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November 2008

Thanksgiving, Cardinal Style

Posted on November 26, 2008 at 9:44 AM
(First off, I want to acknowledge that Mike on the Cards got their CBA ballot up.  While it didn't change many things, it did break the Best Individual Blog tie in Fungoes favor.  I don't plan to edit the post save to change the chart because that one was starting to get wonky, but I wanted it noted for the record.)

Last year, I outlined what Cardinal fans should be thankful for as well as what some of those inside the game were appreciative of at this time of year.  Let's combine those two things this year.

A number of those topics from the first post of last year are gone this year.  Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen and Walt Jocketty are all in different organizations.  It'd be pushing it quite a bit (especially after his resounding win as Disappointing Player of the Year in the Cardinal Blogger Awards) to put Jason Isringhausen on the list this year.  I still believe that ownership, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, John Mozeliak and the internet still stay on the thankful list.  But what can we add this year?

Kyle Lohse: I was one of those that really wasn't excited about the Lohse signing.  It became necessary as pitchers dropped in spring training, but I figured he'd be servicable at best.  Instead, he helped carry this team into contention.  Without Lohse, there's a good chance the Cards are battling the Pirates most of the year instead of working their way to the top of the division.  Whether he'll be good enough going forward to earn his contract is debatable, but from a fan point of view, it's nice to see a guy come in cheap, do well, and then stick around instead of going out for the highest bidder.

Troy Glaus: This time last year, Glaus was a guy that wanted out of Toronto.  This year, he's one of the heroes of St. Louis.  Amazing what some natural grass can do, huh?  I really hated the fact that Scott Rolen was shipped out and to some degree I still do.  But Glaus eased that pain quite a bit this year, even turning in a defensive year that Rolen could be proud of.  I'm still always going to be a Rolen fan, but I'm thankful that Mozeliak was able to get such a return for him.

The rookie relief corps: How much fun was it to watch guys like Kyle McClellan, Chris Perez and Jason Motte this past season?  Anytime young, fresh faces come into a team and contribute right away, it gives the fans a lot of joy.  McClellan started out from the get-go, getting out of a tough situation in his first outing.  I still have that image of Molina waiting for him to give him a hug after that initial appearance.  Then later in the year we got to see the flamethrowers Perez and Motte make their impact.  They all had their struggles, sure, but that's part of watching baseball, seeing when these guys improve and become key parts of the team.

The blogosphere: You can easily say I'm biased, since I'm part of it, but I think Redbird fans should be grateful for the increase in Cardinal blogs floating around the internet now.  You can get so many different views, different ideas, different stories now, plus it gives you plenty of Cardinal and baseball fodder for reading, especially during the winter when there's less and less baseball to be found.  I hope that the ranks continue to swell in the coming years!

Now, what are other people thankful for?

Troy Glaus: That St. Louis doesn't have artificial turf.

Kyle Lohse
: That the deal with the Mets fell through.

Albert Pujols: That enough voters ignored his 2006 comments.

Yadier Molina: That Gold Glove voters believe in make-up awards.

Adam Wainwright: That the finger is better and hopefully he's gotten his weird injury quota for his career filled.

Kyle McClellan: That the season is over so he can rest his arm!

John Mozeliak
: That the agents appear to be returning his calls this year.  Even if it takes forever to get a deal done.

Aaron Miles: That LaRussa is still in St. Louis, so he can keep his job.

Anthony Reyes: That LaRussa is still in St. Louis and he's not.

Cesar Izturis
: That Baltimore still is a little iffy in the management department.

I know that, again this year, I'm thankful for the readers of this blog and those Cardinal bloggers who have worked with me on UCB projects this year.  It gets boring talking to yourself, so it's nice to know people are listening.  Have a great Thanksgiving and I'll return Monday!

The 2008 Cardinal Blogger Awards

Posted on November 25, 2008 at 5:11 PM
First, I have to say thanks to the wide variety of bloggers that participated in this year's voting.  We had 18 different ballots submitted, though not all ballots voted on all categories.

We'll go through the ballot in order, even though there are blowout races on both ends.  Along the way, I'll toss in some quotes from our bloggers about the selections.

