Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Victoria, Cesar, and SCOTT

I meant to blog last night, however, a little thing known as the Victoria's Secret fashion show was on. So I was unable to type, as my blogging hand was busy.

WITH THE REMOTE. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Things I learned from watching that boob-and-ass-fest:

- Brazil could become a creditor country to the world if they bottled Amazon River water and sold it under the byline "drink this and look like a lingerie model!" You gonna tell me the 'fat' lady in the green muumuu down at the trailer park wouldn't guzzle that stuff by the gallon?

- I'll bet the after-walk spread was a bowl of tic tacs and some fortified water. That's a lot of bony women. Beautiful faces, but not much meat.

- 'Dream Angel Heavenly' Fragrance? Come on. They ought to name that shit 'Spilled Semen', to memorialize the 10 million adolescent boys who use those catalogs for other than their intended purpose.

And now, back to baseball.

I've got some catching up to do from my last post, so here it is in a nutshell: Cardinals signed Cesar Izturis to a 1 year, $2.85M deal. reported the contract included incentives that, if met, could make it worth $3.5M. There's no option for 2009, so this is a one year rental.

Here's a comparison of what Izturis and Eckstein did over the past 3 years in some categories I selected. These are their averages from 2005-2007:

Izturis: 90 Games, 317 AB, 31 R, 81 H, 14 2B, 3 3B, 1 HR, 22 RBI, 4 SB, 5 CS (nice), 19 Walks, 28 K, .255 AVG, .298 OBP.

Eckstein: 133 Games, 521 AB, 72 R, 155 H, 22 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 9 SB, 5 CS, 38 W, 36 K, .297 AVG, .356 OBP.

To be fair, Eckstein lead off for the Cardinals all 3 years, while Izturis hit all over the batting order; and Izturis was relegated to the bench the last 2 years as a Dodger, Cub, and Pirate.

For a fielding comparison, I just looked at fielding percentage and errors:

Izturis: Average .975 fielding pct, 7 errors (I just looked at his stats playing short)
Eckstein: .976 fielding pct, 14 errors.

So it's a wash there; Izturis made fewer errors on average, but he also had fewer chances to make a play than Eckstein.

Frankly I don't see how the club improved with this signing. Izturis is a weaker bat who hasn't played short full time since 2005. Basically the organization has decided to tread water this year under the assumption that Brendan Ryan, who isn't ready for prime time full time (which most prognosticators agree is true), will take over at short full time in 2009.

Not to mention the Cardinals parted ways with one of La Russa's favorite players; the 'toughest man I've ever had play for me,' I believe was the sound bite.

Which brings us nicely to one of La Russa's least favorite players: Scott Rolen.

Not sure when this article went up, but it's scathing. As far as La Russa's comments on the organization's best interests, I completely agree. Rolen, when healthy, makes this club infinitely better. The last time the club dumped a veteran on a snap decision was the shipping of Keith Hernandez to the Mets; worked out pretty well for Keith, and the Mets (we got Jack Clark to replace him, so I can't really complain about the consequences to the Cardinals).

In all seriousness, what did the Cardinals expect to get offered for Rolen? Other teams are dealing from a position of strength. They know Rolen is unhappy in St Louis, and they know the Cardinals are trying to move him. They also know he's had the three shoulder surgeries in the last two years, and they've seen his power numbers decline steadily since the collision with Hee Sop Choi in 2005. If St Louis was trying to deal him in 2004, at the peak of his powers, they could have held out for a king's ransom; but now, other GM's are like sharks circling for the kill.

Additionally, I think now, based on how this situation has blown up in St Louis, and the ugly way Rolen left Philadelphia in 2002, that Scott can justifiably be classified a clubhouse cancer; and what contender wants to insert a malcontent into the mix in the locker room? Rolen was golden in Philadelphia initially, and then went to play for the team he idolized as a kid (and admitted was perfect for him), yet both periods of employment ended (or are going to end) very badly.

Who would willingly want to deal with that nonsense?

The Cardinals have also been rumored to be shopping Jim Edmonds and Anthony Reyes. The Padres are rumored to be interested in both (at least according to the Channel 8 sports guy on the 11 o'clock news out here). St Louis can lose Rolen or Edmonds, but not both; AP got very little to hit last year, can you imagine what he'll see pitch-wise this season if his protection is Duncan or Ankiel? For Reyes: I'll say it publicly now: unloading Anthony Reyes would be a mistake the Cardinals rue for years to come. His stuff is too good. Quit treating him like a yo-yo and let the man pitch.

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