Chris Carpenter–What Should the Cardinals Do?

28 02 2011

Posted by cubs223425

So, it is going to be a rough year for the Cardinals. Granted, as a Cubs fan, I cannot say that I am saddened by that fact, but I am saddened that arguably the best pitcher in baseball for the past two years is out for all of 2011. Added with a questionable decision to swap out Brandan Ryan for Ryan Theriot (seriously, why does Skip Schumaker get to stay?!) and the fan base’s concern over the state of Albert Pujols’ contract, there are sure to be some dreary days ahead.

Now, we all know that Dave Duncan is a dark wizard from another dimension and can make a pumpkin like Kyle Lohse into something good (for a short stretch; just long enough to rob the STL front office), so we cannot just call the season a lost cause because of one starter, great though Wainwright is. However, if the expected is reality, and the 2011 season is a roller coaster doomed from the start in St. Louis, there is another pitcher that might have to face a tough future–Wainwright’s mentor, Chris Carpenter.

After stellar outings in 2005 and 2006, Carpenter pretty much punted on 2007 and 2008 due to injuries. Then he had a career year in 2009, and one could argue that he had the Cy Young robbed from him. 2010 saw another solid year for the Cards’ co-ace, and the weight of the team’s pitching staff will be rested on his shoulders more so than ever.

Again, we are calling 2011 a negative season for the Cardinals, so his jersey might change at some point. Carpenter’s not a cheap commodity; few talented pitchers are, and such a case is a 99% impossibility at his age in this era of inflated contracts. A poor outing as a whole by the Cardinals could lead them to deal Carpenter, and there are absolutely going to be suitors for a high-end pitcher, especially when the receiving team could pick up his $15 million option, meaning he could be more than a CC-Milwaukee rental. However, there is one issue: even if the Cardinals struggle this season, is trading Carpenter the best option for the team?

That question is a tough one to answer. The biggest problem, of course, is the price tag. With the Pujols extension on the horizon (every Cardinals fan in the world hopes), keeping Carpenter on the payroll with a possible $9 million Wainwright option and the $17 million+ of Matt Holliday might not be feasible. Sure, the team is likely to increase payroll to levels that they have yet to see in St. Louis, but even that might not be able to withstand Holliday, Carpenter, Lohse, Wainwright, and Westbrook if Pujols gets his desired $28-30 million per season, a number that could eat upwards of 30% of the team’s payroll alone. Those financial restrictions will be lessened by young, cheap players like Rasmus and Garcia, and possibly Shelby Miller, when he arrives. Still, the mentioning of Shelby Miller is another points as to why the team could move him–the farm’s not too strong.

Some nice pieces have been raised in STL, but there aren’t a whole lot of top, young players in the system nowadays. Trading Carpenter could change that. Imagine if the Yankees are in a heated battle with the Red Sox and Rays near the deadline. They have often been known for being willing to sacrifice the farm to win now, and that could play into the Cardinals’ hands. Maybe they could grab a package with Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos? Or what if the Twins are short an arm and will add short-term payroll while offering a promising young player like Ben Revere? There are teams with deep minors that could come knocking, and it could be to the benefit of the Cards to move Carpenter and reload that minor league system as much as they can.

The move isn’t without negatives, though. Prospects are prospects, and they aren’t guarantees. And at what point do you decide to trade Carpenter, in terms of record and time left to make a playoff push? If the team is 5 games back with a division leader coming up at home right after the deadline and they have Banuelos on the table, what do they do? Well, we’re not the front office, so that'[s not for us to decide. They also risk a 2012 with the same problem as 2011–losing an ace and having little pitching depth to fill a back-end hole, let alone a front-line starter one.

If it came down to my call, I would say trading Carpenter is the best decision for the club going forward. The financial benefits could be too great to turn down. It would shed a good chunk of payroll, and the team needs that at the table to hand over to Pujols. Filling up a thin upper-tier minors would be nice as well, whether getting one top guy or 2-3 mid-level ones. Wainwright’s not likely to be at full strength again until the middle of 2012 regardless, so even holding Carpenter for 2012 might be a waste, then they might end up making the decision to trade him in 2012, when he’s more expensive, a year older, and unable to come with an option for the receiving team, clearly lowering his value. The Cardinals would be well-off to plan for this season with selling at the deadline in mind, as there is likely going to be a lot of trouble ahead, and they could have some decent trade chips in Carpenter, Franklin, Theriot, and more to use at their leisure to help down the road.

