Hello everyone, my name is Michael Riehn. I am a lifelong Cardinal fan and will be contributing my opinion a couple of times a week to the Whiteyball blog. My Philosophy is simple: The Cardinals are not idiots. Looking through the spin, I’m going to try to delve deeper into why I believe they do the things they do. This won’t make me popular with some, but I believe in my heart of hearts that 3 of the people that care most about the Cardinals winning in this world are LaRussa, DeWitt and Mozeliak. If we are going to be friends, you should know this up front.
Now, this does not mean I follow what they say or do blindly. I can be critical, and love to play devil’s advocate. Like anyone in sports, they will make mistakes (they jumped the gun on the Lohse signing IMO), and some of them will be big ones. Saying that, I was never in the “Sign Ben Sheets Now!™ camp, and had suspicions that there was some reason that his price was going down and nobody was signing him. Again, the Cardinals are not stupid.
My first topic for discussion is about the Cardinals top prospect: Why are Cardinal fans up in arms for Colby Rasmus to be in the majors RIGHT NOW? Many experts feel the Cardinals should anoint him as their starting centerfielder from day 1 of spring training. Is it because we want to see him right away or do we think he will make that much of a difference in 2009?
Let’s see if I can make a chart without screwing it up (fingers crossed). Below is the CHONE projections for 5 Cardinal outfielders.
Now these are just projections, but what if I told you the guy with the lowest OPS is Rasmus? (key: Ankiel, Duncan, Ludwick, Rasmus and Schumaker) Would you still feel he should be a lock to start the season with us? If so, why?
A player only has 6 years until free agency. Long term, would it be better to have Colby cheaply from 23-28 than 22-27. Especially, when we have a options that should do roughly what he would (next year only, he will be better going forward). Can we get the same contributions (or more) from a combination of Duncan/ Skip/ Mather? Logically, wouldn’t it be better for Colby to start the season in the minors?
Holding his rights is important, but you may believe this is a never ending cycle. You may ask if holding his rights from 24-29 is more important than having them from 23-28? In my opinion, the answer to that question should be, “We keep Rasmus in the minors until he has shown to be better than the player(s) he is replacing”.
That is, unless the Cardinals can convert some OF assets into something else of need. In a perfect world, this is what we’d do. We need pitching (1 year closer or starter), but you can’t just waive your magic wand and make a trade. This isn’t a fantasy league. The market doesn’t look very good for outfielders right now when you see Dunn, Ramirez, Abreu, Griffey, et all still on the free agent market (and other players available via trade).
I can’t wait to see Rasmus roam the outfields of Busch, but i don’t think he should be given a spot until it’s clear that he’s an upgrade over the other options. Right now, i don’t think it is clear.