Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Tony La Russa backs McGwire's HOF candidacy

My apologies for the light posting this offseason in the past few weeks. I've been busy with papers and such and I imagine it will be light until after December 13th when my finals end.

Here's what La Russa had to say with regards to former Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire:
Tony La Russa will defend Mark McGwire until the end: To him, Big Mac is a Hall of Famer.

"I've believed in him from day one. I still believe in him," the St. Louis Cardinals manager said Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
McGwire is appearing on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, and an AP survey of 125 baseball writers who are eligible to vote - about 20 percent of the total - showed that only one in four who gave an opinion planned to vote for McGwire.

"It would be two in five then. I'd make it two in five," La Russa said. "I can't answer for anybody else, what priorities they give and how they weigh stuff. I know what my personal opinion is, and that's the way it stays."

McGwire, a 12-time All-Star, is seventh on the career home run list with 583, but his status plummeted in the minds of many after former Oakland teammate Jose Canseco accused him last year of using steroids. McGwire evaded questions during a March 2005 congressional hearing, saying repeatedly: "I'm not here to talk about the past."
An AP poll shows Big Mac will likely fall short in the first year on the ballot. Keep in mind that a lot of people consider the first ballot to be sacred. Peter Gammons has said he will voted for McGwire on the first ballot. If I was a writer in the BBWAA, I would vote for McGwire, too.
The AP contacted, via e-mails and telephone, about 150 of the approximately 575 present or former members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America who are eligible to cast ballots. Of that number, 125 responded, including 25 AP sports writers. Most of the voters' names were obtained in the Major League Baseball media directory.

And the breakdown was:

- 74 will not vote for McGwire.

- 23 will vote for him.

- 16 are undecided.

- 5 refused to say.

- 5 aren't allowed to vote by their employers.

- 2 will abstain from voting.

That means if all the undecideds and those refusing to say voted for McGwire, and everyone else voted, McGwire would need 84 percent of the rest to get into the Hall.

Chaz Scoggins of The Sun in Lowell, Mass., was among McGwire's supporters.

"He wasn't breaking any baseball rules during his career,'' he said. "As for using performance-enhancing substances, the fact that so many pitchers have been detected using them kind of evens the playing field.''

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig wouldn't address McGwire specifically, saying it was unclear how this generation of home run hitters will be judged.

"Time will tell. We'll have to work our way through all of it,'' he said Monday night. "All we can do realistically is take care of the present and the future.''

McGwire played in the majors from 1986-2001, the first 12 seasons with the Oakland Athletics and the rest with the Cardinals.

When he hit 70 homers in 1998 - breaking the mark of 61 Roger Maris had set 37 years earlier - McGwire became a national hero for his Paul Bunyan-like physique and feats. A year later, part of an interstate highway in St. Louis was named after McGwire. Large signs at both the current and previous Busch Stadium called attention to "Big Mac Land,'' ads for McDonald's referencing McGwire.

But his reputation plummeted following allegations by former teammate Jose Canseco, who claimed in a 2005 book and subsequent interviews that the Bash Brothers used steroids together while playing on the A's.

And then came McGwire's testimony to a congressional committee on March 17, 2005, when he repeatedly avoided questions, saying time after time: "I'm not here to talk about the past.''

That appearance and those allegations are still fresh in the minds of many voters.

"He won't get my vote this year, next year or any year,'' said the Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan.

When the AP conducted a survey of Hall voters during the week following McGwire's testimony, 56 percent of the 117 voters who gave an opinion said they would support his induction.

Ballots will be mailed to voters this week and must be postmarked by Dec. 31. Results will be announced Jan. 9, and inductions will take place July 29.

Players who have appeared in 10 seasons and have been retired for five years are eligible for consideration by a six-member BBWAA screening committee, and a player goes on the ballot if he is supported by at least two screening committee members.

A player remains on the ballot for up to 15 elections as long as he gets 5 percent of the votes every year. McGwire appears to be in no danger of missing that mark.

Gwynn and Ripken are considered virtual locks for election. Canseco also is on the ballot for the first time but is not expected to come close to election.

Gwynn isn't sure whether McGwire used steroids.

"I think he's a Hall of Famer, myself,'' Gwynn said. "He hit 500 or so homers, almost 600. I think we have no proof whether he did or not. Canseco said he did. He didn't perform well at the congressional hearing, and I think that will stick with people more than anything else. He's on the ballot, too. I have no control over that.''

Hall voters will face additional questions when other players accused of steroid use go on the ballot. Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro become eligible for 2011 and Barry Bonds, who plans to play next season, sometime after that.

