Reverend Redbird

Preaching the Gospel of St. Louis Cardinal Baseball

Spring is springing

Posted by The Right Reverend on February 17, 2006

It’s 0 degrees in Iowa, and there is snow on the ground, but the proverbial bud is on the tree as pitchers and catchers report. Ah, a new season. Hope springs eternal.I know it’s only spring but Mark Mulder is already fielding questions on his contract status.The P-D had the story on it, and it appears Mulder is playing it cool.

There are some within the organization already nervous about how the Burnett bid may affect Mulder’s willingness to accept a deal worth less than what he might command on the open market.”My agent will call and say, ‘Did you see that one?’ I see it. But it’s not something I’ve given a great deal of thought,” Mulder said. “Without a doubt I saw it. Don’t think I didn’t. But I’m not sitting here saying, ‘I can’t wait for my turn.’ That’s not my attitude. I’m not going to do that to myself because I’ve seen other guys do it. That’s not me.” 

Ryan at the Diaspora has a good take on it.

Right now, the biggest question surrounding the Cards (besides the usual mulling over about who will make the roster come April) seems to be Mark Mulder’s contract status. To be honest, I don’t know where I come down on that issue. Part of me thinks that they should lock him up for a couple more years because he’s a lefty that can give us solid innings and a decent chance to win games, even if his pitching style fails to excite. Then come the questions of how much money. He’s hardly as important to the team as Carpenter, but by current market standards he could easily garner $10M a season. For that, I’d rather have another power arm, which probably comes at a higher price than that come next winter.

I too would probably prefer a power arm over Mulder, who’s pitching style not only doesn’t neccessarily excite, it also can be down right frustrating. (See his Jekyll and Hyde day/night splits) He’s been more hittable and the last two years his walks are a little to high. Because of some of his lackluster peripherals, he’s hit many a list of “pitchers to avoid” for fantasy drafts. With Spring comes optimism with me, and I am optimistic he can buck some of these trends in a contract year. But still whether or not that makes him worth a huge contract is doubtful.As for that power pitcher, next year’s free agent class features the likes of Jason Schmidt, Jose Contreras, Andy Pettitte and Barry Zito. Those four all reek of another hapless chase that could mirror this winter’s AJ sweepstakes. Other notables on the list, Brad Radke, Jeff Weaver, and Doug Davis. Kerry Wood and Mark Buehrle both have options. Given Buehrle’s comments about wanting to join the Cardinals one day, (which I love), I can only hope against hope the Sox would be willing to part with him, but his $9.5M option is relatively cheap for a player his caliber. Unless the White Sox need to shed payroll in a bad way, they’d be crazy to not pick it up.Other Cardinal free agents after 06-Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis. I’m not going to worry about it now, but with the high cost of starting pitching and 2/5’s of our rotation becoming free agents after this season (not including Ponson) worries me. Wainwright should be more then ready to join the rotation in 07, and Reyes should have the benefit of a full season under his belt. But there’s a couple of holes there that cause me to wonder. 



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