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Cardinals Talking To Tomo Ohka

According to Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are talking to free agent hurler Tomo Ohka.

Ohka is slowly but surely being elevated to God-like status as the market thins.  The Jason Marquis contract really inflated the lower end of the pitching market. 

You can read my full profile of Ohka here.

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Thanks Hendry.

Well, it's a start. It shouldn't take much to win the Central, and Ohka is better than nobody. Still need a #2 starter...any ideas people???

Also, his career ERA is only 4.04... that's worth getting a little excited about. And besides, even if he sucks, we got a new best friend for So Taguchi!!!

A multi-year deal for a finesse guy with shoulder and back problems?

Last year as his velocity dropped he went from a pitching to contact tendency to solely pitching to contact, slow pitch softball style. From August on, his k/9 ratio fell to right around 3.0. Love the career history but something's not right with Mr. Ohka -- he was good for the Brewers while he was here but he's at risk of blowing up or being blown up every time he takes the mound.

Duncan loves him, so he must see something we don't.

Posted by: plh903 | December 12, 2006 at 11:12 AM

(aka philerup)

Well, it's a start. It shouldn't take much to win the Central, and Ohka is better than nobody. Still need a #2 starter...any ideas people???

As a Cub fan, this is the first postive about the Marquis signing. If its going to make you sign a guy that has these problems and his velocity is dropping, for multiple years and a large sum of money, maybe there is a postive on the Marquis signing. I personally would love to see it so there is a batting practice pitcher on both teams.

I think that its going to take more than you think to win the Central though, the Astros and Cubs have made HUGE improvements on thier offense and the Cubs, while they are minor (aka Marquis...) have made improvements over last year's pitching staff as well. And don't forget about the Brewers and Reds, who actually do have a shot in this crazy division. Should really be interesting. All in all, as a Cubs fan, I would love to see the Cards with Ohka and Wells on thier staff. It gives us even more hope.

I think that he's a good pitcher and, being a Cubs fan, I personally don't want to see him go to the Cardinals. I have to hope that someone else will step in and give him a better offer.

Aduncaroo, the Cubs wasted their money...Soriano was good, but their pitching staff is still a joke. The Cards will improve their staff soon- Jocketty always does the right thing, and he won't blow it. We will get a legitimate #2 starter, and will be the best team in the division, as usual.

The Astros have hardly made "vast improvements" on offense. Lee is good, but he's overrated and is terrible on defense. Even if their offense is better, it's still sub-par, and they lost Pettitte and probably Clemens. Who's going to replace those two?

As for the Reds and Brewers, I'm sick of hearing about teams like them having a chance every year just to watch them flop. Don't even mention those teams until they actually DO SOMETHING.

Lee is not a bad defensive player at all. At least get your facts straight before you shit on other teams.

I would say the Reds gave you a run for your money this year, and that they "did something" already.

Also, Houston will be MUCH better on offense. Any time you have Berkman and Lee hitting back to back, one or both of them are going to see better pitches. Thats scary when you look at the numbers Berkman was putting up with NO protection the last few years. Then you throw in Ensberg and a few of their other players, and I think they could have a good offense, especially with Lee hitting fly balls that are going to be home runs in that park.

I agree with thier pitching staff, and thats why I am a little more comfortable. Still, they havent had an offense in a LONG time, so you never know.

I think that Jocketty is probably the 2nd best GM in baseball, only behind Beane. I have a lot of respect for him, so dont think I am talking smack. I just don't know what he has to work with. He is going to have to make a trade to get anyone near a #2, and in this market that is going to cost them significanly. Someone like Reyes or Duncan, I would think, are going to have to be included in the deal because they have very little in thier farm system. Unfortuneately, I too have faith in Walt doing the best thing for the Cards. However, in this market, the best thing might be not to give up what it takes to get a legit #2. If you do, I too give you the edge in the division.

As for the Cubs moves, they did overspend. The fact is, I dont care. They are doing what it takes to be competitive, and they will be. I think Pinella gives them 10 wins over Dusty. I also think besides Soriano that Derosa will really help and Lilly, while not being a legit #2, will do well and benefit from being in the NL. I am not going out like an idiot and saying the Cubs are definately going to win the division, but I will say its up for grabs at this point.