Lord knows that with the money Pujols is going to be getting, cheap, cost-controlled talent is something that they are going to need.


The Albert Pujols Ripple Effect

23 02 2011

Posted by Teix4MVP

Now, we all know about the fact that the best hitter in baseball was not extended by the Cardinals before his deadline, and we all know he’s a free agent after this season ends. But what we all overlook are some key stories to watch due to Albert not re-signing yet, because they could really change the MLB as we know it whether it be this season or the next few years. Here are a few I think that Albert can indirectly affect.

Prince Fielder’s New Contract

Another power hitting first baseman will be on the market after this season. Prince Fielder and the Milwaukee Brewers aren’t really a fit anymore because of Fielder’s contract demands and the Brewers’ flexibility not matching up. So Fielder will hit the open market as the best first baseman available.

Well, not exactly if Pujols hits the Free Agent market as well. Fielder’s body type will open him up for more injuries as he gets older, making it hard to compete with Pujols. Fielder’s hitting, while being very good and consistently with the top numbers, definitely cannot compete with Pujols’ elite hitting combined with ultimate consistency. Pujols’ glove is simply superior to Prince’s not-so-stellar one. So really, Pujols is superior to Fielder in pretty much every way. In improving your ball club, you want Pujols even if he is older. Why? WAR

Fielder's hope for a massive contract could explode if Albert hits the open market.

from the past five years tell you. Fielder’s WAR from the past 5 seasons: 1.3, 5.3, 2.7, 6.9, 4.1, showing a jump or fall every year. Pujols’? 8.3, 8.4, 9.3, 8.7, 7.3. Pujols for his career has never had a WAR lower than 5.7 by the way. Fielder should really be hoping that Albert and the Cardinals reach a deal by the time the offseason hits, or else Fielder will be even further than he already is from reaching his desired contract of 8 years, 180MM dollars, the same contract that  Mark Teixeira received. Pujols will definitely play a big part in Fielder’s next contract.

C.C. Sabathia

Pujols also affects C.C. Sabathia. Why? Well, Sabathia has an opt out clause Yankees GM Brian Cashman included when Sabathia first signed with the Yankees that allows him to hit the market again. This clause could possibly nab him more years/money like his teammate that also opted out of his contract, Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod managed to secure a 10-year commitment and enough cash to make him the highest paid player in the game, so Sabathia could do the same in hopes of making significantly more cash and years. If Albert hits the market, it doesn’t really affect Sabathia, as he is an ace pitcher and Albert is the best hitter in baseball, so there will be no competition at a position. However, if Albert doesn’t hit the free agent market, things could change very quickly for Sabathia. He would not only be the best free agent starter on the market, but also the best player on the market. Teams that aren’t even interested in signing those kind of guys still check in on them even if it is to just drive up the price for their rivals. And there’s never a surplus of good pitching. All the big market clubs would be interested, and losing clubs like the Nationals or Royals looking to complement their young talent could make attempts at him, and don’t count out the Yankees either. Sabathia’s opt out clause looms large on the Yankees’ and their fans’ minds, and the thought of a no-Sabathia rotation in 2012 could mean the end of the world….for the Yankees’ regular season and playoff hopes. Pujols will certainly either help or not change Sabathia’s decision whether or not to opt out.

The Cardinals’ Rotation and Young Stars

You may be wondering why this is relevant to Albert Pujols. Well, it’s not just dealing with him, it’s also dealing with Matt Holliday, Kyle Lohse, and Chris Carpenter. That’s right:financial commitments. Payroll for the Cardinals last season was just under 95MM dollars. That’s with Pujols having a 16MM salary. With 30MM per year included, or even 25MM, that pushes the Cards’ payroll over 100MM dollars, something Bill DeWitt Jr. has never done before. This is very bad indeed, but it affects the Cardinals’ stellar rotation. Chris Carpenter makes 15MM dollars this season, and the Cardinals will probably have to buyout his option for 2012 to clear up space for Pujols. It also

Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals' rotation could be influenced by Pujols' contract if he re-signs for 25MM+.

might not allow them to extend Adam Wainwright past his 2012 option. Kyle Lohse’s bad contract takes him through 2012, so they would either have to eat a lot of his salary to clear room or include a more desirable player in a deal, or both.

