Catching up with the Cardinals’ off-season

by on November 19, 2008 · 25 comments

So I’ve been biding my time, waiting, watching, allowing the news to come to me. As I’m sure my loyal readers know (all three of you), it’s been eerily quiet.

Let’s catch up with the goings on…

  • The Gold Gloves were announced, and Yadier Molina finally got his due. No surprise, it comes in a year that was statistically deficient to his 2007 defensively, but far superior offensively. The Gold Gloves are getting to be a bit of a beauty contest in my opinion, a way to give an award to a guy for a good season that doesn’t really deserve any other award…almost like an All-Star nomination, but without the game. How else can you explain Albert Pujols finishing third in the voting for the NL First Base Gold Glove? Is Adrian Gonzalez really a better defender, or just had no shot at any other award but had a good season? I’ll let you decide.
  • Pujols came out on top this time in another widely debated NL MVP race. Basically, Albert and Ryan Howard found their roles reversed from the 2006 MVP vote. Many sportswriters across the country are proceeding to make themselves look foolish by writing drivel for anyone who cares to read it about how undeserving Pujols was, and how Howard or someone from another playoff team was more deserving of the award, but the writers have spoken. To Phil Sheridan, Tom Haudricourt, and others…you have to ask yourself this question. Where would the Cardinals have been this season without Pujols? Similarly, where would Pujols have been statistically with guys like Chase Utley, or Jose Reyes, or Rafael Furcal hitting in front of him (just to name a few)? Pujols was already heads and shoulders above all other candidates statistically. Nevermind Howard’s gaudy RBI total – look at the OPS numbers. Look at the on-base percentage. Look at the consistency. Then tell me who the Most Valuable Player in the National League was for 2008. I, for one, am looking forward to a few more in the next several years.
  • The ones who got away:
    • Scott Eyre, Jeremy Affeldt, Damaso Marte – So the left-handed relief market has already taken off…Affeldt to the Giants, Eyre re-upped with the Philles, Marte with the Yankees. It’s looking like the average market for a lefty is going to be around $4 million per season, with Will Ohman and Brian Fuentes likely to command much more than that as the ‘premier’ names. I’ve read lots saying the Cards and GM John Mozeliak are still in the hunt for Ohman, I’ve also seen a couple places indicating he figures to remain with the Braves. I don’t see the Cards ponying up for Fuentes, and probably for good reason. That leaves Mo with guys like Joe Beimel, Arthur Rhodes, Trever Miller, et al. Beimel seems the most likely candidate, not being terribly long in the tooth and probably falling into that $4m or less per season range.
    • The Jake Peavy Sweepstakes are supposedly still going on, although it seems increasingly likely that he might remain with the Padres. Despite comments indicating the “ship has sailed” on Peavy’s time with the Padres, San Diego GM Kevin Towers appears to be looking for a king’s ransom for the oft-injured righty, and perhaps with good reason. It will be interesting to see if Towers holds on, waiting for the AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Ben Sheets’ of the world to be signed and drive the market before commanding a maximum price for Peavy. Mozeliak has indicated that there is little room for the Cards to make a Peavy deal, and I tend to agree with him. Plenty of Cardinal fans are clamoring for a deal to be made at any cost, but I don’t think they fully understand the parameters. I will gladly jump on the bandwagon that disagrees with the ‘wait and see’ approach Cardinal management is apparently prepared to take with Chris Carpenter before making a deal (and admittedly, it could all be an elaborate smokescreen). But jumping to make a deal for Peavy when you already have Adam Wainwright ready to assume the top slot in the rotation and could reasonably sign a 3-4 type starter seems reflexive. I say that because I believe, and I don’t have this on any sort of authority, that San Diego is looking for a package somewhere in the sorts of Colby Rasmus, Jess Todd, Jason Motte and say a Tyler Greene. I know, some folks would make that trade in a heartbeat. Fact is, that trade is just 100% counter-intuitive to the Cardinals’ team-building philosophy now. They have finally managed to build up a semblance of a farm system, and they’re not ready to start mortgaging that again for an older, more expensive, albeit proven commodity, at pitcher. Remember where that got them with Mark Mulder? Sure, the Padres are saying that Peavy is just a payroll trimming casualty, but with his already extensive injury history, don’t you think it’s possible that the Pads know something other teams don’t know about Peavy’s arm and continuing health?
    • Matt Holliday is another name that was floated where I could probably just copy and paste everything I just wrote about Peavy. In Holliday’s case, the price may not have been as high (especially when evaluating what the Rockies got from Oakland in the trade that was eventually made), but you also have to consider 2009′s roster makeup logically in this case. Supposedly the Cards could’ve gotten away with sending Ryan Ludwick and say a Jess Todd again in this case and maybe had enough for Holliday. And sure, there were a lot of underlying factors…Mozeliak’s disgust with what he perceived as unacceptable negotiating tactics from Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd (whatever that means…I think it was leaks, etc), they would have wanted to finalize an extension with Holliday before agreeing to a trade, not to mention some modicum of concern over Holliday’s home and away splits and how he would perform away from Coors Field – whether they would admit it or not. So take all of that as the reasons why a deal wasn’t made, but then also consider my point of view. So you trade Ludwick from a position of strength, outfield. Fine. But in doing so, you’re trading for ANOTHER OUTFIELDER. The Cardinals have glaring needs at both middle infield positions, in the bullpen, and probably another mid-range to back-end starting pitcher. They have, by Derrick Goold’s estimation, about $17m-$21m to spend this off-season on upgrading the roster. For arguments sake, let’s say Ludwick gets a raise to somewhere between $2m and $4m in arbitration after his career year in 2008. Holliday is due $13.5m in 2009. That takes $10m out of the coffers for 2009, and all of a sudden Mozeliak is trying to sign a second baseman, a shortstop, a reliever (or two), and a starting pitcher for $7m-$11m. Strangely enough (although it’s no real surprise to me), all of the same fans clamoring for making the Holliday trade are the same ones who are ‘fed up with all of the bargain bin signings.’ Well, picture trying to get an entire middle infield, a reliever, and a starter – all for an average salary of $2.75m. I’d bet you couldn’t even get Cesar Izturis back at that price. If Mo wants to go out and trade Luddy for a second baseman or a shortstop that makes sense, I’m all about it. Sure, Holliday is that big ‘protection bat’ that Tony LaRussa seeks, but I don’t think he’s worth it, with so many other holes needing a fill.
  • The Mariners hired Don Wakamatsu to be their new manager, leaving Jose Oquendo still with the Cardinals, for now. Expect Oquendo to continue to get looks for managerial openings throughout the league. I still have the Secret Weapon down as my top candidate to replace LaRussa when he decides to give it up, but for now, only Tony knows when that will be. Congratulations to Wakamatsu, the first Asian-American manager hired in MLB history.
  • Finally, I want to publicize another UCB event taking place this week.  The Second Annual Cardinal Blogger Awards vote is taking place, with ballots to be posted on a whole bunch of UCB blogs this Friday.  Go over to C70 at the Bat at the link above to check out the ballot.  Even if you’re not a blogger making a post, go post your own ballot at C70!
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Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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{ 25 comments }

