Lucky Seven, the end is in sight edition

1. The Cardinals have four remaining starts to divvy up among the back of the rotation. Wainwright, Pineiro and Looper are each set every fifth day from here on out. How should those other four games be apportioned?

2. What other players do the Cardinals need to be looking at for the final week and a half?

3. Who should be the starting shortstop in 2008? Jack Wilson? Edgar Renteria? David Eckstein? Brendan Ryan?

4. Where will Tony La Russa be on Opening Day 2008?

5. What’s the biggest surprise from football (college or pro) thus far this season?

6. This is the time of year when Oscar-candidate movies start showing up on screens, or at least start showing up in previews. Any trailers you’ve seen that you’re looking forward to"

7. What’s your favorite fall food/snack/treat/drink? I know it doesn’t feel like fall just yet here in STL, but let’s channel some nice cool weather, eh?

-M.

(currently playing on the iPod: Velocity Girl, Simpatico!)

50 Comments

1) Wells, Wellemeyer, Reyes, Thompson, as per usual.

2) Barden and Ryan.

3) Depends on what the club decides to do with Kennedy. I think you sign Eck, make Ryan the starting 2Bman and keep Miles on the bench and then cut Kennedy.

4) TLR will be wearing the birds on the bat in 2008. I don’t think I could bear to see him in anything else. Already lost a lot of faith in things this year, want next year to be better.

5) From what little I know, that Michigan upset.

6) I don’t watch movies.

7) Apple Pie

1)Thompson, Wellemeyer, Reyes, and Wells Sigh that’s a sorry bunch.
2)Barden and Ryan

3)If we could get Edgar that would be awesome.

4)Tony will be the manager he deserves to go out better than this season.

5)In Pro- Wide Receivers blowing it up and the Cleveland Browns scoring 51!

6)I’m looking forward to Michael Clayton. I haven’t seen the trailers yet but these two look good: Juno, Fred Claus.

7)edamame(soybeans)

1. As much as I shudder to say it, Wells should be in the rotation for the rest of the year. The alternatives are worse. That leaves two starts to be done as bullpen games, and I’d have Wellemeyer starting them.
2. I don’t think there are any unanswered questions about people currently on the big-league roster. If AP’s leg is so bad that he just can’t go, I’d be tempted to put him on the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot, then add Joe Mather to the 40-man, call him up, and see what he can do. No concern about losing him from there, as there are lots of guys on the 40-man that the team really doesn’t want back next year.

3. Ryan, PLEASE. I feel strongly about this. None of the others are clearly better than he is (Renteria has the occasional big season but isn’t that much better on a continuing basis), and as much as I’ve enjoyed having Eckstein on the team, he is reaching a point in his career when he is going to start delivering rather poor value for dollar. Ryan will provide vastly better VF$ and free up money to bring in guys who can actually help at some other positions.

4. Cardinals dugout, but it’s the last Opening Day when he’s there.

5. With nightmarish surprises all around me at work and the occasional unpleasant jolt in the rest of my life as well, I’d all but forgotten that there can be *pleasant* surprises. But there can. To the three teams that administered start-of-season karate chops to Notre Dame: thank you from the bottom of my heart.

6. No opinion.

7. Toss-up between spiced apple cider and pumpkin pie.

1. I really think Anthony Reyes should be given all four starts, regardless of how he pitches. I think we should stick him in and let him pitch six or seven innings AT LEAST regardless of how he’s pitching. If he can get some sort of mental purge completed, he might be able to step into Spring Training ready to make the mental jump to consistent Big League starter.

2. I want to know what we have in Schumaker. This has the feel of his last chance, and I want to know what he can do playing every single inning of every single day for the rest of the season. I’m still not sure if his performance this year can be consistent on an everyday basis or if he’s just having an unusually good year.

3. I REALLY like Edgar, and wouldn’t it be great to have him back? But…ugh…it almost hurts to say it…I think Eck is the way to go. I think we could get Eck for a reasonable amount of money and then spend money on a pitcher somewhere. I like Wilson, but I REALLY like Eck’s contact hitting with all the high strikeout totals we may have in the lineup next year (Ankiel & Duncan).

