January 2008

Lucky Seven says, 'I'm not dead yet!'

With Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde playing, I present the return of Lucky Seven.

1. Out of all the various candidates — Reyes, Thompson, Wellemeyer, heck, even guys like Hawksworth and Boggs if you really like ‘em — who should start the season as the fifth starter? Assuming Wainwright-Looper-Pineiro-Clement is pretty much locked in, and Mulder/Carpenter are unavailable.

2. Who’s the best choice to lead off, given the current roster?

3. Where will Colby Rasmus start the year? Where SHOULD he start the year?

4. What team will win the NL Central?

5. Who will be traded first? Erik Bedard or Johan Santana?

6. What’s going to win Best Picture? What should win? (candidates: Atonement, Juno, Michael Clayton, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood)

7. What’s your favorite cold-weather food?

-M.

Oh happy day!

The band that produced my favorite album of the last at least 2-3 years has a new one out. Huzzah, Drive-By Truckers!

Thoughts on it will appear in this space in the coming days.

Oh, and some baseball talk too.

-M.

Also, Dude, 'old ball and chain' is NOT the preferred nomenclature

Two years ago today, Mrs. Dude aka Erin officially made me legally the luckiest ballwriter on earth. Happy anniversary, my love. Here’s to dozens more.

-M.

Molina signed — UPDATE, officially confirmed

Done and done. Four years, plus a club option. Still working on getting the dollars.

-M.

********************


Nothing confirmed, but it looks very likely that the Cardinals are about to announce the signing of Yadier Molina — not sure whether we’re talking one year or multiple years, though.

Put the following pieces together, and a picture emerges:

1. The Cardinals are holding a news conference at 11:30.

2. It was just posted that Molina will be signing at noon, after he hadn’t previously been on the schedule.

You do the math.

As the Dude said, "You look for the person who will benefit, and, uh…"

-M.

News, of a sort

We got our first news of the day just a few minutes ago, chatting with Troy Glaus.

The newest Cardinal will wear No. 8 as a tribute to one of his favorite players from his youth, Cal Ripken Jr. Glaus, who has always worn 25, thought better of asking for that particular number in this particular city.

-M.

That was me… and six other guys

If it’s miserably cold outside, it must be Winter Warm-Up weekend. And what do you know? It’s eight degrees, and I’m in a workroom at the Millennium in downtown St. Louis.

So anyway, a few things to note:

1, I’ll be trying to blog semi-regularly, including updates if there’s any actual news. In the past, some signings (both free agent and arbitration-avoidance) have happened over this weekend, so that’s a possibility.

2, I’ll have plenty of coverage on the site, whether there’s news or not.

3, On Sunday at 2 pm CT, I’ll be giving a talk and taking questions in the "Presentation Clubhouse," so come on down and check it out.

-M.

Requisition me a beat!

So, the Mrs. and I are teaming up this year for our Year in Music. We saw some things the same way, some differently, and some things, one of us convinced the other of. All comments after my ratings are mine, and comments after E’s ratings are written by her.

M.’s No. 1 of the year: White Stripes, Icky Thump. Is it perfect? No. But it’s loud, and has Jack White’s killer tone, and a bunch of fantastic songs, and months after it came out, it sounds just as good to me as ever.

E.’s No. 1: Modest Mouse, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Equal partscatchy, quirky, rocking, and earnest. This was the most accessible of
Modest Mouse’s albums — and I mean that in the best way possible.


M2: Against Me!, New Wave. Somebody here at OYNAG recommended these guys way back, and I went out and bought the record. FANtastic. Big, loud songs. Punk? Not really, but who cares? Really a killer record that I listened to again and again and again.

E2: same as M2. This album made the band a sellout, but I loved every minute of it. It was intense and well written.

M3: Kanye West, Graduation. His songs get better and better. Musically a terrific record, and he’s managed to stay compelling lyrically.

E3: same as M3. A little bit over-produced for my taste, but even that couldn’t diminish the awesomeness of West’s rhymes.

M4: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver. Wow, wow, wow. Another band I was exposed to for the first time this year. Everything from funny/fun/danceable to heartbreaking and beautiful. "All My Friends" and "Someone Great" are probably two of my five favorite songs of the year.

E4: Tegan and Sara, The Con. The songs on this album are hypnotic and intensely personal. It held my attention from start to finish.

M5: Foo Fighters, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Only listened a few times, because I didn’t get it till the end of the year. But I love it, from the loud stuff to the quiet stuff.

