Friday, November 06, 2009

Now on to the Off-Season

Now that the World Series is over, and the Yankees have won (bought?) the title, we can start the off-season personnel shuffles in earnest. For the Cardinal fan, this will be a VERY interesting period to say the least. Already there's been movement in baseball:

- Bobby Abreu signed a 2 year, $19M deal to stay in Southern California;
- the Red Sox traded for OF Jeremy Hermida;
- and the Royals may have shipped Mark Teahen to Chicago's south side for Chris Getz and Josh Fields.

There's also been movement on the Cardinal front:

- Jarrett Hoffpauir was claimed by the Blue Jays. Hoffpauir had made his ML debut in 2009, and projected as a 2B. Looks like the organization is sticking with Schumaker long-term, which meant Hoffpauir was blocked at his natural position.

- Brad Thompson released. The baby-faced kid is a Cardinal no more. Thompson, a soft-tossing righty, was thought to have a future in the rotation when he first came up in 2005, but it didn't pan out. His FIP was always over 4 at the ML level (best year - 2008, 4.17), and he allowed a ton of baserunners. The team had done well in his starts (19-9) before this season, but he got beat up quite a bit in 2009. When your roster spot is 'long mop-up guy', you're expendable - as evidenced by his frequent-flier status between St Louis and Memphis last season. But hey, he's got a World Series ring. Best of luck, Brad.

- Six file for free agency. This list includes the expected suspects - Holliday, Ankiel, DeRosa, K. Greene, LaRue, Smoltz, and Glaus. Most expect Wellemeyer and Pineiro to file as well. Of the seven already declared, Holliday, LaRue, and possibly DeRosa/Smoltz have a chance to return in 2010. DeRosa, Glaus, and Pineiro will be Type B free agents, meaning the Cardinals would get a supplemental first-round draft pick should they sign with another team. Holliday most likely will be a Type A free agent, bringing a first round AND a supplemental first-round pick should he go elsewhere.

Derrick Goold poses the question: Which guys will be offered arbitration? My thoughts:

Holliday: Definitely.
DeRosa: Will Freese be ready to start at 3B on Opening Day? Will Holliday return to play LF? Those are the positions DeRosa would man if he returns. Given the amount of money Holliday will command if he stays, and what it will likely take to resign Pujols, I say no.
Glaus: No. He's coming off injury, and the Cardinals can't afford him should he accept.
Pineiro: Yes, but only if Smoltz doesn't re-sign. Why not? Pineiro returning wouldn't be bad thing at all. He thrived under Duncan in 2009, and he would be a functional piece to the 2010 rotation. It would leave only 1 rotation spot for a rookie, scratching LaRussa's 'preference for veterans' itch and lowering the team's risk with said rookie.

With that, we can take a look at the current 40-man roster:

1. Boggs
2. Carpenter
3. Franklin
4. Garcia
5. Hawksworth
6. Kinney
7. Lohse
8. McClellan
9. T. Miller
10. Motte
11. Reyes
12. Wainwright
13. Walters
14. Wellemeyer (?)
15. Molina
16. Pagnozzi
17. Freese
18. Pineiro (?)
19. T. Greene
20. Lugo
21. Pujols
22. Ryan
23. Schumaker
24. Ludwick
25. Mather
26. Rasmus
27. Robinson
28. Stavinhoa

Wow, twelve and probably thirteen slots open on the roster. How should Mozeliak manage this?

Off the cuff, I would leave two slots open. That gives the team flexibility to re-sign some of their free-agents before the Rule V draft on 10 December. I've assumed they'll sign a back up catcher (LaRue or someone else), and one of their free agents (I'm guessing Smoltz) before the Winter Meetings start 7 Dec.

That means moving 10 players onto the 40-man roster. Well, Derrick Goold is currently polling Cardinal Nation to create a top 21 prospect list headed into 2010. Seems like a good place to start.

That vote has ranked 12 prospects (add John Jay and Adam Ottavino to the list at the above link). Some of them are already on the 40-man. Let's just add the remaining names that aren't. That makes the 40-man roster look like this:

29. Shelby Miller
30. Allen Craig
31. Daryl Jones
32. Eduardo Sanchez
33. Lance Lynn
34. Daniel Descalso
35. John Jay
36. Adam Ottavino

Just for fun, let's add a couple of prospects to fill out #37 and #38:

37. Tyler Henley
38. Pete Kozma

Thoughts? I'd be interested in hearing them in the comments.

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