Just a rumor
...but completely in line with my previous post regarding Mark Mulder. From WSCR "The Score" in Chicago...
St. Louis Cardinals get:
and a starting pitcher (Eric Bedard, Eric Dubois, or Rodrigo Lopez)
Baltimore Orioles get:
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?