E5: Erin McKeown, Lafayette. Though it’s a live album, Lafyette showcases both McKeown’s original
songs and her interesting take on some old standards. McKeown’s voice
soars on each and every track.

M6: Modest Mouse, We Were Dead… I didn’t love it quite as much as E, but I did finally come to GET it after a bunch of listenings. Two months ago, it wouldn’t have cracked my top-10.

E6: Smashing Pumpkins, Zeitgeist. Lush and rich-sounding, this album is heavy and murky sometimes. Lyrical complexity keeps this album from feeling stale.

M7: Cinematics, A Strange Education. Not really anything new, but it sounded great.

E7: White Stripes, Icky Thump. Meg and Jack prove they can make music that is fresh and that crosses genres.

M8: Nine Inch Nails, Year Zero. It wasn’t as earth-shattering or mind-bending or whatever as I think Trent wanted it to be. But I dug it anyway.

E8: Blaqk Audio, CexCells. The kids from AFI prove that they’re the heirs to Depeche Mode’s fortune.

M9: Jay-Z, American Gangster. Jay still isn’t back to his lyrical form from The Black Album, but musically this was a killer disc. And Jay at 80 percent is still as good as pretty much any other MC on the planet.

M10: Kings of Leon, Because of the Times. Just love the sound these guys create.

Stuff E liked but don’t know well enough to include on the list:
The Bravery–The Sun and the Moon

The Cinematics–A Strange Education
LCD Soundsystem–Sound of Silver
Mandy Moore–Wild Hope
Kaiser Chiefs–Yours Truly, Angry Mob

M’s honorable mentions:
Blaqk Audio, CexCells
Dinosaur Jr., Beyond
Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Cold War Kids, Robbers and Cowards
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky
Buffalo Tom, Three Easy Pieces
Smashing Pumpkins, Zeitgeist
Maps, We Can Create

Stuff E hasn’t listened to enough to make an informed decision about:

Kings of Leon–Because of the Times
NIN–Year Zero
Wilco–Sky Blue Sky
Foo Fighters–Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace
Spoon–Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Jay-Z–American Gangster

-M, currently going WAY back with the all-time favorite album of a particular Post-Dispatch staffer — the Black Crowes Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.

Mmmm… links

Updated the various links on the sides today, including links to the newly spiffy-fied blogs of friends/colleagues Derrick Goold and Bernie Miklasz, among others. Take a look, if you please…

-M.

My take

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this deal over the past two days, and I think last night I finally hit on what I think about it. I sort of alluded to this in today’s mailbag, but this is my view:

It really comes down to whether you think the Cardinals HAD to move Rolen. That has to inform any assessment. If you think that the TLR-SR relationship was such a problem that they simply had to move him, then I think it’s hard not to like this trade. If you think it was workable, then it’s hard to like it too much.

Because I think, in the end, it’s a pretty even swap on value. Rolen’s top-end potential is higher. At his best, he’s at least as productive a hitter (look at that 2004 OBP… tasty!) and obviously a better fielder. But on the other hand, it seems that Glaus is more likely to reach MOST of his ability. His injury seems to be more manageable and seems to have less of an impact on his production. So whereas Rolen’s 90th percentile is something like 310/420/590 with a Gold Glove, his 50th percentile is a lot less than that.

So if you feel they had to move him, then I think you’ve got to be pleased that they’re not getting 50 cents on the dollar. If the premise is that they had no choice, then getting even value is actually a pretty nice accomplishment. But if you feel they didn’t have to move him, then there’s not much point in moving a guy for an equivalent guy. Devil you know, devil you don’t, etc etc etc.

And my copout personal analysis is that they felt they pretty much had to move him. So to get a genuinely productive hitter, and apparently at least a competent defender, is a nice pickup. I don’t give it a glowing, raving A-plus-plus, but I think I give it a solid B or so.

-M.

Rolen — updated

Updated — not done yet, but very real – Rolen for Glaus. As for when it will be finalized, or what the EXACT terms will be, things like that, I’m still unsure. And it has happened that all-but-done deals didn’t actually get finalized. So until it’s announced, it could still not happen. But this is not just a rumor, and I believe it is simply a matter of time and dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

-M.

***********

Trying to track it down. Interesting if true. They’re fairly similar hitters, though Glaus is more of a three-true-outcomes guy. Glaus is also signed for one less year, and even that year is a player option — so if he has a big season he might decline it and go FA.

Don’t know anything about other players potentially involved, dollar amounts involved, etc etc.

-M.

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