Others view it as a matter of baseball rules. Baseball did not have an agreement with its players' union to ban steroids until after the 2002 season.[...]

"I don't plan to vote for him on the first ballot, but I do plan to vote for him,'' said former Chicago Tribune writer Jerome Holtzman, baseball's official historian.

Some players have seen their support increase over time. Jimmie Foxx got 10 votes when he first appeared on the ballot in 1947, then was elected with 179 votes four years later.
The Cardinals will be honored at the writer's dinner on January 15th.

Prospect Colby Rasmus is going to give it his best next year.

Utility man Scott Spiezio was re-signed to a two year deal for $4.5 million.

Here's an article on the future of Rick Ankiel.

Cards sign Adam Kennedy, Kip Wells

The AP reports that the St. Louis Cardinals signed former first round draft pick Adam Kennedy to replace Ronnie Belliard at second base. The Cards picked up Kip Wells, another has-been pitcher, whose career record is 57-74. In addition, Gary Bennett has re-signed for a one year deal and Eli Marrero rejoins the Cards with a minor league contract.
The Cardinals made their first big moves since winning the World Series, agreeing Tuesday to a $10 million, three-year contract with second baseman Adam Kennedy and a $4 million, one-year deal with right-hander Kip Wells.

The Cardinals also agreed to a $900,000, one-year contract with backup catcher Gary Bennett and a minor league contract with Eli Marrero, once their starting catcher.

Kennedy, selected by the Cardinals in the first round of the 1997 amateur draft, was considered the Cardinals' second baseman of the future before he was traded to the Anaheim Angels in 2000, a deal that brought Jim Edmonds to St. Louis. Kennedy now replaces Ronnie Belliard, who was acquired from Cleveland last summer and became a free agent.

The 30-year-old Kennedy hit .273 with 55 RBIs and 16 stolen bases last season for the Angels. He has a career batting average of .280 with 52 homers and 123 stolen bases.

His contract calls for salaries of $2.5 million next year, $3.5 million in 2008 and $4 million in 2009. He made $3.38 million this year in the final season of a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old Wells could fill one of three vacancies in the rotation created when Jeff Suppan, Jeff Weaver and Jason Marquis became free agents.

Wells was 1-5 with a 6.69 ERA for the Pittsburgh Pirates, then was traded to Texas on July 31 and went 1-0 in two starts with the Rangers. He finished the season on the 15-day disabled list with a foot injury.

For his career, Wells is 57-74 with a 4.46 ERA.

Wells led major league pitchers with 18 losses in 2005 and missed the first half of the 2006 season following surgery, performed in St. Louis, to repair a blocked artery near his right shoulder.[...]

[Bennett] gets $850,000 next season, and the Cardinals hold a $900,000 option for 2008 with a $50,000 buyout. If St. Louis exercises the option, Bennett could void the option but would lose the buyout.

Earlier in the offseason, the Cardinals agreed to two-year contracts with Edmonds ($19 million) and utilityman Scott Spiezio ($4.5 million).
I like all the signings except for Kip Wells. It's a definite project for Dave Duncan.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AL & NL MVP Awards

The Most Valuable Players:
National League - Ryan Howard, Philadelphia Phillies first baseman
American League - Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins first baseman

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pujols arrested

Pujols arrested for cocaine use. Well, this just stinks!

In Soriano news, it appears he is Wrigley-Bound! Well, he is banned from my fantasy team now! Maybe Walt will try to pursue him.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Scott Spiezio re-signed for two years

Scott Spiezio is back as a Cardinal for the next two years.
The St. Louis Cardinals re-signed utility man Scott Spiezio to a two-year contract on Thursday.

The deal runs through the 2008 season with a club option for 2009.

The 34-year old Spiezio joined St. Louis prior to last season and proved to be a versatile player for the World Series champs, playing five different positions (first base, second base, short stop, third base and left field).

In 119 games, including 61 starts. the switch-hitting Spiezio hit .272 with 13 home runs and 52 runs batted in. In the postseason, Spiezio contributed six RBI and two triples, including a critical three-bagger in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series.

"You hear the term winning player," said Cardinals senior vice president and general manager Walt Jocketty. "Scott showed once again why he has been tabbed with such a label. Scott's leadership, versatility and production in the clutch are such strong qualities and we're happy to announce that he will remain a Cardinal."

