that’s a decent sized time gap between the leadoff spot and the number 2 spot in the lineup. had to wait to get midterms and grant proposal outlines over before I get back into blogging mode…anyways, I’m still here; just letting my two remaining readers know.
so, what has happened in my abscnce? kennedy got released and the rays have now signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
both ankiel and ludwick settled last minute before their arbitration hearings respectively; I think the cards split the difference between their offers and what the players wantd for both guys.
pinata got pissed because oquendo did not pick him to be one of the three starters in puerto rico’s rotation for the world baseball classic. who cares? piniero needs to thank his lucky stars he signed a deal worth that much money when he did, because if he had been a free agent this season, he would have gotten a minor league deal not worth 1 million. instead, he is making around 7 million dollars I think. so, pinata: please shut your trap and focus on your pitching so you can be a respectable 5th starter.
chris duncan “feels” healthy and ready to go. I guess so; he said it and so did tony. whre in the world are you gonna play this guy? as a 4th outfielder, I’d keep him. this is assuming that skip is your starting 2nd baseman against right handed pitchers and colby is your starting centerfielder. so, duncan would be your main lefthanded power threat off the bench to spot start and pinch hit in late innings. he just better not take any playing time from colby…
this leads me to my today’s main topic: who hits in front of albert?
this might be the most intriguing lineup question this season. the candidates are: ankiel, duncan, rasmus, schumaker/2nd baseman, greene (maybe?).
ok, so tony likes some pop ahead of the big mang. if skip is starting somewhere on the field, he will leadoff most likely. that takes him out of the equation for most games.
what about Raz? well, since he is a rookie and a highly thought of prospect, I think tony is going to protect him a little. later in the season, he might end up hitting ahead of pujols, but not at the start of the season.
My personal favorite for this spot is ankiel. he showed signs last year that his batting eye is developing and he started taking walks. he has tremendous power potential; greater than duncan’s power potential, IMO. as long as he is a little more selective and takes his walks, he would be real good for this spot. plus, he would get a lot of pitches to hit ahead of the MVP because you want the bases empty when you are pitching to albert.
the wild card here is duncan. if skip is the 2nd baseman, and duncan shows some signs of his former self, tony is going to name him his starting leftfielder. sure, he is a butcher is leftfield but he has shown tons of power and can get hot and crush the ball for a while. if he hits, he should be traded for whatever the team needs at the midseason trading deadline, IMO. somebody’s got to go because room for colby has to be made; once he is up here, he better start in center everyday!
Mr. Leach wrote an article earlier this year about greene being potentially hitting in the 2 hole. I really don’t see this happening…just because he has pop, doesn’t mean he should. he does not get on base nearly enough. tony better not dothis…think back to the year when he tried to hit encarnacion 2nd (juan’s obp was terrible) and he struggled miserably until he put him back in the 5th/6th spot…don’t make the same mistake again tony!
for this one, I’m gonna chicken out and say Raz starts the year in AAA and duncan ends up starting in left and hitting ahead of pujols. no stat predictions for him though…you just never know what he is capable of after that surgery.
so, after I published yesterday’s post, I saw the article on schumaker. yeah, I guess tlr is gonna have hime taking groundballs at second and he might actually get some playing time at second.
I fine with that, in fact it might be the best thing for skip. that way, both his bat and colby’s can be in the lineup…but he has to actually play at least aaron miles defense at second to cut it. I think he can, but it’s gonna take a couple of months or so.
in the long run, this might be the best move of skip’s baseball career. it’s too early to say this, but if he does convert position, it’ll be like the kelly johnson switch. that worked out fine. it would be a nice change to have someone from the starting middle infield to be able to get on base for a change (miles and izturis didn’t really cut it for me last season).
if this actually happens (because it might be scratched at any moment like that time when bo hart tried switch hitting in spring training), that would make the lineup more balanced.
today, another article was published on the cards site saying that 2nd base will be a competition and kennedy is not guaranteed the starting position. that’s a good thing also because it might light a much needed fire under kennedy. that that he needs more than the fact that is is his walk year. if he does well, he might get another decent contract.
it’s time for the annual tradition here at RBR, the “on the offensive” series. I do it every year before and during spring training. I go spot by spot in the lineup and predict who’ll hit there, how they will fair, etc. this year, it’s gonna be a little more difficult to predict the lineup, but I’ll give you my best geuss.
so, I’ll start today with the lead off spot naturally. I was asking myself this question the other day…who’s leading off for the cards this season?