Jaime Garcia and Colby Rasmus are both arbitration-eligible after the 2012 season. While it probably isn’t a big deal now, Pujols will be getting into the middle of his contract right when Garcia and Rasmus hit free agency. Garcia was good for the Cardinals in 2010, posting a 2.70 ERA and a 13-8 W-L record, and compiling a 3.2 WAR. Rasmus also was good, hitting for a .270/.361/.498 slashline, hitting 24 home runs and compiling a 3.5 WAR. They are going to keep improving, maybe becoming 4-5 WAR players if everything goes right. They could be traded or leave for free agency due to Pujols’ massive contract if he gets it. So basically, the entire Cardinals team and its future are dependent on the result of Pujols’ contract.

Negotiations between the MLB and the MLBPA about a new CBA

Well, the current CBA expires after this year, and you can bet Albert can and will be used as a reference during those talks. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa already made an accusation about Albert being used as a weapon in this battle, saying that the Players’ Association was telling Albert to run up his price tag. While MLBPA head Michael Weiner shot that down, one has to wonder if that could be a sticking point. To me, it certainly is, because it could swing salaries into the owners’ favor or further help the players. I don’t think that Pujols was directly told to drag out his negotiations, but at the very least his name and situation will be mentioned during CBA talks before, during, and after the 2011 regular and post seasons.

The Cubs’ Fan Support

WARNING: If you are a Cardinals fan, please promptly scroll down to the end of the page where I conclude this piece.

Okay, the worst nightmare for any Cardinals fan is not only losing Albert, but losing him to the hated Chicago Cubs. Which could happen if Pujols hits the free agent market. The Cubs would apparently offer him the A-Rod Contract, which is 10 years along with a 275MM or more. That would be at least as bad as LeBron James leaving for Miami, and probably a lot worst. The name Albert would probably be expelled from all baby books. The St. Louis area would go crazy. The Cardinals might collapse, because even if they have Matt Holliday and Colby Rasmus to lead the offense, Albert hitting in the 3 spot against the Cubs would kill them.  But enough from the Cards perspective. If the Cubs DO sign Albert, it’d appear to be the team’s best hope to win a World Series in over 100 years for fans. It’d take up the first base spot which has been vacated, and it would give the best hitter since Ryne Sandberg to the Cubs. If they don’t sign him, however, it could be a PR nightmare. Longtime Cubbies fans could groan and complain about letting their best chance at the coveted Fall Classic trophy slip through their fingers or, more appropriately, their pockets. It would suck the morale out of fans and maybe they might stop buying some of the most expensive tickets in the MLB. So Albert and his chance at free agency has basically the entire Cubs’ fan base drooling and waiting, and could either turn them towards or away from trusting management.

Albert Pujols could affect much more than just himself with this big decision of his. As you can see, Albert is just a stone dropped into a pond, and the ripples stretch all across the league, both onfield and off it. What will matter is how big the ripples are, and how far they reach into the future.

Albert Pujols Traded to the New York Yankees

17 01 2011

Posted by Teix4MVP

This is all imaginary.

Albert Pujols is entering the final year of his contract.

The Yankees have signed Albert Pujols to a 10 year, 300MM contract extension after they acquired Pujols from the Cardinals for Jesus Montero, Brett Gardner, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Phil Hughes and David Robertson. Brian Cashman spoke after the deal was announced saying, “We had the extra 300 million lying around so we thought, why not?” Pujols decided to break off negotiations earlier than the Spring Training deadline and demanded a trade, said a source with the Cardinals. “We were extremely taken aback when Albert decided he did not want to negotiate anymore,” the source said. Pujols was interviewed by PTaPP, saying “New York is where I always dreamed of being. St. Louis was nice, but I feel like New York was where I was always supposed to be.”

The Yankees will probably be using Pujols in a DH role as 1B is occupied by Mark Teixeira. Teixeira had to say this about Pujols: “He’s a fantastic player and hopefully he can guide us to a 28th pennant.” CC Sabathia was quoted as saying “He’s a great guy, a fantastic personality…Whenever we need him, he’ll come up in the clutch.” Alex Rodriguez declined comment, muttering on the way out “Who cares if he has the biggest contract now…I’m still the prettiest. I’M STILL THE PRETTIEST!” Pujols’ number 6 jersey was flying off the racks, and 17 people were arrested fighting for the jerseys.

