Oh, i just can't stand any more of the inane and hopelessly "practical" talk that is coming out of the Cardinals front offices.
Sure, it's not as if the Birds aren't going to win another game this season. But the team's recent cold streak is not a mirage. The Cardinals have fatal flaws in their lineup and pitching staff that must be addressed if this team is going to have a chance to compete when the dog days of summer come around.
Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. says the team isn't going to make a marginal move just to make a move. Makes sense, right? Of course. The problem is the team didn't make an impact move over the off season when it had the cash and the opportunity to make something happen. And that made absolutely no sense at all. The overly conservative DeWitt and GM John Mozeliak have painted this team into a corner by talking about dry powder and low hanging fruit instead of doing what they could do when they could do it.
It is downright painful to watch Raul Ibanez lead the National League in homers when the Cardinals could have signed him to play left field over the off season. Instead they have the defensively impaired Chris Duncan who, after a hot start to the season, has been completely unable to hit the ball consistently... Much less for any kind of power.
Sure Ibanez would have been expensive. But how much better would the Redbirds be if not only his numbers (.319, 19HR, 54RBIs) were added to the Cardinals offense but if he was nestled in the batting order behind Albert Pujols and Pujols actually saw a pitch in the strikezone every once in a while... I think that would have been worth $10 million a season by today's major league payroll standards.
What if the Cardinals would have taken advantage of the slow market and signed Orlando Hudson to play second base instead of moving the team's fourth or fifth outfielder there?
Hudson is hitting .315 with three homers and 33 RBIs. But, as importantly, he is playing stellar defense. Don't get my wrong, I like Skippy as an extra outfielder. But he is the worst defensive second baseman amongst major league starters. Having his glove in the middle of the infield, Duncan's in left and Joe Thurston's at third is killing the pitching staff. You can't give major league teams 32 outs a game or bad things are going to happen. Very bad things.
This is the starting lineup the Cardinals broke camp with:
C - Molina
1B - Pujols
2B - Schumaker
3B - Thurston
SS - Ryan
LF - Duncan
CF - Ankiel
RF - Ludwick
My question is: How many of these guys could start for another major league team?
The Cardinals could have signed these two players and brought back Braden Looper to add some depth to the pitching without blowing out the payroll. And if they would have, the Birds would be four or five games out front instead of 2 1/2 behind division leading Milwaukee.
The point is, I don't want to hear excuses about what's available and what it would cost in dollars or talent. You were smarter than the "best fans in baseball" when we howled about your tightwaddedness over the off season. You got us into this mess. You get us out of it.