And now, to the awards.............

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The Waiting Continues

Posted on November 25, 2008 at 11:07 AM
Anyone else with me and the "language" issues holding up Trever Miller's contract is that he's one of these quirky lefties that wants the contract written in the language of Borovia?  (Sorry, I've watched Imagination Movers with my kids too often.)

While they work on their Pig Latin with Miller (and just how long does that drag out before we start thinking it's not going to happen?), management apparently isn't resting, making an offer to Arthur Rhodes as wellRhodes is another lefty specialist, a definitely LOOGY.

Which really raises the question in my mind--is it a good thing to have two LOOGYs running around in the bullpen?  I can see some advantages, but besides the fact that it encourages LaRussa's Parade of a Thousand Relievers, it seems to limit the guys that you can have to go long in a game.

On a 12-man staff, you have the five starters.  Out of your seven relievers, you have your closer who isn't going to come in earlier than the ninth.  Now you have these two guys who can't face a righty because they'll get torched.  So you only have four relievers that can get multiple outs before the ninth.  If one of them becomes unusable, you could really wear down some arms quickly.

It's to be expected, though, since LaRussa's the inventor of the modern bullpen.  I just wish there were more guys out there that could get lefties and righties out.

The Rundown's ballot is up now and Obviously, You're Not a Golfer is supposed to have their ballot up today in the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  Hopefully soon after they've posted, I'll put up the results.

Miller Time?

Posted on November 24, 2008 at 8:46 AM
As of right now, Trever Miller is still a free agent.  Apparently, there are "language" issues between him and the Cardinals.  (Whether that means contract issues or that Miller and Dave Duncan are talking remains to be seen.)  It does seem like a technical issue, something that will eventually be resolved and he'll be added to the roster.

That said, the quote from Jocketty about not wanting to spend what it would cost for a LOOGY is a little disturbing.  I mean, just how rich is this contract?  I'm not necessarily thrilled about two years, either, though that's a fairly minor point.  If he's effective, we'll be glad to have him for that long.  If he's not, well, things can be arranged.  Hopefully the Cardinals aren't overpaying for a guy that probably won't pitch a total of an inning every third day.

If nothing else, though, it sure looks like he can get the big lefties out.  That's definitely worth something!

Mike Parisi was outrighted to Memphis, freeing up a 40-man roster slot.  Not a big surprise or risk with him probably being out almost all of 2009.  The Cards have 4 slots on the 40-man.  Figure Miller will take one of them, but it'll be interesting to see what they have planned for the other three.

Thanks to everyone that participated in the Cardinal Blogger Awards.  There's still time to get a last minute ballot in!  I hope to have the results up tomorrow.

My 2008 Cardinal Blogger Award Selections

Posted on November 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM
Last week, the second annual Cardinal Blogger Award nominees were posted in this space.  Today is the day of decision.  Voting takes place today across the Cardinal blogosphere as the great bloggers of this nation cast their ballots to recognize those that play the game and those that write about it.

Blogs will be linked below as their ballots are posted and the awards will be handed out Monday (assuming everyone votes in time).

Blogs (and others) participating:

Busch Birds
Bugs and Cranks
The Cardinal Virtue
Mike Cerrone (former blogger)
la Beisbolista
Pitchers Hit Eighth
The Redbird Blog
Redbird Ramblings
Rockin' the Red
Redbird Review
Redbirds Fun

The first eight awards deal with the St. Louis players (and, in one case, games) that we were privileged to watch in 2008.  This wasn’t the most successful Redbird team that many of have seen, but it was a team that battled, that did more than it was expected to, but in the end was done in by the fatal flaw of the bullpen.  A tragic hero of a team, to be sure.

That said, there are plenty of awards to hand out to the team that made our summers worthwhile and gave us bloggers so much to talk about during 2008.  After the jump, read my selections for this year’s Cardinal Blogger Awards.

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Dipping Into The Free Agent Pool

Posted on November 20, 2008 at 8:24 AM
The Cardinals are expected to announce their first free agent signing of the season and it is a name that hasn't been on the radar screens, though the position definitely has.