Meanwhile, in St. Louis, fans were crying at several bars over the loss of Pujols. Pujols jerseys were burning in the streets, and at least 92 bobble heads of the former beloved slugger were found, smashed in the street. Said one fan, “He’s a traitor.”  Bill DeWitt Jr., owner of the team, posted the following on the team’s website:

Dear St. Louis, All Of Missouri and St. Louis Cardinals Supporters Wherever You May Be Tonight;

As you now know, our former hero is no longer a St. Louis Cardinal.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV Press Conference unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cardinals have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to St. Louis, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels.

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there.

Sorry, but that’s simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our own “King” sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And “who” we would want them to grow-up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called “curse” on St. Louis, Missouri.

Brian Cashman has alot of payroll flexbility to play around with.

The self-declared former “King” will be taking the “curse” with him across the nation. And until he does “right” by St. Louis and Missouri, Pujols (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, St. Louis.

Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day….

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only:

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue….

Bill DeWitt Jr.
Majority Owner
St. Louis Cardinals

Pujols declined comment on the letter. Many had the opportunity to voice their opinion on this. One fan from the Bronx said, “Amazing pick up, the Yankees are sure to win the AL East now.”

A few days later, Earth is attacked by UFOs and is subsequently taken over. They make Derek Jeter king of humanity(as if he wasn’t already). Then several meteors strike Earth and it explodes.

Who Would You Rather Have? McCutchen Vs Rasmus

28 11 2010

Posted by cubs223425

With 33 SB's on the year, McCutchen can defiently fly around the basepaths.

Over on the forum, there has been a game called “Which Player Would You Rather Have?” It has really taken off, with over one hundred posted inquiries in just eight days. Basically, you pick two players that you find to have similar value, then ask which the replier would prefer to have. Whomever replies gives a name, often with a short reason, then presents the next pair to choose between. This thread has gotten me curious to one comparison in particular (which I’m not sure has been proposed, but I would be shocked if it wasn’t) is a pair of elite  prospects, Colby Rasmus and Andrew McCutchen.

The two have a lot in common. They were born just 60 days apart in 1986. They play the same position (center field). Both were taken in the first round of the 2005 draft–McCutchen 11th,    Rasmus 28th. Both have the ability to hit for average and power, while swiping some bases. They are both capable of becoming the top player at the position. As identical as they might sound, they do have some differences.

For starters, the defense has a gap. Rasmus came up and immediately posted a +9.1 UZR in center in 2009, though he regressed to a -6.5 UZR, possibly due to some nagging injuries. McCutchen, on the other hand, has been considerably worse. His -1.3 UZR in 2009 was tolerable, but 2010’a -14.4 is Adam Dunn-like ineptitude. Now McCutchen plays in a strange park with Pittsburgh, but you can only make excuses and provide hope for so long. He might improve, but he is probably just going to be Nate McLouth in center all over again (WARNING: If he gets a Gold Glove with an ugly season like McLouth, rioting will ensue). Long-term, I would expect Rasmus to stick in center no matter what, but if McCutchen continues this awful escapade, then I would expect Pittsburgh to give another player, perhaps Tabata, a chance in center.

Preventing runs is a big part of baseball, but those that produce them almost always get the spotlight in the common fan’s eyes, even in this saber movement. That is where the styles of Rasmus and McCutchen are most noticeable. Colby Rasmus is the power-speed player, while Andrew McCutchen is the speed-power guy. Rasmus will never be a high-upside base stealer, and McCutchen will never be a middle-of-the-order power threat. The question is, who would you rather have there?

McCutchen is likely to be the more consistent offensive commodity. He is likely to produce a solid .280-15-30 line every year, and he could reach up towards .300-20-40. He will mostly project in the first or second spot in the lineup, as he keeps a more steady OBP and can steal bases at a high rate. Rasmus is another story.

Colby Rasmus will save you almost as many runs as he creates.

There is more risk and reward with McCutchen’s St. Louis counterpart. While he produced a similar OBP and a higher OPS, Rasmus can be a more streaky hitter. On average, the numbers will likely sit around .275-27-15. That can have some leeway, though. His more strikeout-prone swing could see him have a season where his numbers drop to about .260-23-10. In those years, he will have to become a more efficient base stealer to keep his overall offensive game in the mix when the All-Star ballots come around. At the same time, his power and ability to get on base could give his team a line around .285-35-20. Those number won’t set the world on fire, but for a center fielder, those are great, especially if he goes back to those 2009 UZR levels.