Cardinal70 November 20, 2008

Always wait, let the news come to you, then put a good swing on it. That’s the way to batting titles, my friend!

Something my father-in-law pointed out to me last night. For all the talk about “the Cardinals being a fourth-place team”, they only finished 1/2 game out of third and were a first or second place team a lot of the season. They had, what, the 6th or 7th best record in the NL? It’s not like they were chopped liver.

If he’s available, which it sounds like he might be, what do you think about Roy Halladay?

PHE November 20, 2008

Halladay = see Peavy. As revered as Doc is in Toronto, I doubt they will be giving him away for pennies on the dollar.

Halladay certainly carries a better health track record, and would be a great fit with Carp and Waino.

I just don’t see the need to, nor do I think the Cardinals should, ship out a bunch of their top prospect talent for one (aging) starting pitcher.

I don’t know if this Kool-Aid is getting to me, or I’m just interested in seeing the Cards actually building something self-sustainable for once. Remember the 80′s, when they’d just keep churning another youngster up from Louisville to fill the lineup and not miss a beat?

Sarah-bug November 20, 2008

Kool-aid use aside, I think Miller at least fits the category of “attached left arm.”

I think I have to agree about holding off on picking up starters at least until we’ve got the other issues worked out. It doesn’t sound like we’re going to have that much money to work with, after all.

PHE November 20, 2008

You’re right, Miller does fill that bill. And I always forget that they’ve already added Charlie Manning.

Looks like Cardinal fans might have to hope for another LaDuncan-style, career saving, coach-em-up job for one of those guys.