It appears that next season's lefty specialist will be Trevor Miller, late of the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays.  You'd expect that Miller would take on the job that Ron Villone had last year, probably the LOOGY.  He'll be in his Age 36 season next year, which is younger than Villone.  He's got strikeout stuff, averaging around one an inning.  Higher ERAs than you like to see, but it's hard to judge a reliever by his ERA and they have been league average or better.  He's spent a little time in the NL, but he's been mostly in the AL.

Kinda interesting to see his comparables.  At this age, he's most like Mike Myers, who had a strong Age 36 and Age 37 season before ending his career a year later.  The top overall comparison is Jason Christensen, who some people may remember came over to the Cardinals from Pittsburgh in 2000 for Jack Wilson, then spent some time in St. Louis in '01 before being traded to the Giants.  Christensen spent just about a year in Cardinal red, but it wasn't anything exciting.

Without knowing how much this is going to cost the Cardinals, it seems like a pretty good move.  It still allows the Cards to look for another lefty (though they have a few that will compete for the slot anyway) without having to go over the top to get one.  Miller should be better than Villone, which isn't terribly hard to do as long as he doesn't walk people.  Not a big splash, but a solid move.

Also in Derrick Goold's article there was a mention of the Cardinals signing Ian Ostlund to a minor league deal.  His AAA numbers looked pretty interesting on the face of it, but Future Redbirds goes beyond and isn't that enthused about the signing.  But it's a minor league deal, so at worst, no harm no foul.

At least we are starting to see some movement!

General Stuff

Posted on November 19, 2008 at 8:41 AM
Before I forget, I was remiss in not noting in yesterday's entry that CardinalsGM was having a radio show last night.  If you missed it (as I unfortunately had to), you can listen to it whenever you want on this link.  This was a show under the CGM label, as it were.  The next of the UCB shows will be 12/3 at 10:00 CST, with Chet from 4thebirds hosting.

Interesting to see Pujols getting involved in bringing soccer to St. Louis.  I think getting a franchise here would only help in the Cards locking him for years beyond this current contract.  Because Pujols needs to be like Musial in another one--only one team in his career.

Wonder just how much the Padres want to move Peavy?  Because with the Cubs resigning Dempster and the Braves backing off, suddenly the Padres don't have many partners to deal with.  If they lower their price, shouldn't Mo get back involved?  If the Cards could get even part of the contract paid and give up players besides Rasmus, wouldn't they have to do it?

Looks like Jose Oquendo will be back at third for the Cardinals next year.  Which means that he still may be in line for the Cardinal job in 2010 if LaRussa actually steps down at the end of this contract.

The front office appears to be targeting Will Ohman and Arthur Rhodes.  Rhodes worries me, because just glancing at the stats seems to enforce what I was thinking, that he's a pretty streaky player.  Add that to the fact that he's getting into his late 30s and I'd not be all that excited.  That said, he'd probably be a better lefty specialist than Ron Villone.  Ohman is at least on the younger side and looks to have a good hits/IP ratio.

Remember that Friday is UCB voting day!  Be sure to check back for that (in case I don't post tomorrow). 


Posted on November 18, 2008 at 9:02 AM
So the baseball writers actually made the right choice this year, selecting Albert Pujols as the MVP.  Of course, Cardinal fans are biased in this regard, but when you look at all the numbers and see just how dominating AP was, it is the right choice.  Some people may disagree, but not too many.

Of course, there's always one fly in the ointment.  Some people noticed that a Milwaukee writer voted Pujols 7th, which didn't sit well.  My opinion is that the man won so it's not worth getting worked up about.  I'm just glad it wasn't where that slightly questionable vote made the difference.

Anyway, all the righteous anger posts over Pujols being denied that would have spilled into the Cardinal blogosphere are not to be.  Instead, enjoy the celebration!

The Cardinal Virtue
Pitchers Hit Eighth
The Redbird Blog
Redbird Ramblings
Redbirds Fun
The Rundown
Bugs and Cranks
Busch Birds
Cardinal Diaspora
La Beisbolista

Possibly my favorite note out of all of this is that Pujols now is only the second Cardinal to win multiple MVP awards.  He's one behind Stan Musial.  The Man and El Hombre, together again!

