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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

 

Keystone Kwestions

Keeping track of all the speculation batting about on the internet might well impossible. Rumors keep floating out from the GM meeting going on in California right now, and time will tell what transactions of consequence occur as a result of the meetings. As for the Cardinals, Ken Rosenthal confirms that the Cards are one of the big money (you'd never know we were "big money" listening to DeWitt constantly poor mouth about their fortunes though) teams that intend to pursue A.J. Burnett. Birdos examines what the team might look like with the oft-injured, coddled young fireballer. Other names, besides the usuals (i.e. Brian Giles), popping up lately include Alfonso Soriano, the not so great fielding second baseman with a big bat that the Rangers got in return for that A-Rod guy. Soriano seems like an odd player for the Cards to pursue for their infield given his glove (2005 Rate2 of 83), until you consider the rumors attached to his name of converting him into an outfielder. I don't know what his arm is like, so I can't speak to that. However, if he could be turned into a left fielder, his bat would certainly contribute. His 2005 EqA was .285 and his Isolated Power was .243, hence his real value with 81 XBH. Before you assign too much credit to the Texas ballpark, recall that he posted even better numbers as a Yankee. Supposedly he wants to remain at 2B. Now, I am in no way advocating for Soriano, and I imagine Texas would want a whole heckuva lot in return, Anthony Reyes no doubt. Thus, the deal's probably not worth it, especially if they let him man the keystone bag while depending on the ground ball out; it just doesn't make sense. Hence, it's rumor status. The second base position is making for something of a wild card in the Cards' off season plans. Signing Grud may represent the easiest option for 2006, but if they don't get a deal worked out soon, his price may jump. Nunez, another possible easy fix for the spot, will seek the opportunity to play everyday somewhere and a multi-year contract. Without those two that leaves us with Hector Luna or spending some of our outfielder/pitching bankroll on a player to handle second, or we have to use our precious few trade chips to fill that spot. I still like the idea of hanging onto Grud, his fielding was great and his bat is better than Nunez who regressed toward the mean as the season dragged on last year. If nail down Grud sooner rather than later, they can get started pursuing OF and pitching. However, Grud might not figure to work for $2.5 million in 2006. Depending on what happens on the free agent market, he could go as high as $4 million with the length of the contract being a question mark. You definitely don't want Grud for three years, just to hold the fort for a run at it all in '06, leaving the 2B issue to be dealt with down the road. He can also decide to let the team offer arbitration; that locks him up for a year, but at what salary? Signing Nunez most likely means offering him a starting job and a three year contract. Then, should the Cards have the opportunity to get a younger, more offensively talented 2B during those three years, Nunez becomes a trading chip, a mold he certainly seems to fit. How about you? Which one do you keep? Or let them go and make a move for a Soriano or use your trading chips for a younger, talented, higher profile second baseman that can serve the team over the next three to five years? I remain fairly certain that one of those two will be starting at 2B next year, and that's probably for the best. Now, when Jock can settle with one of those two represents the next question mark. While coming to terms later by no means prevents the pursuit of FAs or trades to fill the OF or round out the pitching staff, but it would help provide a bit more certainty. We'll see what happens.
Comments:
Yeah, the 2B position is frustrating. Resigning Grudz is probably the smartest of the options. If the price is right, and it most likely wont be, it might be worth the risk to sign Nomar or Furcal to play SS, moving the Eckinator to 2B.

Anything but Luna
Anything but Luna.
 
Yeah, it's a pickle. The team really should have had Luna playing AAA last season. I think he'd be a different player if they had.

You have to wonder if Nomar's injury history has him going cheap...I doubt it.
 
Yeah. I think the only way to get Nomar at a reasonable price would be to swoop in and sign him to a deal while people are still bidding up Furcal. I doubt he has an agent stupid enough to let a team do that, though...
 
If Jock has one fatal flaw, he seems to hang back and wait too long on a lot of the FA every year. I don't know if it's a payroll thing or what, but it gets frustrating at times.
 
It depends on what is out there. A lot of these positions are like musical chairs and the Shortstop Derby last year was a good example. Nomar, Edgar, and Cabrera were vying to see who would go where: Cubs, Red Sox, Angels or Cardinals. Everyone thought the Cardinals would be left in the cold after Nomar stayed put, Edgar went to Boston and Cabrera went to the Angels. No one though about what would happen with Eckstein. Except Walt.

There are still only 30 teams and half of them don't have the money to play in the big markets. Knowing what is there and the budget of the competitors makes things interesting.
 
It depends on what is out there. A lot of these positions are like musical chairs and the Shortstop Derby last year was a good example. Nomar, Edgar, and Cabrera were vying to see who would go where: Cubs, Red Sox, Angels or Cardinals. Everyone thought the Cardinals would be left in the cold after Nomar stayed put, Edgar went to Boston and Cabrera went to the Angels. No one though about what would happen with Eckstein. Except Walt.

There are still only 30 teams and half of them don't have the money to play in the big markets. Knowing what is there and the budget of the competitors makes things interesting.
 
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