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Friday, October 21, 2005

 

Cardinal Pathology

A mere 48 hours ago all discussion around the Cardinals centered on the anxiety and hope awaiting the sixth game of the NLCS. Let the post-mortem begin. Really, what better way is there to dissect the 2005 Cardinals than for us mouse pad general managers to start configuring the 2006 team. Never without an opinion, the Diaspora weighs in. Pitching While the pundits hype the pitching match-up that is the 2005 World Series, let’s not rush to drastic conclusions here. Our starting rotation does not shoulder much blame for loosing the NLCS. In games 2-4, it was competitive enough to give our bats the chance to score the handfull of runs needed to win the game. The top of the rotation is secure. Carpenter may not win a Cy Young, but he should be in shape and ready to handle 220 innings of work as a 30 year old next season. Mulder, well, we’re stuck with him now, so we have to make the best of his presence. If he’ll lay off the bong and get his head into games, he’ll be fine. I’m not convinced he’s a good number two, but he’s our number two (pun kind of intended). Two of the last three rotation spots are filled. Kid Reyes should fit in well, and offers another starting pitcher with some true power, which we need. He’s young, so I don’t expect 20 wins from him. At $4 million, I really think Suppan is a bargain. He’s hardly an ace, but he has been reliable and consistent for the Cards. Where’s Morris, you ask? Pitching with some team that has more than graciously offered him a ridiculous three year, $30 million contract, I answer. Read Brian Gunn’s post-mortem over at the Hardball Times. Mr. Gunn is spot on when he notes that given the pitching strengths of the two World Series teams GMs around the league are going to go crazy and pay the handful of mediocre free agent starters (A.J. Burnett, Morris, Washburn, etc.) mad ace dolla beelz y’all (my words, not his). Our money is better spent elsewhere than Matty Mo. There’s also still the matter of Marquis. Right now, I lean toward going to arbitration with him, and then using him as trade bait down the road. If the scouts can find an unheralded, diamond-in-the-rough youngster or an experienced pitcher in need of an overhaul, that could work too. Wainwright could be up in the show too, but I would not be surprised if he starts the season in Memphis. Al Reyes had Tommy John surgery, so he’s not an option for a RHP in the pen until ’07. He is also a FA after this year. I hear people talking about Tavarez. He’s pricey and a FA. The question with him is whether or not this was just a bad year or if he is spent. I don’t know. If he commands $3 million, probably best to cut and run. Brad Thompson will be back for a second year, and will build off his performance as a trusty innings eater from the right side. Eldred’s a FA, but if he comes cheap, grab him. Tyler Johnson should be good to go on the left side. Ray King wants out, and could make a good add in player to leverage in a trade. We also have Flores on the left. The biggest need in the pen is for a hard throwing set-up man to give us a worry-free eight before Izzy takes the mound. That used to be Tavarez. I don’t know who’s available to fill that role. Of course, Tony could use an amalgamation of pitchers to get through the three or four outs before Izzy. More to come For now, the infield looks pretty settled. They may as well keep Grud at second base, and not screw with Eck by moving him there and making a big money signing of Furcal. The outfield’s a tougher question. And I’ll throw my two and a half cents in on Tuesday, after a little vacation this weekend.
Comments:
I'm pretty much in agreement with you here. I'd rather have Morris than Marquis for two reasons though. One, Morris will be in his second season after the shoulder surgery, and it seems like it usually takes that long for a pitcher to get back (witness Morris taking '99 off, pitching relief in 2000, then triumphantly returning to the rotation in '01 after elbow surgery(?)). Two, Jason irritated me with his whining about being in the bullpen. Should he have been in the rotation ahead of Matty? Sure based on the last couple months. Since Tony wouldn't do that to MattMo, should he have been ahead of Soup? hell no. Soup had been solid all year, Marquis tried to mask two months of not so good pitching with one month of complete games. Sorry kid.

All that said, Matt will cost too much, so bye-bye Matty. Hello Anthony Reyes.

Bullpen: I see Thompson, Izzy, Flores, Tyler Johnson, Eldred . . . Do we really need a 7th pitcher? Right, Tony LaRussa's the manager. Fine, Wainwright.
 
Keep Grud at second base? Unless it's in a bit role, or it can't be helped because of a contract situation, maybe we shouldn't have half our lineup older than the age of 35.

It might be fine keeping him around for the regular season when we are pounding the likes of the Pirates in June, but Grud is a reckless swinger like Sanders who gets eaten alive by ace pitchers in the playoffs.
 
Where does Nunez fit in? Does he fit in if we keep Grud? Considering the season he had, will Nunez expect to start next year? What do you think Nunez will cost to keep?
 
Nunez is a FA, and I'd bet some team in need of a reasonably priced option at 3B will grab him. After all, Rolen's coming back, right?

I think 2nd anonymous os right about the age thing, but Grud comes in cheap and reliable at 2B, particularly for his defensive ability. The LF and RF holes are where we need to get younger. It wasn't just Grud whose bat went MIA in the playoffs.
 
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