This morning, I mentioned that Matt Morris could be considered Plan C for Walt Jocketty. Looks like it might be time for Plan D.
Joe Strauss's article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today confirms the Cardinals' lowball offer to Morris of $13MM over two years with a $7MM option for the third. Strauss quoted Jocketty on agent Barry Axelrod's reaction to the offer:
"If we don't get one of these guys we still feel we have a pretty strong rotation," Jocketty said. "We wanted to get a little depth; it might've allowed us to do some other things. We'll have to go to Plan C. We have a lot of plans left."
If that's not enough for you, I spoke with Bernie Miklasz today, also of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to Bernie:
"They've been rejected by Morris.... not officially, but Jocketty was bummed about the response he got from Axelrod."
Alexrod's response probably indicated that Morris wasn't going to be giving the Cardinal discount after the club came crawling back to him.
My count of Jocketty's Plans so far differs from his. I've got A.J. Burnett as Plan A, Javier Vazquez as Plan B, and Matt Morris as Plan C. Despite Jocketty's posturing, Adam Wainwright isn't ready for a Major League rotation. Wainwright avoided surgery after he finished 2004 with an aching elbow, and he went on to post OK numbers at Triple A Memphis. He definitely needs more seasoning. Don't expect the Cards to open the season with both Anthony Reyes and Wainwright in the rotation.
So let's figure this out: who's Plan D? Let's scan the Top 50 Free Agents List. The Cards are too cheap for Roger Clemens even if he would play for them. Kevin Millwood, Jeff Weaver, and Jarrod Washburn will all cost at least as much as Morris. This takes us all the way down to #42, Jason Johnson. Johnson might be had $11MM over two years, and he's my guess for Plan D. Of course, if it comes to that, it might make sense to just hang on to Jason Marquis and find another way to acquire an outfielder.
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