November 10, 2008

Holliday Cards dead deal

... Cardinal Nation is still nervous about losing Ryan Ludwick to trade, although it now appears the Holliday Cards deal is dead.

The Ludwick/Holliday deal, as it turns out, was more media rumor than anything else. It won't be the first time, nor the last. In the blogging world, you'd expect wild determinations based on a word someone thought Cards' GM John Mozeliak uttered, for instance. But even without bloggers (and mainstream media, for that matter) making a river out of a runlet, Cardinal Nation would project such ideas.

And why not, for it is hot stove season, is it not? That's the fun of off-season, and something stat-mongers can desperately cling to for a numerics fix.

For us analysts of the game, hot stove is also offers somewhat of a baseball fix when the pros are the only ones smart enough to take time off during off-season.

As far as Holliday, I've never had a problem with the man coming to St. Louis. I did, however, and continue to have, a problem with dealing Ludwick. And that's what yet makes me nervous, because I tend to stick with a player that has stuck by his team.

On the other hand, I have to keep reminding myself that baseball at the ML level is a business. Even Ludwick knows that, which caused me surprise when he made the strong hint that he'd like to remain in St. Louis. I wouldn't hold it against him, either, if he held out for a lot of contract money.

I still comment here and there with a question. Whatever happened to all the need for a knock-out lefty bullpen arm? Or the shortfall in the starting rotation?

Those pitching needs seemed to have fallen by the wayside, where they seem like priority number one for St. Louis. And that's where Ludwick may yet have to go.


Because Ludwick is the best blue-chip trade currency the Cardinals have. And if you're one who believes you simply do not win without an above-average bullpen, Ludwick may almost be the only way to fulfill that need. Almost the only way.

The alternative to dealing Ludwick would most likely end up with spending straight dollars in the upcoming free agency frenzy. And as the top line players get picked off one by one by the big-market clubs, the Cardinals will be resigned to battle for whoever remains. There could still be some top line arms left over, and if there is, Ludwick would likely fetch the pick of that litter.

Cardinal Nation may fault GM Mozeliak for not grabbing the cream of the crop, but the informed fan understands that when the New York teams, or some of the other bigtime money spending teams make their plays, St. Louis is already treading water in an ocean full of bigger fish.

If there's any deal left with Colorado, it would likely be in regards for lefthander Brian Fuentes. And that's a hot stove issue with which we may yet warm ourselves on another day--soon, perhaps.

photo by bryce_edwards/

Related media links:

STLtoday - Mozeliak says talks on Holliday are dead