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Cardinals Face Decisions On Relievers

It seemed Jason Isringhausen's career was in jeopardy less than a year ago, but he's fully returned to form and re-established himself as a successful closer.  He's been ridiculously hard to hit this year, allowing a career-best 4.85 hits per nine innings. 

The Cardinals hold a very reasonable $8MM club option for 2008, with a $1.25MM buyout attached.  So there's no doubt Izzy will be donning Cardinal red once again next year.  He'll probably reach his 300th save, too.  The Cardinals may do that one better, though, giving him a contract to cover 2008-09 as they did Jim Edmonds.  I admit I liked the Edmonds deal at the time, but the Cardinals could've minimized risk by simply exercising his '07 option and leaving waiting on '08.  The same may apply here.

Additionally, it seems Cards reliever Russ Springer has scrapped retirement plans and would like to come back in 2008.  It's known that Springer has his son attending a specific school in St. Louis and would like to keep him there.  So look for the Cards to ink him for $3MM or so.  Surely he could get a two-year deal on the open market, so the length will depend on Springer's plans.

Walt Jocketty already locked up Ryan Franklin, another member of the St. Louis pen having a fine season.  Franklin is signed for 2008-09 for $5MM, with a club option for 2010. 

Coming into the season, who would've thought the three righties would form perhaps the best relief trio in the game?  The surprising nature of this speaks to the volatility of bullpens, which makes you wonder whether the Cardinals will want the same three pitchers under more expensive contracts in 2009.      



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