Which one will show up tonight?
The Cards’ offense has recently exploded for ten runs on Saturday versus the Mets (albeit in extra time) and for twelve last night versus the Braves (albeit versus a rookie, stop-gap starter). Last night they were even without their slugging centerfielder, Rick Ankiel. That could be an ongoing absence, in this fan’s opinion.
The offense that showed up Saturday and last night doesn’t seem to need improvement. They were getting production up and down the order. Joe Mather finally showed signs of being comfortable at the plate in a Major League at-bat. Albert Pujols continued to show why he is perhaps the greatest hitter in the league. It was a complete effort up and down the lineup. It even instilled confidence in Braden Looper to go out and throw seven solid innings.
Here’s the problem – that offense has been scarce lately. Not only that, Viva El Birdos has laid wood (so to speak) to the Cardinal offense. The Cardinals, on a whole, have basically faced the worst pitching in the league, for the season. VEB breaks it down into pitchers’ OBP against and pitchers’ batting average against, and the Cards have high ranking hitters on both lists. I highly recommend you read the article, I really can’t do it justice by summing up here.
So what to do then?
Forget Matt Holliday. The price is going to be too high, and this team has maintained from the start that 2009 and beyond are really their target years. But, fans expect the team to do what they can to win when they have the chance, right?
Right. Here’s your answer. Sign Barry Bonds. I’ve been against it from the first time it was mentioned, but desperate times call for desperate measures. He won’t cost you anything in terms of prospects or salary for this season. His agent says he can be ready in seven to ten days. Book it. He can’t be any worse in the outfield than Chris Duncan. Who knows when Ankiel will be back (these abdominal things seem to haunt the Cardinals), so you plug Bonds into left field, Skip Schumaker plays center, Ryan Ludwick in right. Mather backs them up.
Next, you trade Clayton Mortensen, Tyler Greene, and Nick Stavinoha to Detroit for Edgar Renteria. The Cards can reasonably assume Edgar’s contract for this season, and can buy out his $11M club option for $3M in the off-season if they decide not to carry him any further. I’ve always thought that Edgar blossomed a little bit in St Louis, given the love of the fans. He would certainly be an upgrade up the middle over Cesar Izturis. For that matter, find anyone to take Iz2 off your hands, and Renteria’s salary is that much more palatable.
Finally, trade Mike Parisi to the Pirates for John Grabow. Or to the Mariners for Arthur Rhodes. Or to the Royals for Ron Mahay. Whatever you do, get a left-hander who can be successful against left-handed hitters. Parisi could be substituted for any other player in the organization who similarly seems to have already fallen out of favor with both fans and management. Assuming Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright both come back healthy, the bullpen gets natural help from rotation demotions on the right side – add a lefty so LaRussa doesn’t have to depend on Randy Flores – and all might resolve itself.
These moves keep your top, core organizational prospects in tact. They might be a little far-flung, but the deals that have been made this trade deadline have lacked a lot of pizazz, in my opinion.
Ok, face the music time. I am probably shooting for the moon here and barely hitting the roof. Punch holes in my theories. Tell me I’m crazy. I love irrational hot stove talk.