Sunday, August 07, 2005

Looking ahead

Days: The Cards have one more against the Braves and Carpenter is pitching so they should take the rubber match of the three game series. Jorge Sosa, who was a reliever last time I checked, is starting against him. I just looked at his stats and he has been pitching really well as a starter for the last month. Then the Cards go to Miller Park for three games. Hopefully they can grab two games there before a series with the Cubs. It'll be the first trip to Wrigley Field this year and the Cubs will be looking to send a message. I am not sure what the message will be, probably something like, "We are going to get back to 500 and we are going to do it against you." The Cubs are making the playoffs seem less likely every day, so by the time the Cards get there they will be shooting for moral victories like that one.

Weeks: The Cards have been playing 500 ball since the injuries started piling up. That's fine considering the division lead is still ten games. Houston made a charge a week ago but they have leveled out and will probably play around 500 too. They should win two out of three when ever Oswalt, Clemens and Pettitte pitch and lose most of the Wandy Rodriguez (Wan-Rod?) and Eziquiel Astacio (Eazy-A?) games. Hopefully Molina will be back soon, since the Mahoney/Diaz situation has been awful. It seems like the order for returning will be Molina, Walker, Sanders, Rolen. Of course Walker coming back will probably mean four games per week. Fortunately, unlike the Mahoney/Diaz situation, the J-Rod/Taguchi/Mabry/Nunez (Seabol/Gall) situations have been wonderful. So when the outfielders and Rolen come back they can ease back and take plenty of rest in September.

Playoffs: Which injured players will be back is still a big question. But once Molina gets back the lineup will look a lot better. The rotation, which has been injury free since mid April, is looking good for the playoffs. Carpenter is clearly the game one starter. Morris and Mulder are the obvious number two and three, in either order. Marquis and Suppan will compete for the fourth and final spot in the playoff rotation. Right now neither one of them is making much of a push. My vote would go to Suppan, who is the more consistent of the pitchers. A big reason is that Marquis would be a better pitcher out of the bullpen. He has more powerful stuff and could come in the game in a jam let it rip for an inning or two better than Suppan. Also, it would make Marquis available as a pinch hitter or pinch runner effectively increasing the playoff roster size by one.

2006: The number one need is a corner outfielder. Walker is going to retire and Sanders is a free agent. There are four options:

  • Jocketty Trades for someone either now (waivers) or in the offseason.
  • We resign Sanders for probable about 4 million a year, since he hitting as well as he did when we gave him his current deal.
  • We sign a different free agent. Corner outfield is the only place that the free agent pool is not terribly weak. There is Hideki Matsui, Brian Giles, and Jacque Jones available. Giles would be a wonderful choice. He walks a ton of times. His power is down this year so his price tag might not be unreasonable.
  • Give someone we already have a chance. J-Rod, or Raul Gonzalez, Taguchi, and Mabry are all possibilities, but I don't like the sound of it.
Matt Morris is the number two question. He is due to a big pay raise. He went from 12.5 million in 2004 to 2.5 in 2005 and is having his best season in a couple years. Losing Walker's contract will free up money to make a good offer. However, Morris may be the best pitcher on the market and there is a team in New York that needs starters and likes to overpay for veterans that are on the decline. The other four starters either have contracts or option through next year. The fifth spot could go to Anthony (not Al) Reyes who is ready for a big league shot.

Besides that the Cards need to resign Grudzielanek and the major questions are answered.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Morris - how much is he making this year after incentives? They were the bulk of the contract, if I recall.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Bobo Hilario said...

I think Morris's contract maxes out at 4.5 million this year. That's about half of what he'll make next year.

6:12 PM  
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