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Cardinals are striking out on the pitching front (Bernie's Rant)

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  • Cardinals are striking out on the pitching front (Bernie's Rant)

    Honest, I can't figure out Cardinals management.

    I can't understand why a team that had historically bad starting pitching in 2007 would go into a new season with the same set of arms, the same set of vulnerabilities.

    Did team chairman Bill DeWitt and general manager John Mozeliak forget the lessons of '07?

    Did they scrub the statistics from their memories? It's amazing to me that the Cardinals continue to neglect such a chronically troublesome area.

    Just to refresh:

    The 2007 Cardinals had a starting rotation that produced the fewest innings (889) and the highest ERA in franchise history for a full, nonstrike season.

    Because Cardinals starters couldn't go deep into games, an overworked bullpen set a franchise record for the most innings pitched (546 2/3) in a season. It's little wonder the relievers flamed out in September, staggering to the end with a final-month ERA of 4.89 as the Cardinals dropped out of contention.

    To shore up the team's most glaring weakness, Mozeliak and DeWitt retained late-season pickup Joel Pineiro on a two-year contract. And the Cardinals made only one other minor move, signing the surgically repaired Matt Clement, who hasn't pitched in the majors since June 2006.

    At the time of the transaction, Mozeliak cited an inspection conducted by the team's medical staff and insisted Clement was healthy. But Clement's weak shoulder won't be ready by opening day, and his viability is in question.

    Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper and Pineiro are set for three rotation spots. Brad Thompson, Todd Wellemeyer and Anthony Reyes will compete for the two other spots, at least for now.

    But except for Wainwright, who pitched at least seven innings in 15 of 32 starts last season, the Cardinals' rotation is lean on innings providers. And that same cast is back, minus Kip Wells.

    Last year's rotation contributed only 37 starts (out of 162) that lasted at least seven innings, and only 87 that went at least six innings. And there were 63 starts that expired in five innings or fewer. So with essentially the same crew in place, where will the bulk innings, and the quality innings, come from?

    Maybe Mark Mulder, but only a fool would bank on that with any certainty. Maybe Clement, but how can we be optimistic? Chris Carpenter won't be in play until around the All-Star break, but the last thing the Cardinals will do is burden him with a load of innings in his comeback from elbow surgery. Maybe a starting-pitching prospect will immediately emerge from the minors, but that rarely happens in this organization.

    I supported team management's decision to take a pass on mediocre free agents

    (Carlos Silva) who signed pricey, long-term contracts. The Cardinals would be dimwits to clog up their future payroll with pedestrian, second-rate starters.

    But cheaper alternatives unexpectedly surfaced during the offseason. Starters could be signed to one-year contracts. And if you're facing an acute innings shortage again, don't you owe it to your manager, players and fans to patch it up?

    Livan Hernandez, Josh Fogg and Jon Lieber settled for one-year deals. I don't know what Jeff Weaver and Kyle Lohse are seeking, but they can't have much leverage. Lohse pitched 193 innings last season.

    Weaver has reached 200 innings five times in his career, and we know that he responds to STL pitching coach Dave Duncan.

    Bartolo Colon is still out there, but he's a physical risk. Which means he's cheap. Which means he's the Cardinals' kind of guy!

    The Reds have a morestable rotation than the Cardinals but just added Fogg for $1 million.

    The Cubs have more starters than the Cardinals but signed Lieber to a conditional deal that depends on his innings pitched.

    The Twins scooped up Hernandez, a true workhorse, for one year and $5 million.

    None of these contracts would break DeWallet.

    But if you're DeWitt, why spend money?

    The owners can write off the season. After all, the Cardinals will easily surpass 3 million tickets sold in 2008.

    At least one rotation — the precious click of the turnstiles — is all set.

    First rant of 2008, Bern?

  • #2
    that makes no sense
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    • #3
      Bring me Cliff Lee.

      LaDuncan can fix him.

      "Sometimes you score, sometimes you don't," Tarasenko said. "You can't score every game. So, at the same time, you need to help your team. You can be a factor. That's what I try to do. I believe it's coming if you just don't think about it".


      • #4
        More coded messages.


        • #5
          he's right to a certain extent, but there wasnt much out there in the FA market..and what was available was over-priced or wanted to many years.

          But, where were the trades? Have some young outfielders that may get the Cards something...

          The pitching is horrendous...and will ensure a near last-place finish.


          • #6
            Hard to disagree with him on this.


            • #7

              anyone else notice that little swipe?