November 11, 2008

Reheat the stove, folks, it's near free agent open season

... Maybe there wasn't nearly as much talking about Matt Holliday when Cards' GM John Mozeliak conversed with representatives of the Colorado Rockies recently.

I've had sneaking suspicion all along that the more serious side of those utterances were about left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes.

It seemed odd how much of media spun the Holliday possibility. And then, you almost have to address it, but with a furled brow.

Last season's constant talk regarding the bullpen dilemma had all but disappeared, which made me worry that maybe the Cardinals' organization were shopping like kids at a candy store. And while Holliday would certainly have helped the Cardinals' offense, his being dealt off to the west coast sort of makes Cardinal Nation breathe a sigh of relief.

Now the hot stove guessing game can take a new direction. Hopefully, one in which the Cardinals actually address that bullpen situation. Most of the projections seem more in line with reality at this point. 1) Left-handed relief; 2) shoring up starting rotation; 3) improving the middle infield.

The latter two may be interchangeable. Depends on your personal beliefs. Number Three will certainly give stat-geeks plenty to play with.

Most have settled on Number One being the bullpen needs, with some variances as to whether it should be closer, as close to closer as possible, middle relief, or some mixture of reliever with the ability to start. Some will suggest Kyle McClellan going to the starting rotation. Some believe in Chris Perez and/or Jason Motte, but not quite yet, in a sort, maybe kinda way.

You'll need a crystal ball to figure Number Two, the possible needs of the starting rotation (if any are needed at all.) We all know the needs of the rotation hinge on the Chris-- Question Mark--Carpenter, and I mean no disrespect. We all hope he's okay, regardless of the starting rotation. The man is dedicated, and folks should be careful not to berate the guy due to injury.

photo by Barbara Moore

Middle infield, bullpen pique Cards News: "With money to spend and needs to fill, the Cardinals enter a Hot Stove season that is as fascinating as it is pivotal.

General manager John Mozeliak needs to find solutions in the middle infield, bullpen and perhaps the back of the starting rotation. He and his brain trust are open to addressing those needs via free agency or the trade market, adding another set of permutations to the equation."