So Renteria went for the money in Boston (not that much more money, but still)? Shit happens. I didn't want the Cardinals to spend $10 million/year for him. He's good, but not Rolen/Pujols good. There are some things that rub me the wrong way about his statements. Boston wanted him more? I guess that's a polite way of saying they were paying more. This whole situation has been so freakin messy; I'm glad it's over and done with. And I don't buy that the wait prevented getting someone else. We weren't going to pay a 3rd starter $7 million a year no matter what.

Of course, now the Cards don't have a middle infield. And Renteria's signing drove up the price on Cabrera. So, will the team go cheap on 2B and SS and get good pitching? The A's don't need a 2B anymore, could they be more open to St. Louis' pitching-only deal? Clement is still out there-think he'd take 4 years/39 million?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Winter Meetings

There's too much going on. Edgar to Boston. Edgar to St. Louis. Edgar to Boston. Matheny to San Francisco. Hudson to the Cards. Hudson to the Dodgers. Randy Johnson to the Yankees. Randy Johnson to nowhere.

I can't take it all in. Once Renteria signs, wherever that may be, we'll have a better idea of where the team stands. I'm gonna wait until then to go through everything.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Updates, Sort Of

Detroit is trying to take away Edgar.

This 2nd baseman was declined arbitration. I do not consider him an option.

Woody's going back to San Diego. Sad. Thanks Woody. I wish we could get their shortstop if Edgar doesn't sign. Also sad.

The Day After

Ok, so we lost our 2nd baseman/leadoff hitter to the Yankees. Tony got 2 years/$4 million, which is great for him. He had a career year while making less than $1 million in 2004. But I don't think he can duplicate last season. While he was great for us, I'm not that sorry to see him go. Do the Cards go after Polanco now? Or do we [shudder] go with Luna/Hart? Polanco's clearly the better choice, but he was offered arbitration by the Phillies and would cost a lot more money in addition to draft picks.

As expected Williams and Kline were not offered arbitration. I'm sad to see them go. Both pitched their hearts out for the Cards. Woody, even when hurt, was...gritty. I'll miss Kline's goofiness, but we've still got Tavarez.

The club re-signed Eldred ($600,000), Mabry ($725,000), and Morris ($2.5 m, up to $7 m with incentives). He's fine. Mabry's nice to have around since the outfield is so old (though he's no spring chicken).

As for Matty, well, the $7 million is a little high, but I doubt he'll get all of it. If his surgery last week fixes whatever issues he had in 2004, great; it just always seemed like a good deal of his problems could be traced to his head, not his shoulder. $5 million is fine for a 3rd or 4th starter.

Both Matheny and Renteria were offered arbitration. Matheny wants at least a two-year deal. I don't know if he'll be happy being a back-up as soon as next year. The Dodgers are interested, and if Matheny wants to keep starting for two more years, let him go and take the picks. We wouldn't lose much in defense and couldn't possibly lose any offense going from Matheny to Molina.

I just don't know what to think about the Edgar situation. I want him back-bad. But what if:

a) he prices the team out of upgrading the rotation and/or a decent 2nd base?
b) we can't get something done and miss out on good free agents - apparently Walt is "consumed" by signing Edgar.

I hope we sign him soon, I hope it's reasonable, IhopeIhopeIhope....

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

A Good Idea

Everyone should do this.

Stuff While Waiting for the Deadline

I love Ray King:
"Hey, I'm all for the minor-league policy," King said. "Whatever needs to be done. We as a union and we as Major League Baseball ... if it takes getting a stricter drug policy to clean up the game, we need to do it.
"If it takes putting Bud, Don (Fehr, union chief) and doctors in a room, locking 'em up and not letting 'em out until they get something resolved, I'm all for it."
Full article

Ankiel Update:
1st game: 4 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HB
2nd game: 5 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 8K , 1 HB
3rd game: 4.3 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 8 H, 7 K, 1 BB
4th game: 7 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 7 K, 2 HB, 1 WP (CGSO)
So, that's 25 strikeouts v. 3 walks. There's also another WP in there someplace.

