August 15, 2022

Dealing With the “Rumor”

March 16, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I guess not surprisingly, the biggest thing coming out of Cardinals camp yesterday was a Seinfeldian discussion about nothing.

Look, no one took that “trade rumor” involving Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard the least bit seriously.  No one thought that it might happen, that the teams really had talked about it, etc.  I think most everyone realized that, at best, it was a trial balloon floated within the Philadelphia organization.
However, everyone had to comment about it, and especially Tony La Russa seemed to be a bit worked up about it.
I half expected everyone to just laugh it off and go about their business, but TLR really was disgusted and aggravated about the whole thing.  Perhaps he’s getting an inkling about how the contract situation with AP could be a distraction during the year.  I don’t think it will be–Albert’s said he’s not talking during the season and John Mozeliak said emphatically yesterday that he wouldn’t be traded–but when you go through 162 games, things get brought up, rehashed, etc.
Of course, the easiest way for this whole thing to be resolved would be to have Albert instruct his agents to get something done before spring training is over.  That’s about the only way he’s not going to have to at least listen to numerous contract questions throughout this year and possibly next.  He’s right, though, once the process gets going, it could only take a day or so to get it lined out.  I’m not completely ruling out a new deal before the start of the season, though if the Cards haven’t tendered an official proposal yet, then it’s a lot less likely.
Albert’s staying and there’s no news on the contract.  So what else happened yesterday?
Well, Brad Penny got hit hard and that’s not a figure of speech.  Besides the fact that he got plunked a couple of times–hopefully this won’t affect him, like it did with Kyle Lohse last year–he didn’t have his best outing.  It was tolerable, of course, and the Cardinals were in line to win the game until a blown save in the bottom of the ninth, but hopefully he can improve on that in his next outing.  He should have three more starts in the spring, so this would be the time to see him build toward the season.
A few more players were sent over to the minor league camp, but Shelby Miller has stayed with the big leaguers.  The Cards must like what they see out of him right now.  Since he pitched Sunday, he’d be roughly in line to go again Friday in relief, so we’ll see if he sticks around to get another appearance in a spring training game.  Being as Friday is a split-squad day, I’m sure that he will see some time in one of them, then be sent down.  This has to be much more than he expected this spring, since he wasn’t even invited to big league camp until after it opened.
It is starting to sound like Allen Craig just might shake his John Gall status and get a legitimate shot at the big league bench this year.  The fact that he continues to hit at such a high level doesn’t hurt him a bit.  Could we see a bench of Jason LaRue, Julio Lugo, Allen Craig, Joe Mather and Tyler Greene?  It’d be on the young side, but it’d be pretty intriguing and give Tony a lot to work with for his lineup manipulations.
Today’s two members of the Cardinal Approval Ratings are Dave Duncan and Ryan Franklin.  Last year, Duncan wound up with an 84.2% mark and then went out and had two Cy Young candidates and a pitching staff that, on the whole, was very successful.  So this year, he moves on up to 87%. Looks like about four 100s and a low of 50 out of the 67 that cast an opinion.
Franklin wasn’t on the list last year.  Why should he have been?  This time last year he looked like he’d be just another middle reliever.  Instead, he stepped in and had a strong year as a closer, at least until the last month.  Still, when the 66 votes were tallied, he managed a 69.7% mark as many people still don’t trust him in that role (and I include myself in that category).  No 100s for the man with the funky beard, so his ranged from a high of 90 to a low of 6.
Cardinals get Washington again today, this time without Stephen Strasburg.  Hopefully they’ll be able to have the same kind of success they had Sunday.  If nothing else, they may get plenty of taking practice.

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