Any guesses or word on Miller’s money yet? Surely he’s not getting any more than he was paid last season?

Sarah-bug November 20, 2008

Haven’t heard anything, but 2 years/$3 million would be the top of MY acceptable range. I think he made $1.6 last year, right? So the question is, does he get a raise to go along with his new uni, or does he take a pay cut in order to make himself more attractive to the new club?

Sarah-bug November 20, 2008

ps-I keep forgetting about Manning, too.

PHE November 20, 2008

Yeah, he’s not worth any more than Eyre in my book – Eyre got 1 year, $2m.

Miller got $2m total, including a $400k buyout – so your $1.6m number seems right.

StLCards November 21, 2008

Sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree. The Cardinals were close last year and it had little to do with their ‘future’ stars. The reason we need a good farm system is to be able to trade them for what we need, unless you want to say we aren’t in a position to win so we need to start over. If that is the case, then you need to trade Pujols for a bunch of great young talent.

For every potential home grown farm system player that works out, there are many more that don’t. If you can trade a couple of young unproven guys for a top caliber stud, then I say do it. I would rather have a strong bat than a pitcher in that situation though, as pitchers are far more likely to break down. I agree with not giving a long term deal to a pitcher,as we know what can happen a la Carpenter.

How would the team look with say Manny Ramirez batting behind Pujols? Does that cost money? Of course it does. Cardinal owners have the means to add to the payroll and promised they would when the new stadium was built. Now they whine and complain that ballpark village is keeping them from spending so much.

Bottom line is they will continue to nickel and dime the franchise with money being wasted on the likes of Mulder. I agree with Tony that we need an impact bat. Ludwick and Ankiel aren’t going to strike fear into anybody as protection for Pujols and Glaus doesn’t like to bat 4th, poor guy. Give me a big time hitter to protect Pujols first and then we go from there.

Maybe between Shoemaker or Rasmus we find a leadoff hitter, but certainly we need to find someone capable of leading off from either the SS or 2B position. Somebody with speed and a high obp, please!

If you can’t give me that, then at least give me Peavy. The guy is a steal salary wise compared to other starting pitchers and is under contract. he has electric stuff and would be a huge fan draw. The guy is an awesome pitcher. Anybody that thinks otherwise hasn’t seen him pitch. Honestly I don’t care who we trade for Peavy. Rasmus seems like a big cry baby anyway from what I’ve read and he’ll never gel with Tony. I don’t even think you’d have to trade Rasmus anyway. Trade Perez, Ludwick, Stavinoha, etc. We should be signing a closer anyway as Tony isn’t going to turn things over to Perez either.

I could go on and on, but I say sign Peavy now while the price is right. Maybe look at Smoltz as a closer whether or not we deal Perez? We definitely need some older guys to teach the youngsters.

PHE November 21, 2008

Kirk, you should’ve just written an entire post taking me to task. ;)

Let me see if I can try to address your well-made points item-by-item.

I think it’s safe to say that the Cardinals either a) extremely over-performed last season, or b) they had some great contributions from young, cost-controlled players that they didn’t expect. I’d tend to lean toward it being a bit of both. Injuries also played a big part, but who expected the Cardinals to be in the race at all in 2008, much less as late as they were? Fact is, as long as you have decent pitching, good defense, and a Pujols – you can never be too bad.

Obviously, I can’t dispute the success/failure rate of young players, but that’s why they have such an extensive system. With the statistical analysis and such available to scouts and team officials today, I think it’s safe to say that the gap is closing on determining who will and won’t succeed at the big league level. Perhaps it’s just the optimist in me, but I still think Rasmus is going to go to multiple All-Star games.

Talking about ManRam is, in my opinion, a waste of time. Only way the Cardinals could even *think* about adding a Ramirez would be to ship out Pujols’ salary. Yes, the Cards’ management has repeatedly committed to increasing salary, but how high do you think they can go? I’d think maybe $110m. The Cards increased payroll from ~$90m in 2007 to ~$99m in 2008. They’re projected to be over ~$100m in 2009, and they have an expensive extension for Pujols looming in the next year or two. They can only commit to so much, for so many years, until they know for sure that they have cost-controlled contributors (like Rasmus, Ludwick, Perez, etc) and a solid number they can plan on for Pujols.

