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Posted on February 25, 2008 at 9:32 AM
Filed Under: Baseball | St. Louis Cardinals
Hey, CATB is back and perhaps better than ever, depending on your opinion of the actual quality here.  Sorry for the delay--most of last week was spent away from the computer coughing up a lung and just wanting to sleep.

Things are picking up now.  By the end of the week, it will be March and the Cardinals will have spring training games under their belt.  We will have some more data points to discuss and be a little more ready to tell whether the glowing, spring-like talk is going to be backed up or not.

The major issue in Cardinal camp right now, apparently, is pitching.  Bernie Mikhasz rails about the staff (and his requisite shots at ownership) in his most recent column.  Heck, even Roger Clemens's name has been floated about, which is completely crazy for more than one reason.  (Well, I thought it was, at least, until the next story.)

Last I checked, Matt Clement's arm didn't actually fly off, knocking down half the remaining starters and putting them all in the hospital.  You can never be terribly sure with the Cardinals and injuries, I am aware, but if Clement and Mark Mulder are ready to go mid-May, having another body in the rotation--and basically, that's all that are available, no one that has a lot of upside or could really turn things around--will cause a number crunch and more wasted money. 

I've mentioned before that I don't think the pitching situation is as dire as some would make it out to be.  The pitching was terrible last year, but a lot of the deadweight is gone and there is some optimism on who is left.  And if the laser surgery did what it seems to have done for Anthony Reyes, there's a nice front of the rotation with him, Wainwright and Pinerio until the rehab corps is ready.  If we have to plug in a Hawksworth for a few starts, it's not the end of the world.

Then, I see where LaRussa thought about buying Bonds.  Got to say, it's nice to see that he doesn't have the rubber stamp we thought he did.  Having the distraction of Bonds is really the last thing the team needs.  I understand the attraction of Bonds's offense, though that is declining as well, but when you put it together with everything else, it's too many cons, not enough pros.  If nothing else this season, let us have a team we can root for, not one that has such a polarizing figure on it.

The rotation for the week has been set up.  Wednesday's game against SLU will be prospects-only, probably not only on the mound but also in the field.  Thursday, the Cardinals open the Grapefruit League against the Mets.  Anthony Reyes gets a chance to show if it's all been talk so far this spring.  Friday, the Cards get the Mets again and thrown Adam Wainwright.  He's going against some guy the Mets got in the offseason, doubt you've heard of him.

We've got games on KTRS and the Cardinal Radio Network this weekend against the Marlins.  Heck, there's even a game on ESPN (non-Cardinals, but still baseball) on Friday.  It's time to get excited!

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

I guess it's time for me to renew my gameday audio, 'cuz that's the only way I'm going to hear any games. And I'm in 100% agreement with Bernie on the pitching.

I will say that if you could have gotten someone like Fogg for $1 mil/one year, that probably would have been worth a flyer. But if the organization is committed to growing from within, most of the other guys would just be expensive roadblocks.

I would agree, for the most part. A team can't have too much starting pitching. I would not go Clemens, though. Lohse is still out there, his contract demands draining dollars by the minute. He is no great shakes, but his addition immediately shores up the pitching staff and provides insurance from the inevitable starter injury. We could probably get him fairly cheaply at this point for one year and an option on a second.

If we do this then we enter the year with Wainwright/Pinero/Looper/Lohse/Reyes as the starting 5 - not too shabby. Then we can let our injured players (Carpenter/Mulder/Clement) get better for real, and allow young talent to season in the minors.

I shouldn't have to mention that Barry Bonds has no place on the Cardinals; outfield is a strength right now, and he is just not Cardinal material.

Anycow, that's my two cents.

Is Lohse really anything more than a replacement-level pitcher? If so, doesn't that mean that people like Hawksworth or Wellemeyer will do just as well at a cheaper cost?

I will admit that he would provide some insurance, but I guess I'm just thinking that Mulder and Clement will be back soon, so why not at least try internal options before signing a fairly unattractive alternative?

The major difference maker at this point could be Anthony Reyes. He seems to be getting a lot of attention these days from the media in a positive way. I hope he has a good spring and gets off to a good start. Then we may have an outside shot if the Cubs and Brewers forget to show up to a few games head to head...

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