You make good points, but here's my main point: the Cardinals were better than their 83 wins suggested, and we will be better in many areas next year. People forget Luna/Miles and Taguchi started most of the season last year, and that Ponson and Reyes as a rookie were in the rotation. Suppan was our #2 for crying out loud! Kennedy makes us better, Duncan for a full year makes us better, healthy Edmonds/Rolen/Pujols makes us better, and we didn't lose anyone great on the mound. Wainwright and Reyes will hit their stride, and we won't need much more pitching to repeat.
Finally, the Cubs are the only Central team to really improve overall, and their pitching staff won't add 25 wins. I'm sorry, they just won't. Give them 2 years before they can contend. Ok I'm done.

The central is still awful. Like somebody already said, Carlos Lee doesnt play bad defense at all, and he also isnt slow. he stole 20 bags. You make it sound like the Reds were awful last year, but the truth is, the Reds did choke, which happens to be the only reason u had a playoff team to begin with. The Cards handed that division to Cinci on a silver platter and the Reds said we dont want it and threw it back. Im not going to start arguing that you dont deserve the WS, cuz you did. You didnt deserve to make the playoffs however, but once u did, u made the best out of it. Dont expect 83 wins to get it done again. That being said, i still say the Cards are the favorite in the Central, like always, and the Cubs will probably finish in 3rd or 4th place, 10 games back. Your right stormstarter, no way that Cubs rotation is winning 25 more games. I find it funny that Cub fans say it was all because of injuries, injuries r the only reason they didnt make the playoffs. Then the same people turn around and blame it on Dusty, saying Piniella is worth 10 more wins atleast. Since when did Dusty Baker become a bad manager. That team was awful, and the best manager in the universe couldnt of done a better job then that. Which one is it Cubbie fans? Bakers fault? Or Injuries? Cant have it both ways. You cant say well were going to win 10 more games cuz healthy guys are back, and 10 more cuz we have piniella now and Dusty sucked. It doesnt work both ways. By the way, who was the last shitty team that Piniella took over? How did that work out? Michael Barret better be ready to call some good games, because if he doesnt, Sweet Lou is going to rip him a new asshole

Just ask Toby Hall about that.

All very good points nrmax... but I'm saying even though we only ended up with 83 wins, our team was much better than that (as we proved in the playoffs). During that huge losing streak at the end of the year, we were tied or winning in the 7th inning 9 of those losses! We could've just as easily won 90, and we're going to be just as good in '07. I expect 88 wins and the division victory.

I am not saying Dusty was a bad manager. He is just not one that the cubs needed. He wanted to be thier best friend. However, he is not Sweet Lou. Lou is the kind of manager that the cubs have needed for a LONG time. They need discipline, and Lou is that by definition. The pitching staff doesnt have to add 25 wins. Lou will do some, and D.Lee and Soriano with DeRosa and the rest will do some as well. It doesnt matter if they do or don't put Sori in Center. While Pierre covers a lot of ground, he throws like a third grader. They dont have to do much else to get at least 10 wins just from thier offense alone. Can you really tell me that Soriano and a healthy D.Lee aren't worth 10 to 15, even 20 games? They are two of the better players in the NL, so they would make a HUGE difference over last year's crap they threw out there. Nevin, Mabry at first? C'mon.

Mix that with betther (not great) pitching, and they CAN get 25 games better. I said CAN, not will. They need to stay healthy, and I'm not betting on it. All I am saying is that you take a look at better pitching and WAY better offense, the EXACT (maybe besides Leland) Manager that can help give them the discipline they need, and ther IS potential to win 25 more games.

Dunc,

I am sure that Lee and Soriano will improve the respective offenses for a few years before their contracts ultimately hamstring the teams for all eternity.

There is a long way to go before the Astros have a legit offense. Let's see if they non-tender Ensberg, that would be hysterical. Don't forget Pettitte and Clemens. The Astros have taken a step back, no matter how hard El Caballo and Berkman hit the ball next year (great 1-2 punch for a few seasons at least, I'll admit that).

