Saturday, November 14, 2009


Unfortunately, the free agent market looks bleak, and after the trades for Matt Holliday and Mark Derosa, the Cardinals farm system has little to offer and even less that we should consider trading. David Freese should be our starting every day third baseman out of Spring Training and Jaime Garcia should fill the 4 or 5 spot, maybe alongside another left-handed free agent starter, though I'd be just fine with Mitchell Boggs. Blake Hawksworth will get a look for a rotation spot, but will at least assuredly be retained as a reliever for the 7th or 8th, presuming Jason Motte has not improved his control.

So, when there are few free agents to spend on, and we have few trade chips that can be moved, and fewer that should be moved, how can we improve the team and best serve the interests of the franchise? Clearly, we should not spend money that is available just to spend. Jermaine Dye is not a sound investment. Billy Wagner could be a solid investment, but only if he is not a Type A free agent that would require us to hand over a first round draft pick. We should make a more than reasonable run at Matt Holliday, but not pay Mark Teixeira money, please. After that, do this: save the money for Pujols.

Some things will have to happen for the Cardinals to retain Pujols when he is a free agent after the next two years. One will require the Cardinals to increase their payroll well above the current approximately $100 million that is spent each year. If Pujols is going to justly require $30 million per year, $60 million more is not enough to fill out the other 24 spots. In hindsight for some, but consistent with my previous posts, trading Brett Wallace may not have been the best idea, not to mention a couple other players that are less noteworthy. We should clearly try to win now while we have Pujols, but at what cost? Wallace could have spent some important time in the minors and been ready to step in when Pujols leaves. I say when because I think I'm being reasonable.

Save the money, find some way to increase revenue and the payroll, extend Pujols' contract, and invest in young players. Aside from Holliday and Billy Wagner, the free agent bin is barren. Doug Davis could be an attractive acquisition. Otherwise, let David Freese and Allen Craig get some at-bats.

Closer: Most importantly, do not re-sign Piniero! Although we took him from Boston and gave him the opportunity to start, he was not even decent until he was spectacular last year. We handed him a 2-year, 14 million dollar contract in an interesting economic environment and it turned out ok after all. But we cannot pay Piniero a 3-4 year bloated contract for what he did last year, because he will assuredly not have a repeat until, possibly, his next contract year.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Luddy, my buddy! #2

Last year, my grandfather, Bum, and I having our picture taken with Ludwick and Izzy... again. As you can see, we switched sides. Neither of us wanted our picture with Izzy.

Yesterday: Ryan Ludwick, 5 for 8, 2R, 2 2B, 2HR, 4RBI. There is no reason why Ludwick should not be an every day starter from this point forward, and no reason why he should bat in any position in the lineup other than cleanup.

There has been some speculation that a trade proposal from the Cardinals to the Blue Jays for Roy Halladay would include Ryan Ludwick.

The rotation falls off considerably after Carpenter, Wainwright, and Lohse. Piniero has been lights out so far this year, getting ground ball after ground ball and maybe even a strikeout or two per game. Wellemeyer has been atrocious when starting and even when relieving, as he did yesterday (a good omen?). If that means Wellemeyer is leaving the rotation, good. But, the only situation I want to see him in relief in is long relief. Wellemeyer could be replaced by Boggs, Doug Davis, or Roy Halladay (reverse preference).

However, trading away the cost and team controlled cleanup hitter in Ludwick is not an option. That would mean Rasmus or Molina would have to hit cleanup. I would advocate trading Ankiel and Duncan for a bag of balls so that Ludwick can get in some more batting practice before the second half of the season rolls around. Then call up Jon Jay, put DeRosa at 2nd, Skip back in the outfield, and Glaus at 3rd. Leave Joe Thurston on the bench, please. If we needed another outfielder, we could call up Barton (oh wait! we already traded him away for a bag of balls!).

There has also been speculation that we could trade for Matt Holliday, and that Ludwick would inevitably be included in that trade package as well. This was the same rumour circulating over the summer, and thankfully, it never took place (rumoured to include Skip also). Holliday is clearly missing Coors Field. At this point, I would not trade Ludwick for Holiday, one-for-one. I don't think this issue deserves to be addressed any less summarily.

Finally, it has been said that it is a foregone conclusion that Brett Wallace would have to be included in any blockbuster trade proposal the Cardinals would put together for either Halliday or Holliday, or any other big name player that might be available. Wallace is ranked #25 overall for minor league prospects. He is the only prospect the Cardinals have in the top 50. His defense has been severely criticized at third base. He could play DH. But his natural position is first base, and as we know, we already have a first baseman. With that, it seems so obvious that Wallace would serve as our most valuable and important trade chip. However, I feel that we must consider why the Cardinals organization drafted Wallace in the first place.

