Thursday, July 10, 2008

The End of Mark Mulder.

Last night Mark Mulder injured his pitching shoulder in his first start of the '08 season. This was only his 6th appearance since the 2006 season in which he was injured as well. Barring a miraculous comeback I think Mark Mulder is done. In St. Louis anyways.

Which leads me to the question: When was the last time the Cards flopped so badly on a trade? While I'm thinking, let's look over the timeline that lead to this deal.

When the Cards got swept in the '04 series our weakness were a) we lacked a power pitcher and b) we lacked a lefty in the rotation. So when the Cards pulled the trigger on the Mulder deal I was extactic. Mulder had won 15 games or more the previous 4 seasons and was a dominant pitcher in the AL.

We gave up 3 players, but the one to focus on is Dan Haren. Haren was viewed as a mediocre pitcher although he was still young (24 when we dealt him). He had 6 career victories at the time. I actually thought we were giving away our future closer in Kiko Calero, but I still thought the trade was worth it.

Mulder gave us 1 good year. In 2005 he went 16 - 8 with a 3.64 ERA and pitched ok in the post-season. But that is it. Over the next 3 seasons Mark Mulder notched 6 victories. Six. Kip Wells won more than that many LAST SEASON! Now, it wasn't Mulder's fault, its not like he started pitching poorly and we had to bench him. But still, the Cards had bigger dreams than a pitcher getting 22 wins over 4 years. We wanted 20 wins in one season!

Dan Haren was placed in the A's starting rotation and figured things out pretty quickly. He has won 14 games each season since the trade and is looking like a Cy Young candidate with the Diamondbacks this season. He has won 51 games in the 3 plus seasons since the trade, and that number will only increase until the current season ends.

51 wins to 22 wins. And Haren gets paid half as much. That could be the flop of my generation.

But somehow the Cardinals are in the playoff hunt in July. La Russa just called out the Cards management asking for a boost through a trade. I couldn't agree more. The Cards would be World Series contenders if we pulled off the Holliday/Fuentes trade with Colorado. Holliday is a pure hitter and Fuentes is a left handed reliever with experience. I know we value our own prospects, but I value rewarding a hard working team with a chance to win it all even more.

I don't have extensive knowledge of the farm system, so I can't conjure up AA talent that would be included in a trade. I would include in any talk the names Ryan, Duncan, Ludwick and Reyes. I think the Cards would be extactic if any team took Reyes or Duncan off our hands, but I doubt that happens. I think Ludwick is having a career year and we should get good value for him. The Cards are loaded at middle infield right now, and Brendan Ryan has good hustle and average talent. Get the value now!

I would not include Rick Ankiel. Look what he has done this year. Good defense. Great arm strength. .270 average. On pace for 30 homers. All in his SECOND year full time outfield. This guy is only gonna get better, and frankly the Cardinals and the fans should really be the ones to reap the benefits.

The last name is Colby Rasmus. He was almost our starting centerfielder and is still our top prospect in our organization. I would try to create any deal that does not include this kid. I believe in protecting our top prospects. But, if the Rockies say "no Rasmus, no deal" I would make the deal. Sure he is talented, but there is no guarentee he will make it at the Big League level. If we want to make this team work we need to take a risk. And pray we don't have another flop.

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