I have some candidates in mind and they are: skip schumaker, colby rasmus, adam kennedy and brian barton. some of these guys will see plenty of time atop the lineup while others won’t get a sniff.
ok, if skip leads off, does that mean he’ll play center? if that’s the case, then colby won’t be in the bigs right? what if skip and colby are both on the team. will colby lead off? proabably not; knowing tony, he would protect him for at least part of the season before giving him small doses of the spot (unless he has to plug him in due ti injury, terrible hitting by others, etc.). so, colby making the team means he is the starting centerfielder….where will skip play? probably the bench.
the best scenario for me would be to have skip lead off and colby hit 2nd if both are on the team. that is a problem to tony because he doesn’t like stacking lefthanded hitters unless one or the other is a switch hitter (except, last season he hit skip and rick back to back and in 2004 womack and walker hit back to back).
now, to kennedy. tony has used him in the lead off spot before, but sparingly. he’ll probably do the same in 2009. his career obp is 22 points lower than skip (.328 compared to .350) and we know the most important category for a lead off man is on base percentage.
the last option is the forgotten man, brian barton. I think he is a really intriguing player with still untapped potential. his ceiling is difinitely higher than skip’s. he is two years younger than skip, can steal more bases and overall has greater upside with the bat (more power overall) and he hits right handed which is a plus in this situation. the cardinals are in need of a right handed hitting outfielder off the bench.
now, barton’s chances of making the team has increased due to glaus’ surgery and the fact that mather might get a look at the hot corner. in limited and sporadic exposure, he did fairly well I think. he might not get an honest chance to make the team this season, but I do think he would fit nicely atop the lineup especially with tony’s rigty, lefty, righty strategy.
conclusion: I’ll go with skip as the safe choice to bat leadoff, but keep your eyes on colby and brian.
skip’s statline for ’09 in 555 at bats : .298 avg, 402 slg, .355 obp, 55 bb, 5 hr, 55 rbis, 93 runs scored….it’s all about the fives this season!
I got these starting pitchers from a little list put up on the pd’s webpage.
now, I personally would like ben sheets. I’d like them to go after him, but there seems to be a slim to none chance that is going to happen.
now, I think they could sign a guy like o. perez, because he would come fairly cheap and he is a lefty.
so, let’s hear it…who do you want to see with the birds on the bat come this april.
we still got a couple of weeks until pitchers and catchers report, but I don’t think I can wait that long anymore. sure, saint louis has been snowed out the last week, but still, I look forward to the bright sunshine and green grass of spring to get here. I’m sick and tired of this cold weather…not being a native also attributes to my dislike for bitter cold winters.
now, what type of stories do we hear before spring training? that’s right, the “best shape of my life” stories. well, there is already one on yadi. he says he has lost weight, 10-15 pounds to be exact. well, it can’t hurt to put less weight on those good healthy knees that catchers define as necessities.
“I’ve been working hard with my body, with my knees,” he said. “I just want to play a full season healthy. I’ve been working with my trainer in Puerto Rico, Felix Molina. I’m just trying to be healthy this year, trying to finish the season. The full season.”
let’s hope he can stay healthy all year and keep playing great defense (keep making those snap throws to first!). I just hope his hitting last year was not an aberration but progression…
in other news, pujols wants manny and so do most cards fans right? well, I would like many protecting pujols and playing in left field, but I don’t know about you.
it’s too crowded in the outfield you say? nonsense! trade ankiel or ludwick and mather or barton or schumaker for a decent young starter and bring ManRam in to patrol left field. what ever happened to that fuentes money that they were going to spend…about 10 million a year for two years? if manny takes that kind of discount (2 years, 20 million), you gotta do it don’t you? because the dewallet was open for fuentes, meaning the cards still have about 10 million dollars to play with don’t they? just checking.
but alas, the cardinals are not interested or so says mo:
“The answer is no,” Mozeliak said, when asked by the Los Angeles Times if the Cardinals had interest in signing Ramirez.
another spring piece on mlb.com about the cards; what a healthy carpenter and wainwright would do the cards odds of competing in the division. hey, I’d be one of the happiest people on earth if that happens…if we had the dynamic duo healthy and pitching up to their potential for a full season, we could compete and beat the cubs and their dynamic duo of harden and zambrano. now that I have raised you up to cloud nine, let’s bring you back down; carpenter is still a big question mark and could face complications at any time during his recovery. I won’t believe he is healthy until I see him pitch in the majors effectively with my own eyes for a couple of months. until then, all we got is hope.
you know spring training is almost here when fantasy baseball is almost about start and leagues are about to be formed! now, go get to doing your research on who you’re going to draft this seson!
really? well, that’s what I’ve heard on the estimated recovery time given by the cards around the ‘net. by golly, the cards medical staff have never done this before. no, never! they’ve never been too optimistic about recovery timetables.
what’s that….he might also have a torn muscle and not just a shoulder cleanup? not true! the cards medical staff would never not tell the whole truth about a critical player’s medical situation…ever.
no one should criticize the cards because they did not have the surgery done after the season is over because you know, time heals all wounds right? right!
yeah, it’s not like they pulled this off before.
