It's a real shame about Cardinals prospect David Freese being reassigned to the team's minor league spring training camp.
Freese, a local guy who suddenly had a chance to jump from Class AA obscurity to being the starting third baseman on his boyhood favorite team, saw his dream of starting for the Cardinals on opening day derailed by a leg injury suffered in an off-season car accident.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
While he has been on the shelf, Freese has seen outfielder Joe Mather grab the lead in the race to fill in for injured starter Troy Glaus. That's got to be incredibly tought to swallow. I sure hope Freese can get back on the horse and prove that last years breakout season wasn't a mirage.
I wonder how Freese's setback and the sagging economy will impact the Cardinals plans this season. I was very suspicious that, if Freese would have played well in April and May, that GM John Mozeliak would try to dump the incumbent Glaus' $11.25 million contract.
Now, not only is Freese out of the picture for at least the early going... But Peter Gammons reported this morning that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is telling teams to brace for attendance to be down 17-20 percent in 2009. That could cause a cash crunch for several clubs that would flood the trade market with high dollar players. So, if the Cardinals could deal Glaus at all, they wouldn't get much back for him.
One team that might be interested, however, is the Yankees. If Alex Rodriguez can't quickly come back from hip surgery, Glaus would be a nice fill in for the Bronx Bombers because he is familiar with the American League and he only under contract for one more season.
I believe the Cardinals made the right decision to not try to force 2008 first round draft choice Brett Wallace into the mix for the major league third base job. Wallace has tremendous potential at the plate, but he needs to work on his defense. And he doesn't need the weight of making a few key errors on his shoulders when he's trying to adjust to playing in the big leagues. It's not worth it if he is going to just go back to the minors when Glaus returns. The downside is far more significant that the value of a month's worth of big league at bats.