Find a happy place, think positive, think happy thoughts…..got it! Sorry, but I needed to get myself into the right mindset to write this one. As a member blog of the United Cardinal Bloggers, PH8 is committed to participating in the various projects sponsored by the UCB throughout the year. This one happens to be due January 28th, and I’m not exactly accustomed to the whole “deadline” concept. Here at PH8, the “deadline” thing is a lot like the “Pirate Code”. The Code is more like a set of guidelines, and each blog has a different set. Our set just happens to be relatively small and could probably fit on a napkin (one side, folded several times, written in crayon with room to spare). You get the picture. Nonetheless, I’ve managed to tilt my head just far enough to one side to allow 5 debatably decent ideas to fall out over a week in advance of the deadline no less. Like an off-balance hitter facing Adam Wainwright, I’m just ahead of the curve on this one.
5. The Cardinals sign Colby Rasmus to a multi-year contract. There may be much anguish and gnashing of teeth, but someone in the front office will eventually realize that Colby is a key to the long-term success of the organization. After the “trade/no trade” fiasco last year, they probably couldn’t get more than 70 cents on the dollar right now in trade, so they might as well keep him around. In 2009 (520 PAs) and 2010 (534 PAs), Raz was good for 2.8 and 2.9 WAR respectively. If he gets to the 600-650 PA range and learns to lock down CF defensively, he’ll be worth every penny that a cost-controlled deal pays him. Since Ryan Ludwick just scored a 1 year deal worth $6.775M in his 2nd year of arbitration eligibility, I don’t think it wise to risk letting Colby get that far. Cost control brings certainty, and I honestly can’t imagine that the team wants to take a chance on going to arbitration with this guy, especially if he goes out and hits 30 hrs and drives in 80+ for them. For the record, it should not be overlooked that in his 2009 postseason debut, Rasmus was good for .444/.545/.778/1.323 against the Dodgers. Maybe it was a short series, but he’s already proven that he can show up when it counts.
4. Dave Duncan finally forgets his uniform and wears his Yoda robe to a game. Tony LaRussa retires from the game and leaves on a high note. The impression that TLR has left over the years is that of a competitor, and I don’t think he wanted to leave the bench on a sour note. If the team makes the playoffs, I think that will make it much easier for him to walk away.
3. The Cardinals starting rotation boasts 4 or more 10 game winners by the end of the season. Yeah, this is asking a lot, but it’s not outrageous as long as the starting 5 can stay healthy. It’s also not unreasonable to think that all 5 can keep their ERAs under 4.00 as well. If they can keep the ball in the yard, then it’s up to the defense to make sure the hitters can’t “hit ’em where they ain’t”.
2. The Cardinals make the playoffs despite playing in the most competitive division in the NL. The Rockies and Giants may make it interesting in the NL West, and the Phillies and Braves may put on a show in the East, but the NL Central will probably fight it out like quadruplet boys with slingshots. Just imagine “Hungry Hungry Hippos” being played in real life with real hippos. That’s what you get when you put the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers, and Cubs together in one division, and 3 of those teams improve themselves over the winter after the other wins the division.
1. Cardinals introduce “pass-the-hat” activity during 5th inning of every home game to help pay for Albert’s contract extension. Nevermind, they’re already doing something similar to this with the new ticket pricing system. Sorry. In that case, I guess that the biggest story will be Albert’s contract extension itself. It’s a shame that the only positive story that would likely top this story is the team winning the World Series. I’ve already made a stab at guessing at both the duration and amount on the contract. Let’s just say it’s gonna be a long time and take a lot of truckloads of money and leave it at that, okay?
TIDBIT: The “hit ’em where they ain’t” bit is an excerpt of a fairly famous quote from Wee Willie Keeler. The line was part of Keeler’s advice to other players on hitting strategy. It must have worked for Keeler, because he owned a lifetime average of .341 with a high mark of .424 for the 1897 season.
Like it? Do you wear your Jedi robes to Busch Stadium as well? Follow me on Twitter, and we’ll discuss the finer points of dry cleaning Jedi robes!