Posted on December 15, 2008 at 4:28 PM
Filed Under: St. Louis Cardinals
If you've noticed the last few days, something's been going around the Blogs By Fans community. No, not a cold bug (that's probably next) but a roundtable. We're pretty familiar with roundtables
around these parts, but this type is a bit different. Instead of numerous blogs answering the same questions, this time the questions are posed by one blog and answered on another. Part 1 can be found at Loge 13
, Part 2 at El Lefty Malo
, Part 3 at In Mo We Trust
. After that, head around to The Halo Is Lit
, Arin It Out
and Tremendous Upside Potential
if you want to follow them in order.
Rickhouse from TUP has posed the following questions for me to answer. I'll be posing some for Brian (also at In Mo We Trust) in the near future.TUP: Do you think Khalil Greene will be able to regain the form he showed in 2007?
C70: Greene's 2007 line was .254/.291/.468 with 27 HR and 97 RBI. There are reasons to believe that he could approach that, foremost being that he is out of Petco Park and his road splits have been more favorable than his home numbers in the last few years. That said, I don't think anyone expects 20+ home runs out of him. His average could probably be in the .250 range, and if he adds 10-15 HR and plays stellar defense, the trade will easily be worth it. (Until we know who the other PTBNL is, of course.) There's a lot of debate
on what the Cardinals are going to get out of Greene, but I tend to be optimistic that he'll have a solid season.TUP: What's the deal with Colby Rasmus? He was spectacular at AA in 2007, but seemed to regress at bit last year. When will he be able to contribute at the major league level?
C70: Colby had a remarkable spring training last year, but really became a victim of the numbers. Chris Duncan, Ryan Ludwick, and Rick Ankiel were fairly established, enough that they weren't going anywhere. (Granted, Ludwick was though of more of as a platoon guy instead of an MVP candidate, but he was going to take a spot.) The Cardinals had selected Brian Barton in the Rule V draft, which meant he had to stay in the majors all year. So it came down to Rasmus vs. Skip Schumaker, and since Rasmus had less time in the minors, he was sent to Memphis.
From all accounts, he didn't take the demotion very well. A notoriously slow starter anyway, his slump lasted well into May as, it appears, he thought he had nothing left to prove. He fired it up during the summer, only to be felled by a knee injury. He returned before the end of the season, though, so there is no real injury issue.
John Mozeliak, the Cardinals GM, has said that he easily could see Rasmus in the major leagues on Opening Day and, if Rick Ankiel is moved as rumored, that becomes almost a certainty.
TUP: What's it like to watch Albert Pujols in his prime every day? When it's all said and done, will he be the greatest Cardinal of all time?
C70: It's almost indescribable having a guy like Pujols on the team. He's amazingly clutch, he plays spectacular defense, he can go on amazing home run tears, he even puts on a show on the basepaths (occasionally it's much more of a tragedy, but it is still representative of his will to win). He doesn't talk about money or rip his teammates. He is well-regarded for his off the field work. You know every day that you are going to see his best. It may be an 0-4, but he's going to work at that.
Right now, he's probably the second-greatest Cardinal hitter ever and in the top five overall. This summer, St. Louis columnist Derrick Goold solicited suggestions for a Cardinal Mount Rushmore
. The four that made the final cut were Stan Musial, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, and Pujols. If he continues for another 10 years, all in Cardinal red, I do believe he'll surpass Musial as the greatest ever.
My father's generation had Musial wearing #4. My generation has Pujols wearing #5. I can't wait to see who wears #6 for my son's generation!TUP: Are you worried about the rotation for next year? Can Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse be as good as they were last year?
C70: I'm not sure that there's a team out there that doesn't have some concern about their rotation. (Which will probably be a question I need to ask to Yankees fan Brian.....) There is a lot of concern about the staff, but it's not as much about those two. Wellemeyer has been stellar ever since he came to St. Louis and they moved him to the rotation. In 2007, he had a 3.11 ERA in 63.2 innings in 20 games (11 starts). Last year, a 3.71 ERA with 13 wins. I'd think he'd probably be able to do about what he did last year. An ERA in the 3.75-4.00 range and double digits in wins.
I don't think there is any doubt that Lohse will come back to earth, at least somewhat. If last year is any indication, he's a streaky pitcher. He had two spots where he just was pounded for about three games, but then righted the ship. His numbers will probably be pretty similar to Wellemeyer's when it's all said and done. It seems like whatever Dave Duncan has worked with him on has worked so far and it probably will continue to do so.
The key to the rotation is obviously Chris Carpenter. The team is saying all the right things about his rehab and his recovery schedule, but until he gets into spring training and shows no problems, few are going to get their hopes up. The Cardinals aren't necessarily the best when it comes to figuring out injuries or at least making the extent of them known to the public. If Carpenter actually is healthy, though, a rotation of him, Adam Wainwright, Lohse and Wellemeyer (with Joel Pineiro probably in the fifth slot) wouldn't a bad thing to go with. The Cardinals have to sign another pitcher, if only to insure against a Carpenter injury. I'd like to see them get Ben Sheets as his price continues to drop, but he doesn't seem to be on the radar. It wouldn't be surprising to see them pick up Braden Looper and run with a similar rotation as last year's.
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