4. I believe the best indication right now is St. Louis…if for no other reason than for Dave Duncan. But I also think La Russa likes staying with Pujols. La Russa has a good relationship with Walt – he’s here for a year. Says he’ll stay with Dave – he’s here for a year. Dave’s son plays here, so there’s no rush for him to leave town…in fact, that’s the most intriguing part of the La Russa in Yankee pinstripes rumor that seemed interesting to me…the opportunity for Dunc to coach with Shelly for a bit.

5. If it’s not Michigan, then it’s the lack of offense in Notre Dame. Ugh…

6. “Across the Universe” looks great! A friend and I are going to see it Monday…I’ll let you know…we’ve been waiting for it since last year.

7. I gotta’ go with bebpjohn on this one…I LOVE a cup of hot spiced apple cider while I hunt for a Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving…mmmm. AND…I can’t talk about fall food without craving a big piece of pumpkin pie with plenty of Cool Whip on top…mmmmmm

All this talk of fall weather is making me want to watch my DVDs of the World Series last year…and since my stinkin’ Dish Network just went out for some reason (during the game), I may have to do just that…

Kevin–report back on Across the Universe. It looks interesting.

–The Mrs.

Will do

6. Into the Wild. Across the Universe.

7. Pumpkin Spice Lattes from *$. Pumpkin pie concretes from either Ted’s or Mardio’s.

Ohhhh… pumpkin pie custard from Mardio’s. Oh yes.

BTW, a clarification for all, since people seem to be unclear in both directions —

There are two more turns through the rotation, and two open spots on each turn. So it doesn’t need to be four different pitchers, though it can be if you want it to be. And it can’t really be one guy every time.

Just wanted to make sure, because I was probably unclear in how I laid that out.

-M.

I think most of us got it. To clarify my own answer, I’d slot Wells for the “#4 starter” role both times through the rotation, and have the “#5 starter” both times go as a bullpen game. Actually, now that I think about it, another option for the bullpen games might be to see if somebody like Cavazos could go for more than 2 innings, which if nothing else would increase his trade value.

Yeah, realized that after I answered…I say give as many to Reyes as possible…that should cover it :)

The rest…shoot…make ‘em bullpen games and take an even longer look at all these pitchers we’ve brought up.

(Notice I’m not saying Kip Wells??)

um…at no point in my many musings on the Lucky 7 did I suggest putting Aaron Miles in the outfield.

what’s going on, Matt?

you know…what about Miguel Cairo…what are we going to do with him next year??? (I’m pretending this is related to the “who is the shortstop in 08″ question)

With all due respect (he’s certainly a better player than I could have been), if Cairo is the answer, you’re asking the wrong question.

Incidentally, may I withdraw my earlier answer and suggest that Spiezio start the two bullpen games?

1. Reyes, Reyes, Reyes, and Reyes. He’s the only one with potential.

2. Ankiel, Ryan, Barden, and Skip. Everybody else’s status is solid.

3. Brendan Ryan. I’d love for Eck to play second, though.

4. Hopefully not managing the St. Louis Cardinals. His careless management is at equal fault to our demise.

5. Niners. They’re a tough young team that’s fun to watch.

6. Lars and the Real Girl. The Coen Brothers’ new movie looks great, too, although the name escapes me at the moment. It’s one of the best trailers I’ve seen in years, though.

7. I’m on a candy corn kick at the moment. Not my favorite, but I’m enjoying the horribly sugary tastiness.

bebpjohn…i wasn’t suggesting Cairo be our shortstop…I was asking what are we going to do with Cairo because the question about shortstop has spurred discussions about second base and utility infielders as well. It was second base I was considering (and utility infielder) when I mentioned Cairo. I didn’t think anyone would actually think I was suggesting Cairo play short on a regular basis.

He, in limited time, has shown an extra base hit ability and competent infielding ability (which we all knew he had a bit of from his previous stint with the Cardinals). I have to think his time with the Yankees – in that atmosphere and starting – has made him that much better and tougher (not to mention he has even more experience as a veteran, now).