Mulder was a remnant of the Jocketty regime. I’m still reserving judgment on Mozeliak’s tenure until he’s got a couple of seasons under his belt. Bernie had a real poignant post up today regarding Mozeliak’s approach last season, and waiting for Lohse to come at a reasonable price. That seemed to turn out well, no? I, for one believe, as Bernie said today, Mo could be waiting to pounce on some teams that will be feeling the economy pinching their bottom line in the coming weeks – or just as equally, players who are worried about the money they thought they would get not being there. And I stand by my assertion that a cost-controlled Ludwick that can reproduce his 2008 is a far better option than Holliday at whatever his price would be after a renegotiation/extension. Unfortunately, the gamble on Luddy repeating ’08 is why Mo earns the big bucks – he has to be the one making the decision and rolling those dice. OR, making the choice to hang onto Ludwick to pursue a Kelly Johnson or Yunel Escobar. There are just so many balls up in the air – as long as he’s making the calls and sticking his nose in there, I’m happy.

Peavy is a steal for 2009. Then in 2010 he jumps up to $15m. By 2013, his club option escalates to $22m. How do you plan to accommodate $22m of Peavy, $12m for Wainwright, and possibly $28m (for argument’s sake) of Pujols in that season? $62m of your payroll tied up in three players? Not a very prudent fiscal policy with your payroll, eh? Thus my argument for cost-controlled players – because with so much money tied up in Pujols, et al – the Cardinals will need to get some All-Star caliber output from some second, third, and fourth-year guys.

As for who to trade for Peavy, if possible, I’m relatively certain that Padres GM Kevin Towers told Mozeliak that any offer needed to start with Rasmus. And likely continue with plenty more of the Cards’ top prospects. Stavinoha isn’t going to perk up the hairs on anyone’s neck in terms of trade value anytime soon, unfortunately.

I’m all for a good mix of veterans and young guys – but I think to be viable, in a market such as St Louis (with AB money surely to be flowing out of the city sooner than later), the Cards are going to have to be more Oakland A’s than they are Yankees or Cubs.

Damn Kirk – we’ve got two full posts here, in the comments section. :)

StLCards November 22, 2008

If we’re going to be more Oakland A’s esque then why didn’t we sign Holliday?

We should also then consider trading Pujols while he is at his peak value. SHould also have traded away Carpenter last year before he broke down again.

Here’s the problem the way I see it. The Cardinals claim to not have enough money (cough) to go out and build what I would call a stud team, and they couldn’t possibly sell the idea of a total rebuild to the fans, so what they’re doing instead is being a middle of the pack team that can stay above .500 thanks to being in a league with other middle of the road teams. What would are record be if we were in the American League East?

Basically we are fielding a team on par with the Royals. I didn’t fault management for signing Carp to a longer term deal since I do believe in rewarding players for success, but I also was worried with his injury woes. I still hate giving long term deals to pitchers period for the reason is that there is no such thing as a durable pitcher anymore with the strain they put on their arms. But, you can’t sign Carpenter to a big deal and then throw your hands up and say, oops, wasted money and now we’re cash strapped, sorry. You have to write that off as a bad investment and move on. They are selling out the ballpark, own the ballpark, have their own radio station for the team, have the parking, the concessions, the AllStar game this year, ballpark village going in. Yeah, they have no money.

Whatever happened to their promise to increase payroll when the new stadium was built with all the revenue generating luxury boxes. Ticket prices are absurd and buying a beer is like buying a pony keg. Might as well spend the same amount of money and go to a football game, where you only get 8 to choose from in a year and not 81, ok, doesn’t have to be a Rams game, lol!

So basically this offseason we will sign a couple lefties, a couple of rebound infielders, or maybe another fielder with no bat, and we’ll sign some aging bat for the bench. Maybe resign Izzy as a closer. Then the company line will be we don’t want to be careless with our money, we’ll put out a competitive team, and add players down the road. Basically trying to recreate the ‘magic’ when we won the WS after barely holding on to get in.

I believe that they do have a plan, and that plan is to get by on the cheap while they develop young players to be cost effective everyday players. Problem is that is probably 3-4 years away before enough of those guys are major league tested and can hold their own over the course of a whole year and playoffs. And, we still don’t have top prospect starting pitching or middle infielders. What we do have are great prospects where we don’t have a need, 3B, C, OF. Great.