Now I’m not some psychic, nor do I like to predict statistics in baseball, because one little adjustment can lead to something where McCutchen has a great or awful year, or Rasmus could become more patient or shorten his swing and become more consistent. He could even have some crazy .300-40-30 year, but I would not bet money on it.

As an overall offensive threat, give me McCutchen. This might have something to do with my being a Cubs fan, but that top-of-the-order speedster is something I crave. Having to watch the likes of Kosuke Fukudome and Ryan Theriot lead off makes me green with envy when I see a guy hitting .300 and stealing 30+ bases.

So, who do I want? My answer is Rasmus.If I was talking about fantasy baseball, I would probably prefer McCutchen. He will guaranteed help you get some Hrs and SBs without risking your team’s batting average (in category leagues) or lose you points for striking out (in points leagues that penalize such things).

However, I am talking about real-life baseball, where millions of dollars and World Championships are on the line. When it comes down to decision time, I want Rasmus because of his defense. Either player could be at the top of his position on offense, but that is why I want the Cards’ guy–he can do it on defense, too. McCutchen will set your team up to score. Rasmus will knock guys in and stop guys like McCutchen from getting triples by not making as many mistakes in the field. As a complete player, the Cardinals appear to have the superior talent.

But, again, I am not a psychic. Don’t come crying to me if you lose money betting on Rasmus and lose!

The Cardinals Hot Stove: Part 1, Middle Infield

20 11 2010
Posted by D-Dizzle

Ryan was great with the glove in 2010 with an 11.5 UZR, but not quite as sharp with the bat.

All the hot stove season has finally started. Now is the season for the couch chair GM’s to make their proposals and start trying to piece together who they think will be the best possible team for the 2011 season. This will be my first installment of how I feel the St. Louis Cardinals should attack the offseason. Part 1, Middle Infield.

In House General Manager John Mozeliak has said that he is more inclined to get an upgrade at shortstop than second base. Quite frankly, this is baffling. Skip Schumaker’s best attribute is his gritty play. Unfortunately, their is no stat that measure’s a players grit. I disagree with with wanting to move Brendan Ryan, one season removed from posting a 2.7 WAR from FanGraphs or 3.4 WAR if you are a baseball-reference guy. He did this in 129 games. If you were to extrapolate this over a 155 games (about what a fulltime player would go through), that is 3.3 WAR (FanGraphs) and 4.1 WAR (B-R). However, poor Brendan Ryan had a dismal season with the bat in 2010. Conversely, he was the best defensive shortstop in 2010 (11.5 UZR!!). It should be mentioned that Ryan had offseason wrist surgery right around the beginning of spring training. If you were to normalize his 2009 season and 2010 season, your looking at a solid(albeit unspectacular) .260/.310/.385 sort of player. The real benefit to playing Ryan is naturally his stellar defense with a team that features Jaime Garcia (56% ground ball rate), Jake Westbrook (career 59% ground ball rate), Chris Carpenter (never had a season with St. Louis with a ground ball rate under 51%), and Adam Wainwright (perhaps the only pitcher on the staff who could be called a “strike-out pitcher”-career 49% ground ball rate). If I could get my pick, Ryan would open the season as the starting shortstop.

Not every team is as fortunate to have their own black hole. The Cardinals are lucky, they have two of them (I’m referring to second base and third base but 3B is a topic for another day). Skip Schumaker was abysmal last season. Skip is the owner of -13.2 UZR at 2B. That is Adam Dunn territory right there. He didn’t do much with the bat either (.265/.328/.338) but was a .300 hitter the past 3 seasons so I tend to think this season was a bit of an aberration with the bat. This still doesn’t excuse his terrible defense at second base. Skip was one of few players with a negative WAR last season at -.2. Last season, when he was a .300 hitter, he still had abysmal defense and posted a near replacement level 1.5 WAR in 586 PA’s. His best asset to the team would be as the first man off the bench and as 4th/5th outfielder-the role he belongs in. Unfortunately, he is one of the popular kids in the playground and has Tony La Russa’s seal of approval. Obviously he won’t come out and say the skip-experiment at second base was a failure but that is what has transpired. He must be replaced. II-the farm. The Cardinals farm features some pretty unspectacular options. The only half hearted reasonable options are Dan Descalso who projects to be at best an average second baseman defensively with “doubles-power” at the position. His ceiling reminds me of a David Eckstein type. The other is the gifted Tyler Greene. Greene features plus tools almost across the board but can’t put everything together. Now is do or die time for Greene. He is out of options and this could be his last chance to make something out of his talents.