I love Miles…and I like Ryan and Spezio…so the question is, what do we do with Cairo?

zoopnova…I have to respectfully disagree regarding your comment about La Russa. I would call his management anything but “careless.”

I, however, won’t say this is one of his ‘best years’ as many in the media seem to believe, but I do think he’s done a better than average – good – job. By Tony’s record/standards, that’s still better than a good portion of the managers out there (like average for Pujols is GREAT for other players). I just have a hard time believing it was his best year as a manager with all the “runaway” and double-digit losses under our belts this year.

That said, I think Tony made a decision early on that I liked…all or nothing. I think he refused to be a mediocre team. I think he made some risky decisions that may have looked iffy, but I think he did it to be aggressive. There are safe decisions that will keep you from being a bad team, but they have a marginal ROI (return on investment). In other words, they have a poor chance of making you a good team. I think Tony would rather make very risky moves if the payback potential is high instead of making a lot of safe moves that mean you are, in effect, settling for being an average team.

He plays to win, not to tie, and I like that.

Honestly, to answer the question as asked, I expect that what they’ll do with Cairo is to let him walk as a free agent. I don’t expect him to get more than an NRI anywhere next spring.

-M.

1. Reyes. We know he can picth. He needs to get over that mental thing. Let him pitch 7 innings unless his pitch count gets up to ~120.

2. Ryan, Skip, and Braden. Give Ankiel a lot of time too. Personally, I believe a healthy year for Duncan, ludwick, Ankiel and Pujols could combine for a 160 HR/year next year. But that would mean Jimmy wouldnt be in the outfield. Which is unexecptable barring him being healthy.

3. Depends on Eck completely. If he wants to play for a reasonable price I would say it’s his to lose. If he moves on to somewhere else we still have Ryan. Who can potentially be better than Eck for less money. And we can use that money on pitching. As long as he can figure out want a take sign means…

4. I believe he will still be here. Because he has said he will be where Dave Duncan is.

5. The play of Drew Brees.

6. No actaully. Nothing really has looked that interesting this time of year.

7. Pumpkin Beer!

that’s kind of what I figured…thanks for answering, Matt!

1.Thompson and Miles should split them.

2. Ankiel, see how he plays in this situation. And Torii Hunter.

3. I would love to see Renteria back in St. Louis. I think Eckstein will stay, I just don’t think he has a long career left. I would be alright with Jack Wilson. I’m not sold Ryan as an everyday guy.

4. With the Cards, if not, then Seattle.

5. College – Norte Dame hasn’t scored an offensive TD this season. That’s incredible.

NFL – The 2-0 Houston Texans and Washington Redskins. The 0-2 Eagles and Saints.

6. 3:10 to Yuma

7. Beer.

The way I look at it is that the Cards are out so why not let the young guys who need the experience pitch? Reyes is in that bunch for sure. Thompson is an obvious choice but he might be needed in the bullpen. You could let Wells pitch, but it doesn’t accomplish much.
2. Ryan. The guy is young and just needs to be out there. The more he plays, the better he will get.

3. Eckstein is a great addition to the team and I don’t know why he would leave St. Louis unless he was offered an outrageous amount of money.(not that couldn’t happen) so if the Cards get the chance, they will probably sign him back. Ryan could be the SS but not everyday and thats what he needs to do, play everyday. So put in Memphis for the time being. Renteria would be a really nice player to see back but the Cards would have to fork out a ton of money that probably needs to go into pitching.

4. Well, if Dave Duncan stays with his son in STL, I think TLR will stay as well.

7. Candy corn, LOL.

1) Names drawn out of a hat. No, I guess Wells and Thompson. I’d be with Reyes instead of Wells if he wasn’t hurting (like everyone else).

2) Ryan, Barden, Ludwick.

3) Renteria. Bring back a solid bat. Just having a guy we can count on to get a hit is big.

4) Either Busch Stadium or wherever the Cardinals open up on the road.

5) Michigan.

6) Not a big movie person.