For the Cubs, it all comes down to whether or not Mark Prior or D Lee have another 2003, and 2005 before the team really improves that much at all.

Lilly and Marquis are completely underwhelming. Soriano will help next year, but may be wasted in the 1-hole, hitting a lot of homers with a low OBP.

When healthy the Cards were more like a 90-win team who showed that they could blow past the best competition in the offseason.

The lineup is the same, maybe Duncan hits like he did last year for an entire year.

Remember, the Cards got 93 innings+ out of 3 starters last year. One was Marquis, who was arguably the worst pitcher in the NL that somehow kept his job. And the other was Suppan, who had a terrific second half and postseason, but fans were calling for his outright release at the all-star break. Mulder had a 7.00 ERA. Ponson? The list goes on.

Just a healthy rotation of Carp, Reyes, Wells, Wainwright, and Ohka(?) is ten times better than how the rotation performed last year.

Add it all up and the Cards are coming off a World Series win, adding by subtracting, and going with youthful talent.

The Cubs, while Soriano is a nice player, haven't improved much and are coming off a 66 win year. All this for 300 million dollars.

Something you may not like to hear is that the Cubs got .280/30/90 out of the first base slot last year, which is exactly what Bill James projects.

Saying the NL Central is a toss-up is not really that reasonable.

I'm not ready to crown the Cubs, they've spent money unwisely, in a way that will have bigger ramifications on the game. That is on Hendry. I made a joke about it earlier in the thread, but what does the Marquis signing do to the market? Arbitration costs? When is the next round of collusion? Work stoppage?

A healthy Edmonds, pitching staff, a real 2B all improve the Cards - who only DIDN'T have injuries at RF, SP2, and SP4.

What did the Cubs do? $300 million on a career UTIL guy, their same poor fielding third baseman who had an OPS+ less than Rolen's last year (Rolen even had a down year), and two extreme fly-ball pitchers who have thrown .500 ball at best their entire careers (to pitch at Wrigley)!

P.S. Brewers win the Wild Card.

Oh, and I will put the over-under on fistfights between Lou and Marquis at 6.

Lou wins in the 3rd Round

Cub fans can turn any forum into a discussion about there team. And they still don't have a legit CF, they overpayed every free agent they signed including Ramirez and think Zambrano is the second coming of Bob Gibson. Please enough Cubs talk the only move they made that made sense is Sweet Lou and Ramirez since they had noone ready to replace him but should have had him cheaper by takin care of it the year before. Just enough of the Cubs talk please til they make a move that makes sense.

Finally, someone else who has their head on straight. Thank you, plh. I knew I wasn't the ONLY one who realized the Cardinals are still clearly on top. It came down to the wire against ONLY THE ASTROS last year, and they are obviously worse. The other teams were all chasing and failing, like they always do, and there's no reason to believe that will change now.

I understand your points, and I'm not ready to crown anyone winning. I just think its up for grabs. Here are my thoughts on why the Cardinals aren't going to be any better than last year....

1. Pitching Staff - You can't tell me that losing your #2, even if it was Suppan, isn't going to hurt. I am chomping at the bit to see hitters (especially a lineup like the Cubs) face Wells. I can almost guarentee that he doesnt do any better than Marquis. Reyes and Wainright are unpredictable, bottom line. If you want to talk about what they could do, you have to throw Rich Hill in there who has at least as much potential to be dominant as either of the two, if not both. Don't get me wrong, I was really impressed with Wainright, he has poise and some sick stuff. However, they may have to keep him in the pen, and even if they don't, there is no guarentee that he is going to make the transition smoothly. I like him though, so you dont have to argue there.

Rolen had a down year because his career is on the downfall. He is getting older every year, and worse every year. He and Edmonds peaked at the same time, and are getting worse practically by the game. I know Edmonds and his shoulder and how he did in the playoffs...etc. But face it, he is not going to hit over .280 and wont hit 25 HR again. His game is degressing, along with Rolen's. Still good players, but I still don't think that they will be even as good as they were last year.

