I’m starting to hear more and more grumblings that Izzy may end up back with the Cards this year. I’d say the odds are 50/50. Dave Duncan said he didn’t think it would happen last week while on air with Bernie, but Joe Strauss has noted it’s possible. Regardless, one has to ask, would it really be that bad?
He would have to accept a significantly reduced rate (with incentives I’m sure), but a one year deal is smart for both sides. If he wants to keep pitching, he can build up his market value with a strong year while La Russa and Dunc get the veteran they want to transition Perez or Motte (don’t overlook Kinney) into the closers role.
I have read some concern that his presence might be counter productive, e.g., other players not feeling comfortable with the closers role while he’s on the team out of respect – which he deserves. But I think if his role is made clear from the get go (assuming he makes the team), then everyone can accept the arrangement that would hopefully allow for another 8 saves or so.
Personally, I’d also like to see Izzy get to 300 saves while wearing the birds on the bat. I remember when he first came to town with the 98+ heat and that nasty breaking pitch. My wife and I were at the second game of the year against Milwaukee and we watched him k the side with an exclamation point. It’s been a little disheartening to see his struggles of late and the heat he got from the home crowds. Even more so when I heard Izzy’s wife talk about how it effected their family. For those of you with kids – you get it.
Bottom line, if he can accept a camp invite and be an effective part of the current BPC (bullpen by committee) and get the young guns some time to develop their off speed pitches, would it really be all that bad?
Around the horn
Funny note about K. Greene from the Chicago Tribune.
“Khalil Greene should be a welcome addition for the Cardinals. . St. Louis shortstops drove in 31 runs last season — two fewer than the RBI total of Cubs pitchers. The Orioles hopped on the Cardinals’ hand-me-down, Cesar Izturis, knowing it will be an upgrade to have a shortstop who can catch the ball, even if he can’t hit. …”
(Photo courtesy of Webshots.com)