7) Hot chocolate. Love having that on cold nights.

This is one of Tony’s worst years with the Cardinals, in my opinion. Not the worst, but definitely up there… Again, I’d call it careless, wreckless, and/or sloppy. He gave too many chances to too many talentless players, and kept a few guys in too long. There’s a difference between being aggressive by taking chances and looking lifeless by being entirely too passive–unlike seasons past, the line blends with Tony this year. But again, that’s just my opinion, and I’ll be very happy to see him leave. Secret Weapon, please.

I’m tired of people saying that there are major league players who are talentless. Kip Wells has great stuff, but something is wrong in his mind and it affects everything else (control, mechanics, etc). Anthony Reyes is still too young to make any judgment calls (2 full seasons is not enough, and who knows how long that tendinitis has been there?), Mike Maroth just had trouble switching leagues and seemed to always be up against a team that feasted on left handed pitching.

As far as how Tony has managed this year, I think he did a great job until everyone kept getting hurt in September. The fact that this team was broken and weary for so long but still in contention for most of the 2nd half is impressive. I also think that he did the best he could with what he was given. He didn’t have great alternatives.

Oooookay…here we go…

ZOOPNOVA…You’re going to have to do better than that…how in the world has Tony been “passive” or “careless”? Get specific. If, like most people I hear, you’re referring to him leaving pitchers in too long when it becomes clear they “don’t have it” that night, then you’re going to have to search elsewhere for your examples. I hate that criticism. It shows either a lack of true baseball knowledge or a “careless” and flawed thought process.

You have maybe 11 pitchers on staff in a season. 5 of those are starters, so you’re down to 6 available pitchers. 1 of those 6 is your closer. That leaves you with 5 pitchers. Now, this is where some thought has to come into play…I’m going to make it easy on you and let you assume that we actually have a lead of 3 runs or less AND we haven’t had a save opportunity in a day or two thereby meaning Izzy is actually available…which means ALL 6 of your pitchers are available to use. We’re not even going to talk about the fact that if we haven’t been in a save opportunity in the last couple days, then at least one or two of those 5 pitchers have pitched for consequetive days, thereby increasing the possibility that those pitchers can’t be included in the available 5 pitchers. Now let’s get down to it…

We’re going to assume the pitcher doesn’t last 5 innings because, quite honestly, if a pitcher lasted 5 or 6 innings this year, we’re good with that and you wouldn’t have a reason to want them pulled…so…

Kip Wells starts a game…he is down 5 to nothing in the 3rd inning, but we let him finish the 3rd because his spot is due up in the third and we want to save one of our 6 pitchers if we can help it. Brad Thompson comes in to pitch the fourth and fifth…he does well, we’ll assume. Troy Percival comes in to pitch the sixth and 2/3rds of the seventh. Tyler Johnson comes in to face a lefty in the seventh for the final out (very common in our division with all the lefty power hitters – Fielder, Griffey, Dunn, etc.). We now have 3 pitchers left and 2 innings to go…so..Franklin pitches the 8th in a setup role and Izzy pitches the ninth in a save role which leaves only 1 pitcher in case Franklin, Izzy, or any of the other pitchers before them needed bailed out OR if we go to extra innings.

Now…that’s assuming we play EVERY game in a vaccuum – maybe we get a day off on either end of every game…or maybe Wainwright pitched a complete 9 innings EVERY single game this year…or maybe we didn’t actually have the pitcher’s spot come up in a key situation in a game causing us to pinch-hit and sub for a pitcher before we would like…but, none of that is realistic. Not every pitcher is fresh/sharp/available every night. Sometimes, you CAN’T make a pitching move.

The fact is, we’ve all disagreed with some of Tony’s decisions here and there…and if you think EVERY OTHER MANAGER in baseball doesn’t face the same disagreement from fans, you’re wrong…but “careless” or “passive” are simply NOT words you can use to criticize Tony’s management style. If anything, it’s the exact opposite.

