Results tagged ‘ Players ’

When the best moves are the ones you don't make

I have some longer thoughts on the Cards’ inactivity thus far, and the fan base’s agitation over them, but I wanted to get this out now:

Five years for Aaron Rowand, when he’ll turn 31 in the first year of the deal, is just nuts. He’s had two seasons in the Major Leagues when he was really an offensive asset — ’04 and ’07, both times playing in hitter-friendly ballparks. In ’02, ’05 and ’06 he was a liability with the bat, and in ’03 he was a league-average hitter.

His glove is somewhere between very good and excellent, depending on the year and who you believe, but we’re not talking about Andruw Jones in his prime here. And by the end of the deal, odds are he won’t be an asset in CF anymore, if he’s even a CF at all at that point. So he’ll HAVE to be a significant plus bat for the contract to make sense at that time — and in his prime, his late 20s, he’s been less than a 50-50 proposition to be a significant plus bat.

This is all doubly true to the extent that the Cardinals were considering him, because they have a cost-controlled player ready very soon in CF. So to add Rowand, they would have had to do one of two things: move Rasmus, which takes away much of his value, or move Rowand and bank on those odds that he’s a plus bat for a corner spot in even MORE years of the deal.

I’m sure I’ve already received 10 teeth-gnashing emails from fans about why the Cardinals are sitting on their hands while everyone else gets better. Well, I don’t think the Giants got better today. Their ’08 team may be a smidge better, but their franchise health is assuredly worse.

Deals like this are why I just don’t share the outrage of many fans that the Cards aren’t dipping into the FA market this winter. Big dollars in the short term rarely hurt you — the Andruw Jones deal is at least intriguing, if not the best of the winter (as Joe Sheehan argued, but I don’t really agree). But big dollars in the long term, for players who have already turned 30? Guh.

-M.

Who's this gentleman, Dude?

That’s really the question facing the Cardinals — what pitcher did they sign today? How much of Joel Pineiro’s improvement over his two months in St. Louis is legitimate, and how much is small-sample-size noise?

If it’s mostly legitimate, then they didn’t make a bad move today. And there are some reasons to think it might be. His strikeout rate was solid, and his walk rate was exceptional.

If it’s just noise, then they didn’t make a good move today. And there are reasons to think that, too. Pineiro’s HR rate in St. Louis was downright ugly. Plus, there’s this simple truth: for the MOST part, if you have 389 innings that say one thing, and 63 innings that say something else, usually the 389 innings are a truer representation than the 63 innings.

In the end, I don’t think I mind the move. It’s only a two-year commitment, and it’s tough to get really killed on a two-year deal. I don’t expect that Pineiro is going to struggle like he did in 2005 and 2006, even if I also don’t expect him to have a sub-4.00 ERA. And I have to think they’re going to deal Reyes, just to give him and them a fresh start.

What are y’all’s thoughts?

-M, with some Jimmy Buffett playing on the speakers.

Center field

OK, lotta topics in my email this week. Definitely no shortage of things to talk about in next week’s mailbag. But one that keeps coming up, that perplexes me, is the apparent desire of a lot of Cardinals fans for the team to sign one of the available FA center fielders — Andruw Jones and Torii Hunter come up the most, but I’ve also heard Mike Cameron and occasionally Aaron Rowand.

I don’t see it.

The thing is, you’re not going to get any of those guys, except MAYBE Cameron, for only a year. And come 2009, center field should belong to Colby Rasmus, who will be very good and very cheap. Ankiel could be a fine choice in center for the coming years, too, and that’s all assuming that Edmonds gets moved to right or left this spring — which is not yet a certainty.

To get Jones or Hunter, you’re going to be committing multiple years and a lot of dollars. And in both cases, a great deal of the player’s value is locked up in his playing center field. Neither Jones nor Hunter, nor Cameron for that matter, has nearly as much value at a corner spot. So you’re committing resources to solve a problem that doesn’t really need to be solved. The problem that does need to be solved, aside from pitching, is bolstering the offense wherever possible.

Rowand is a little bit of a different case, but only if you believe his 2004 and 2007 offensive numbers are his real level. If the real Rowand is the guy from 2005 and 2006, then he’s another guy whose value comes primarily from being a decent hitter who plays good defense at a premium position.

