January 2009

Glaus to have surgery

The Cardinals surprised just about everyone on Thursday when they announced that third baseman Troy Glaus has undergone right shoulder surgery that will sideline him for 12 weeks.

According to an official release by the club, Glaus underwent an arthroscopic procedure for debridement, or cleaning out, of his throwing shoulder. Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the operation in Los Angeles.

The Cardinals listed the recovery time at 12 weeks, although it was unclear whether that referred to the time Glaus will be unable to play at all, or the time that he’s expected to be unavailable to the Major League roster. Glaus, 32, had a fine first season in St. Louis, batting .270 with a .372 on-base percentage and .483 slugging percentage.

Glaus has missed large chunks of three of the past six seasons due to injury. Most recently, he was limited to 115 games in 2007 as a result of plantar fasciitis. He has one year and $11.25 million remaining on his current contract.

It’s unclear who would take the bulk of the at-bats in Glaus’ absence, but third base is one of the deepest positions for the Cardinals. David Freese, Joe Mather and possibly even 2008 Draft pick Brett Wallace could push for playing time.

Glaus addressed reporters over the weekend at the annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up and made no mention of any physical malady that had plagued him this winter.

Winter Warm-Up Day 2, running thread

Hello again from the work room at the Millennium.

11:15 am – Skip Schumaker on second base, a suggestion which seems to baffle him: “First of all, I think Adam Kennedy can do the job. I just want to go out and say that. He had, I think one bad month or something last year. The guy obviously has done it before, and he wants to do it again here.

“Secondly, I was a shortstop in high school and college, and I moved to the outfield my last year in college. I played infield before. There’s a reason why I’m in the outfield, I think.”

11:05 am – Brad Thompson is confident his 2009 contract will be done soon. “This is the first time my agent has had to work for his money. I think it’s something that’s going to be done soon. I don’t think we’re that far off. It should be done.”

10:55 am – Rick Ankiel said his surgery went very well and he’s going through normal season prep. “I’m preparing,” he said. “I rehabbed the first 6-8 weeks, then took it slow the next probably four weeks, and then after that, back to the regular regimen.”

Ankiel was noncommittal on the possibility of working out a deal before he reaches free agency, but don’t put too much stock in it. He’s pretty much always noncommittal about that sort of thing.

“As I said before, all I can do is focus on being healthy and playing a whole year. Everything else will take care of itself after that. … Absolutely, I’ve told [Scott Boras] I want to work in St. Louis. But for me, it’s just focusing on having a healthy year. If you don’t play, nobody’s going to want you.”

-M.

Winter Warm-Up Day 1, running thread

Greetings from the Millennium.

4 pm – John Mozeliak said he thinks Wellemeyer and one other arb-eligible player could have their contracts finished within a couple of days. That player is likely either Chris Duncan or Brad Thompson.

3 pm – Brendan Ryan has bulked up a little bit, said he’s put on 10-12 pounds. It’s noticeable in a good way.

12:30 pm – Todd Wellemeyer sounds like he’s closing in on squaring away his 2009 contract. “I know it’s getting close,” he said.

12:20 pm – Adam Kennedy acknowledges that nothing is guaranteed for him, and said he doesn’t think anything really needs to be smoothed over. As for the 2B job: “It’s someone’s job to win, and I plan on doing that.”

12:05 pm – Chris Carpenter is extremely optimistic about his recovery. Boiling it down, he said he’s going about things as though he’s simply preparing for the season, rather than rehabbing from an injury. Playing catch every day.

“I feel good. I feel like it’s a regular winter. … Right now I feel like a normal offseason. My shoulder feels good. I have no issues whatsoever.”

11:05 am – Chris Perez divulged that he has a bone spur in his left ankle that bothered him in September last year. He did not have surgery but did have a cortisone shot earlier in the winter. He may need a couple more shots in it as the season goes on, but said he does not feel it when he pitches.

Perez has lost weight, and it’s noticeable upon seeing him.

“I had a little ankle issue this season, and they said losing a couple pounds might help it,” he said. “So it’s just a combination of things.

“[I’ve done] A lot of bike [work]. My ankle, I have a bone spur in there and it kind of makes it tough for me to run on it a lot. But I got a cortisone shot like two months ago and it feels a lot better. So I’ve just been doing a bunch of biking — intervals and hill training and stuff like that.”

10:55 am – Josh Kinney says he’s had a normal offseason, nothing out of the ordinary with his arm. “So far, so good. It’s been nice. No rehab. Different.” Kinney also reported the two highlights of his winter were a successful bear hunt and getting engaged.

10:45 am – Chris Duncan says he’s feeling great, working out extensively, having no problems since his surgery. “I’ve been doing everything,” he said. “I pretty much feel like nothing ever happened.”

Lucky Seven is ALIIIIIVE!

1. Which free agent starter appeals to you most? Why?

2. Who will close for the 2009 Cardinals? Who should?

3. Who will get the most at-bats at second base for the 2009 Cardinals? Who should?

4. Who will be the 5 or 6 outfielders on the Opening Day roster? Which 5 or 6 should be there?

5. What was the album of the year for 2008? Song of the year?

6. Movie of the year?

7. Who wins the Super Bowl?

-M, falling in love with Exile On Main Street again.