II A- the Free Agents. This years middle infield free agent class is a very underwhelming group. The only options that are even somewhat enticing are as follows: 3b/ss Miguel Tejada, Swiss Army Knife Bill Hall, and 3b/ss/2b Juan Uribe. This is the cream of the crop. I feel if we are to upgrade the middle infield, it must come through trade. However, the idea of having an insurance policy such as Bill Hall and Juan Uribe fills the cardinals needs very well. They had a thin bench and it became exposed with Ryan’s down year, Schumaker’s being Schumakerness, and Freese’s injury. Unfortunately, both of these guys will probably be looking for more of a full-time role and I just don’t think they will find that in St. Louis.

II-B Non Tender- This person has got me very intrigued. Shortstop JJ Hardy seems to be flying under the radar. Overall, he had another down season with injuries but had a very productive second half of the season. He quietly hit .304/.363/.442 in 56 games after the allstar break (this was probably a bit inflated by his .340 BABIP). He might be nontendered by the Twins because of his $5MM dollar salary, which he would probably receive a raise on. If JJ were to come into the fold at about a 1yr/$3MM dollar investment, I say go for it. Honorable mention: SS Jason Bartlett.Although a career .300 hitter, Schumaker slipped in 2010 with the bat, and the glove.

A career .300 hitter, Schumaker fell with both the bat and glove in 2010.

III- trades Jose Reyes leads my wish list for Christmas.  He has the high salary($11MM) but might be just the investment the Cardinals could be looking to make.  The Mets are basically in a rebuild mode and should be looking to move some players.  Thats not to say they will be just handing their talented players out like candy on Halloween, however.  If we were to examine the New York Mets needs, we might be able to find a potential match.  They could be in the market for some bullpen help, an outfielder, and a second baseman.  Unfortunately, the Cardinals are also in the market for a second baseman but lets pretend for now that they don’t intend to give Descalso or Greene a chance for that role and will use them as trading chips.  The Cardinals farm system as a whole, well, it isn’t the most stellar group.  However, the feature one of the strongest relief cores out their with Adam Reifer, Casey Mulligan, Eduardo Sanchez, and Fernando Salas.  All of whom could be helping the Cardinals in 2011 at some point.  At the major league level, they have flamethrowers Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs.  Perhaps a package of Motte, Mulligan, and the met’s choice of Jon Jay or Allen Craig. Would it work? Maybe. 

Another name to consider is Arizona Diamondbacks’ Kelly Johnson. Kelly had a resurgent 2010 season where he hit .284/.370/.496.  People can point out to him being a “Chase Field product”, but if they did a little more investigation to his time in Atlanta, we can see that he has naturally fluctuating H/A splits. Even if we were to get the 07-08 version of Johnson, I would be down with that.  He would provide an upgrade on both offense and defense.  Arizona has some pretty obvious needs.  Most notably the bullpen.  Seeing as Johnson is just a one year rental, I could see a package of Mitchell Boggs+ their choice of Casey Mulligan/Adam Reifer along with former top prospect Blake Hawksworth who doesn’t seem to have a future with St. Louis as the throw-in.

The Cardinals middle infield was a very underwhelming group and their are some pretty underwhelming solutions.  However,  an upgrade can be done in a variety of methods.

Colby Rasmus’ Trade Value

9 10 2010

Rasmus' .860 OPS and .366 wOBA were first among full-time NL CFs

Posted by D-Dizzle

Ok, so it has been around the baseball news recently that several teams will pursue the center fielder Colby Rasmus.  Well great, but guess what? He won’t be cheap.  In fact, it will probably take an overwhelming package for the Cardinals to even move him in the first place.  Let’s begin there, shall we?

1.  The Cardinals have no real successor to Rasmus in center field.  If they move him, that just opens up another hole in a lineup that already has holes at third base, shortstop, and second base.

