Pitching – How do we stack up

by on December 13, 2008 · 22 comments

Always hard to follow along with all the moves, so I’m hoping this gives an indication of where the Cardinals pitching is at within the central division.

I’m going to use the depth charts at mlb.com as the reference. They are fairly up to date as they show Greene at SS already.

Cardinals –

SP: Wainright, Lohse, Wellemeyer, Piniero, Garcia, Carpenter, McClellan

Pen: Perez, McCLellan, T. Johnson, Kinney, Thompson, Carpenter,  Motte, (Miller), Ring

Cubs –

SP: Zambrano, Lilly, Dempster, Harden, Marquis

Pen: Marmol, Wuertz, Hart, Wells, Fox, Cox, Gaudin, Marshall, Samardzija, Guzman, Luis Vizcaino

Brewers –

SP: Suppan, Parra, Gallardo, Bush, Capuano, McClung

Pen: Hoffman, Riske, Villanueva, Julio, Coffey, Stettar, Dillard, DiFelice

Astros –

SP: Oswalt, Rodriguez, Backe, Hampton, Moehler

Pen: Valverde, Geary, Hawkins, Brocail, Wright, Byrdak, Sampson, Arias

Reds –

SP: Harang, Volquez, Arroyo, Cueto, Owings, Bailey

Pen: Cordero, Weathers, Burton, Linclon, Bray, Majewski, Masset, Ramirez, Roenicke, Herrera

Pirates –

SP: Maholm, Snell, Ohlendorf, Gorzelanny, Duke, Karstens, Dumatrait

Pen: Capps, Grabow, Yates, Bautista, Burnett, Beam, Chavez, Hansen, Sanchez

I’ll have to admit that I don’t know all of the pitchers listed in the bullpen for teams other than the Cardinals.  So far what strikes me is that the Cardinals don’t have a 5th starter.  Some say that will be McClellan, but that takes quite a bite out of the bullpen. Carpenter in the pen is a red flag as well. Can you really count on Carpenter pitching at all, or will it be another year trying to force him in somewhere? Could he maybe become the closer similar to Smoltz?  If Carpenter can pitch effectively out of the pen or if he could enter the rotation, then things look much brighter for Cardinal pitching.  For some reason Trever Miller wasn’t shown, so I added him in. Maybe it is still to early to try this as a few players like Tyler Johnson and Randy Flores, might not even be offered contracts. Probably safe to say with Miller signing for 1 year that Flores is out at least.  The bullpen is looking pretty inexperienced without Franklin and Springer and Villone in there.

Looking at the Cubs, even without Peavy they have a solid rotation, not losing any starters from last year. They also still have Rich Hill lingering in the minors somewhere hoping to regain his spot. Marquis is the man on the outs, but he doesn’t make a bad 5th starter even if they don’t move him. Could also use Gaudin as the 5th starter if Hill doesn’t come through or they don’t sign another pitcher.  There are always injury concerns with Harden and even BigZ starting showing signs of wear last year. I guess maybe Marshall could even start. Bullpen looks good but obviously would look much stronger with an established closer. Losing Kerry Wood seems to put Marmol in the closer role and maybe Smardzija in as the 8th inning guy, but Marmol was so good in that role and who really knows if he can handle full time closer duties.

The Brewers sans Sheets just doesn’t look like the same rotation at all, not to mention the one that also had CC on it!  Riske is the perfect name for this guy as a possible closer and Julio has not had sustained success. I have always thought Coffey had good potential, but has to stay healthy and show what he has. Parra, Gallardo, Capuano, Bush all have good cases to make as starters, but certainly not Sheets or CC.

Get past Oswalt on Houston and again you really don’t know what you have. Wandy Rodriguez has shown flashes and Hampton looks to rebound, but doubtful he’ll ever be the same pitcher that commanded the huge contract. The pen looks very strong with Valverde closing (assuming he doesn’t melt down at some point during the season) and a number of really good set up guys. I kind of expect that Sampson winds up starting at some point.

