You can’t help but be a little skeptical that the Cardinals plan to go with Larry Bigbie and So Taguchi as their left fielder all year long. Bigbie’s had a few tolerable years in ’03-’04, but let’s face it: he’s basically Todd Hollandsworth. You want him coming off the bench. Taguchi is in his mid-30s and certainly won’t manage league average production for a left fielder. Not to mention he’ll be needed to back up Jim Edmonds for a signficant amount of time. And third-stringer John Rodriguez may be on the outs.
I did what I always do when I want to dissect the Cardinals – I talked to Larry of Viva El Birdos. Most of the following is culled directly from Larry, who has his finger on the pulse of the team.
About a week ago, Cardinals’ beat writer Matt Leach opined that by the time the playoffs roll around, an impact bat or at least someone else will be starting in left field. According to Larry, other journalists covering the team are on the same page.
Larry considered Mench the frontrunner, saying, "Mench could come over during Spring Training; I
have this feeling a Mench-for-Marquis trade has been sitting there, shrink-wrapped and ready to be run through the bar-code reader, for two or three months. If the Cards decide in the next 2-3 weeks that Ponson-Reyes-Wainwright can cover them, they’ll pull the trigger."
I agree entirely. It’d be a deal that would help both teams, and Jason Botts could probably approximate Mench’s numbers for the Rangers. Botts’s 2005 season in Triple A was roughly the equivalent of a .252/.315/.444 line in the Majors. I have a lot of faith in Reyes, so the only wild card would be Ponson in the fifth spot.
On Gonzo, Larry said: "If they add Gonzalez, it won’t be until mid-season due to his large 2006 salary." That’d be $11.5MM, and don’t forget that Luis has trade veto power. My hunch is that he’d be willing to come to St. Louis if the D’Backs aren’t contending. A very solid candidate to be acquired by the Cards.
Larry rightfully dismissed Payton, Lee, and Church. The Cards don’t really have anything the A’s need for Payton; Lee presents a division rival trade, something that Jocketty hasn’t done for quite some time (perhaps dating back to Fernando Vina). He said that the front office may not see Church as a major improvement over what they have, though we both agree that he would be. Jose Guillen’s current status doesn’t look too bad, but the Nats will still have a strong need for Church unless Soriano moves to center field.
To throw one more name into the mix, Cardinals Diaspora was researching a possible Craig Wilson trade. In a nutshell, Ryan says that while Wilson seems like a good fit, the Cards may be looking for a lefty and the Pirates may prefer to deal Sean Casey at the deadline. Good read.
There you have it. Granted this is all just educated speculation, but we did unearth the Cards’ interest in A.J. Burnett the last time we put our blogs/heads together.