Let’s review some of the injuries/issues this year:

1. Carpentar

2. Mulder

3. Looper (for a time)

4. Rolen

5. Edmonds (for a time)

6. Spezio (in a way)

7. Duncan

8. Pujols said he’s been 65% all year.

9. Kennedy

10. Encarnacion

11. Molina (for a time)

12. Eckstein (for a time)

13. Hancock’s death

14. Kinney

15. Bennett (for a time)

I know I’m missing some…and I’m not even counting the fact that he had a career reliever as one of his best starters, a former reliever (Joel P.) as a starter, Todd Flippin’ Wellemeyer as a 7-1 starter (a Royals reliever for cryin’ out loud)…and his staff ace (Adam) was pitching his FIRST year as a Major League Starter.

And yet STILL we were within 1 game of first place and had a shot. I don’t care what division you’re in, that’s amazing.

Tony is the 3rd winningest manager of all time…1 of 2 to win a World Series in both leagues…THE winningest Cardinals manager of all time…Since 2000, we’ve had 1 losing season (this year) and we STILL had a shot…last National League team since 2000 to have a losing season…With Tony, we’ve been to the World Series TWICE, and won the division more than that…

Happy when Tony leaves?????? Please…

I can’t believe that NO ONE has mentioned Merb’s Bionic Apples!

They are by far the BEST EVER fall snack.

1) Wellemeyer and Thompson with 2 starts each, but do so with a short leash, allowing plenty of innings for the relief core. We do need to see if we can package some players for one (preferably two) more starters for next year as Carp will not be ready until late next year(if at all), and Mulder is still questionable.

2)give Ryan and Ankiel plenty of innings. They should start next year at SS and right, and try and trade Eckstein and Kennedy in a pkg with Schumacher or Ludwick for a starting pitcher, or TOP power pitching prospects.

3)Ryan or Eckstein. Do not waste time looking to trade for an infielder when we have good ones internally. We need STARTING PITCHING! (and Torii Hunter if we can get him.)

4)- 7) Irrelevent here, and I don’t care!

Rlayton — with all due respect, you don’t determine what is relevant and what is not on my blog. I do.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you don’t want to answer all the questions in Lucky Seven, that’s fine. Don’t answer them. But don’t take shots at the questions. This blog is about a whole lot of things, including but not limited to Cardinals baseball.

-M.

Update on my upcoming “Across the Universe” report: DELAYED!! Because I live about as far away from St. Louis and still be in Missouri (sort of) as you can get, “Across the Universe” is not yet in a “theater near me.” We will try to catch it next week (hopefully it will be out, then)…in the meantime, watched “Stranger than Fiction”…GREAT movie!!! Fresh, original script…However, my undergrad is in English, so Emma Thompson (sp?) is a favorite of mine and my tastes tend to be a bit varied and eclectic.

Stranger than Fiction was freaking terrific, no doubt. The Mrs. and I intended to see something else the night we saw it — The Departed, maybe? — but missed our top choice for some reason, as I recall. Saw that instead. Wonderful flick. Sadly ignored for the most part in terms of awards too.

-M.

I know I have brought this up before, But I still do not understand why the Cardinals did not resign Ronnie Belliard. Adam Kennedy has been a total bust for the Cards, and Belliard is having a good season with Washington.Belliard helped the Cards win the Playoffs and WS. I which Matt would comment about this- I do not think he ever has.

kennedylangston, hindsight is always 20/20. Belliard had a bad regular season with the cards as far as offense was considered, and the front office thought that he was not the best option.

Not to mention the fact that Kennedy was a consistent offensive producer at a level higher than Belliard was in his short time with the Cardinals. Kennedy is one of those things that went against the odds…and he could still turn it around next year.

I think everyone agreed with the Tino Martinez move a few years back, but that didn’t work out either – a guy who hit 44 homeruns at one point didn’t work out in St. louis…who saw that one coming???

Yeah, I was very surprised that it was so ignored in the award category, especially since the Writers Guild of America nominated it for best original screenplay and the Golden Globes nominated Will for best actor. I blame the Academy’s prejudice against comedies and comedians in general. I think they just have a hard time seriously considering it for an Oscar when the leading man is the same man from Blades of Glory.

