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The Worst Team in the NL?

Posted on February 16, 2008 at 12:16 PM
Filed Under: Baseball | St. Louis Cardinals
Saw that ESPN had up their fantasy baseball breakdown of the Cardinals.  It wasn't very flattering:

Only six National League teams finished 2007 with a worse record than the Cardinals' 78-84 mark, and this season there could be even fewer.
This could easily be the worst team in the National League.
Yikes.  Talk about not being optimistic!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one that says there is some big bias inherent at ESPN.  I've seen some similar comments a couple of other places.  The Cardinals are expected to fall and fall hard this year.  BP has their PECOTA standings out, and they show the Cardinals at 72-90 for 2008

I see where the media types are coming from.  When you take a look at the roster, you can easily see where a combination of negative events could send this team into a tailspin.  If Pujols goes out or Clement doesn't rebound or Pineiro gets figured out, it could be a pretty long season for Cardinal fans.

However, when you compare what is even reasonably possible vs. what happened last year, with the terrible pitching and the numerous injuries and, through all of that, a .500 season was possible, you have to think that "worst team in the NL" would seem to be a stretch.  Even if Glaus doesn't go for his normal 30, he's still going to give more than Rolen was able to last year.

(I do take a little bit of exception to the author of that ESPN bit continually talking about "suppressing right handed power."  The park is two years old and the only constant right handed power source on the home team has been Pujols.  Can you really make the blanket statement that right handed power doesn't work in Busch?  I mean, it's not like there's a huge sample size.)

Then, as a nice throw-away line, there's this bit:

Expect La Russa and Pujols to land with another franchise soon so that the rebuilding can commence in earnest.
This, to me, is just shoddy work.  (Honestly, I was less than enamored with the whole bit, but at least some of it had backup.)  Did you not see LaRussa sign the two-year extension this offseason?  I wouldn't expect a national writer to know the relationship TLR has with ownership, in which he basically has a job here until he's 90 if he wants it.  But the general fact that he just re-signed should give you a clue that he's not going anywhere.

That is reasonable, though, compared to the Pujols bit.  Why in the world would you trade a player you have for a couple more years under fairly reasonable terms that's only 28 and, by the way, the best hitter on the planet when healthy?  The Cardinals are not some small-payroll team that is forced to move him.  It would make the most sense to use him as the pillar to rebuild around, wouldn't it?  If he was 35 or so, I might understand where the writer was coming from, but when he's just reaching his prime, that's having no clue.

Speaking of fantasy, I'd like to set up an ESPN fantasy league (probably H2H) with CATB readers.  If you are interested, post here in the comments.

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6 Comments | Leave a comment

Worst team in the NL!, no, no. There are at least two teams in the division that are worse: the Astros and the Pirates... don't forget about the Nationals and Marlins in the NL East they're defintely worse off than the Cards.

You're right, very shoddy work.

Actually if the ante was enough, moving Pujols might be the thing to do. I know I am in a minority but he would command a boatload of top prospects.

Wait 2 years... if not adequate improvement, look to deal him.

You think so? I mean, look at the Twins. Do you really think they got equal value for Santana? I don't know much about the Met prospects, but it doesn't really appear that they did. And that was for a pitcher.

I'm very much in favor of keeping him around. By a couple of years, the team should have been strengthened by the minors and he can be a major cog in that machine.

After that, he's the next Musial. You don't let him go anywhere if you can help it.

I am not really referring to the Twins. If the prospects are NOT there then NO deal. No player should be untouchable. If a deal is in your favor, then it MUST be done.

Probably, but you have to factor in all things, both on and off the field, before you determine whose favor the deal is in.

Off the field does not win a pennant. This is baseball... it is run as a business. I watch it for pleasure.

I am speaking from the business standpoint.

When you start keeping players because they are community minded, then you have lost the focus of baseball

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