Tagged: Hot Stove

Scoot over Bullpen, we have ANOTHER addition

Russ_springerRuss Springer was added to an already strong and crowded bullpen on Friday Dec. 8.  He is signed to a 1 year deal worth $1.75 Million.  He appeard in 72 games with the Astros in 2006 in mid relief, sporting an ERA of 3.47.  This is a good signing, he can eat a lot of innings and is very talentented.  He held opponents to a batting average of .211 last year.  Russ was with the Cardinals in 2003, pitching in 17 games before he suffered an elbow injury.  I like this signing for many reasons.  We won’t have to face him when we play the Astros for one, and he is a talented 38 year old veteran, at a reasonable price.  But holy ****, our bullpen is getting full.  By my last count, we have Russ Springer, Braden Looper, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney, Josh Hancock, Randy Flores, Jason Isringhausen, Brian Falkenborg, Jorge Sosa, Ricardo Rincon, Chris Narveson, Randy Keisler, and Brad Thompson among others.  They will all be fighting for probably 7 roster spots in the pen.  This tells me we are going to have a strong pen, and maybe that we might be about to trade some of our pen for a starter or outfielder, maybe in a package with Encarnacion.Russ_springer_2  I have heard rumors that Encarnacion wants to be moved, and the way we are stocking up on relievers makes me think that there could be some trade thoughts in the works.  Also, with the speculation about Wainwright, Looper, Thompson, and even Kinney maybe being moved to the rotation, that could be another reason for stocking up.  I like the addition of Springer though….a lot..
So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there….
Thanks,
Josh
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Eli Marrero?…Hmm…..

Eli_marrero4Eli Marrero was just signed to a minor league deal.  He spent 7 seasons with the Cardinals from 1997-2003, after being selected in the 3rd round of the 1993 draft.  He played four positions in 2006, 1st Base, Catcher, Left Field, and Right Field.  If memory serves me right he was mostly a catcher with us last time, also playing some outfield.  He was traded to the Braves in the deal that brought us Adam Wainwright.  That is the second time in a day this offseason that the Cards have re-acquired someone they traded off (Kennedy from the Angels).  I am not really sure where the Cardinals plan on using Marrero, but I don’t think it is a bad pickup.  It sort of reminds me of the Brian Daubach signing last year.  He spent the year in Memphis, as Eli might next year.  Either way, we now have another catcher and outfielder with Major League experience.  He has battled back from Cancer and has been on several teams the past few years.  He played 2006 with the Rockies and then Mets, batting .217 and .182 respectively.  If he regains his old form he could come in handy.  I wouldn’t even mind seeing him as a Mabry or Spiezio type of player if Spiezio were to start everyday.  We will see how this develops.  But I like this pickup even though I don’t understand it.

So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there….
Thanks,
Josh
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Cards Ink Kip Wells & Adam Kennedy

396e8c444901460dbb274157670f8c0b_1Walt Jocketty, seen here with the newest Cardinals Kip Wells (Left) and Adam Kennedy (Right), is known for finding talented players at affordable prices, and he came through big again.  I predicted that Adam would be our next 2nd baseman, and we got him for 3 years at $10 Million.  The former Cardinals’ 1st round drat pick will finally patrol 2nd base again, this time with his old teamate Eckstein as his double play partner.  Kennedy was also the 2002 ALCS MVP, hitting 3 homers in one game.  He had a 17 game hit streak in 2006.  So we are getting a REALLY good 2nd baseman.  I must say that if I could pick our infield from scratch with money being no object, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I love having Pujols, Kennedy, Eckstein, and Rolen.  I think that he is a much better option than bringing back Belliard for too much money and possibly less productivity.  Now, on to Kip Wells.  Walt Jocketty, Tony, and Duncan have been wanting him for a while and think that he could live up to his potential in St. Louis.  He is only signed for one year at $4 million, so there is little risk involved.  He can definately fill the Marquis shoes if nothing else.  His career ERA of 4.46 suggest mediocrity, and his win/loss record is 57 wins and 74 losses.  On the surface he doesn’t impress.  He even led the majors in losses in 2005 with 18, but the key word here is potential.  He had a blocked artery near his right shoulder that has been operated on and corrected, and he just had pins removed from his foot the week the Cardinals signed him.  Dave Duncan has said that he sees some things he can correct with Wells, and history shows to listen to him.  One average pitcher after another has become a Duncan Desciple, to find stardom or to re-disvover it.  Duncan has proven that one teams trash, can be another teams treasure.  Just look at Weaver, the winning pitcher in Game 5 of the World Series to prove that.  So, in my opinion, Kip Wells, will be interesting to watch as he succeeds or fails under Duncan, but overall, I like the acquisition.  It is low risk, and has the potential to really pay off.  We shall see..
So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there….
Thanks,
Josh
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Bennent Will Be Back in 2007