So, I don't see thier staff matching last year, and I did read your post. But I'm sorry, I don't see, as of now, anyone that is going to put up solid numbers for a full season besides Carp. Wainwright is your next best bet, but thats where the Cubs are with Hill.

Offense is worse, I just don't see it getting better. I see Duncan in a sophmore slump, and I REALLY hope that they start him in the OF, that is the worst defensive player in the OF that I have ever seen! I just don't see Rolen or Edmonds protecting Pujols like they used to. Their numbers are going to be worse, and Pujols will get less pitches to hit. I could be wrong, but thats just the way I see it.

We can agree to disagree, I'm not here to bring up the Cubs in every discussion. I am just trying to make the point that the division is open. I will give you the respect that you have earned and say that the Cards are the favorites, because I am a baseball fan, not just a Cubs fan. You guys ended up winning it all last year, and you deserve that respect until someone PROVES that they are better. So, you guys are on top until then, but I think its going to be a fun year....

duncaroo, you just took every possible cardinals situation, and turned it into worst case scenario, if every bad thing that can happen to the cards happens, they will still beat out the cubs. BOTTOM LINE

Even if the Cards went with spare parts for the fifth slot, the rotation can't be as bad as last year. It literally can't unless they somehow have to field the rotation from Memphis, and even then it probably wouldn't be.

Rolen, he was never 100% last year, and even if (he's 31) he never has another 2004 he will be better than Ramirez, like he was last year, in his WORST year to date. He is a 9-win player, regardless of is he hits 25 or 35 homeruns. .900 OPS in a down year? Yes please.

Jimmy doesn't have to have another 2004 either, his career may be on the decline, which is understandable, it's the end. But, his "decline" is coming off of a 5-year statistical high which can only be compared to Willie Mays, Griffey, and Mantle at their best. Look it up.

He still posted a .947 OPS against right-handers and played the best defense you will ever see in a year which he was battling post-concussion sydrome and didn't know where he was half the time. Shoulder, foot etc. The post-season was a good sign that he will post a another .900 OPS in 130 games against righties next year. Or, higher than Soriano's career high (.911 OPS).

Aaron Miles played 122 games at 2B - no need to go through it but Adam Kennedy is a ridiculously better player, he kills righties and the Fielding Bible has him as the second best defensive 2B from 2003-2005, second only to a fly ball hog.

We are all praying that Duncan can catch a fly ball and hit righties to the tune of 1.050 OPS again next year. You wouldn't be in the minority on a Cardinals message board worrying about that kid.

I am not knocking Rich Hill at all, he could be one of the good ones. There are also probably several guys that would do as good as or better than Marquis and Lilly next year at Wrigley already in the Cubs system. I think they effectively hurt themselves, all for a paltry $70mm or so.

I am not penciling in the Birds as repeat Champs, just doing a relative analysis on improvement.

While the Cards have to improve on a World Series winner, the Cubs are charges with improving a 66 win ball club.

I see both improving some, the Cards ten games with health and pitching.

The Cubs? Hell, I'll give them 15 just to be a nice guy...

(read my first post as to why I actually believe that number is lower)

...and where does that get you?

The Cubs have to be lucky to have a shot, and the Cards have to be unlucky not to. (like last year when they won the World Series...)

Dunc, when are you going to be up in Chicago?

(yes sportsfans, aduncaroo live in St. Louis and plh lives in Chicago, funny huh?)

Looking forward to a much better regular season in the Central, I'll say that.

nrmax88,
Funny you should say that, the Cards took every worst case scenario and turned it into a REALITY last year.

(Short of Carpenter and Pujols being hit by a train.)

What happened at the end?

Hey Phil,

If you are going to look up Bill James, take a look at what he projects for Rich Hill next year. (at least I think its him)

I remember seeing that Hill was projected to be among the league leaders in Innings and Wins, and leading the league in strikeouts. Like I said, Hill has some SICK potential, but I want to see him prove it to me, and when it matters for the team. Wainwright did that, although it was from the bullpen, thats why I'm so high on him. (That curveball he threw to Beltran was just filthy, one of the best from a right hander I have seen.)

