Hidden Starter for Cards in Memphis?

Alan_benesWith Walt Jocketty being forced to work miracles due to the modern economics of the game, coupled with the fact that the Cardinals only have 2 of the 5 starting pitcher roster spots filled, I can’t help but wonder if the Cardinals are overlooking a talent that is right under their nose.  Alan Benes is a name I am sure all of you remember.  He was a member of the Cardinals staff from 1995-2001.  He came in 7th in Rookie of the year voting in 1996.  The little brother of Andy Benes, they helped form a valuable part of the Cardinals rotation for much of the 90’s.  He has certainly not lived up to his potential, but he is still plugging away as a pitcher for the Memphis Redbirds.  The 6’5", 215 pounder from Indiana pitched in 30 games for the Redbirds in ’06, starting 4, and sporting a 4.75 ERA.  Those aren’t exactly numbers that get you called up, but the fact that he was a major league starter for 7+ years for the Cardinals/Cubs has to count for something.  In my opinion the Cardinals should consider him an option under certain scenarios.  Let’s pretend that we are lucky enough to land a top teir free agent pitcher this off season like Zito or Schmidt (see my article entitled "Pitching, Pitching, Pitching").  Well landing a pitcher like that would no doubt strengthen our rotation, but it would also mean that we would have much less to spend on the other spots in the starting rotation. Alan_2 And I don’t need to tell you what kind of miracle worker Dave Duncan is with reviving pitchers’ careers in the past.  Players that have lost the edge or fallen into the pit of mediocrity, have come to St. Louis, and flourished and shined brighter than ever.  Players like Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley,  Woody Williams, Cal Eldred, and most recently Jeff Weaver have found themselves again under Duncan’s tootilidge.  All I am saying is that if we find ourselves in that good position of landing a Zito or Schmidt caliber pitcher, the money required to round out the rotation will be critical.  Why not give a shot to Benes. Alan_3
Why not invite him to spring training, and see how it goes.  Worst case scenario, if it doesn’t work out, you have little to no investment.  And if the Cardinals find themselves in need of bullpen help, I could see him easily taking Jorge Sosa’s spot.  It would be difficult to **** as bad as Sosa did this year. I have seen him pitch this past year, and I can tell you he still has that competitive drive.  So I say, give ol’ Alan another shot, at 34 he just might still have some left in his tank.
So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree? Let me hear from you out there….


  1. RumorMill

    I’m quite certain Benes will at least be invited to Spring Training. While you are right, it can’t hurt to take a look, I’m afraid Duncan’s already had a shot at fixing him and it hasn’t happened.

    If we land Zito/Schmidt, we’d still have enough money to re-sign Weaver, and another vet (maybe Woody Williams?). Keep in mind the Cards also might be active in the trade market and could fill out the rotation that way.


  2. Josh

    I agree that Woody Williams is a good possibility. I talked about that in my article entitled, “Pitching, Pitching, Pitching”. When it comes to Weaver, I hope you are right. As long as the price doesn’t get too crazy based on his play in the post-season, he should stay in the St. Louis Cardinals’ budget. One thing is for sure, whether by trade or free agent signings, we will have some new faces on the staff next year.

  3. RumorMill

    Also don’t forget the Cardinals could be surprised from someone like Narveson or even Sosa. Duncan’s done it before…

  4. Josh

    Chris Narveson impressed me. I got to see him a lot in Memphis this year. He could very well be a starter, he kind of reminds me of John Tudor in a way. But Sosa, I don’t know. He was TERRIBLE in my opinion, and I will eat my words if he proves me wrong, but I would rather put anyone on the staff before him. Speed without movement = Losses

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