Chan Ho Millwood

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How quickly we forget.

Weren't these the same morons that led the charge from "large contracts" to "stupid contracts"? Has memory so short-sighted them that they forgot about the lasting effects that their own free-spending idiocy brought upon baseball merely a handful of years ago?

Compare:

  • 5 years and $60M for a 31 year old who, after two miserable seasons in Philadelpia, leads the AL in ERA and still manages a sub-.500 record with a contending team!
  • 4 years and $880K for a 49 year old President who, after 4 miserable years at the helm, leads the American charge into unthreatening territory thus embarrassing a once proud Nation!

Thanks Texas. Glad you're a part of the Union.


Mulder Revisited

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Just a rumor...but completely in line with my previous post regarding Mark Mulder. From WSCR "The Score" in Chicago...

St. Louis Cardinals get:

Miguel Tejada
and a starting pitcher (Eric Bedard, Eric Dubois, or Rodrigo Lopez)

Baltimore Orioles get:

Mark Mulder
David Eckstein
and a prospect (no names mentioned)

A trade of this nature would require serious consideration. Mulder is in a contract year and will, therefore, very likely have an "up" year. The Cardinals have made it known since their playoff departure that the object this off-season was to improve their pitching staff, and dealing away a lefty of Mulder's caliber is certainly a step in the opposite direction. However, given the current market there may be no other choice. Mulder will most certainly command $12-15M next year...a figure the Cards are not likely to meet. Without the "hometown discount" in effect, Walt will be left standing with mud in his face if Mulder walks away a FA and we in Card Nation continue to watch the fruits of our farm system continue to prosper in Oakland.

On the other hand you have a disgruntled former MVP shortstop with a relatively small pricetag, given the current market, who wants out of Baltimore. Tejada is locked up through 2009 and his contract calls for salaries of $10M this year, $12M in '07 and $13M in '08 and '09.

Roto Authority recently had this to say about Mulder. To paraphrase, Mulder has peaked and his indicators are trending down. Signing Mulder to a long term deal might prove to be a mistake as these indications suggest.

Meanwhile, the ZIPS figures for Tejada in 2006 (courtesy of Baseball Think Factory) project another stellar year for the All-Star shortstop. His ZIPS predict a .303 BA, ..357 OBP, .511 SLG, with 28 HR and 113 RBI's. The inclusion of Bedard, although not particularly exciting, would at least provide us with a replacement lefty for Mulder and the scouting report on Bedard claims that the 26 year-old has a low 90's fastball, above average curve (or slurve), and a below-average changeup. He also has a 2.2/1 K/BB ratio. Not to mention that the 2006 season will be only his third full season as a starter making league minimum salary.

David Eckstein is a "must have" for the trade to happen since Baltimore will be looking to fill Tejada's spot at short. After enjoying a career year in St. Louis, it might be the perfect time to cash in on his success to bring us something bigger and better. Eckstein is scrappy and all-hustle. He does more at 5'7" than guys blessed with natural athlete builds. His loss would present a problem with the leadoff spot, and one that probably couldn't be answered with anyone else on the existing Cardinals roster. But the natural defensive skills of Tejada would certainly assuage Cards fans' potential irritation with this deal.

Perhaps Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan have decided that they have found a hidden gem in Sidney Ponson. Once upon a time, albiet however removed, he was considered a staff ace. The rotation already figures to have an interesting battle between what Walt Jocketty has dubbed "The Big 6". With Wade Miller still sitting on the open market, the loss of Mulder may be able to be compensated through a battle for rotation spots between Marquis, Suppan, Reyes, Ponson, Bedard and Miller (with Wainwright waiting in the wings).

In the trade scenerio proposed, the salaries are essentially a wash. Eck and Mulder are scheduled to make a combined $10.5M. Tejada is down for $10M and Bedard for $330,000. The payroll stays at the same figure it is at presently and (assuming Lboro's salary figures are correct) would still allow roughly $3M to spend on perhaps a Wade Miller project (who will no doubt sign somewhere for less than that).

