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Monday, December 19, 2005


Reyes' Xmas Sweater

I meant to post over the weekend, but, since we ship most of our gifts, all Xmas shopping had to be finished by Sunday afternoon. Then the wrapping, the boxing, the labeling, etc. It's way more exhausting than it sounds. Yesterday, while waiting in line in a pet store watching people buy fleece and cashmere sweaters for their dogs I started thinking about the Cardinals' starting rotation, and Anthony Reyes in particular. No, I don't think of Kid Reyes as a dog or in need of a cashmere sweater (but who doesn't look good in cashmere?), rather I was thinking of protecting the talented young hurler with a penchant for injury. Talk, speculation, rumors repeatedly bubble up about the team looking to sign another starting pitcher, be it Kirk Reuter, Jason Johnson, Jamey Wright or someone else suited to the end of the rotation. While the main reason for this is to give us a trade chip, there's another benefit to getting a low cost, league average starter. They could share starts over the course of the season with Kid Reyes, keeping him from throwing upwards of 200 innings in his first season. It's a luxury no doubt, and probably not all that realistic of a scenario. Let's look at the case for it anyway. Reyes, without a doubt, is ready to pitch in the majors. However, he's got a history of injury and has never pitched more than 140 innings in a season. His elbow buggered him his senior year in college and he missed three weeks in 2005 with a strained shoulder joint. Of course, the organization should be working with him on conditioning to make sure he's in top notch shape, but the risk of putting him on the mound for 200 or even 190 innings next year is too great given the value of young, talented starters we've seen in the current market. Another inexpensive starter could take the hill for us in 12 or 13 games, and Reyes could start around 21 games, a gradual increase in the number of innings pitched. This way he doesn't get the Dusty Baker treatment, and burn out three or four years from now. Of course, there's no reason to think Reyes can't go out there and start 30 games in fine fashion, and I hope he does. Another veteran starter probably wouldn't be willing to sign and have themselves relegated to that duty anyhow, and it probably wouldn't be wise to eat up the roster spot with a cashmere sweater for our top rookie. Now watch LaRussa really put a kink in our 2006 roster fantasies by signing another starter, not trading Marquis, and keeping Reyes in Memphis.
My plan with Reyes was for Tony to do what he ended up doing with Ankiel during the regular season in 2000. Keep him on roughly a 100-pitch count all season, and if he's laboring, don't be afraid to pull him earlier. That might even provide a spot for wainwright, as he could act as the long relief bridge between the Kid and the rest of the bullpen.
that's a good point. take care of this kid so he maintains his value down the road
This is such a tough one because Reyes right now has the "stuff" to pitch very well at the Major League level. I like what calvinpitt says about nevertheless protecting him if he IS going to pitch for St. Louis.

This strikes me as a sort of classic conundrum when an organization has a young and talented pitcher. Fortunately for him, Reyes isn't in the Royals organization (see Greinke, Z.).
"Yesterday, while waiting in line in a pet store watching people buy fleece and cashmere sweaters for their dogs I started thinking about the Cardinals' starting rotation, and Anthony Reyes in particular"

A little late, but whoa! I thought I was obsessed.
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