“but who expected the Cardinals to be in the race at all in 2008″

I do agree 100% with your comment. This year I do expect them to be in the race since we are in the central division. I think we should make McLellan a starter, he has too many pitches to keep in the bullpen. Sign Lowe, who’s sinker ball would be great and be a perfect match with Duncan’s philosophy, and you won’t let me have Peavy! Give Rasmus a shot in center, but don’t platoon the kid and be prepared to ride him out thick or thin. If you have to send him down then just keep him down until the fall, don’t bounce him back and forth. Ludwick in left, Shoeman in right. Hudson at 2B, Escobar as SS, Smoltz as closer or SP, but only if he comes cheap. Maybe take Weathers, who has to be cheap and could also close if needed.

PHE November 24, 2008

I don’t have a whole lot of time unfortunately, but I wanted to address a few points.

Oakland had a payroll last season less than half of the Cardinals’. My point was being spend-thrifty, making smart signings, and developing players from within. Let’s just say that re: Holliday, the A’s had a little wiggle room.

The NL Central was arguably the toughest division in the NL last season, as evidenced by what I would call four strong teams. Everyone wants to latch onto the Cards finishing fourth, but fail to acknowledge that they were only a half-game out of third, and only four out of the Wild Card. That’s better than “middle of the pack” to me.

The Royals? C’mon Kirk, you’re going off the deep end now. :)

When Carpenter is being paid 10-15% of the team’s overall payroll, you can’t just “write it off as a bad investment.” It has been, to date, a bad investment, but they still have to pay that salary. Just like they still had to pay Spiezio, and Clement, and Encarnacion, et al last season.

They *have* increased payroll every season since the new ballpark opened. ~$2m from 2006 to 2007, and $9m+ from ’07 to ’08. Last I’ve heard, they project to be around $105m this season. They *are* increasing payroll.

Re: magic, I found this post over at STLToday to be of interest and note:
http://www.stltoday.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=588808

What many people fail to realize (and I’m certainly not accusing you Kirk, but making a generalization), is that payroll inherently goes up each season, if you’re spending at all. Each long-term contract they’ve signed increases on a yearly basis. Guys like Ludwick, Ankiel, and Wellemeyer – while still cheap comparatively – will get large percentage raises, perhaps to the tune of around $10m in increases just for those three. Raises in contracts for Carp, Pineiro, and Lohse (nevermind whether they were smart signings or not, they now have to be paid) equal another $10m in increases. Taking X amount off of the payroll each season in free agents, etc does not always equal X amount available to spend. And like it or not, the Cards are going to fall in line with a lot of other teams with the ‘economy is bad’ line. It’s just a fact of life around the MLB right now.

Finally, again, I don’t think you’re giving this division enough credit. Milwaukee will be in the race again, Houston as well. It won’t be a cake-walk – but I think the Cards can compete.

And for crying out loud, will everyone stop trying to make McClellan a starter!?!?!!?!!

StLCards December 3, 2008

“What many people fail to realize (and I’m certainly not accusing you Kirk, but making a generalization), is that payroll inherently goes up each season, if you’re spending at all”

Even us common folk get a raise every year, but if the company isn’t making money then something has to change, and that could be getting rid of underperforming employees. Maybe that is the key, the Cardinals organization isn’t losing money, so what do they care about winning, they already won in the new stadium and they can just rake in the profits for now, that’s what business is all about anyway, why should the Cardinals be any different. Raise ticket prices and just keep pace with your existing contracts. Makes sense to me as long as the fans turn out in droves every season.

PHE December 3, 2008

Or – it’s the economy driving things, as seems to be the case. No one else is spending any money yet either. I am having a harder and harder time finding fault with anything the Cards have done to date in this off-season, at least until the money starts flying elsewhere.

StLCards December 3, 2008

Or do you mean you can’t find fault with what the Cardinals haven’t done? What is they have done, I must have been asleep.

Here is one for you,

http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081203&content_id=3701061&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb

Miller, 35, appeared to have signed a two-year, $4 million deal with the Cardinals several weeks ago, but, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Redbirds’ team doctor discovered what he believes is a tear in the labrum in Miller’s left shoulder. Despite the appearance of a tear, Miller has continued to work out during the offseason with no apparent troubles.

StLCards December 3, 2008

Forgot to mention that the Cardinals signed him anyway

PHE December 4, 2008

Well, you’re right – by what they have done, I meant nothing to very little. Just like pretty much every other team in MLB. The market is being dictated by the economy right now, that much is clear. Why should the Cardinals be rushing in to throw money around when no one else is?

