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Bullpen ponderings

It seems that Will Ohman is down to three choices for 2009 -- and none of them are good ones.

ESPN reports the Pirates, Marlins and Padres are in on the bidding for the lefty reliever. Not only are the three teams still in the running ones with little prospect to win. But none of them is believed to have made a bid in excess of $1 million.

Of course, this is where we have to scratch our heads and wonder why the Cardinals couldn't spend $1 million to improve over Royce Ring. 

Ohman was 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings pitched last year for Atlanta while former teammate Ring -- whom the Cardinals signed earlier this off season -- was 2-1 with an 8.46 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings.

While we're in the bullpen, word from is that Jason Isringhausen is lobbying the Cardinals for a minor league contract with a chance to make the team in spring training.

Izzy has expressed a willingness to pitch in a role other than being a closer. And he said he thinks he would be a great mentor for the team's two young closer candidates, Chris Perez and Jason Motte. But would he really be willing to watch someone else get the chances to make the saves when he sits just seven short of the 300 mark that is his goal?

Maybe he would be today. But what does it do for his development when May and June roll around and the youngsters have been a bit shaky? The Cardinals have decided to sink or swim with the kids. All it would do is stunt their growth to use them in mop up duty or ship them back to Class AAA. And, even if the Izzy was willing to pitch in middle relief, wouldn't it have made more sense to keep the healthier and more successful Russ Springer instead.

By signing Isringhausen, the Cardinals would only reinforce the notion that cheapness -- not strategy or development -- is what motivated the construction of their 2009 roster.