Old Eli-able

Did you know that even when he was hitting .181 and .204 the past two seasons, Eli Marrero remained a useful power source? Marrero slugged .441 in 93 at-bats in 2006, and .413 in 138 at-bats in ’05. In three seasons since he was traded to the Cardinals, he’s smacked 23 home runs in 481 at-bats, or better than one per 21 ABs.

Maybe that’s not enough, in itself, to get him on the Cardinals roster, but it sure adds a dimension this team could use. A guy who can acquit himself even adequately as a catcher and also hit the ball out of hte park on a semi-regular basis is a valuable player. If Marrero can put the ball in play even a little bit more, say getting the average just up to .240, he can help the Cardinals.

Not saying he will make the team. Just saying maybe he should be a little bit less of an afterthought than he seems to be at this point.

-M.

7 Comments

Yeah, I have a good feeling about Eli. It was a shame about him getting hurt toward the end of a very solid tenure in St. Louis. I think we’re going to see some good things from him and some power off the bench sounds good. I really hope he makes the team and maybe even a miracle would get him into right field. A guy can dream.

Yes, I agree and deeply miss Eli Marrero. It was sad to see him go, but we needed those moves, and worked out they did eh? haha. Well except for Marquis, but he still helped our team to the playoffs through those years. I hope he makes the roster as a utility guy. Everytime I see him take the field I hear the Three Dog Night song in my head, “Eeeeellli’s Cooooommmmiiinnnn!” haha

Yeah, I remember Eli injuring himself in ’03 in that disastrous flood at Wrigley. I wish him the best of luck…our bench is stacked.

Amusing; I too remember “Eli’s Coming” and think of it when Marrero’s name comes up.

However, I disagree about having him on the major-league roster as a utility guy. The real value of a Marrero, in my opinion, is to have him stashed away at Memphis in case somebody goes down on the big team, but hope never to have to use him in the bigs. Rather, have him there working with the pitchers and other catchers (how far will Anderson rise in the system this year?) to get them ready to face major-league hitters. Having an aging ex-major league catcher on an AAA roster can be a very valuable thing!

“Eli’s Comin’” always makes me think of a great, great Sports Night episode. Man I miss that show (but I love Studio 60!)

I think there’s a great value to having a catcher who can hit the ball out of the park on the roster — allows you to PH, or run, for Molina in situations where you wouldn’t otherwise. Problem is they’re so tight on roster space as it is, I don’t know how you make it happen. I can already see Rodriguez not making it, and I think that’d be a huge mistake.

-M.

Speaking of blasts from the past (and Matthew, I’d be in favor of you turning this into a top-level blog entry of your own, if you’d express your opinion of what follows), I felt a little bit of a tug seeing that Alan Benes is finally hanging ‘em up, not least because I think his cautionary tale has a lot to do with the success that the team has had this decade. Tony La Russa absolutely SHAFTED this guy. He could have been one of the top pitchers ever to wear a Cardinals uniform, he was that good. And TLR just about blew his arm not just out but off. He was never the same after 1997, when TLR rode him hard and put him away wet.

But the thing is: Tony learned from his mistakes with Benes. There hasn’t been another pitcher since then that he’s used so heavily as to create arm trouble, with the single exception of Bud Smith, for whom there was a no-win extenuating circumstance (his 130+ pitch no-hitter). For the last 6 or 7 years our starting pitching has been distinguished (knock on wood) by the fact that it has been improbably healthy. No more 130-pitch outings by a pitcher who’s too young to have developed resistance to it. I blame TLR for what happened to Benes; I praise him with at least equal intensity for the way he got it right after Benes was busted, and him getting it right has had a lot to do with the team’s success this decade.

Congrats on your retirement, Alan; I think you deserve at least a virtual World Series ring. And if you forgive TLR for it not being a real one, so do I, and praises to TLR for figuring it out and getting it right.

Finally, to return to the topic at hand: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an alternate universe in which a healthy Benes was the #2 starter with a career 150-80/3.10 line about now, throwing the second game of the season to a healthy Marrero after Carp pitches the season opener to Molina?

I think Eli could be a big help to the Cards if he can recapture his old form. He used to be a fine defensive player with a decent bat. Go Eli!!!! StrubII

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