Re: Miller, the fact that they took the time to delay the signing because of what they found in the physical, and Miller’s insistence that it is not an issue makes me have to believe that the shoulder won’t be a problem. I could be proved very wrong once the season starts, but the Cards have been burned on this enough times to know what they should be looking for and not to leap if they think there’s even the slightest chance of an issue.

Oh, and I’m not sure if you’ve seen this either:

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2008/dec/03/padres-cardinals-agree-deal-will-send-greene-st-lo/?padres

Deal is rumored to be for two minor league relievers. We shall see…

StLCards December 4, 2008

Thanks for the link, I knew they were considering Greene, but didn’t know things were active. While I kind of like Greene, this is the kind of deal I really don’t like the Cards to make. He is free agent eligible next year and has already turned down a 4 year $29M offer according to your link. So at best the Cardinals get a SS who is in reality a reclamation project and apparently has a 6.5M contract, plus we have to give prospects? He can’t hit leadoff and k’s a lot. He also does not have speed. Can’t say that I’m excited about Greene, but he would be better than Izturis hitting anyway.

PHE December 4, 2008

Word is that it’s Worrell and a PTBNL.

Would you rather Mo had shelled out $9.5m per for Renteria, who could arguably wind up being worse than Greene?

StLCards December 4, 2008

No absolutely not. I want to see a guy that the Cardinals can sign to be a leadoff hitter, so he needs speed and good obp. Unfortunately there aren’t many of those guys around. I was thinking Escobar from ATL might fit that bill.

I doubt the Cardinals will resign Greene next year. If he doesn’t do well they won’t want him, if he does well, then he will want an even bigger contract than he already turned down with the Padres.

If we can sign a 2B that can lead off, then Greene might be a nice stop gap. Just wish we had some minor league prospects at the middle infield positions.

I wouldn’t have minded seeing the Cards go after Orlando Cabrerra though. I do like Greene and hope he works out, just think he strikes out too much and we have enough of those guys already. I’d take a nice contact gap hitter over a power guy. Hopefully the Padres are picking up some of Greene’s contract too.

If Rasmus plays like we think he should then things might work themselves out with the lineup. I just think that is asking a lot for a rookie to come up and be asked to lead off while at the same time learning to adjust to the adjustments of major league pitching. I guess you can put Shoemaker to lead off, Rasmus 2nd and Ludwick can play left. Ankiel then becomes the 4th outfielder. So Pujols bats 3rd between Rasmus and Ludwick, Glaus 5th, and then choose between Greene and Molina for 6th and 7th. Whoever plays 2nd becomes #9 or in Cardinal terminology the second lead off batter. That does not look bad if Rasmus is playing well, and if you pick up someone at 2B that can bat leadoff then you can always put Shoeman 9th.

If Rasmus doesn’t bat well though, then we are in trouble as we really don’t have a #2 hitter. Greene can’t be that guy in my mind, although Tony will likely want to bat him there due to his power. Ankiel doesn’t make a good 2 hitter, Shoemaker can’t do it since he doesn’t have power and then we wouldn’t have a leadoff batter anyway, since we’re assuming Rasmus is struggling.

I see that the Braves are still busy signing Vazquez (nice move in my opinion) and now offering Burnett a 5 year $80M contract or something like that. I’d still rather have Peavy and his $63M or whatever it is. Wolf seems to be on the Yankess radar, so his price likely just shot up. Seems like some movement might start happening soon. Always fun to see what transpires :)

PHE December 4, 2008

Indeed – I wouldn’t rule out a Ludwick deal either.

StLCards December 8, 2008

Now I’m reading that the Cardinals have no interest in pursuing Peavy, will probably resign Kennedy to play 2B, and are looking to short term pitching contracts.
http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/cardinals/story/6963F5B3B68A10D08625751900196DBA?OpenDocument

But at the same time, I am seeing headlines from other sources saying the Cardinals are serious players for Burnett, who has already been offered a 4 year $60M contract + I think an option year.

Smoke screen? Why the conflicting reports?

So, if the Cardinals don’t pursue Peavy and he goes to the Cubs who include Josh Vitters as their centerpiece, then the Cubs rotation looks like Peavy, Harden, Zambrano, Dempster, Lily compared to Wainwright, Lohse, Wellemeyer, Piniero, and ? To me that seems like comparing apples and oranges. It sounds like the optimism (propaganda) that Carpenter will be pitching is already starting to build. Sorry if I’m not buying into it, but everyone I listened to at the end of last year associated with the Cardinals all said that they should prepare for the 2009 season like Carpenter wouldn’t pitch.

