Joe Strauss of the St Louis Post Dispatch reports that Jason Isringhausen started throwing easily yesterday and is on pace to be ready for opening day. That has to be a relief to the Cardinals front office. This allows Adam Wainwright to focus on being a starter and not be relied on to be a closer.
Jason Stark of ESPN.com is reporting that the Cardinals along with the Astros and Nationals are the front runners to sign free agent Steve Trachsel. I guess the Cardinals aren’t as comfortable with the idea of Braden Looper as a starter as they say they are.
A bit of a sad note as former Cardinal catcher Mike Matheny announced his retirement a few days ago due to reoccurring concussion problems. I’m sure I’m not the only one that hopes Mike is back in the Cardinal organization very soon. He’s a born leader and a quality character guy.
Here’s a look at the predicted starters for the 07 season.
David Eckstein – Although Ecks won the World Series MVP, his regular season on base percentage and total bases were down from his 05 season. I expect his numbers to be back up this season and his defense will be solid as always.
Chris Duncan – Dunc surprised everyone with his offensive ability last season proving that he really does have the stuff to hit in the majors. Hopefully for the Cardinals he’s spent his off season working on improving his defense. With a full season of at bats look for Duncan to put up better numbers than his impressive rookie season and improved defense.
Albert Pujols – Do I really need to say anything? We all know what were going to get…MVP
Scott Rolen – Scott put up good numbers last season but suffered a bit towards the end of the season as his surgically repaired shoulder wore down. More than a year removed from his surgery and saying that he’s back to 100% Scotty will be back to his All-Star ways.
Jim Edmonds – Jim’s coming off his lowest season totals in home runs, RBI, and batting average since 1999. After a couple of off season surgeries Edmonds should have a healthier season. His best seasons are behind him but his offensive numbers will be up from last year and his defense will still be at a Gold Glove level.
Juan Encarnacion – I’ve never seen someone look as bad at the plate all season and still manage to put of a decent season like Juan did. I’ve never been a big fan of Juan and his skipping out on the World Series parade didn’t help things out at all, but he should put up respectable numbers this season.
Adam Kennedy – Finally the seasonal merry-go-round at second base seems to be over after the Cardinals signed Kennedy for three years. He plays solid defense and is better offensively than anyone that played the position last season. His familiarity with Eckstein from the days with the Angels will make the transition to a new team much easier.
Yadiar Molina – After a dismal season at the plate last season Molina seemed to find his stroke when it counted most hitting .358 with a .424 on base percentage during the playoffs. If he can keep that stroke going this season he could become the best catcher in baseball.
Billed as the "final piece to the puzzle" Jeff Weaver left a bit of a hole in the Cardinals starting rotation by signing with the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. Both sides are blaming the other for the deal not getting done and we’ll probably never know the exact truth of what happened. What I do know is that there is a large percentage of Cardinal Nation that thinks the management made a big mistake by letting Weaver walk. I was among that group until I got to looking at the big picture.
The last image most of us have of Jeff Weaver is him walking off the mound pumping his fist after dominating the Tigers in game five of the World Series. What most don’t remember is the 3-10 record that caused the Angels to trade him to the Cardinals for a Double A player. Over Jeff Weaver’s eight seasons in the majors he has had a winning record twice, that’s right twice. Over Weavers career he has only won 46% of his games. Compare that to new Cardinal Kip Wells who wins 44% of his games and makes half the money.
Has Weaver finally figured things out and live up to the potential that everyone knows he has? Only time will tell but my money is on another losing record for him. I think the Cardinals made the right decision not over paying for Weaver.
A view of the scoreboard at night
A view from the left field bleachers