I have an interesting discussion though. I think Walt is a genious and an idiot at the same time. In the last 5 years, he made one my favorite trades, and one of my least favorites. Trading away a problem child like Drew to the Braves for a reliever and a kid who had GREAT potential was awesome. Who else did they get from the Braves? I know it was Wainwright and whats his face, the big guy who ended up hating Larussa 2 years ago. Anyway, Drew was a huge problem even when he was healthy and I think Walt was awesome for seeing that.

The 2nd is the bad one, and that was giving up Haren for Mulder. I know they needed that Ace #2, and they thought they had it. But he was already losing velocity and Haren was\already is a gem. Its kind of funny because these trades, I think, literally ended up canceling eachother out because they lost Haren and gained Wainwright. Both are going to be very good, but I guess Wainwright has a bit more to prove.

And since I need to be fair, I am going to throw one just idiotic trade that Hendry made. He gave up 3 top pitching prospects for Freakin Juan Pierre last year. Unbeleivable. The Marlins are loving it now being that one of them is already in thier starting rotation and threw a gem against the Cubs last year. He can definatly be an idiot. So for all of you that think that Cubs fans are blind to these things, at least I'm not. He did trade almost no one for Ramirez though, so he does have one great trade under his belt. We just need about 5 more of those.

As far as Wells goes, look at his history? Blood clot, finger issue, blah blah. When he is healthy he is good.

No, I am not going to say that he is Duncan's next Carpenter per se. But there are striking similarities.

I can't wait to see him, because Duncan can't wait to get him here, that's all I need to know.

Compare him to Marquis if you must, but Cardinal Nation is breathless waiting for him to throw his first pitch in that band box.

We don't like to talk about Dan Haren. At the time it didn't seem so bad, considering Mulder's track record. But still, plenty of us weren't happy, even then.

Daric Barton (will be good) and Calero aren't scrubs themselves.

We will just have to rest our cases on the cubs\cards things, I'm sure we will do more of that in person some time if you come down here. It is ironic the cities that we live in though.....to say the least.

I didn't take worse case scenarios and best for the cubs. I took reality. I said that I dont expect the Cubs to stay healthy, but the talent is there. Based on history, I just can't say that they are going to be healthy, which is the WORSE case scenario for them, not the best case.

All I said about the Cards is that I don't see anyone with the exception of Wainwright from thier rotation being solid. I could be wrong, but that also is not worse case, its just what I see. Worse case would be that Wells bombs again, the Rookies (Wainwright and Reyes) from last year choke and blow it. That is the worse case, and I am not saying that either. Those two will be ok, not great, but you have to hope for solid ERAs from them. You need another pitcher, plain and simple. I am betting on Marquis sucking like he always has, and you can quote me on that. .500 would be a pleasant suprise. So, I am not going best case worse case, don't insult my intelligence by saying that. I may not be completely unbiased, but how many cubs fans are going to give the Cards the respect that they deserve and earned next year? I am one of them, so don't tell me I am not being fair.

i like to see the cards trade duncan and prospects for pavano and sign wilkerson this would give us one of the top line-ups and defense

eck
wilkerson
pujols
rolen
edmonds
juan
kennedy
molina

carp
pavano
reyes
wells
wainwright

"So, I am not going best case worse case, don't insult my intelligence by saying that. I may not be completely unbiased, but how many cubs fans are going to give the Cards the respect that they deserve and earned next year? I am one of them, so don't tell me I am not being fair."

Hopefully you were referring to someone else in that last bit?

Wilkerson is an OBP machine, and I would rather have Pavano, than not have him.

However, not if it means losing little Duncan.

I think that it would depend on how much salary the Cards would have eat, to determine what they would have to give up. If that makes sense.

