The Cubs, Cards and Brewers have turned the NL Central into a dogfight. With
Chicago and Milwaukee making big moves to bring in high caliber pitching,
St. Louis seems to be the odd man out at this point. What moves if any do
you think the Cards will make and which team (or teams) will emerge from the
dust in September?
Allow me to begin by sending out a great big RSBS EAT IT! to all the critics and analysts who said the NL Central would be the worst division in baseball prior to the season’s start. On the contrary, the Central has turned out to be one of the better, more exciting divisions to watch. Of course, with the NY/LA obsessed media still dictating what is and isn’t entertaining to the mass of US Americans, this competitive division will probably still remain out of the spotlight. This is a downright shame — not as shameful as the existing snoozefest otherwise known as the NL West — but still, it’s a shame.
And as Mr. Krause points out, the NL Central has gotten a whole lot better in recent weeks. But while the Brewers and Cubs went out and made heavy hitting deals for C.C. Sabathia (with periods on my watch) and Rich Harden respectively, it appears that the Cardinals front office really is sitting back — waiting for some divine intervention deus ex machina style.
Or are they?
Long gone are the Walt Jocketty days of going out and getting a guy to win now. No more Larry Walker or Will Clark-esque deals will be happening under John Mozeliak’s rule — that much was already made clear in the offseason when the Brewers, Cubs and Astros all went out and spent a lot of money to get better, thus leaving the Redbirds (and their fans) questioning the sincerity of Mozeliak’s commitment to now. To say that Mozeliak doesn’t want to win is unfair; I believe he does, but I also think his methods are unrealistic when considering our competition and their subsequent open pocketbooks.
Mozeliak and the Cardinals’ brass have been saying that the mid-season reactivation of Mark Mulder and Chris Carpenter would be their “big move” before the trade deadline. Well, the first part of that plan has already proved a bigger bust than the Billary Clinton campaign’s postponing cession from the primaries because “…Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.” So let’s not count on Mark Mulder’s bum arm/shoulder to be anything other than what it is: a bum arm/shoulder.
And while Chris Carpenter could be that mentally motivating savior in the clubhouse who simultaneously goes on a hot streak of domination, what if he’s not? What if he goes back on the DL? It’s very possible, folks. The guy hasn’t pitched a big league game since opening day of 2007 and while his presence was definitely missed last year, it really hasn’t been missed that much this season. The St. Louis hodgepodge rotation of Wainwright (when healthy), Lohse, Looper, Wellemeyer, Pineiro and Brad Thompson have done quite well for themselves. The Cardinals’ Achilles heal isn’t starting pitching.
Nor is it protecting Albert, though many people would like us to believe that. Rumors are afloat that the Cardinals could make a big, colossal, GINORMOUS deal for Matt Holliday. Really? Is that what St. Louis needs? Another big, expensive bat who we won’t be able to afford after 2009? No. Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus, as far under the radar as they are, have been doing a good job of protecting A.P.
What the Cardinals really need is a reliever who can throw anything other than lollygaggin’ batting practice fastballs late in a game. And they are out there: Damaso Marte, George Sherrill, Brian Fuentes. One of those guys better be wearing the birds on the bat before July 31st or I may drink myself into delirium from anguish. In recent weeks, watching the last three innings of a Cardinal game has become as uncomfortable as this:
And no one wants to suffer like that — not even John McCain, which is why he hasn’t taken a liking to the moniker: MC CAIN. Too bad for him… and liberals abound.
So who will be at the top of the Central once it is all said in done? Hell if I know. If I did, I wouldn’t be watching the games so intently, or care. But thanks for asking, Mr. Krause. If you remember correctly, I did predict the Brewers would win the Central while secretly hoping the Cards would at least have a wild card bid. The second half of that may be true still, but those Cubbies are awfully tough, which is exactly why I’ll be so happy to see them crumble towards the end of the year (if my deal with the devil works out the way it’s supposed to).
On the flipside, in the American League Central, I hear that Jimmy Leyland is so upset, distraught, and bothered by the lack of urgency in his team (particularly the pitching staff) that he is exploring new avenues of work. In his preparation, he sent me this official press photo that he hopes will ignite interest:
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.