Just got finished going through my notes from tonight’s briefing with Mozeliak. I’ll have a story up on the site a little later this evening, but in the meantime here are some tidbits:
* Most of our conversation was about Rolen, and he definitely acknowledged they’re talking about him. But insisted, repeatedly, that they don’t HAVE to move him. He also said they will not move him without getting Major League players in return.
Quote: "Right now we’re still doing our exploratory search onthis, but we’re not bound to do anything. Unless we feel like we’re really
improving our club, our intentions would be for Scott Rolen to be a part of our
club in 2008."
* Thinks the Rolen market will be much clearer once the "paralysis" surrounding "another third baseman" has been eliminated. I.e., once Cabrera is dealt, it’ll be clearer what the market is for Rolen.
* About four teams are in on Rolen.
* Don’t put much stock in the Texas reports; Mozeliak said he hasn’t talked to Rangers in "a few weeks."
* Blaise Ilsley will be the pitching coach at Memphis, it appears.
* Mulder’s expected start date is "late April or May."
Did not get to meet the new asst. GM. He’s apparently ill.
Haven’t met the new Cards assistant GM, John Abbamondi, but I hope to be able to do so tonight. However, I spoke with a couple of people who know him already today, and got nothing but raves — was told he’s extremely bright, eminently competent and a good guy.
He’s definitely got a heck of a résumé if nothing else.
Nothing really earth-shattering here thus far, but for a first day, it’s actually been pretty busy. Two consummated trades is more than we often get on Day 1.
And we have our first Cardinals-related news of the Winter Meetings.
The Hall of Fame announced today that among its newest inductees is former Cards manager Billy Southworth. His numbers at the helm of the Redbirds are pretty stunning — aside from a half-season as player-manager, Southworth helmed the team for six years. Playing a 154-game schedule, they won at least 95 games in five of those years. They won three pennants and two World Series.
Southworth had an absolutely ridiculous .642 winning percentage as Cardinal manager. To put it in current-day terms, when he was the St. Louis manager, he won 104 out of every 162 games.
Congratulations to Southworth’s family, not to mention the other honorees today: **** Williams, Walter O’Malley (obviously a choice that’s not going to go over well in some parts of New York), Bowie Kuhn and Barney Dreyfuss.
Your faithful correspondent is packing up, and any moment, I’ll be hitting the road for Nashville. Obviously I’ll be covering the Cards as extensively as possible for the site, but I’ll also be trying to give you some good blogly updates. Talk to you from there…
Cards did not offer arbitration to Eckstein.
They are still free to negotiate with him, but that’s pretty much not going to happen. The only remaining way for him to come back that was conceivable at all was if they’d offered arb, and he’d accepted.
Personally, I think this is a misstep. If you offer him arbitration, you guarantee a draft pick if he leaves — and he’d be very likely to leave, since he seems to have zero interest in a one-year deal. And even if he accepts, what’s the downside? One year deal, go to arbitration, play him at second base. My concern with keeping him has never been dollars, but years.