Saturday, April 4, 2009

St. Louis Cardinals Preview

The St. Louis Cardinals finally have a chance to compete for the NL Central because GM John Mozeliak finally convinced Manager Tony Larussa that Jason Isringhausen couldn't get t-ballers out. Now that Izzy is out of the closers role - that will be at least a 15 game improvement on the 2008 season. Mozeliak has been bashed all off season about not making any moves, but now when you look back, things are probably going to work out for the better.

It looks like fireballer Jason Motte will take over the closers role...and the Birds have not had a hard throwing closer since Lee Smith. Of course the Cardinals also have reigning MVP Albert Pujols coming back. The rest of the infield has Skip Schumacher will move from the outfield to second, recently acquired shortstop Khalil Greene hit over .350 in spring training and rookie prospect David Freese takes over for injury prone idiot Troy Glaus. Why do I call Glaus an idiot? Why the heck do you wait until February to have surgery on your shoulder? If you have the surgery in October, you are ready to go for the 2009 season. I hope Freese tears the cover off the ball and the Cards don't sign Glaus in the off season.

The outfield has Chris Duncan, Rick Ankiel, Ryan Ludwick and Colby Rasmus all fighting for 3 positions. I don't think there is anyway Ludwick repeats his 08 numbers and he is proving that in spring training by not even being able to get his average above the Mendoza line. Ankiel looks great in the 2 hole in front of Pujols. Duncan has ripped the ball all spring and Rasmus has been consistent all spring too. So this will be an interesting problem for LaRussa. We all know LaRussa treats rookies like the fat ugly chick at the bar at 9pm - you won't even go near them, but at 2 am when desperate (injuries) - they start to look pretty good. But if Rasmus is going north with the big club - he has to play the guy on an everyday basis.

The starting staff might be the downfall of this squad. After Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright - this team is in trouble. Kyle Lohse pitched 10 floors over his head in 08. Todd Wellemeyer will not repeat his 08 performance either. Joel Pineiro - don't get me started with this guy. The bullpen will be better with Motte closing the door and Ryan Franklin setting up rather than closing.

This team will battle the Reds and Brewers for 2nd all season with the Cubs running away with the division by about 8-10 games. The depth on the starting staff will be the weak link of the squad, but the future looks bright for the St. Louis Cardinals with one of the top 10 ranked minor league systems in baseball.
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