Today's the Day

Posted on November 17, 2008 at 8:22 AM
It's NL MVP day!  Which means Cardinal nation is keeping a close eye out for the results.  You can see comments at VEB and 4thebirds....., to name a couple of places.

My personal feeling is that Pujols winds up winning the award tonight.  Besides the fact that it's fairly obvious from everything but the "team made the playoffs" angle that he deserves it, there seem to have been numerous columnists--not just St. Louis ones, but national ones, that have written that he should get the award over Ryan Howard.  Granted, there have been some for Howard as well, but you can see how well those have gone over.

Besides, it would be very symetrical.  Pujols was denied an MVP in 2006 by Howard, even though his team went to the playoffs (and won the World Series, though obviously that was after the voting) while Howard and the Phillies stayed home.  Same situation this year in reverse.  Even Phillies fans understand that.

Heck, Pujols was even the people's choice!  (I guess Rasmussen threw that question in while canvassing for political opinion!)  And he was the computer's choice!  Talk about bringing opposite sides together.

You look at the list of awards that the man has won this offseason and you just have to figure that the MVP is due to be added in.  I'm confident that he'll take home the award today.

If he doesn't, VEB's right--we can just stop paying the little attention we do to awards because they aren't worth much.

The Second Annual Cardinal Blogger Awards Ballot

Posted on November 14, 2008 at 7:00 AM
You only thought the voting was over.

Whether you were on the left or the right in the presidential election, hopefully you got out to your local polling place and cast your ballot.  As important as that was, there is something that makes your vote count even more—the second annual Cardinal Blogger Awards.

Last year’s CBA was actually the first project for the United Cardinal Bloggers and was a reasonable success for an initial outing.  This year, however, I hope to at least double the number of ballots submitted so as to get even more representation from the people that write about the Cardinals for a hobby.

Scheduled to participate by posting their picks on their blogs next Friday, November 21 is an All-Star cast including Busch Birds, Bugs and Cranks, CardinalNationGlobe, The Cardinal Virtue, CardinalsGM, Fungoes, La Beisbolista, Mike on the Cards, Obviously You’re Not a Golfer, Pitchers Hit Eighth, The Redbird Blog, Redbird Ramblings, Redbird Review, Redbirds Fun, Rockin' the Red and The Rundown.  (And if you are a Cardinal blogger that's not on this list but want to participate, just blog next Friday with your picks and e-mail me a link.)

Below is the ballot.  Most award titles are self-explanatory and last year’s winners (if the award was voted on last year) are in parentheses.  But here are a few notes on the voting process.

First, it would be best if you limited your vote to just one nominee.  If you absolutely can’t narrow it down, you can split your vote in half.

Second, all awards have the option for a “write-in” candidate.  (Some of the blog voting is completely write-in, with no official nominees.)

Third, a note about the blog awards.  Last year there was just one, which Viva El Birdos took home.  This year, to recognize the various types of Cardinal blogs, I’ve separated it into three categories. 

Individual blogs should be ones that have mainly (and by mainly, I’d say 80% or more, probably) be written by one person.  Examples include this blog, CardinalsGM and Cardinals Fun to name a just a few.

Team blogs, in contrast, would be those that have two or more people regularly writing.  Those would be ones like Viva El Birdos, The Cardinal Virtue and BertFlex, for example.

Professional blogs, as you can probably see by the nominees, are for those that make their living writing about the Cardinals in a more traditional way, but have a little blog on the side. 

Finally, rookie blogs (of which I have listed just a few) are those that just began posting this calendar year.

To cast your ballot, post your selections on your blog on November 21.  I’ll tabulate them and come up with the winners sometime in the week following.  Obviously, being a blog, the more explanation you give, the better, though if you want to post just your picks that is fine as well.  After posting your picks, please drop me an e-mail so I can link to your post.

And without any more ramblings from me, after the jump are your Cardinal Blogger Awards nominees:

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Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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