One year ago today, the St. Louis Cardinals made a trade that would have an enormous impact on the history of the franchise. General Manager John Mozeliak remade the bullpen and fortified the rotation and bench by acquiring relievers Octavio Dotel and Marc Rzepczynski, starter Edwin Jackson, and outfielder Corey Patterson from the Toronto Blue Jays. Shipped up to Canada were pitchers PJ Walters, Brian Tallet, and Trever Miller along with centerfielder and former organizational “untouchable” Colby Rasmus.
Personality and hustle issues aside, Rasmus was a young and talented cost-controlled player and three of the four players the Cards received from Toronto would be free agents at the end of 2011. This was a win-now move by Mozeliak, and win the Cardinals did. But both franchises involved in this deal felt immediate impact. In case you need reminding, this trade largely led directly to the following for the Cardinals:
And, not to be outdone, this trade led directly to the following for the Blue Jays:
Well played, Mo…well played.
Every year, the United Cardinal Bloggers cast ballots on all the best the St. Louis Cardinals and its merry band of citizen journalists has to offer. My picks are bolded & underlined, and some explanation for each vote appears in italics below it. I didn’t offer any commentary for my votes on the blogs because I believe you, the reader, should visit them. I think you’ll see, in each case, the blog I voted for speaks for itself.
Cardinal Bloggers Awards
1. Player of the Year
Like there’s ever any doubt.
2. Pitcher of the Year
He’s the Cardinals’ ace. He’ll be here for a while, and they need to build the rotation around him.
3. Game of the Year
–April 5 at Cincinnati-Opening Day, 2 HR from Pujols, slam from Molina
–May 30 at Chicago-Pujols three home runs
–July 18 vs. Los Angeles-Five runs in eight and ninth to win
–July 19 vs. Philadelphia-Four home runs
–August 10 at Cincinnati-Brawl, home run from Molina
I think this game represents the best of the 2010 Cardinals; unfortunately it was also a turning point in the wrong direction.
4. Surprise Player of the Year
I think “cautiously optimistic” is the most anyone would say about Garcia before the 2010 season. In 2011, the question will be whether he can still be an effective #3 starter. That’s quite a jump in perception.
5. Disappointing Player of the Year
What was most disappointing about Ryan was that stretch where even his defense wasn’t good. Ryan’s increased offense in 2009 was probably an aberration, unfortunately. Now we know.
6. Rookie of the Year
There’s really nothing to say here…easy call.
7. Acquisition of the Year
In April, the Penny signing looked like it was going to make the Cards the favorite to go all the way. The rotation looked completely unstoppable. But that didn’t last very long. Westbrook brought stability, and now he’s a Cardinal for at least two more years. That may not have happened without being traded to STL in 2010.
8. Biggest Off-Field Story
-Jaime Garcia’s shutdown without him knowing
-Mark McGwire’s return to baseball
-Colby Rasmus’s trade request
This was just weird. Rasmus looked bad, Tony LaRussa looked bad, and the team suddenly appeared even more chaotic than everyone speculated. It will be interesting to see how things play out next season.
9. Most Anticipated Cardinal
I’m going to go ahead and say it: Shelby Miller will make his St. Louis Cardinals debut in 2012, and will be a full member of the rotation in 2013 alongside Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia. We may see the other two guys before then, but Miller is a lock. Write it down.
10. Best Individual Cardinal Blog
11. Best Team Cardinal Blog
-Write-in: Joe Sports Fan
12. Best Media Blog
13. Best UCB Project
-Cardinal All-Decade Team
-Progressive Game Blog
The roundtable discussions really are my favorite. I love getting a preview of everyone’s thoughts on a topic, especially how those thoughts relate to my own. It’s the closest thing to live debate we have at UCB.
14. Most Optimistic Cardinal Blog
-Write-in: C70 At The Bat
15. Funniest Cardinal Blog
-Write-in: Cards Diaspora
16. Rookie Cardinal Blog of the Year
The Cardinals signed lefty reliever Dennys Reyes today. Kind of surprising since they already had five lefthanders in camp: Trever Miller, Royce Ring, Charlie Manning, Ian Ostlund and Katsuhiko Maekawa. Reyes certainly adds an air of credibility that these others don’t quite have. What this tells me is either a) Duncan and LaRussa have been less than impressed with most of what they’ve seen from their lefties, or b) this was the plan all along, and the team was waiting for the market to play itself out. Thoughts?
Wow…I almost forgot I had this blog. I looked at my last post (of a robust 2) and it was before the 2005 season. A lot has changed since then. Here’s a quick review:
- In 2005, the Cardinals won 100 games but lost in the NLCS to the Houston Astros. The Astros were then beaten by the Chicago White Sox in the World Series.
- The Cards moved into a new version of Busch Stadium, which is spectacular. No one will ever forget the memories of our old cookie-cutter, but this new home is beautiful.
- THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS WON THE 2006 WORLD SERIES!!!
- 2007 and 2008 have been down years when compared to the glory days of 2004-2006. Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and David Eckstein are gone. Jason Isringhausen is not likely to return. Mark Mulder turned out to be a bust. But a new crop of youngsters have come through the system, and with some surprises (namely Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick) this team is watchable if not exciting.
So this offseason, the Cards find themselves in the position of having money to spend and prospects to trade. So far, they’ve brought back Kyle Lohse and Jason LaRue, signed Trever Miller, and traded for Khalil Greene. The remaining holes to fill? The Cards still need a second baseman, a closer, and some insurance in the rotation because, let’s face it, counting on Carpenter will be just as much a mistake in 2009 as it was in 2008. They need to make whatever he contributes a nice bonus, not a glaring necessity.
Greene is a nice low-risk/high-reward guy. He only has one year left on his contract, and he’s in desperate need of a fresh start. Miller will fill the need for a lefty reliever nicely, as long as his shoulder holds up.
It’s great to be back but I’m going to have to wrap this up for now. I’ll be posting as often as I can. Next week’s Winter Meetings should be pretty active. Check back for more info…