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Gotta Write Something

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 7:08 AM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
This is really getting ridiculous.

Here we are halfway through the first month of 2013 and I have yet to write an original post this new year.  (I'm talking non-press release post, not any general aspersions on my writing, which is a different story.)  The main reason for that, of course, is the fact that there's not been anything to write about.  You know how the Grinch left crumbs too small for mice when he robbed Whoville?  Yeah, that's what this offseason has felt like.

We do have the crumb that the Cardinals are interested in watching Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz as part of an outgoing outreach to international players.  It's intriguing to note that the newest member of the front office staff, Dan Kantrovitz, held down the foreign desk (as it were) for the Oakland A's before coming over to St. Louis.  In fact, he was in on the scouting of Yoenis Cespedes, who obviously paid dividends for the A's this season.

So if someone of that background is interested in Diaz, it tends to make the ears perk up.  He's not going to be Cespedes--this yeoman's work at Viva El Birdos gives you an indication of what kind of player he might be--but in an organization that is so bereft of good shortstop prospects, he could jump to the top of the list if the Cards were to sign him.  We'll have to wait and see how far they want to go into those waters, but it is good to know they are looking in every direction to improve the team.

There's also the continuing Adam Wainwright situation.  As you know, the ace of the staff is a free agent at the end of this season and most fans are hoping that the club is working on an extension of his contract.  John Mozeliak said recently they'd like to get something done by the end of January, but other than that there's not been a lot of noise in that area.

There are some strong reasons not to break the bank for Wainwright.  As a person who spent a lot of time arguing the pro-signing case for Albert Pujols, I can't deny that I'm a little squeamish about doing the same for Wainwright.  After all, the last year has shown that Mozeliak knew what he was doing when he let Pujols walk to the Angels and odds are that if he hadn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation now.

That said, I think the pros for signing Waino are much stronger than letting him walk.  For one, there's a bigger pie now for the Cards to take a piece of in regards to national television contracts.  The new deals with Fox, Turner and ESPN tally $12.4 billion, which is about double what they used to be.  That money gets divided up among the clubs and will mean that, in general, the price of players is going to continue to go up.  Getting Wainwright now, even to a deal that looks pricey, could be a bargain in just an offseason or two.

Then there's the continuity.  Chris Carpenter isn't going to be around forever and if you lose both Carp and Waino, you lose a lot of the mindset that Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa established in St. Louis.  Mike Matheny is continuing in that tradition, of course, and Derek Lilliquist is still teaching Dunc's methods, but it's not quite the same coming from the coaches.  Having one of those bulldog competitors at the top of your rotation is likely to do wonders in bringing up the next generation right.  That's the way baseball has worked for a long time.  Plus, without Carp and Waino, you either go out and get a free agent (which doesn't always work well, of course) or you have Jaime Garcia as your most established pitcher.  Not sure that inspires confidence in a lot of the fan base.

There are some statistical arguments to be made here as well, I believe, but I'll leave them to those more qualified to make them.  Suffice it to say that, in my opinion, you go for it with Wainwright, especially since you'll have a young and cheap pitching staff backing him up for most of his contract.

We saw Lance Berkman go to the Rangers recently, which was a sad day.  There wasn't much of a chance to get Berkman back in Cardinal red, but it'd have been nice to see him go out as a Redbird.  He'd have joined quite the list if so!

The other Cardinal free agent is Kyle Lohse, who is finding it quite tough to translate his success into a place to work, mainly because of that pesky draft pick that's attached to him like he stepped in it.  There's some talk that the Rangers might go for him, which would mean that their visit to Busch could feature both of the Cards' free agents.  Still, we are seeing that the changes to the draft pick and pool that many railed about when the CBA was signed is starting to squeeze players like Lohse and Michael Bourn.  I know it's still a long way off, but I'm thinking the player's union is going to push to get that changed next time around.

Finally, Baseball America ranks the top 10 Cardinal prospects, thanks to Derrick Goold.  Not surprisingly, Oscar Taveras leads the list, but it is interesting to see three guys drafted last year already in the top 10.  The hits just keep on coming, it appears!

Anyway, that's at least a general blog post.  As I mentioned yesterday, there should be plenty of information coming this weekend as Kevin Reynolds of Cards 'N Stuff becomes C70 Correspondent to Winter Warmup.  Should be a lot of great stuff there so keep an eye out for it.  Tara Wellman and I returned to Gateway To Baseball Heaven Sunday, so if you missed that, it's here, and Tara will team with Matt Whitener tomorrow night on UCB Radio Hour.  We keep getting closer and closer to another baseball season!

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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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