Also, Dave Duncan only has so much magic in his bag.

little duncan is over rated he will never play like that for a whole season and right now his value is high so this is when you deal him espically when you can get a soid #2 pitcher and if we don't get him i like pinero

ohka is overrated, pinero is the best option with wainwright in the pen

Yes Phil, I was. Someone was saying that I was giving best case scenario for the cubs, and worse case for the Cards. I would like to think I am at least relatively fair, so thats all I was saying. Don't worry, I can always trust your knowledge (hopefully) to know that I'm not just another stupid Cubs fan that doesn't see reality. Like i said, in reality, you guys are the favorites because you have proved it, I just think the talent level is there for the Cubs too. Talent and performance are two different things....

plh, i was actually defending the cards, dont come running at me. I said all the things duncaroo said were worst case scenario, and even then the cubs cant compete with st louis. Just making u sure u understood that

and i didnt say anything about best case scenario for the cubs, only worst case for the cards

I agree cheek88. That lineup and rotation is much more scary looking at it from a competitor's point of view.

Plus, you lose that horrid outfield defense that Duncan is going to give you. Unless Pujols isn't on 1st (which is n't going to happen for at least 10 years) than I think Duncan is much more valuable to another team than he is to the Cards. However, I think you may want to wait a year because if he hits the way he did for a full season, you are going to be able to ask the world for him. Its a gamble, because he could slump, but its a risk that I think you can take being that you are going to be very competitive either way next year. Its not like you have to win 100 games to get this division.

You are right nrmax88, you did just say worse case for the cards. I still think I wasn't saying worse case scenarios though, but it probably seems like that because I am saying what I think will happen from a Cubs fan's point of view. Either way, all I'm saying is that I am showing the respect that needs to be shown to a World Series Champ, so please don't make me out to be some retarded Cubs fan who makes the rest of the baseball world think we are idiots. Many of them are, but every team has fans that can make people hate the team. I am cursed with being a Cubs fan whether I like it or not. I grew up going to Wrigley, and you just can't take that out of a kid. However, I am also a baseball fan who has real apprecaition for the game and for an organization that wins in a classy way. Thats why I have respect for the Cards and why I appreciate the rivalry the way it should be. It's a great thing for anyone that hasn't seen it first hand, and it's a lot of what the heart of baseball is all about.

when do we find out if wilkerson/pinero is nontendered they will be hard to get

pinero will get around 3-4 year 7-10 mil and wilkerson 3-5 8-11 mil

for the record. I don't want Ohka. Maybe because his name reminds me of Brett Tomko (I just threw up in my mouth).

ps- when your post is longer than my. I don't read it.

longer than my monitor. not longer than my post. woops

NRMAX,

Not disagreeing, just extrapolating that it actually did happen, and the rest of the NL Central was so bad that the Cards skirted in to the playoffs and got hot anyway.

No one is having this discussion had the Cards not dropped like 7 of 11 at the end anyway.

Dunc,

You're the only Cubs fan I like.

The blind optimism for the Cubs based on the moves they have mad is stifling, up here.

I can't wait for the regular season. A little better competition never hurt anyone.

Anyone who wants to trade Duncan,

The kid could realistically hit 40 homers. Will he? Who knows, but he might and I don't want to see Haren the Sequel anytime soon.

Ray King was the guy you are thinking of.

If I remember correctly, Tepper doesn't like the guy, for good reason.

Dude's an asshat. Effective against lefties, just don't run into him down at Buca.

As far as I see it, Ohka is as good as Suppan, and will probably garner a lower contract, and probably has more upside.

I agree plh903. I think we should give Duncan a full season and see what he can do. His value could sky rocket after next season, plus anybody that is gonna replace him full time will cost about ten times as much as Dunc.

Is there anyone the Cardinals haven't talked to? I like the Cardinals' approach. Talk to all the big pitchers to see if they'll take a discount and work their way down the list.

Do the Cardinals have many trading trips? They always swoop in and make a pretty good trade - except for that Mulder thing. But I don't know of anyone who's willing to trade a #2 starter besides the White Sox.

This is just for fun because I know the Cardinals would never, ever, ever trade him. But, can you imagine the type of package that Albert Pujols would command if he ever hit the trading block?

It would be something on the order of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays+.

"It would be something on the order of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays+."

And a player to be named later.

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