Cardnilly provides some interesting information regarding the "positive impact Pujols has on other Latino players in the Cardinals’ clubhouse." If there is any truth to that line of thinking, then perhaps Tejada would be a great fit in the hometown clubhouse. Certainly the sight of him digging into the batter's box with AP waiting in the wings would provide opposing pitcher's with a fair share of ulcers.

But I digress. Again...it is only a rumor. But it is a rumor that I have been justifying in my mind since Miggy first declared that he wanted out of Baltimore. Take it with a grain of salt, but if the source of the interview is to be believes, then unless things change drastically then, "the Orioles would eventually go ahead and make the deal with the Cardinals."

On a side note: should we Cards fans think about getting a Christmas card for the collective front offices of the Oakland A's and Baltimore Orioles for providing us with a large portion of our roster?


Welcome E.L. "Junior"

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Looks like the Cards have rounded out their starters. As announced today, the Cards have signed Ernest Lee "Junior" Spivey to the club for one year.

After missing significant parts of the last two seasons with injuries to his shoulder and then his wrist, Spivey looks like the front-runner in the competition for the starting 2nd base position vacated by the departure of Mark Grudzielanek.

Spivey's deal will call for a base salary of $1.2M with incentives that could add on another $300K.

This is a deal that could be potentially very exciting. Spivey looks like he is trying to align with a winning organization for a year to get his stock up, not unlike Grudz who just cashed in on a solid year. Spivey's last full healthy season was in 2002 as the starter for the Arizona Diamondbacks (the same team the Cards swept in the NLCS). During that season, Spivey showed tremendous promise batting .301 with a .389 OBP and .476 SLG. Who knows if he'll be able to return to that form, but anything remotely close would be cause for celebration.

His career numbers are pretty much on par with or better than Grudz's. Spivey's batting average is a few points down but his career OPS is a full 70 points higher. He is also fast and agile with an above average defensive range factor. For a price tag of almost the same as the '05 Grudzielanek Experiment, signing Spivey appears to be one of the best off-season moves that GM Walt Jocketty has made this winter.



While the masses spent the week shopping for thoughtful gifts for family and friends, the good folks in the Cardinals front office were investing millions of dollars into thoughtless decision making for a loving fanbase.

Redbird Nation...whether you like it or not...welcome your new (very expensive) right fielder, Juan Encarnacion.

The decision not to pay AJ Burnett $11M/season is all starting to make sense. Why not take a pass on a young fireballer (with a spotty track record) and instead opt to spend the money on a failed-closer-turned-setup man (with a spotty track record), a two-time jailbird boozehound who thinks a Treadmill is a new type of Martini drink (and sports an unfathomable track record), and a right fielder who has yet to discover the meaning of the words "defense" or "take pitch" (with a useless track record).

Having surfed the Cardsbloggosphere there is really not much I can say on the subject that hasn't already been said. For the Kool-Aid fans out there, the Cards still look like a playoff team with the core players still on board...but the supporting staff that has been assembled around them looks like a pretty significant downgrade.

The worst part is...we gave this guy 3 years! Here is my favorite line from his scouting report, "He no longer is considered a middle-of-the-order hitter." Really?!?! Was he ever considered that to begin with?!?! A season-best 19 HR guy does not a heart of the order hitter make! Whomsoever in their right mind would look at his numbers and begin to suggest he ever belonged in the heart of any batting order?!?!

If Encarnacion digs in to the batter's box anywhere before 6th in the lineup for the '06 Cardinals it will be criminal! (sighs) Ah well...welcome on board guy!


Boooooooooooooooooooo!!!

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Consider this winter a glowing success for the Cardinals front office if the blueprint was to:

1) watch Larry Walker and Cal Edred retire

2) let Matt Morris, Mark Grudzielanek, Reggie Sanders, Julian Tavarez, John Mabry, Einer Diaz and Abe Nunez walk into free agency

3) trade Ray King for two players who couldn't make the cut for the 67-95 Colorado Rockies!