We have the facts and we're voting… um, no.

So, my email indicates that there’s something of a groundswell among the fan base that the Cardinals should acquire Michael Young. Perhaps even if it means giving up a player of real value, somebody like Brett Wallace.

So, I ask you: why? I ask not rhetorically, but sincerely. Because I don’t see it at all. If you’re on board with trading for Young, please tell me why you see it differently from me.

Here’s what I see:

I see a player who’s 32 years old, and signed for five more years — until he’s 37 years old. That’s known as the decline phase. I see a contract that not only runs for five years, but guarantees $16 million a year.

And what do you get for that? A player whose performance is already declining significantly. Young was legitimately outstanding in 2005, when he hit 331/385/513. That’s a championship-caliber player. He was excellent in 2006, but already heading in the wrong direction: 314/356/459. In 2007, more decline: 315/366/418. A little bump in OBP, but still plummeting power. And in 08?  Yikes. 284/339/402, while hitting in one of baseball’s best ballparks for hitters.

So that’s what I see. A player in clear offensive decline, with an onerous contract, signed for five more years. Honestly, my belief is that if the Rangers put Young on waivers, the Cardinals would be unwise to claim him and pick up the whole contract. Never mind giving up talent for the privilege. If the Rangers picked up a large portion of the deal, the equation changes. But that’s very difficult to envision.

What do you see?

-M, narrowing down his best-of-08 music list.

Who is the man?

So…

I continue to be intrigued by this notion of converting a starter. But I’m at a loss as to who it would be. Pedro Martinez? Mark Prior?

I’m obviously going to, you know, DO MY JOB and try to find out who they have in mind. But considering all the factors, who out there makes sense to you guys?

The list of FA starters can be found here.

-M.

Two posts in one day, or, more on TLR's chat

See, I told you I intended to blog more.

There’s a story going up on the site regarding the main topic from our talk with TLR today, which was the ninth inning. But here’s a summary of that and some of the other various topics.

On closers…

* Fuentes just wanted to pitch in California. “I just think we weren’t going to get him unless we paid ridiculously.”

* They’re looking at potential starters from other teams to make into a closer, and talked to one guy’s agent about that very topic at the Winter Meetings.

* No intention of doing that with one of their OWN starters. Would only do it with Carpenter if it was best for his health. If health allows, Carpenter is starting.

* Juan Cruz and Brandon Lyon are in their picture, but Cruz’s Type A status and perhaps his price are negatives.

* Someone like Saito or Cordero, with health questions, he’d be OK with IF that guy passed a physical. I still think this is unlikely.

On the outfield…

* Acknowledged that they have a lot of OFs, and could still do a deal.

* Re: Rasmus: “He’s got the kind of ability that, when he’s ready to play, somebody gets pushed aside.”

* Also re: Rasmus: “If there was a deal that was helpful to our club involving one of our outfielders, then it seems like that would be a good move to make, and push Colby. I think he’s ready to be pushed. I have no problem pushing him because he’s got exciting ability. But right now, with what we’ve got, who do you push aside? But if there’s a trade there for something you need…”

Other stuff…

* Didn’t really answer a question about Schumaker getting a look in the infield, but did say they’ll give Mather some reps there in spring.

* Sounded like he considers 2B something of a question mark, with Kennedy the favorite but not a lock. Mentioned Ryan and Barden, among others.

-M.

Resisting a bad Aaron Miles pun

Hola, all… I’m back and planning to be more blogtastic in the coming weeks. If nothing else, the Mrs. and I have our year-in-music coming soon.

But for now, let’s talk some ball. And more specifically, Aaron Miles. I saw the rest of the StL ballwriters corps today, and one of my friends teased me, “What, no texts or calls from you when Miles left?” Honestly, it’s no secret that I hold a minority opinion as to the value of Aaron Miles the ballplayer.

(Not Aaron Miles the person, I want to re-emphasize for the 1000th time. Very good guy, excellent teammate, good quote, etc etc. I liked covering him a lot.)

And honestly, I’m just tired of the argument. My feelings about Miles the balllplayer — limited defensive 2B, shouldn’t play SS, again a good teammate, valuable on offense if and only if he hits over .300 — are exhaustively documented in emails, mailbags, radio interviews, this blog and I’m sure elsewhere. So let’s not have that argument again. If you think he’s a more valuable ballplayer than I do, let’s just agree to disagree. That’s fine.

But there’s another aspect to this I want to discuss, and that’s the actual contractual situation.

Even if one grants that he had a pretty nice year in 2008, it’s only one year. It was a career year at age 31. There’s a basic truth here, and I hope you all remember it.

When a utility player or marginal player has a career year, then parlays it into a big contract, it’s the team that SIGNS that player that nearly always regrets it. Not the team that let him go. Anybody remember Abraham Nunez? You would have thought the world was ending when the Phillies “outbid” the Cardinals for him. But Nunez had a career year, the Cardinals recognized it, and they let him be someone else’s mistake.

Teeth were gnashed when John Mabry left. Eduardo Perez parlayed a big 2003 into a two-year deal with the Rays.

And the Cardinals didn’t regret a single one of those departures. Sometimes the right thing is to let a guy go get the big deal.

Just something to think about.

-M.

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