Yesterday marked the end of the Mike Matheny era with the Cardinals. It's been a great five years -- not just thanks to Mike, but still:
An average of 95 wins over a five-year period isn't too shabby. And despite his offensive shortcomings, Mike's had plenty to do with that. Unfortunately, at age 34, he isn't worth what the Giants are paying him (3 years, $9 mil). So, Yady, it's your turn.
I know I said I dislike the Hot Stove stuff... but I sure get a kick out of stuff like this
. The Marlins are going to be evicted! Man, you'd think winning 2 world titles in 17 years wasn't good enough. I hope the Rams don't get that same treatment around here in '11.
I've gotta be honest -- I can't get into this Hot Stove League stuff at all. It's interesting to read about occasionally... but to post daily, or even more than once a week on? I need actual, quantifiable baseball to be played, preferrably right in front of my face.
How much longer until Opening Day again?
The arbitration deadline came and went on Tuesday night, with some significant news:
1) The Cubs signed Nomar Garciaparra
to a 1-year deal, worth $8 million.
2) The Yankees signed Tony Womack
to a 2-year deal, worth $4 million.
3) The Cardinals signed Matt Morris
to a 1-year deal, with a $2.5 million base salary (and an additional $4.5 million in incentives).
4) The Cardinals signed Cal Eldred
and John Mabry
to 1-year deals, worth $600,000 and $725,000 respectively.
5) The Cardinals offered arbitration to Mike Matheny
and Edgar Renteria
6) The Cardinals did not offer arbitration to Woody Williams
(who as of Wednesday, signed a 1-year deal, guaranteeing $3.5 million, plus $11 million in incentives including a 2006 option, with the Padres), Ray Lankford
, and Steve Kline
Here's my take on these events:
1) See previous post
2) This one leaves me with mixed feelings. I loved the heck out of T-Dub last year, and was very pleased with the season he had. Unfortunately, I knew that at age 34, he a) was playing way over his head, and b) likely wasn't going to play at the same level in 2005. That's why, despite my feelings for the guy, I'm glad another team else took the bait and signed him. As far as options for the Cards at 2B go, I would actually really like to see the Cards sign Pokey Reese
, who was offered arbitration by the Red Sox. Assuming we can get Renteria or Cabrera at short and not another
Reese clone, I think we have enough pop in our lineup elsewhere to afford to put a defensive stud in there for cheap, despite Reese's offensive shortcomings (and as long as he doesn't lead off). As an example, Jose Vizcaino
signed for $1.25 million for next season, so I can't imagine Reese to be much more expensive than that. I also doubt he'd cost us too high of a draft pick, either.
3) When I first read of this deal, the report I saw included the ominous "terms undisclosed." After hearing the basics of the deal, though, I'm much more pleased -- it's a fairly low-risk signing, since if Morris tanks, the Cards are only out $2.5 million, and if he pitches closer to his 2001-02 form, he'd be well worth the $7 million if he covers all his incentives (unfortunately, I don't know specifically what those are). So on a scale of 1 to 10 for the Cards, I'd give this one a 7.
4) Two guys who played key roles last year were signed for cheap. I'm not very sold on Eldred, who gave up a lot of HRs last season, but for $600k, it's not a huge waste of money. I'll call it a 7½, as long as La Russa isn't forced to use Eldred a la 2003.
5) Offering arby to Renteria seems to me to be a no-brainer. I'd be more agreeable for a long-term deal for the guy, but if he declines the offer and then prices himself too high, it'd be nice to see us make a run at Placido Polanco
, Orlando Cabrera
, or even Jose Valentin
(for a year or two). Matheny's offer, on the other hand, is a bit curious, but I wouldn't be all that opposed to bringing back a catcher familiar with our staff for one more year to let Yadier Molina
prepare under his tutelage.
6) It's very disappointing for me to not see Woody back another season, but baseball is a business. With Ray King
sticking around (I assume) for another year, Kline was expendable. And I'd also like to have seen Lankford back another year, but with the Mabry signing, and Roger Cedeno
(who could be my oncologist!) still under contract, it just wasn't practical.
Some bigger-name signings are already beginning to take place (i.e. Glaus, Leiter), so the Cards had better throw their hat into the ring if they want to get anyone good.
The Cubs, who from all indications would be gunning for Renteria this offseason, have signed Nomar Garciaparra
to a one-year deal. I really had hoped the Cards would stay away from Nomar, given his declining production and injury history, and I was also a bit worried that the Cubs would outbid us for Edgar, or at worst raise his price a bit. That signing killed two birds with one stone.