The Reds starting pitching will go the way of Harang and Arroyo. Having to pitch half the games at home isn’t going to help their confidence.  Volquez is obviously a stud and Cueto should continue to improve. Owings should at least contribute in the hitting department but has been very inconsistent. I followed him in the minors and the reports were that he was a good pitcher but lacked a true strikeout pitch. Homer Bailey was thought to be the next stud several years ago, but has really regressed since then. The bullpen looks real solid although Cordero as closer doesn’t excite me too much. I also don’t like seeing Lincoln on the Reds since the Cards really never got anything out of him when he was here except for a brief flash that he was good.  He did have some rough stretches last year but a year of conditioning should get him back on track. Bray is a lefty that I like as well and Burton is also solid. The Reds pitching could be tough, but still several lingering questions to answer.

About all I can say about the Pirates is that I like their closer Capps. Used to think highly of some of the starters but the shine has dulled considerably on them.

From a pitching standpoint it wouldn’t take the Cardinals much to get right up there with the Cubs. Add an Oliver Perez, Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny type and a closer, maybe Fuentes or trade for Saito or Jenks possibly and thinks look pretty sweet. Add a lesser pitcher like a Wolf or resign Looper and no closer and it still isn’t terrible, but will take a lot more work from the hitting to have a winning season.  I’m still not ruling out an Izzy return either.

I’m sure I’m missing some pitchers, but just wanted to get down what I could for now and see how things were shaping up.

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chetthejet December 13, 2008

Cardinal Nation Ticker launches today. Be a contributor/panelist, post at will.

PHE December 13, 2008

Capuano was non-tendered, after his second TJ he won’t pitch until a couple months into the season.

Backe was also non-tendered.

chetthejet December 13, 2008

Bring it over here.

Cardinal Nation Ticker. Link on my site

StLCards December 13, 2008

Forgot about Capuano, I’ve now edited him and Backe and Tyler Johnson all out. Apparently the Cards have decided to not offer Johnson or Flores or even Miles an contract. Guess we can discuss Miles in a different thread.

Things look even more dismal for Milw pitching and I thought Backe would be a solid pitcher for the ‘Stros. He had TJ surgery in ’06 and started out pretty well last year before wearing down at the end of the season. Astros pitching looks pretty thin right now so they are certainly in the market, probably for the same type of pitcher the Cardinals are looking for, a mid to upper mid level pitcher, like a Wolf. You’d think a lot of the central division teams are thinking along the same lines as the Cards, let’s wait for a bargain.

That would make you think that if you have a specific target in mind, maybe being the first to strike would get your man. Tim Redding is available and I think he could be a good target. Probably several guys right now that are several layers under the Sheets and Lowe’s that could be serviceable pitchers. Heck, even Looper is looking pretty good right now.

PHE December 13, 2008

I don’t envision a Lowe or Sheets – just too much payroll commitment with so much already tied up in Carp, Waino, and Lohse.

Maybe Penny?

StLCards December 13, 2008

I agree that Sheets and Lowe are probably out of reach. I think they will talk for sure, but nothing serious. If Carpenter didn’t have these ongoing issues it wouldn’t be a problem now, but the problem is we don’t have his money to spend, nor do we have him as a pitcher. A guy like Penny though is definitely intriguing if he could be signed for a favorable 2 or 3 year deal. One year would be fine too, but hard to go more than 3.

kotheb December 13, 2008

Add Penny, trade for Matt Capps, and for heaven’s sake, stay away from Fuentes!

PHE December 15, 2008

I doubt the Cards have the trade capital to get a Capps away from Pittsburgh – especially since word is that they were trying to fleece teams for Jack Wilson. They’re just going to want too much…

StLCards December 22, 2008

Sounds like the Cardinals are officially backing off Fuentes and possibly shifting directions towards a closer. I’ve heard some people saying the offer of two years 16 million was a low-ball offer and an insult. A highly disagree with that statement. Not like Fuentes has gotten any better offers or he’d have taken one by now. Cardinals don’t want to go 3 years for a closer and I agree with that, unless of course it would have been K-Rod. The offer K-Rod accepted would have been considered a low-ball offer too based on what he was ‘expected’ to get, but that offer got the job done all the same.