*if you can’t tell, the previous ramblings are supposed to be sarcastic.
let’s cut the crap and get down to it…I’m furious with the cards, but I really shouldn’t be because they do this kind of stuff all the time and I should of gotten used to it by now. right?
some earlier examples of the cardinals “waiting for time to heal the injury”: 1. when jim edmonds had that bad foot and shoulder a couple of years ago…yeah, let’s wait and let it heal by itself. that worked out really well; he got the surgeries done like a couple of weeks before spring training. sure, he played on opening day, but the first month of the season went in the crapper because he was basically in spring training mode. 2. juan “cyborg” encarnacion. this one was when he had that wrist problem and they told him that it might heal over time….yeah, it did not. he got it done also a couple of months before spring training and missed like, what, two months of the season.
I can just keep going, you know that right….all the scott rolen issues…..etc.
cards timetable for troy’s recovery is 12 weeks. I personally don’t buy that for a second. I’m guessing june 1st is a good bet, and if they aren’t telling the whole truth, it could take until the all star break. hey, call me crazy, but go ahead and prove me wrong cards!
now, who starts at third? the most logical candidates are mather, freese, wallace, craig. wallace is probably not gonna get a real shot. craig will probably be wallace’s backup in triple-A…so, I’ll go with a freese/mather platoon.
still, for some reason, I’m getting this sick feeling in my stomach that tony might pull a tony and not go with the most logical replacements. he might stick brendan ryan in there or maybe even thurston or maybe even adam kennedy?…now, on this issue, I really hope I’m wrong.
another thing I gotta say is thank god aaron miles is not a cardinal anymore because he probably would have been the default starter at 3rd behind glaus if he was still a cardinal.
man, maybe I should stop praying for news from the cards. when I do, it’s bad news.
well, that was my little rant about the hot corner situation…
yes, my fellow American citizens…we finally have ourselves a new president and a lot of people are excited, even me. you might not know this, but I’m a grad student at slu,and all of the members in the lab that I’m in huddled around the laptop to watch the festivities and President Obama’s speech.
in a word, terrific! I personally can’t forget all the horrible things that happened during the last eight years, but I’ll sure try to. It’s time to turn over and start a new chapter…for all my republican friends out there, give this guy a chance because he might actually work out (maybe 2 or 3 years). as for me, I “know” he is going to do well…of course, that’s what most liberals say right?
on to baseball; not much going on in the world of the cardinals. duncan and wellemeyer have resigned with the cards for another year while ankiel and ludwick will probably have cases that will go to an arbitrator.
in health news, pujols says he is 100% and ready to go. albert has a track record of being honest so I’ll believe him until I have enough evidence to come up with a conspiracy theory to say that he is not. he also does not want to talk about the contract extension yet and neither do I. moving on…
carp has started playing toss and says that he feels good and healthy. he says he’ll be ready on opening day. of course, that’s if everything goes smoothly and he does not face any setbacks. this season is riding on carp’s back whether the cards sign anyone or not, so if he is done, then so are the cards. let us all pray that he will be healthy and good for 25 starts or so…if so, the cards have a real chance at making the playoffs.
oh, almost forgot; the arbitation figures for ludwick and ankiela are in:
Ludwick asked for $4.25 million, and the Cardinals offered $2.8 million. Ankiel came in at $3.3 million against the Cardinals’ $2.35 million.
The gap between Ludwick and the Cardinals is one of the largest of the 46 players for whom numbers were submitted. The difference of $1.45 million was the sixth-greatest, as Ludwick asked for 51.8 percent more than the Cardinals offered — also sixth-largest. Ankiel’s differentials of $950,000 and 40.4 percent both landed roughly in the middle of the pack.
I don’t know how teams negotiate this type of thing, but that does not seem fair to me. you got way more production from ludwick than you did from ankiel, and the offer was only 450 thousand dollars difference between ryan’s and rick’s…smells fishy to me. how about 3.75 million for ludwick and 2.75 for slick rick…just sayin’.
well, that’s all I got; hopefully, something happens between now and when pitchers and catchers report so I have something to talk about.