Bernie writes that Walt has earned our trust and that we should not panic.
La Russa recently asked Barry Zito for an autograph.
Tony La Russa came to St. Louis brandishing what he argues is an impromptu legal document that binds the biggest name left on the free agent market to the Cardinals' unfinished pitching rotation.The Cards are still in the hunt for Mark Mulder.
It works only if "signed" is used loosely.
At a charity function with lefty Barry Zito on Monday night, La Russa asked the free agent pitcher for his autograph. The manager then revealed that the paper read, "I agree to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals."
"Ignorance is not an excuse in the eye of the law," La Russa said Wednesday at Busch Stadium. "I think we got him for somewhere near the minimum."
The Cardinals will not dance in the same ballroom as the teams wooing Zito with six-year deals and wads of cash. But as La Russa and general manager Walt Jocketty discussed their offseason with reporters on Wednesday, both stated that a pitcher who could be better than any starter still available is already on their roster: Adam Wainwright.
"I think that Adam Wainwright could be as good as any pitcher who was in the free agent market," Jocketty said. "He has the capabilities of that."
But lefthanded pitcher Mark Mulder is taking this weekend off from free agency.Jerry Reinsdorf is not happy with Mark Buerhrle.
He has a prior commitment.
A Cardinal the past two seasons, Mulder will marry Lindsey Pringle this afternoon in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the notion that he wanted to pick a team before he wears the ring was false, his agent said Friday. Gregg Clifton, the lefty's representative, said no matter how many teams Mulder narrows his choices down to, the Cardinals will be one.[...]
Clifton said he and Mulder have decided that a two-year deal is most attractive to the lefty, who is coming off shoulder surgery and will not be available to pitch for the first several months of the coming season. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks offered a five-year deal and will not have to tweak it to meet Mulder's preference.
Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said he was awaiting an opportunity to refine the initial offer to Mulder. But the Cardinals' one-year-plus-option framework fits Mulder's design.
The Cardinals did not want to sign Mulder only to have him leave for another shot at free agency a few months later.
"I think they are still going through their process of talking to clubs and getting offers from those clubs," Jocketty said. "I think they want to do that before they make their final decision. We're still very hopeful. I think it's probably a combination of opportunity and dollars."
Mulder, 29, is among the game's winningest pitchers the past six seasons. He made 17 starts for the Cardinals in 2006 and struggled with erratic mechanics to a 6-7 record with a 7.14 earned-run average. He returned from a protracted stay on the disabled list to allow 14 runs in 4 2/3 September innings before having surgery to correct an impingement and tearing in his left shoulder. The Cardinals believe the damage in his rotator cuff explains the difficulty Mulder had getting the ideal extension of his arm.
Clifton said Friday the injury may have first developed in 2005 and help explain the inconsistent mechanics he had even while going 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA in his first season as a Cardinal.
The Cardinals are interested in signing Mulder with the idea he would be ready to join the starting rotation in midseason. Clifton is telling teams to expect 21 to 25 starts from the lefty, who is scheduled to begin throwing the first week of January. If those workouts go well, eight weeks later he'll take the mound, and from there "it all depends on how he feels," Clifton said.
In an interview with MLB.com, Reinsdorf decried "the madness that is in the market today." He expressed exasperation with Buehrle, not for his subpar 2006 but for allowing himself to be photographed wearing a backwards St. Louis Cardinals cap while attending a World Series game at Busch Stadium.Jay Randolph and Rick Horton will be teaming up for the broadcast of games on KSDK.
"Then, we have Buehrle, who is a free agent [after next season] who walks around wearing a Cardinals hat," Reinsdorf said. "You have to think he's going to be tough to re-sign. When you have a chance to move one guy who is close to free agency and come back with power arms, you have to go for it."