Various and assorted

Just clearing out a few assorted topics, Cards-related and not, at the end of the season and beginning of the postseason.

* I’m not crazy about the Lohse deal. I don’t think it’s disastrous, but four guaranteed years with a no-trade makes me VERY nervous. His durability is a plus, and he had a good year. But it seems like a risk to do four years with blanket no-trade protection for a pitcher who is good but not elite.

The flipside is that if the Cards take advantage of the relatively low 2009 dollars and make a legitimate upgrade somewhere else (Orlando Hudson, anyone?), I’ll like it more.

* My NL MVP ballot: 1.Pujols – 2.Berkman – 3.Wright – 4.H.Ramirez – 5.C.Jones – 6. Beltran – 7.Utley – 9.Santana – 9.J.Reyes – 10.A.Ramirez. Yes, 4 Mets but not Delgado.

* My NL Cy Young ballot: 1.Santana – 2.Lincecum – 3.Lidge

* My NL Rookie ballot: 1.Soto – 2.Votto – 3.Jurrjens

-M.

19 Comments

Couldn’t have said it better. I totally agree with your assessment and picks.

M, what’s your take on Piniella’s move to start Dempster today? I thought he shoulda went Zambrano, Lilly, THEN Dempster.

Dunno — they definitely weren’t going to hold Dempster back that far. They wanted him pitching at home. But his numbers in the second half were absolutely sick — 2.52 ERA, 83 Ks, 26 BB, 3 HR in 82 innings. Other than Harden, he’s been easily their best starter the last three months. So it made sense to me.

-M.

Agreed about the Lohse deal, but, it seems a lot better if you look at it this way…

Boras would’ve raked in much more from some other team in free agency. Sure its a big commitment and a little pricey, BUT we’re getting well below the current massively inflated market price. My point is that if we would’ve tried to sign a pitcher similar to Loshe, it probably would’ve cost even more. And if this year wasn’t a fluke, and he can pitch this well for at least 3 of the 4 years, this contract is a steal, relatively speaking. 4 years is a long time, but based on his stats, I feel like he could’ve gotten a Gil Meche type deal in free agency.

That, and it helps to solidify the rotation, which given the health of Carp and Mulder, seems like a good thing to me.

Thanks for not including Ryan Howard or Delgado. How can a player be the hero of the season when they don’t show up for the first few months? Berkman is a very deserving, and distant, 2nd.

Read Bernie’s comments about the Loshe deal. Loshe’s ground ball ratio went from 51% to 61% under Duncan.
His stats at Busch are very good.
The deal is structured so that this year the deal only costs the Cards about $2.9 million more than they paid him in 2008 leaving lots of payroll wiggle room.
In the last year of the contract, when Loshe is 34, and making a lot of money, Carp’s contract will be gone and hopefully the Cards will have some new, young, cheap, home grown arms in the rotation.
Bernie’s column gives a good slant on the deal.

Regarding the Lohse deal, I am glad to see them retain a good useful pitcher like Lohse. With the others you mentioned they are positioning themselves for another middle of the pack run. If they want to win the division they will have to spend some money, something they have refused to do. Everyyear they wait Albert gets a year older and more banged up. Wainwright and Lohse are their only two real pitchers assuming they want to beat the Cubs and win the Central Division. Carpenter may never return and Mulder seems finished. They need another Sabathia type pitcher and a number 3 as well. Maybe Moe doesn’t know how to get them?

BK in Memphis

I think too many of us are being critical of the Cards starters for only winning 12, 15 games, whatever.
Let’s imagine the pen did their job and instead of 30 blown saves they only blew 15 or only 20. Each Card starter might have 2 or 3 more wins. Hell brad Lidge of the Phillies converted 41 of 41 opportunities. They are in the postseason.
So if each Card starter had 2 or 3 more wins the Cards would be in the postseason and all those starters would be getting big bucks in 2009. Not because they pitched any better, but because the pen did. Cards don’t need to sign a big name expensive starter, they need to fortify the pen.
The pen sucked this season.