This will be the last time I mention Ronnie Belliard, but I think the Cards should have taken into account how good he was in the post season. I also wonder what kind of season Jeff Weaver would have had if he stayed with the Cardinals. In regards to David Ekstein, the Cards should keep him. He is a fan favorite, and had a good OBP this year.

Matt,

Curious about your thoughts on next year’s roster…who do you see as possibilities (all things considered) at shortstop next season? In regards to that, is Khalil Greene an option for us considering his 27 HRs this year? Is that a breakout year or a peak that is not likely to repeat?

And, considering his salary, what do you think our chances of landing Edgar Renteria in a package deal (maybe A. Reyes and Schumaker and a reliever) are? Really?

Thanks!

Eckstein has to be addressed first i think. Whether or not he returns should change the way St. Louis approaches players in the off season. Eck is our leadoff hitter. If he won’t be there in 08 and/or beyond, then who? Is Ryan ready to lead off, or even ready to play everyday? For that matter, is Ankiel? Will Edmonds, Rolen, Pujols, Molina, Mulder all be healthy and ready for a full year? A lot of questions going into the offseason. I know Jocketty has the answers.

well, i completely agree…but my question was actually intended to be thought of in the context of Eckstein. He’s making about half Edgar’s salary, about the same as Jack Wilson, and twice what Khalil is making…but Khalil hit 27 homers this year…bad average, but power…and this team has been looking for another impact bat…I would say if we can get Renteria, whose average, power numbers, on base percentage, etc. are all significantly higher than Eckstein’s, and he’s a better defender, and the price is right considering the priority of our pitching needs…and the team member he was when with us…then I say get him and that answers your Eckstein question. I think you’re hamstringing the team if you say “we have to have a leadoff hitter so Eck is it.” Instead, I think you go after the best players at each position and then figure out the batting order from what you have. I would actually love to see Eck come back as our second baseman, and won’t be sad if he comes back as our shortstop…just saying, as much as it hurts, I think we should open our options up a bit if we are serious about contending next year.

Didn’t mean that that since we need to have a leadoff hitter so Eck is going to be it. All i meant was to determine whether or not he returns. IF he’s here, then that fills two holes, SS and leadoff bat. I don’t think Edgar is gonna be a good leadoff guy. Jack Wilson may be. And as far as him coming back at 2B, only if he is open to it himself. If he wants to do it, then I’d be cool with that, as long as we do something with Kennedy following that.

oh, I hear you…didn’t think you meant that…was just commenting on the approach idea…

Yeah…I don’t think Edgar is a leadoff hitter…ah well…we’ll figure it out

I love Greene — I just don’t see the Padres parting with him.

Renteria is a much more likely scenario, I think. Boston is already picking up some of his salary, the Braves have his replacement all ready to go, and he’s only signed for one more year. Greene is still two years from FA, and I just don’t see SD having any desire to make a deal.

-M.

See, that’s why I love this blog…ask, and ye shall receive!! Thanks, Matt!

I didn’t know Greene was still 2 years from FA eligibility…and it seems like I had heard the Boston/Edgar/Salary thing-a-ma-jig but had forgotten it. Now I’m gettin’ all kinds of excited over the Edgar possibility…hmmmmmm. I kept hearing people bring it up, but I doubted our ability to get him. I had a hard time seeing us paying double for a shortstop in 08 when we have such obvious pitching issues.

Thanks again!

What about Castillo to play 2nd base? Is he still with the Mets or is he done after this year? If we could get him and renteria, the lineup would be set and we could focus on pitching. And of course, bringing TLR back. I figure he would put up something comme ca:

1) Castillo

2) Ankiel

3) Pujols

4) Duncan

5) Rolen

6) Edmonds

7) Renteria

8) Molina

9) Pitcher

Okay…I just don’t see the fascination with Castillo…yeah…’bout a .300 hitter and a solid defender…but no power and he made nearly 6 million dollars this year. I don’t get it…what’s the deal?