4) sign retreads Deivi Cruz, Gary Bennett, Ricardo Rincon, Braden Looper and the recently incarcerated boozehound Sidney "I've-never-met-a-drink-I-can-pass-up" Ponson

With several enticing players having been non-tendered and the Cardinals gaping holes in the outfield, I will not be convinced that Ponson, regardless of how little he may have cost, is a prudent signing. Perhaps he truns in a Kent Bottenfield circa 1999 season, in which case I will devour crow, but until then he looks like a $1M drinking buddy for Leonard Little. I sure hope St. Louis signs a designated driver...


Jacque Patterson

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$16M over three years for a guy whose numbers are strikingly similar to the guy the Cubs are bringing him in to replace.

Let's thank the fine folks at the Tribune Company for their complete ineptitude as the owners of the Cardinal's arch-nemisis.

Furthermore, the Cubs assured that the only locker room Jacque Jones would see at Busch III was the visiting team's...and gave the Twins draft picks to do so! Hendry stepped in the way of what I was afraid was the "silver bullet" of bad contracts.

If Patterson is non-tendered, let's hope the Cards are willing to begin the Corey Experiment. I love his glove, I like his speed and I am impressed with his power. His patience could use some work but I would love to see the Cardinals give him a shot.


Slow Day

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Slow day in sports...waiting for the non-tenders to hit the wire.

Let me just take this opportunity to wish the Ohio State Buckeyes "Good Luck" in their January 2nd Fiesta Bowl game versus the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Further, let me wish A.J. Hawk good luck in achieving Buckeye alumni greatness status in the NFL!


World Baseball Sleeper?

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Has anyone checked out the list of committments to play in the World Baseball Classic this spring? MLB better continue the recruiting efforts to even the competition or the Dominican Republic is going to cake-walk through the tournament.

If the games were played today (with the current MLBPA committments), here is how the Dominican team would look:

C - Alberto Castillo
1B - David Ortiz
2B - Alfonso Soriano
3B - Adrian Beltre
SS - Miguel Tejada
OF - Manny Ramirez
OF - Albert Pujols
OF - Vladimir Guerrero

And the top of the pitching rotation would include Pedro Martinez and Bartolo Colon.

Meanwhile, thus far the only player annouced for Team Netherlands is Andrew Jones. Team Panama's featured player looks to be Carlos Lee. And Team Australia is hoping to stay competive with the likes of Justin Huber.

With this kind of inequity amongst the teams, will the WBC enact a "Mercy Rule"? Will the Italian team really need to trot out Matt Mantei and Mike Gallo in the 5th and 6th innings already down 35-0?

Discluding Alberto Castillo, who was merely a part-time player, Team Domincan Replublic accounted for 246 HRs and 806 RBIs during the 2005 season! Between 7 position players. This same bunch averaged a .295 BA and has a collective 3 MVPs and 4 Cy Young's.

If MLB doesn't enhance its recruiting efforts for some of their competitors, the games against the Dominican Republic look to be less "competition" and more "outright embarrasment". But, man, won't it be fun to watch the fear in their opposing pitcher's eyes every time they take the mound?




Cue: Terrel Owens' mockery laugh track...

The New York Post has reported that Nomar Garciaparra has signed a one year, $6M offer to be the the Dodgers first baseman in '06.

How far from Grace we fall when we get greedy. Wasn't it just two years ago that Nomah turned down a 4 year, $60M offer from the Red Sawks to be their cornerstone shortstop?!?!

So let me get this straight: you leave the Sox forcing them to rent the Cards cornerstone shortstop for one miserable season, join the arch nemesis Cubs only to suffer further injury, and then relocate to the Dodgers to replace the man responsible for ruining Scott Rolen's '05 season?

Here, Nomar...here is some lemon to sprinkle on my already salt covered wounds you've inflicted. Perhaps you would like a sledgehammer for Christmas so you can destroy Stan the Man's statue. Or some Kryptonite to yield Sir Albert powerless...


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