Signing Burnett to a huge long term contract if that is what they are planning doesn’t sit well with me either. If we’re going that route, then give me someone more durable. Since we’re bidding against the Yankess, RedSox, Braves, etc anyway, I’d be shocked to see Burnett anywhere near signing with the Cardinals anyway.

I still think that Lowe is a very good fit. Still don’t see how we couldn’t put together a package for Peavy that didn’t include Rasmus. I guess Greene was our big offseason signing. Still hope they aren’t serious about resigning Kennedy and they get someone like Hudson instead. Kennedy doesn’t even want to be here and you know Tony won’t play him every day.

Guess we’ll just have to wait and see and trust the management to put a good team on the field. Right now an awful lot is riding on Rasmus.

PHE December 8, 2008

Based upon the price tag I’ve heard for Peavy, I think it’d cost Rasmus plus a bit. Just not a smart move for the Cardinals right now. Again, how are they supposed to take on a guy who will cost $20m+ per in a couple seasons and still be able to re-up Pujols? Like it or not, this team just isn’t going to carry a $150-170m payroll anytime soon.

For the record, Kennedy is under contract for 2009. They do not have to resign him, he is already on the team. They will likely not be able to trade him, because his contract is essentially dead weight.

Supposedly (and Paul DePodesta has said as much on his blog), the Khalil Greene deal may allow the Padres enough flexibility to keep Peavy. My hunch is that the Cardinals took this into account when dealing for Greene.

I’m still keeping a wait and see attitude. :)

StLCards December 8, 2008

I think you’re missing my point. How can they dismiss signing Peavy, yet make noise like they want to sign Burnett?

And what about that potential Cubs starting rotation? Apparently the Cubs are the only suitor for Peavy now. Hopefully the Padres keep him, but I don’t see it.

I do realize that Kennedy is still on the team, that was a slip, but I also know the D’Backs were wanting him as well. Too bad we couldn’t ship him off for one of their relief pitchers ;)

No worry, I’m sure they will be resigning Izzy to be the closer again soon. I actually don’t think that is a bad thing either believe it or not. What would be nice would be if he would embrace the role of mentor instead of pouting about not being the ‘guy’.

PHE December 9, 2008

Well, the big difference (at least that I can see) between Peavy and Burnett right now is contract.

Peavy is due $52m between now and the end of 2012. If you add in his $22m option for 2013, that’s a total of 4 years, $74m. Even if they were to exercise the $4m buyout of the 2013 option, that’s 3 years at $56m, or about $18m-19m per.

Burnett’s price tag is apparently hovering around the 4 years, $60m range. For a team that is keeping an eye on dollars like the Cardinals, that $4m is a big deal. $4m is the next 2008 Kyle Lohse, if you choose to look at it that way.

As for Peavy, in response to a direct question about whether trading Greene affects the ability to keep Peavy, DePodesta responds:

“Paul DePodesta said…

William,

Very simply, yes.

We never wanted to be in a position to HAVE to move Jake Peavy, and now we’re not. We will still continue to explore opportunities, as we always do. Our hope is that any other deals we make this winter are pure baseball deals.
December 5, 2008 10:20 AM ”

Being that they’ve reportedly asked for the sun, moon, AND the stars for Peavy – I would be surprised if he’s moved.

But at the same time, if the Cubs want to overpay for Peavy, they’re going to do it anyway. If there’s one thing I’d prefer that Mo stay away from, it’s making reactionary deals that are harmful long term, just to block the Cubs from doing something. Worry about your own team, not what someone else is doing.

The Cardinals are going to wind up paying Adam Kennedy’s salary this season whether he plays for St Louis or another team. The only question is whether he will be a huge cancer in the clubhouse if he remains with the Birds.

PHE December 9, 2008

…and I should’ve read the news links at the right this morning. :)

“Cards not a player in Burnett bidding”

“Outfielder for pitcher is likely”

The latter includes notes that indicate Ludwick might not be so available for trade after all (not sure I buy that), Burnett is supposedly not a target, Kennedy will remain with the Cardinals because they won’t eat any of his contract.

All or none of those statements could prove to be true by the end of this week.

Isn’t this fun? :)

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