It also sounds like we might be soon adding Looper’s name to the starting pitching of the Brewers.

PHE December 22, 2008

Fuentes may get a 3-year deal, but it won’t (and shouldn’t) be from the Cardinals.

I wouldn’t be surprised for his price tag to sink far lower than the 2 yrs, $16m that the Cards reportedly offered. If that’s the case, I hope they yank the offer before he can scramble back to it.

Shame about Looper, but I think he’s going to get a deal higher than the Cards should’ve realistically been willing to pay. Think Jeff Suppan. The question will be whether they should’ve offered arbitration or not…

StLCards December 29, 2008

Penny signed a 1yr $5M incentive laden deal to pitch for the Red Sox. I’m going to say that is one that got away.

PHE December 29, 2008

Eh – I dunno…

If he comes back strong and pitches well everyone will want Mo’s head.

If the Cards had signed him and he didn’t pitch an inning, everyone would want Mo’s head.

Why do folks want to be MLB GM’s again? 🙂

I predict bargains much greater than this opportunity will come along.

StLCards December 29, 2008

Seems like we could be running out of ‘name’ pitchers. Certainly a lesser name pitcher could be signed at a good price, but I’m not sure that would constitute a ‘bargain’. Guess the real test is how many wins do you get for your buck.

Almost seems like Mo is content going to spring training with the current roster, although at some point you’d expect some movement to occur once guys like Lowe and Manny are finally signed.

PHE December 31, 2008

Again, depends on your perspective I guess. I wouldn’t have considered Lohse a ‘name’ pitcher last year, certainly not on the level of a CC, or AJ, or Lowe. He turned out alright, and certainly a bargain at his 2008 salary.

I agree that I think dominoes will start to fall once the last few ‘big’ names are off the market and the others realize that this is not the year for them to get their big payday.

I almost wonder if some of these guys wouldn’t be better off changing their demands to shorter contracts in the hopes that the economic environment changes in the next off-season or two.

StLCards January 1, 2009

Fuentes has now signed a 2 year deal with the Angels and no terms of the contract will be released. You have to figure that means it was no better than what the Cardinals offered and he just wanted to play the Cardinals to get the best deal he could from the Angels. Sure won’t be rooting for him to have success this year!


PHE January 2, 2009

Yeah, there are reports that the Cards went as high as the $20m range for two years.

In the end, I think it’s pretty clear Fuentes wasn’t going anywhere but the West Coast.

Maybe they can use that spare cash for Randy Wolf?

StLCards January 5, 2009

“St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan said he hopes to get the opportunity to prove his worth as a starting pitcher for the ballclub this spring.”


It sounds like the health of Carpenter might dictate whether McClellan starts or works from the pen.

PHE January 5, 2009

So he admits to hitting a wall last season while pitching around 70 innings, yet next year he wants to start?

I realize that conditioning would improve his stamina and arm strength, etc. but do we really need another guy in the rotation with a lengthy history of arm problems?

McClellan is the team’s best asset in the bullpen for 2009 as of right now, why mess with the one constant there?

StLCards January 6, 2009

Marquis traded to the Rockies for Luis Vizcaino

PHE January 6, 2009

I’m not sure that trade matters much anymore, other than the Cubs’ bottom line.

I’ve heard rumblings that the new Pads ownership is already talking about reversing course on Peavy.

StLCards January 8, 2009

Hoffman has signed a 1 year $6M + $1.5M incentive contract with the Brewers.

Smoltz has reportedly ready to sign with the Red Sox.

PHE January 8, 2009

Hoffman would’ve been a great fit, but not at $7.5mm. I’d have loved to bring him on at less than $5mm.

Smoltz also is getting a big incentive-laden deal with the Sox that could put him up around $10mm. Not worth it to the Cards for a guy in a similar situation as Carpenter right now.

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