I could see bringing in an impact guy at a corner spot. One guy who comes to mind is Bobby Abreu, who would be a fantastic No. 2 hitter. That’s especially true if they have to deal an outfielder for starting pitching. Adam Dunn would look really good in this lineup too, as a guy who gets on base and hits the ball out of the park. Another solution would be to look at the oft-rumored trade for Edgar Renteria, who would provide a significant bump in offense at the shortstop position.

But paying big dollars and especially multiple years for a CF, when you’ve got at least two CF options in-house, just doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s not the money — it’s the years.

-M, listening to the new Radiohead (I paid 5 GBP — anybody else get it today? What’d you decide to pay?)

I mean, hasn't that ever occurred to you?

OK, so you’re the Milwaukee Brewers. You have a very nice ballclub, lotta power on offense, some good starting pitching, but bullpen problems all year. Sixteen times blowing a lead of at least three runs. Some might say your bullpen has poured gas on the fire all year long. Right? Right.

OK.

So reliever Seth McClung enters the game in the 8th inning tonight. And what’s his entrance music? The Prodigy, "Firestarter."

Yes. "I’m a firestarter! Twisted firestarter!"

Then the next pitcher, Derrick Turnbow enters the game. And what’s his entrance music? Metallica, "Fuel."

"Give me fuel! Give me fire!"

Look. Good songs. But in the words of Alanis Morrissette, "Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? A little toooo ironic?"

-M.

Yadi out for the year; Pujols in

Yadier Molina underwent surgery today to repair a medial meniscus tear in his right knee. He’s out for the remainder of the year, but apparently it’s not expected to have any effect on his 2008 Spring Training or season.

Update, 6:45 pm — Pujols has been inserted in the lineup after originally being a scratch.

-M.

Guess who's back? Back again — UPDATES

Two updates: 1, the corresponding move on the 40-man roster is that Troy Cate has been designated for assignment. 2, Spiezio is now in the starting lineup, batting sixth and playing third base. David Eckstein has been scratched with back trouble.

Scott Spiezio is back with the team and eligible to play. He’s listed as an available sub on the lineup card. He talked pretty extensively to reporters this afternoon, so we’ll have more on all of that as the day goes on.

Putting everything else baseball-wise aside, it was good to see Scott, and he seemed to be in good spirits.

-M, with a lot of blogging ahead of me in the coming days, to go along with regular coverage of the team.

Rotation adjustments

Multiple adjustments/announcements to the rotation:

* Still Reyes for today.

* Wainwright will no longer pitch tomorrow (Thursday). In his place will be Wells.

* That’s because Wainwright is being pushed back to Friday, the opener of the Cubs series.

* That leaves Looper for the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader, and Pineiro in the second game.

* Mulder on Sunday against the Cubs.

* Monday and Tuesday vs Philadelphia to be determined, depending at least partly on how Reyes and Wells pitch this series, then back on rotation with Wainwright Wednesday 9/19 vs PHI, then Looper, Pineiro and Mulder the first three games at home against Houston.

* Down the road: Wainwright and Looper will go every five days from here on out. So Wainwright will pitch 9/19 at home vs PHI, 9/24 in the opener in Milwaukee and 9/29 in Pittsburgh. Looper will go 9/20 at home vs HOU, 9/25 in Milwaukee and 9/30, the final day of the season, in Pittsburgh.

-M, back in the saddle.

Rolen done for the year

The specific details remain to be worked out, but it’s been decided that Scott Rolen will, in fact, have surgery before the year is out. He’s done for the season.

-M.

Rotation tweaked

Just announced:

Wells Monday, Pineiro Tuesday, Mulder Wednesday, Maroth Thursday. Reyes out of rotation for time being, headed to bullpen. Those four, plus WW and Looper, comprise the current rotation.

-M.

I know that I don't know what I know

Here’s a roundup of what we actually know at this point:

* Russell Branyan has been acquired. He is expected to be added to the roster, but he hasn’t arrived yet. He’s driving from Nashville, expected to arrive around game time. It seems obvious that the corresponding move is to DL Rolen — and, in fact, according to the lineup sheet in the press box, they’ve done that. But TLR told us they haven’t heard about Rolen’s exam in Cincy today, and so it’s not a guarantee that Rolen will be the move. But Rolen, I’m very confident, will in fact be the move.

* Miguel Cairo is present. But not on the roster. He was brought up today to be protection at 3B, but then they pulled the trigger on the Branyan thing, and they didn’t need to add Cairo. Miguel is already in the organization, so he doesn’t actually have to be added to the 25 today. Branyan, however, has to be added today in order to be postseason-eligible.

* No pitching moves today.

-M.

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