I’m Matt Wilson and I’m going to start throwing my opinion around on Whiteyball a couple of times a week. I’m planning on using this as an outlet to hopefully get out the full range of emotions I will experience because of the Cardinals throughout the year. I’ll also throw in some Frontier League Indy ball updates. I worked in 2 different Frontier League organizations over a 4 year period, so someone might enjoy some Frontier League updates. My first post will be all Cardinals, because that’s what’s in my mind right now.
As 2008 closed, I was becoming more and more frustrated with the organization that said they were going to be “very active” in the offseason. I don’t consider the addition of Greene, Miller, Ring, and the other lefty “very active”. But now, I’m starting to turn the corner. I’m starting to believe this club is actually taking all the right steps.
Spring training is just a few days away and there are still many high profile free agents on the market, considering it’s the first week of February. This is the biggest reason why the Cardinals have been less than motivated to pull the trigger on any deals or signings.
The Cardinals want to trade, but trading will be difficult this offseason because of the abundance of free agent outfielders. The key trading chips are in the outfield (Ankiel, Ludwick, Schumaker, Duncan, Barton, Mather, and Rasmus) and until the players listed below are signed, I don’t see any team trading anything away for something they can pick up fairly inexpensively on the open market on a 1 year contract.
(Bobby Abreu, Moises Alou, Garret Anderson, Adam Dunn, Jim Edmonds, Luis Gonzales, Ken Griffey Jr, and Manny Ramirez)
Now a few of those players might not be great options, but for a one year contract for little money, you could do much worse. So don’t look for any possible trade rumors to float around until the majority of free agent outfielders are signed. That leaves the free agent market to search for a starting pitcher, which is the teams biggest need in my opinion.
One starting pitcher, Randy Wolf, just came off the market. I think the Cardinals and Wolf would have been a good match. He pitched well in Houston, late last season, and Duncan just seems to bring out the best in most pitchers. The Wolf deal with LA was an extra million over Lohse’s deal last year, but a deal that was within the Cards budget. Wolf may have been set on playing on the west coast, so he might not have been an option. Some rankings had Wolf right there with Oliver Perez who just got a 3 year, 36 million dollar contract. So your remaining free agent options at this point are the likes of Braden Looper, Freddy Garcia, or reclamation projects like Pedro Martinez, Kris Benson, or Mark Mulder. As frustrating as it is to put your hope in Chris Carpenter, that is where we are, and in my opinion, that is what you have to do at this point.
Don’t hate the Cardinals, hate MLB. When I look at the upcoming season, the Cardinals have needs, but at this time, those needs can’t be obtained. The free agent market is thin. Trading options are few and far between, considering the Cardinals trading chips are outfielders. I want to wait until a few more signings occur and we can see if a trade market opens up, but over the past month, I’ve went from frustrated Cardinal fan, to understanding fan who thinks this organization is making some pretty good decisions and I’m not the only one who thinks this.