posted on July 27, 2012 00:00
A year ago today, St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak pissed off many teenage females when he traded away the highly touted outfield Colby Rasmus to the Toronto Blue Jays in a three team deal that brought pitcher Edwin Jackson, relief pitcher Marc Rzepczynski, and outfielder Corey Patterson to the Cardinals. Rasmus was viewed by many as another Grady Sizemore; a guy who could hit for power, steal some bases, and flash some leather in the outfield.
As we saw in St. Louis, we occasionally saw the former, hardly saw the middle, and never saw the latter. Colby’s meddling dad didn’t help matters by consistently whining about how his son was mistreated by the club. The younger Rasmus couldn’t cut the umbilical cord with daddy and it ultimately sealed his fate. Not to mention former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa didn’t want to deal with a guy who thought a Rhodes Scholar was someone who received a postgraduate award for studying streets while someone who had a checkered past was someone who played checkers years ago.
Johnny Mo’ did what needed to be done when you get a hemorrhoid and removed it by trading Rasmus away. I remember reading the local message boards at the time and I was amazed at how many people in Cardinal Nation lost their damn minds over the deal. They were saying that the Cardinals were raising the white flag by sending Rasmus to Toronto. We found out otherwise a few months later when the Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers in 7 games to win the 2011 World Series.
So here we are a year later and the Cardinals are almost in the exact same position as they were a year ago. The Cardinals record a year ago today was 55-49 and going into this afternoon’s game against the Cubs they are working with a 53-46 mark. They still have the great hitting that they had last year despite the many naysayers who thought the Cardinals were going to go the way of the St. Louis Steamers and fold because Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels.
Just as they did last season, they have an ace pitcher out for the season due to injury. Last year it was Adam Wainwright, this year it is Chris Carpenter. Kyle Lohse and Lance Lynn have been absolute studs while Jake Westbrook has found the stuff from spring training that had many observers believe he was going to win 15 games this season. Memphis call up Joe Kelly has played like a 10 year veteran whether it be with his pitching arm, his bat, or his aggressiveness on the base paths.
The bullpen has been shaky this season to say the least although they have picked it up as of late. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny finally put Cardinals fans out of their misery by sending Victor Marte down to Memphis and bringing up newly signed Brian Fuentes. And Mo….for future reference, when acquiring arms in the future, please stay away from the Royals. Marte had an ERA of 9.30 when you got him for crissakes. That’s like hiring Peter Dinklage from the HBO show Game Of Thrones to be a bouncer at a biker bar.
Like I said a few weeks ago, the Cardinals only need to make one move. It seems that the Milwaukee Brewers want everything for Zack Greinke but season 3 of the A-Team on dvd, so the Cardinals will probably pass on him. Now we hearing reports that the Cardinals have inquired about Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher James Shields. I for one would like to see a deal consummated for him. Shields is a power pitcher who is coming off his best season in 2011 when he led the Major Leagues with 11 complete games. The Cardinals would also be getting a guy who would be under their control for the next couple of seasons if they picked up his options which are 9 million dollars and 12 million dollars respectively.
With Shields in the mix, Matheny would have the flexibility to move Kelly to the bullpen which would help tremendously. I would put a starting five of Lohse, Lynn, Wainwright, Shields, and Westbrook up against anyone in the National League. As long as the Cardinals keep winning games, they should be a safe bet to make the playoffs and as we witnessed last season, all records become null and void once the playoffs begin.
In order to get something, you have to give something. And for the Cardinals that something could be Shelby Miller. Now I know many Cardinals fans think Miller is the second coming of Jesus Christ, but last I checked, Miller 5.65 was an ERA at Memphis, not a verse in the Bible. The diehards tend to overrate “their” prospects. When was the last time the Cardinals have drafted and grown a pitcher that amounted to something? Matt Morris comes to mind. They traded Dan Haren so Oakland, Arizona, and the Angels could reap the benefits while Mark Mulder sits on his ass in an ESPN studio.
Besides, it’s not like the Cardinals have had wonderful luck with the pitchers they have drafted in the past decade that got called up to the big club. Thanks to a hunting knife, Rick Ankiel had to become an outfielder. Jaime Garcia can’t perform on the mound if a cab shows up late to his hotel. The Cardinals have pampered their young pitchers since Ankiel went the way of Babe Ruth. They do everything but wipe their ass now…..well, they might. I’d rather trade for a proven pitcher now than hold on to hopes that Miller could be the real deal and then the Cardinals get screwed later on if he implodes and then they get nothing. It’s time to check out Mo’. Go get yourself a starting pitcher.