Gary_bennett_030506_2 Good move Cardinals!  Gary Bennent will be back as the back up backstop in 2007. He signed a one year contract for 2007, with an option for 2008.  He will make $850,000 next year, and $900,000 in 2008 if the option is excercised.  The buyout is %50,000. In my article entitled, "Bring Back Bennent" (you can find in my archives from Nov. 3), I listed 4 reasons for bringing him back.  First, he is affordable.  Next, he has chemistry with the pitching staff.  I realize that will will have many new faces on our staff next year, but a well traveled veteran that fits in well with the staff is important.  The same wasn’t true of our last backup, Einar Diaz.  Many of our pitchers FAR preffered Molina to Diaz.  Bennent is a suitable back up option for the Cards.  The next quality was his veteran leadership.  His experience, maturity, and leadership are qualities you can’t put a statistic or dollar sign to.  He carried the team for a weekend in the dog days of summer, winning with a game ending hit one day, and a walk off grand slam the next night on national TV.  The Cardinals are his 7th team and that experience is valuable.  Lastly, his offensive potential is far greater than other backups.  Back up catcher, you almost take what you get offensively, but as I just mentioned, Gary has the ability to carry a team that needs a shot of occasional energy.  I like him, he fits our team well.  And obviously I am not alone.  Walt, Tony, and Dunc must like him too.

So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree? Let me hear from you out there…
Thanks,
Josh
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Addition By Subtraction

Jason_marquisJason Marquis…Where Do I start?  It was pretty much an obvious conclusion that Jason’s days in St. Louis were over, when he was left off the post season roster this year.  I am not going to start in and bash him like every other Cardinals fan on the internet, but I will say that I have NEVER seen a more inconsistent pitcher.  When he got his sinker down in the zone and had decent movement, you could make the arguement that he had some of the best "stuff" on the staff the last couple of years.  And when he didn’t, well, we won’t go there.  Suffice it to say that Duncan must also think he is unsalvagable or either will never live up to his potential.  I really liked him, especially when he would come up as a pinch hitter.  He had a great attitude and represented the Cardinals with Class.  But having said that, we will be a stronger team minus Jason in 2007.  So that was my mindset I adopted shortly after my thoughts shifted from the World Series to our offseason needs.  I had heard that he resisted some of Duncan’s teachings, relying too much on his fastball to get him out of jams when his sinker wasn’t sinking.  Now, right when I decide that he is more of a liability than an asset despite that fact I like him, guess what happened next.  Not only did we become better by losing him, the CUBS sign him for 3 years, $21 Million. WOW, are the Cubs on Crack?  They seem to be spending a LOT of money for mediocrity.  So knock yourselves out Cubs.  You can have Jason and his 6.02 ERA (2006) and his record of 14-16.  I guess they think he can revive his career.  All I know is that we have many more options that to continue to invest in someone that so far hasn’t really lived up to their potential as a Cardinal.

But in closing I would like to say again, that I enjoyed having Jason as a Cardinal.  He is a classy guy, with a great family and loads of talent.  I wish him nothing but the best in life, except when he takes the mound for the Windy City.

So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there.
Thanks,
Josh
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Goodbye and Good Luck Jason, we will miss you.

Cardinals Ink A’s Lefty for Bullpen

Randykeisler_main_1The Cardinals picked up a left handed arm to help in their bullpen Thursday.  Randy Keisler is a 6’3", 190 lb. Texan, who played college ball at LSU, being named to the All SEC World Series team his Junior Year.  He only pitched 10 innings last year, and only has 133.1 innings in his entire career, sporting a career ERA of 6.82. Randy_keisler_2
He has already been with the Yankees, Padres, Reds, and A’s, with most of his action coming in 2005 when he pitched 56 innings for the Reds.  Not knowing much about him, I will reserve commenting too much other than to say that in my opinion a left hander is always something you look at these days.  The Cardinals have signed him to a one year, $425,000 split contract.  That means if he doesn’t make the squad and ends up in the minors, he will make $110,000.  If he doesn’t make the club out of spring training, maybe he could end up in the ‘pen in Memphis.  I would look for him to be a Randy Flores/Tyler Johnson type as far as how LaRussa could use him.
The ERA looks a bit high, but with the limited amount of innings pitched, it is hard to judge him by stats.  Time will Tell.  Overall, in my opinion it sounds like a good pick up.  Not very expensive, and very little risk.

So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there….

Thanks,

Josh

“Clutch” is Coming Back

Scott_spiezio_042906_rbi_sac_flyWithout Scott Spiezio, I don’t think that the Cardinals would have won the World Series. The 34 year old was signed by the Cardinals in Spring Training 2006, He revived his career that had almost slipped away, redefined himself as a valuable role player.  He sort of fit the Jonn Mabry role, and played 1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, Leftfield, and Rightfield.  He batted .272 and had a .496 slugging percentage, which was the best of his career.  His clutch hit the last weekend of the season was the most important hit of the season for St. Louis up to that point.  They needed a win desperately, and he came through with a three run triple.  Whether starting, or off the bench, I was always hopeful when he came to bat.  His red soul patch caught on and created a following with the fans, giving us some unity and a feeling of togetherness among Cardinal Nation.  In my opnion, his signing is HUGE for the Cardinals.  He is signed through 2008, with an option for 2009.  His two year deal will bring him $4.5 million.  At that price you will not find a better player.  Injuries strike every team, and you never know when, at what position, or for how long, you are going to lose someone.  So it is nice to have someone like Spiezio to fill in wherever needed and start as well.  He could very well be an every day player for the Cardinals, but I think Tony will continue to use him like he did this past year.  A veteran player like Spiezio who is as versitale as he is, is hard to find these days.

So there you have it.  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you out there….
Thanks,
Josh
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