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Friday, December 23, 2005


Jocketty's eBay Shopping Spree

With the holidays here, I have to confess that I am an eBay addict. There's not a flea market in the world where you can by such great junk. I also by myself stuff on that site, but always with a little cautiousness. One time, I remember buying an "autographed" 1987 Cardinals team baseball. I was autographed alright, by someone in a Malaysian sweatshop who ran the stamp machine for the novelty baseballs. I got ripped off, such is the risk when you buy junk. Walt Jocketty went on his own eBay shopping spree this offseason, bringing in way more than the team's usual share of "reclamation project" players, i.e. "junk" when they don't work out well. Fans shouldn't mind one or two players looking for a second chance on the team; that's how a good GM rounds out the roster. So, a guy looking to turn things around can often fit in nicely as a 5th starter, filling a role out of the pen, or even to hold down a position on the field. But like a closet full of clothes from eBay, you, and those around you, can only tolerate so many. Project reclamation, Operation eBay, or whatever you want to call it includes, so far: Aaron Miles, Larry Bigbie, Sydney Ponson, Braden Looper (the best of the bunch), Juan Encarnacion (not so much reclamation as junk), John Riedling (got a minor league contract), and Junior Spivey (a guy injured more than Scott Rolen and to whom I think my blogging peers are being too generous in their assessments). There might be some others, but you kind of get point. All of this leaves the Cardinals more than capable of competing, but definitely not capable of winning a championship. Over at VEB, lboros sees a team that can muster 90-95 wins. I think that's pretty generous. 95 wins is probably a best case scenario that depends on a few external factors: none of the top three starting pitchers miss more than five cumulative starts; the core bats of Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, and Eckstein (didn't we used to have more core bats?) don't miss any significant time with injury; none of those core bats experience a slump; at least one of the new position players performs above career norms; Izzy being healthy; and finally, all of the reclamation projects working out. There's probably even a few more external factors the fates and Dusty Baker's pitcher management system will need to take care of for us as well. I'm going to put my guess at 87 wins, 90 tops. I think we can still compete for the division; although, if the Cubs pull of the trade for Tejada, I'll loose some sleep. I'm not giving up either. While I may piss and moan about the new additions, I have faith in Jocketty to make some magic happen before the end of the summer at least. In fact, a tight race for the division might be a Festivus Miracle in disguise, necessitating a bold mid-season acquisition, which hopefully could be done for something less than our small pool of young talent. But hey, that's a mad rambling for another time. It's the Holiday season! Go enjoy your gifts, even the stuff that someone got for you on eBay should be entertaining for a little while - it might even turn out to be of some value, if you're lucky.
I fear that Murphy's Law is gonna rear its head next year with the Cardinals. Like you wrote, there's too many things that could possibly "go wrong" healthwise, etc. with the 2006 team presently constituted.

This last season, the Cards had a great bench of players who could fill-in injured starters over an extended period of time (Nunez, J-Rod, So, even Mabry for a while). It looks as if we won't have the same quality off the bench this year. It's more likely than not that one or more of Edmonds, Rolen, Spivey, Encarnacion will be injured for an extended period of time next season, but this coming year theCards won't have as good fill-ins.

I'm not saying the sky is falling (yet), but the Birds are overall definitely less off a force to be reckoned with going into the new year.
maybe u should apply for the gm job ryan
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