2.  Rasmus is a cost-controlled player.  This isn’t a one year or 1.5 year rental like we’ve seen with some other recent blockbuster caliber trades.  he has *4* years of team control remaining with still one year to go until he reaches arbitration.  What does that mean exactly? Well, it means even the small market teams with budget constraints will be in on Rasmus, thus driving the price up even more.

3.  Recently, FanGraphs did a piece on players who they feel have the most trade value.  Note, that isn’t a list of the best players in that order, rather they take everything into consideration (age, contract status, performance, project performance, etc).  Rasmus was rated at #14,  just ahead of Robinson Cano and behind David Wright.  Granted, this list was made during the season and some of these can be debated, but I think for the most part, it is a pretty accurate listing.

Rasmus is one of the few 5-tool center fielders in baseball

4.  My favorite, the UPSIDE.  Quick, tell me one other center fielder in NL  this season with a higher OPS than Colby Rasmus.  Too late, The correct answer?  There is none.  Rasmus had the highest OPS among all center fielders in baseball this season.  He turned 24 during the season and still has lots of developing to do still.  Science even shows that the human brain doesn’t stop developing until the age of 25 for most males.  Other center fielders to have an OPS of .850 or better at age 23/24 recently:  Grady Sizemore, Carlos Beltran, Ken Griffey Jr, Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, and Vernon Wells.    Add in the fact he is also a 5-tool player.  In fact, in 2008, baseball America rated him as the #3 best prospect in all of baseball, and in 2007, had him at #5.  Some people are saying well we don’t want to give up Kyle Drabek, Julio Teheran, Travis Snider, etc because they have too much upside or are untouchable or whatever the reason maybe.  Well, guess what? That was Rasmus just a few years ago.  Now, he has done something that a small number of super-prospects do, live up to their hype (to an extent, as I have said, still some developing to do).

5. Competition.  That’s right folks, there isn’t going to be just one or two teams eying him.  Even the small market teams like the Royals to the big market teams like the Red Sox will show interest in him if he is available.  The sky’s the limit. Everyone can use a guy like him.  Small market teams with budget problems can fit him in their plans and large markets with holes in the outfield will show interest as well.  That means one very important thing: BIDDING WAR.

It would be difficult to set an exact value on him because there just have not been many Rasmus-type players traded in recent memory.  It is also unclear if the Cardinals would be seeking players already on a team’s MLB roster, prospects, or a mix of the two.  However one thing is for sure, he won’t be cheap.

Here are some trade proposals that I think would fit the bill:

To the Yankees for: Brett Gardner, Manny Banuelos

To the Braves for: Craig Kimbrel, Arodys Vizcaino, Omar Infante (one year until free agency)

To the Blue Jays for: Shaun Marcum, Zach Stewart

To the Marlins for: Mike Stanton straight up

I think you can get a good feel for his value with these somewhat generic proposals.

3/4 season awards for the NL

28 08 2010

Posted by D-Dizzle

Well, the season is starting to wrap up.  There is just a hair over or a hair under 40 games left (depending on the team) to go.  I thought this would be a good time to give my predictions for the award recipiants of the 2010 season.

National League

CY YOUNG: Adam Wainwright-  No pitcher has been as consistent as wainwright this season.  He currently leads the league in ERA and Wins and is only .02 behind in WHIP and a handful of strikeouts being Halladay.  The only real blemish is that he hasn’t thrown a perfect Game. Kidding.  The real blemish is that his team isn’t in first place right now because that usually brings bonus points in the eyes of the voters.

MVP:  UGHH Joey Votto-  Yes, you read it right.  A Cardinals fan says Joey Votto is the NL MVP over Albert Pujols.  He is leading the league in batting average and is 2nd in HR’s, RBI’s, and Slugging.  Of Course, Pujols is first in those stats.  Honestly, it could be a coin fip at this point.  Again, Votto gets bonus points because his team is in first place.

ROY:  Jaime Garcia.  I really couldn’t decide on whether to give this one to Buster Posey or Garcia.  I ended up deciding that since Garcia has been doing his thing the WHOLE season, so I gave him the slight edge.

Rookie pitcher Jaime Garcia has played a huge part in the Cardinals success in 2010.

He leads rookies in essentially every pitching category there is except strikeouts.  He has been the second most consistent pitcher on the Cardinals rotation this year, more consistent than Chris Carpenter.  Heck, he even has a better ERA than him.

American league soon to come.  Stay tuned!