November 19, 2008

LEFTovers getting thin for Cards

... As far as we know, the Cards are yet searching for lefthanded relievers. A couple more viable choices just fell off the market.

Maybe one of the most sensible picks that would've fit the Cardinals' budget was Jeremy Affeldt. Aggressive pursuit of his talents found him signing with the San Franscisco Giants at about $4million a year for a couple years.

Three years of $4-million per year got the New York Yankees Damaso Marte.

Seems like the "left"overs are getting thin, in a hurry.

John Mozeliak has yet to make a move, at least, one that we know about. And as for moves we don't know about, nothing has come to fruition so far.

There's still a handful of capable left-side hurlers trained for bullpen duty. The Cards still have a shot at Will Ohman, sort of. The hot stove scuttlebutt is that Ohman will re-sign with the Atlanta Braves.

According to media sources like the Belleville News Democrat and St. Louis Post-Dispatch, there are a few picks that are acceptable, although maybe a bit overripe. Arthur Rhodes (39); Joe Beimel (31); Alan Embree (38); Trever Miller (35); Brian Shouse (40). Okay, Beimel (31) is closer to the ages of Affeldt (29) and Marte (33), which possibly makes him the next in line for a serious offer.

At this point, then, according to what the market is bearing, $4million or less per year is what the Cards are looking at; more likely, less.

Because the Cards may very well be willing to take a season chance on developing a closer out of Chris Perez and/or Jason Motte, the idea may be to secure the best two lefties on the market. Don't forget, there is the possibility of re-signing either/both Ron Villone and Randy Flores. Even the latter scenario, however, one can risk the assumption that signing at least one of best lefthanders remaining would be wise.

Odd are that within a week the Cardinals will have made a move for the LHRP(s). Thereafter, I believe the priority will move toward the potential strengthening of the middle infield; possibly a complex task. How the talks with Felipe Lopez progress will play as key factor here.

So for the time being, it appears free agents will make up any additions to the bullpen, while middle infield will probably involve a mixture of money and trades, and we can somehow wait just long enough, avoid giving up any draft picks.

Going after another strong starter is a real crap shoot, and when you have a mid-market franchise in need of improving three major areas, you'll be lucky to fulfill two out of three needs.

photo by Barbara Moore