Seems to me that we would stand a better chance splitting Ryan and Miles at second base next year and put a few million towards pitching…

Don’t get me wrong…not knocking the idea…just wondering why he keeps coming up…I mean, I see the upside of the veteran years in him and you pretty much know what you’re going to get…but don’t we pretty much know what we’ll get out of Miles, too?

Blissfully ignorant…that’s me…

I love Castillo because he gets on base. .362 this year, over .360 in every full season but one.

I just don’t see any way the Cardinals spend on a 2B this year, unless they dump Kennedy, which is pretty much impossible. If they spend anything on ****, and if they upgrade the rotation, I think you’ll see Kennedy or an internal solution at 2B.

-M.

Well, to each his own; for my part, I don’t see the fascination with Renteria. Yes, when he’s at his best, he’s very good, but he’s erratic and can be a long way from his best. He also is no more than an interim solution, given that he’s a free agent after 2008 and no longer young (although not “old” either). That might be OK if there was something better than Ryan waiting in the farm system, but there’s not, at least not yet. Finally, do you expect the team, and the fans, to give him a warm welcome, after he walked a couple of years ago? I don’t, and I suspect it would affect his performance.

I’d like to see the team hunker down for a year as regards middle-infield moves. A setup with Ryan at SS and Miles at 2B isn’t a world beater, but it’s adequate and cheap, and leaves payroll room for acquiring something that would actually scratch an itch. The more important question is: how to get something that’s REALLY needed, namely starting pitching? Acquiring a good starter via trades seems improbable, because there just isn’t that much to trade other than left-handed outfielders and various prospects. That’s not a very attractive proposition, particularly if the team (wisely) declares prospects Rasmus, Anderson and Garcia off limits for trades, and is unlikely to net much of a starter in return. So instead it’s look for a free agent, and payroll space is needed for that. Anybody got data on what the free-agent pitching market is going to be like this winter?

I guarantee you the team would have no reservations about bringing Renteria back. He’s regarded as a wonderful teammate.

As for the fans, why in the world would anyone have any problem with him? The team made no serious effort to retain him until it was too late. It’s a very similar situation to Jeff Suppan’s. They could have locked him up well in advance, and chose not to. The Red Sox moved aggressively, the Cardinals did not. At the last moment, the Cardinals put in an offer that was still well short of what Boston was offering.

Any resentment toward him, in my opinion, would be completely unfounded.

-M.

I would have no problem bringing Edgar back. I think his bat could be an impact bat, and he provided great defense with us. I just don’t know what Atlanta would be wanting to give up for him or if he will be healthy enough.

That’s interesting, Matthew, and I would say reassuring. And to be sure, I wasn’t arguing that any resentment would be well founded, simply that it might be there whether justified or not. All of this said, I *STILL* am not excited about the idea of bringing Renteria back. Shortstop just isn’t the biggest problem right now as long as Ryan is out there, and I worry that solving that “problem” takes away from solving the real ones.

So previous inquiry still applies: just what does the free-agent pitching pool look like for this off season? I have a dim memory of it looking a bit better than last year’s, but still nothing to write home about.

The upside for me on Renteria is 3-fold:

1. He provides more power than a David Eckstein at short. Not a lot (maybe 10 HRs on an average season), but still 5 times that of Eck. I really like that (plus his OBP) in a bat typically placed in the lower part of the order.

2. I like his range and his arm at short more than a David Eckstein. I love Eck…but I always wince when they hit the ball to short…

3. He’s a great teammate that could provide a bit of comfort and stability to this club. Eck is a great teammate, too…but Renteria has a bit more of the leadership qualities.

As far as Renteria being a short-term solution at best, I don’t have a problem with that. If we’re talking about needing a young shortstop who is good defensively and has shown indications of a .300 average with occasional power (5 – 10 HRs and multiple doubles?), I would be comfortable with Ryan filling that role in the future.

The benefit, from that perspective, of a Renteria type of guy is that it allows you a year to see what you have in Ryan and still be very competitive (as opposed to hunkering down and settling for an adequate team).

All that being said…PITCHING PITCHING PITCHING!!!!

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