The Voyage of Captain Obvious

Grading is satanic

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Your 2006 Cardinals

I've been very silent on baseball since the horrible end of the NLCS. Partially this was due to a lack of excitement over whether they got Juan Encarnacion or Preston Wilson. Who really cares? In the end, it seemed like the FA outfielders not named 'giles' were basically 8 copies of the same average dude, with some differences at the fringe. Now that something that looks like the new team has been assembled, however, I'm starting to get excited for Spring Training again. So here I go with my fearless prediction for the season, derived with intuition alone:

STL gets 96 wins and the NL central again, by something like 2 games, over the three headed beast of the Astros, Brewers and Cubs (I refuse to predict which one of those teams will be the best... but at least one of them will have their question marks turn out to be positives). If things go right, then they could get as many as 100 again, and if things go wrong... well, we all remember 2003, no?

Since the drawbacks of the 2006 crew are readily apparent by scanning any combination of Cardblogs and Cubblogs, here's why I don't think that the Cardinals will be as much worse next year as some will believe:

1. Scott Rolen = threat to ERAs everywhere (except for Cardinals). Not that this needs explanation, but a full season of Rolen means not only that we get his power, defense and RBI protection, but also that Honest Abe/goddamn Hector "please don't throw" Luna (I have a deep, irrational hatred of the guy--seeing Mabry come in as a defensive replacement for him in Game 5 last year was a very, very happy moment.) will NOT be in the everyday lineup.

2. Spivey-man, spivey-man does all the things that a grudzie can, plus hit. This feeling comes mostly from the fact that my picking him up off of the waiver wire in my 2002 fantasy baseball league saved my season, and then I was able to trade him, straight up for Ken Griffey, Jr (the uninjured version), in the much lauded "Junior for Junior" trade. But I really do like the deal a lot, and it gives us a pretty decent infield.

3. pitching woes don't terrify me so much. Ponson, in my mind, is a good signing. Of the availible dudes, he is likely has the best cost/benefit of any of them. He has something to prove, and likely, if given a spot in the rotation, may actually prove it. I don't mind him splitting time with Anthony Reyes, who will get time to see MLB at bats, but without the major arm strain that would come from being in the rotation. THEN, Dunc can take one of the extra starters + one of the extra outfielders and get a quality outfielder for the playoffs.

4. CHiPs. Though there isn't the major level of outfield talent, this offseason has both provided some players that could be used for trade bait, and to restock Memphis with players that have at least seen the show. Some combination of Bigbie, Miles, Encarnacion, Taguchi, etc. will probably be needed in order to trade Marquis/Suppan/Mulder for a true impact player. Losing them won't hurt so much since we'd just be clearing space out of the logjam in the outfield.

5. Walt's never done. The team that goes to spring training isn't necessarily the team that goes to October. As per 4., the situation is in place to set up a true team of death on the way to the World Series. This could be the year, as much as last year or 2004. How long till pitchers and catchers report, again?

1 Comments:

  • At 16 March, 2006 08:11, Anonymous mercury said…

    hey valatan.

    just found your blog and it's a hit.
    2006 is looking up.
    the cardinals break in the new kentucky blue grass at busch3 with another NL pennant.
    and the democrats take back congress in the november mid-term elections.

     

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