In word form
Full Stats

11:00 am
Peter Gammons thinks the Cards and Dodgers are competing for the affections of Matt Clement. Only if Clement shaves.

2:00 pm
Nomar re-signed with the Baby Bears - 1 year/$8 million (up to $11 million with incentives, like actually playing).
Thank God Edgar won't be a Cub. I don't think I could have handled that.

3:22 pm
Looks like Kline and Williams will not be offered arbitration. Matheny might have been, and there's no word yet on Morris.

6:30 pm
Todd Walker also signed with the Cubbies, 1 year/$2.5 million, $2.5 million club option for 2006. Some fans have convinced themselves they are getting Drew and/or Beltran. I don't even know where to start with that.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


It looks like cartoon curse words. Instead, we've got the former AL MVP and the current NL MVP doping. There will be some other news on Dec. 7th (arbitration deadline), but this is the Big Story for a long time.

We now know that Bonds and Giambi definitely took steroids. Bud Selig is trying to deflect blame, the players' union hasn't commented yet. Clearly (pun not intended), there needs to be a more stringent policy. What MLB has right now is a joke. But apparently, it was such a sticking point that it could have caused a strike during the last Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Is Don Fehr really willing to risk not just the "integrity of the game" but the health of the players he represents? Getting rid of performance-enhancing drugs does not seem to be a priority for the players' union higher-ups. If Selig felt as strongly as he claims, would anyone fault him for standing firm on this issue in 2002? MLB has looked the other way for so long (see: Mark McGwire and andro, Jose Canseco, etc.) that it is hard to see Selig's statements as anything other than ass-covering.

Bonds' already less than stellar reputation can't get a whole lot worse. He either wanted to maintain deniability (i.e., he knew what he was taking) or he lied to the grand jury (i.e., he knew what he was taking and committed a felony). They can't void his records, as steroids weren't banned in baseball until the end of the 2002 season (HGH is still ok with MLB). As for that asterisk? Don't hold your breath. It may end up being a worse punishment to let those records stand. Anytime anyone mentions the single season homerun record, the MVP award, or all-time homerun leaders, they won't talk about Barry Bonds, it will be Barry Bonds, Steroid User. Public humiliation is probably a better deterrent for these guys than losing a month's salary. Especially for someone as vain as Bonds.

So, MLB isn't going to punish him, because they can't, really. But the next two years will be filled with constant scrutiny from the media, constant booing at every park (except maybe San Francisco), and having records that no one believes he earned fairly. If Bonds weren't so damn full of himself, he might realize that retirement is a decent option at this point. There wouldn't be any awkward 715 and 756 ceremonies. He wouldn't have to deal with the media anymore (and the media wouldn't have to deal with him). After being compared to baseball's immortals, he's become it's biggest liability. If Bonds has any respect for the game and the fans that have given him so much, he should at least think about leaving as gracefully as possible. Instead he will want to prove he can excel without the roids no matter how embarrassing it is for baseball as a whole. And when he complains about not getting the respect he deserves for breaking Aaron's record (based on his testimony he'll no doubt be playing the race card, too), I hope the only sound he'll hear will be the sound of our laughter.

So what happens now? Well, it's probably "good for baseball" that this didn't break during the season. There was nothing on SportsCenter one day after the bomb dropped. But if Fehr and the executive board can't come up with something when they meet this week, Selig needs to invoke the "best interest" clause. With the game's biggest personality involved in this mess, that renaissance Bud keeps talking about is going to be very short-lived if something isn't done before Spring Training. And if they can't reach an agreement, John McCain will send legislation through Congress to impose a stricter drug policy on baseball.

I actually feel a little sorry for Giambi. He told the truth and will probably lose his job (and a whole lot of money). Bonds was evasive and he gets to keep playing. Plus, Giambi got the lovely side effect of a tumor near his brain.

Friday, December 03, 2004

No Way

I never ever thought this could possibly be true. It is an amazing revelation.

Let's say you make millions upon millions of dollars as an athlete. Are you really going to put things into your body without knowing what they are?

I actually find myself kind of missing ESPN this week. I'd love to see how far they're backpedalling.

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