I think we all know what happened to the pen this year. I don’t think anybody is critical of the starters “because the ONLY (?) won 12,15 games, whatever”. For me the criticism stands where it stood all year. The starters didn’t go deep enough into games to keep from over exposing the ‘pen!! Their WHIP was too high, which means they threw too many pitches in too short of time. That leads too an overworked and ineffective bullpen. Signing Lohse doesn’t change that. He has only thrown as many as 200 innings twice in his career, last year being one of them. He averaged just over 6 IP per game this year. So I think we do need to find a starter or two who can work deeper into games, which in itself will help to bolster the pen.

I do agree Cards need another arm in the rotation, just not a $15-$20 million arm.

The cards really need to do something about the pen this offseason. They had 70 something save oppertunities, the most in the NL, but only end up with the 6th most saves. Worst of all the cards save % was 57%. I blame the gm for not even attempting to get a reliable arm for the pen.

Really, he didn’t even attempt to? You sure about that? I remember him trying to acquire Fuentes, as well as many other teams, which team got him via trade? None, he stayed right where he was, which sort of tells you they were asking too much for him.

This statement:
“I blame the gm for not even attempting to get a reliable arm for the pen.”

..is totally unfair to Mozeliak. He looked at Ohman, Fuentes, and countless others from reports on mlbtraderumors, the Post-Dispatch, and Ben Maller’s blog. Mozeliak simply decided not to let go of players like Rasmus (who has been regarded in a similar way by the publications as Longoria was before he got a full-time spot with the Rays) and Motte, who turned out to be our best reliever down the stretch and can only really become better, considering he’s only been pitching for a few years.

I’m very happy with the front office. They let all the prospects mature a year, and next year, as long as TLR and Mozeliak show some level of sanity, we should expect Kinney back to his ’06 form, Motte, Perez, and hopefully Tyler Johnson. This forms a very cheap, yet solid beginning of a bullpen. It was so unlikely that this was the Cardinals’ year anyway, that in retrospect, I’m very glad Mozeliak didn’t give up any of the farmhands to get a player that likely wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.

Of course, with our massive amount of outfield depth, and Rasmus coming up, hopefully we see someone moved from the outfield to strengthen either the middle infield or the pitching staff, but 2009 looks a lot brighter because of the way Mozeliak has handled things so far.

Well that’s why opinions differ mtalken. I tend to agree with sdracc’s thought. Mo didn’t put much effort into improving the pen. No matter what you read in the paper or wherever, the bottom line is HE DID NOTHING. No trade, no waiver signings. NO MOVES PERIOD I’m not happy with that, even if you are. It remains to be seen whether Rasmus was worth holding on to. He could end up injury prone like Anks, like Drew was, like Duncan is. If that turns out to be the case, then his lack of making a move was dumb. Time will tell. And even if we got someone who didn’t make enough of a difference, we could have at least gotten a guy that could have helped us next year and NOT get signed by a division opponent.

We’ll all be super pissed if Cincinatti or another Central division foe ends up signing Fuentes in the offseason.

SLForre, not to disagree with you. Because he did do nothing, but I just don’t like people saying he attempted nothing, because he did. He tried to improve this team by acquiring players. And it’s his first year, so I’m willing to give him a shot, I think he’s going to make some great moves, he already made two good moves, in my opinion, by clearing up the payroll by trading Edmonds and Rolen. Now I have a feeling you’re going to say that’s a bad deal, but statistically, both of those deals favored us, because their replacements are outperforming them. And I’d love to get Fuentes, but I have a feeling that if we got him, we’d be putting a lot of money into him, whereas we could just get Ohman and Affeldt for cheaper, and we could just give Perez the closers job.

One thing on the MVP ballot: why no pitchers but Santana, Matt? I’d personally judge that both Tim Lincecum and Brandon Webb did more to help their teams than a couple of the Mets did (Beltran wouldn’t have been in my top 15, let alone top 10). Is this a “we could have finished last without you” thing? It’s not Lincecum’s fault that his team stank something awful when he wasn’t pitching.

I wouldn’t even put Santana in there, personally. I think the only way I’d be for a pitcher getting the MVP award is if he had a great year pitching, hitting, and fielding, AND if there was no clear cut winner among position players. Otherwise a pitcher cannot the most valuable player, in my opinion. Again, for me, I can’t see giving the MVP to a pitcher unless they had an outstanding year all around. Otherwise he’s the most valuable pitcher, and they have an award for that already.

I’ll be satisfied with this off-season if I see Orlando Hudson and AJ Burnett in camp next Spring. Or another pitcher of equal or better quality.

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