The Cardinals could have drafted Wallace for five reasons: (1) to play a mediocre third base with a big bat (as with Jake Fox of the Cubs); (2) to hit DH when the NL adopts the rule ; (3) to sit on the bench and pinch hit, and get an occassional start at first base; (4) to be traded; or (5) to play first base.

I understand that all of these are possibilities (some more likely than others), but I have a sick feeling in my stomach that the Cardinals drafted the the pure hitter in Wallace for one reason: to play first base. But we already have a first baseman you say? Well we do, at least for 2 more years. . .

Closer: Did the Cardinals draft Brett Wallace looking to 2012? Is Wallace supposed to make fans feel better if the Cardinals fail to extend Pujols' contract? Is Wallace supposed to give the Cardinals some sort of leverage of Pujols? $30m/yr could buy a lot of talent if the Cardinals had a cost controlled Wallace for 6 or 7 years who could hit for better than league average for first basemen. If Wallace's offensive prowess translates into MLB offense, would the money be better spent elsewhere?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Luddy, my buddy!

This picture is of me and my grandfather, Bum, having our picture taken next to the Ludwick and Izzy cutouts last year, during the 2008 season.

Today: Ryan Ludwick, 3 for 3, BB, R, 4RBI (one was a sacrifice fly to put the first point on the board).

I think we have something with Rasmus, Pujols, and Ludwick batting 3, 4, and 5. It also helps that Brendan Ryan's offense has picked up along with his defense. If we only had the pitcher bat 9... then we would really have something !

I picked up Ryan Ludwick as a free agent a couple weeks ago for my Birds on a Bat team, and I just know it is going to pay big dividends. That got me thinking about some of the other players that might be available in your league as a free agent. I beat the group to the punch and picked up Tommy Hanson in both leagues; another guy picked up McCutchen fresh off the McClouth trade; someone else got Weiters, but I'm not so sure he is the greatest pickup with catchers like Suzuki and Napoli lying around as free agents also.

I picked up a player on the DL at least a few times already, and stashed him away a month or so before he was coming back. I have Delgado on one team now and Tim Hudson on another, both were free agents. I also had Smoltz in one league, though I have yet to start him. Another guy picked up Matt Lindstrom as a free agent on the DL.

I realized that many people in both of my leagues are not using their DL spot very efficiently. If all your players are healthy, and you are going to make a move anyway, it can't hurt to add the injured player, put him in your DL spot, and then add the player you were originally going to add. That way you have the player in the DL spot just in case you lose a player for the season, or in case he is a big time player that will come on strong for you in the second half.

Closer: Is it ironic that we might get Glaus back before DeRosa? Or is it deserving for all the harrasment Cardinals fans have given Mozeliak for not making an impact move that Cardinals nation is usually calling for?

My Fantasy Team

Despite its name, this blog is not an ode to Tony LaRussa. I understand that LaRussa has the third most wins all-time of any manager of Major League Baseball. I understand that LaRussa has taken the St. Louis Cardinals to seven post-season appearances in thirteen completed seasons (including our 2006 World Series Championship). And I understand that LaRussa speaks fluent Spanish and has a Juris Doctor Degree (endearing to me in particular). However, this blog is not an ode to Tony LaRussa.

Instead, as the title denotes, this blog is named after "My Fantasy Team." Having played fantasy football twice in college, and fantasy basketball last year, I am currently enjoying my time with my first two fantasy baseball teams. I thought that inventing two smart names for two fantasy baseball teams would be a daunting task, but I quickly decided: "Birds on a Bat" and "My Pitcher Bats 8th."

I thought that Birds on a Bat was a very neat name, and even received a couple compliments. Unfortunately, the Birds on a Bat have failed me thus far, leaving me in dead last, 12 of 12, most of the season. I merely thought that My Pitcher Bats 8th would let my league opponents know I am a Cardinals fan, but I did not think much of the name. Ironically, My Pitcher Bats 8th has been perched atop its league, 1 of 12, for most of the season, and by a healthy margin.

Hopefully this blog will go the way of My Pitcher Bats 8th and not the Birds on a Bat. In addition, I believe that anyone seeking out a St. Louis Cardinals blog will identify the name as such. I intent to post at least a few times a week, almost exclusively about the St. Louis Cardinals, but also about baseball in general and fantasy baseball. Feel free to check out the few links I have on the side in the mean time.

In closing my posts, I have decided that I will not provide a summary or a formal conclusion of any kind. Instead, I will try to shut down every post with my own closer, and this is my first.

Closer: If the Cardinals would have to give the Blue Jays a list of all of our minor league players and let the Blue Jays circle any five in a trade for Roy Halladay (signed though next year at approximately $15 million), what would another team have to offer the Cardinals for Albert Pujols in the last year of his contract in 2011 (assuming the Cardinals have not extended Pujols' contract and every Cardinals fan's worst nightmare comes true)?