Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Cardinals Need Bullpen Help To Stay In Contention

  • Brewers 6-Cardinals 3:
The same problem that the Cardinals had in the off-season is coming up again and it's still
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a question as to what they're going to do about it. It's not their lack of personnel or big moves, but that the front office is content to allow manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan to work their magic with middling talent and doesn't want to spend any money to make drastic improvements. That they've been able to have such a solid season and surprisingly contend thus far owes more to La Russa and Duncan than it does to any foresight on the part of the front office, but now time is starting to run out. They need some outside help and it sounds like the front office is still reluctant to invest anything more than what's in their budget to get it.
The starting rotation will probably be okay for the rest of the season; with the lack of viable alternatives available, the Cardinals are probably better off hoping that Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright provide the boost that they're going to need; their problem is in the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen is at the point where the team can't afford to use him unless they have a three runs or greater lead for fear (or expectation) of him coughing it up. Ryan Franklin was another pickup off the scrapheap who benefited from the tutelage and defined usage of La Russa and Duncan, but he's not suited to be a fulltime closer and has been slumping badly in recent weeks. They need bullpen help and it's going to be another power struggle between La Russa and upper management to do something.
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It must've been frustrating for La Russa to sit by and watch the Cardinals two main division rivals, the Brewers and Cubs, make bold maneuvers for pitching while the Cardinals trotted out Mark Mulder only to see him get hurt again. If things continue as they are, they might be better suited to leave the rotation as is and add Carpenter, while sending Wainwright back to the bullpen where he closed for a championship team two years ago, because it doesn't look like any major help from outside is coming anytime soon.
  • Orioles 8-Blue Jays 3:
The Blue Jays need to tear the thing down and start all over again. This is the fourth year
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in a row that they were expected to finally leap into contention and have fallen flat on their faces. Injuries can be used as an excuse, but teams like the Cardinals and Yankees don't partake in the maudlin "poor me" attitude because they still find ways to stay competitive.
Now, in what can only be seen as even more of an insult to the way the Blue Jays have built their team over the J.P. Ricciardi era (error?),
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they've not only been surpassed (and lapped) by the Rays, but now by the Orioles as well, who are only a few months into a competent baseball administration led by Andy MacPhail. The Blue Jays have plenty of assets that contenders could use with gutty post-season performers like David Eckstein and a lot of bullpen arms. It's time to clear the decks although the caveat is that I wouldn't let Ricciardi be the one to do it. One name I would consider as a possible replacement is Paul Molitor.
  • Houston Astros pursue Randy Wolf:
For what possible reason do the Astros need Randy Wolf? Buster Olney is reporting that the Astros and Padres are in discussions to send Wolf to Houston----ESPN Story. Why? I have no idea. The Astros aren't contenders and Wolf is probably going to be awful in Minute
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Maid park in Houston because of the dimensions (Wolf's been pretty good at home for the Padres, but Petco Park is roughly the size of Yellowstone); and he's also far past the number of innings for which he could be considered effective----his current number of 119 is approaching the maximum number he's reached (136) since 2004. What exactly do the Astros think they're going to get out of him? They'd be better off signing someone like Freddy Garcia for the rest of the season if they're just looking for a body to replace Roy Oswalt, and that's what Wolf would be for the Astros, a body who's around because he has a pulse and a (somewhat) functioning left arm.
  • Is this IndyCar racing or is it the WWE?
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"And now, for the entertainment of you racing fans, we present Danica (I'm soooo popular) Patrick vs Milka (I know something you) Duno in a hot oil, bikini rasslin' cage match. Hair pulling optional."

I may not know much about auto racing, but I know a marketing scheme when I see it and THIS is a marketing scheme.

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