Cardinals odds and ends

A few odds and ends from the Cardinals on day one of the Winter Meetings:

* The Padres’ interest in Brendan Ryan is real and acknowledged. What exactly would constitute a fit between the two teams remains to be determined, but if the Cardinals decide to move Ryan, San Diego looks like a prime landing spot. Pittsburgh is a possibility, but the Pirates’ interest seems less ardent.
Moreover, it’s worth noting that the Cardinals and Padres have a good relationship, having dealt with one another several times in recent years.
Manager Tony La Russa said in a radio interview on Monday that one way or another, Ryan will not be the Cardinals’ starting shortstop. The skipper seemed to indicate that Ryan would be best suited by getting a change of scenery.
“If he stays with us, he’s a utility player,” La Russa said on the Bernie Miklasz show on WXOS radio in St. Louis. “I think he would
be useful as a utility player. I don’t know at this point in his career if that
something that would fire him up to come to the ballpark. I think ‘Mo’ is going to
be checking out to see where his value is. If there’s value in an area that we
can do some good, then that’s probably a better situation, to get him a place
where he can play. He would be an excellent utility man, but I don’t know that
that would motivate him to be excited to come to the park. He’s young and he
wants to be a regular.”
* A couple of outlets today reported that the Cards should not be ruled out as a suitor for Rays infielder Jason Bartlett. SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweeted “don’t coun’t them out,” while the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals “retain interest” in Bartlett.
However, in the same radio interview, La Russa dashed that notion.
“We’re not chasing Bartlett,” La Russa told WXOS. “I just don’t think that that makes sense for us. We probably need to figure out what we’re going to do in the utility role. We’ve still got Brendan and stuff like that, but I don’t think that… nor do we have the resources to try to add a multimillion dollar player. What we’ve got here is now finishing up and complementing the roster.  But I don’t think that’s accurate [that the Cardinals are pursuing Bartlett].”
* Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown tweeted Monday that Gregg Zaun is a player of interest to the Cardinals, and that’s one rumor that makes some sense. Zaun is a well-regarded veteran, widely considered an excellent clubhouse guy — and that’s clearly one of the aims of the front office in reshaping the roster for 2011. 
Additionally, Zaun can hit. In 2010, he put up a 265/350/392 line. Over the past seven seasons, he’s at 256/353/401, which is outstanding for any catcher.
The question is Zaun’s health. He didn’t play after May of last year, and underwent surgery on the labrum of his throwing shoulder in early June. That could be off-putting to a team that places a great deal of emphasis on stopping the opponent’s running game.
–Matthew Leach

9 Comments

Mr. Leach can you somehow convince TLR that Bartlett is a great way for the team to head. And have you heard anything concerning bolstering out starting rotation?

Mr. Leach can you somehow convince TLR that Bartlett is a great way for the team to head. And have you heard anything concerning bolstering out starting rotation?

I believe Eckstein is a free agent. If the Cards want him they only need to sign him. I think very doubtful.

Will the Padres swap Eckstein for Brendan Ryan? He’d be the kind of utility player LaRussa is looking for. He’s not an everyday player anymore but he is better at 2nd than Skip and can still hit good enough to be useful. Pesky as they say.

Our hope is that Brendan will end up with a team that appreciates his outstanding defensive play, and unique personality. Evidently, Brendan did something to irritate the management.
“Manager Tony La Russa said in a radio interview on Monday that one way or another, Ryan will not be the Cardinals’ starting shortstop.” Brendan, please be assured that you are not the only Cardinal player that irritated the management, and then went on to show their true talents with another team. Just ask, David, Jimmy, Scottie, and Edgar, to name a few!
Brendan we wish you well—and will continue to follow you with your new team. You will be missed at Spring Training—as you were one of a few players that always found time to talk with the fans!

I don’t think the issue with Ryan has as much to do with him upsetting management as much as it does with him hitting .223 last year. Personally I’m not a believer in Bartlett either. He’s been somewhat up and down over his career as well, and he isn’t as good defensively as Ryan. If your taking a chance on a guy having a productive season at the plate, I’d much rather take the chance on a gold glove defender. As poor as the Cards were offensively last year, I just don’t think they can afford to risk that, hence moving Ryan to the bench. As long as Theriot and Schu both hit .280, I think the moves have been good.

I agree with the comments about David Eckstein. Several years ago he should have received his deserved multi-year contract with a likely shift to second base. When I think of clutch players in the last 20 years, David Eckstein and Edgar Renteria come to mind. I would have liked to have signed Renteria (prior to Theriot) as he has reported the Cardinals and Marlins as his top two choices. He would die a Hall of Famer if he would have stayed in shape and a Cardinal in 2004. Nevertheless, I think Eckstein would be an upgrade – in many ways – to Skip at second base and, in fact, I would rather see Skip to the outfield or elsewhere as opposed to moving Brendon due to the defensive liabilities exhibited by Skip. If David would return that would result in valuable competition for the second base position as well as a positive clubhouse presence.

I think that Mets SS Jose Reyes will be an upgrade over Ryan Theriot and Brendan Ryan at SS. With him now being available for trade. Should the Cards make a move for him? He gives them above average defense at SS, and would make an excellent leadoff man. I would make the trade and move Theriot to 2B, his more comfortable position.

Can you imagine a batting order of:

1. Reyes
2. Berkman
3. Pujols
4. Holliday
5. Freese
6. Rasmus
7. Molina
8. Pitcher
9. Theriot/Schumaker

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