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Managers of the Year

No surprises here. Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland took home the American League Manager of the Year award and Florida Marlins manager Joe Girardi took home the National League Manager of the Year award.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

2007 Cardinals Schedule

It's up. The Cards and Mets will play three games starting April 1, 2007.

NL Cy Young Award

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb took home the National League Cy Young Award.

While I would have preferred Chris Carpenter, I have no problems with Webb. He's a Kentucky native and played for the University of Kentucky's baseball team.

Monday, November 13, 2006

AL Rookie of the Year

Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander has won the American League Rookie of the Year award.
Justin Verlander was already considered the best rookie in the American League according to two separate polls of players. On Monday, however, was the most prestigious honor of all.
Verlander completed a clean sweep of his league's rookie awards when the Baseball Writers' Association of America selected him as its AL Rookie of the Year. The longest-running of the rookie honors goes to a Tiger for the first time since Lou Whitaker won it in 1978, and the first to a Detroit pitcher since Mark "The Bird" Fidrych in 1976.

In so doing, Verlander becomes the first starting pitcher to win AL Rookie of the Year since New York's Dave Righetti in 1981. Dontrelle Willis won the NL honor in 2003.

The 23-year-old right-hander again won out in what was expected to be a tight contest among AL rookie pitchers, including Twins phenom Francisco Liriano and Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Of that group, Verlander is the only one to last the entire season without missing significant time due to injury or fatigue.

Verlander received 26 first-place votes and 133 total points, easily outdistancing Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon, who tallied 63 points and no first-place votes. Twins rookie Francisco Liriano was third in the voting with 30 points and one first-place vote. Seattle catcher Kenji Johjima was fourth, followed by Angels pitcher Jered Weaver, the Orioles' Nick Markakis and Ian Kinsler of the Rangers.

NL Rookie of the Year

Florida Marlins short stop Hanley Ramirez beat Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman by four points in the BBWAA vote for the National League Rookie of the Year.
The gifted 22-year-old Marlins shortstop posted some first-year numbers that rival some of the game's all-time greats.

Consider, Ramirez is the first National League rookie to post 110-plus runs and 50-plus stolen bases. And he is the second Major League rookie since 1900 with 115-plus runs scored and 50-plus stolen bases. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki accomplished the feat in 2001.

Ramirez joined the legendary Ernie Banks (19 in 1954) as the second rookie in NL history to log 17-plus homers while playing 100-plus games at shortstop. And he is the fifth MLB player since 1900 to collect 45-plus doubles and have 50-plus stolen bases. That exclusive club is occupied by Hall of Famers: Ty Cobb (47/83 in 1911), Tris Speaker (53/52 in 1912) and Lou Brock (46/62 in 1968). Rounding out the list is multiple All-Star Craig Biggio (51/50 in 1998).

Such lofty standards haven't gone unnoticed as Ramirez on Monday was tabbed the Jackie Robinson National League Rookie of the Year winner by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

In the closest NL vote since 1980, Ramirez was named the winner over Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. In all, three of the top four choices were Marlins. Florida All-Star second baseman Dan Uggla was third, and right-handed pitcher Josh Johnson was fourth.

Going a step further, six of the 12 rookies who received votes were Marlins, marking the first time in league history one team has had that many contenders. Pitchers Scott Olsen and Anibal Sanchez and outfielder Josh Willingham each picked up one third-place vote.

Ramirez is the second Marlins player to claim the award. In the franchise's 2003 World Series championship season, pitcher Dontrelle Willis was presented the award.
In other news, the St. Louis Cardinals will open their season at home on April 1, 2007, against the New York Mets.
The game, a rematch of this year's NL Championship Series, will be televised nationally by ESPN2 starting at 8:05 p.m. ET, the Cardinals said Monday.

After an off day on April 2, the series concludes with games April 3 and 4.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jim Edmonds agrees to 2-year deal


Jim Edmonds will stay a Cardinal!

Here is the ESPN report.
Jim Edmonds, a fixture in the St. Louis outfield since 2000, is closing in on a two-year contract with the world champion Cardinals that will pay him between $18 million and $19 million.

Agent Paul Cohen said he's discussing final details with Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty and that a deal could be in place as early as Friday night.

"He's very excited, and the Cardinals are too," Cohen said. "When you have two parties who ultimately want to accomplish the same thing and you have a history, then normally you can get it done."

Edmonds, 36, hit .257 with 19 homers this season in the final year of a six-year, $57 million contract. The Cardinals had a $10 million option for 2007 with a $3 million buyout. After midnight Saturday, St. Louis' exclusive negotiating window would have expired and Edmonds would have been free to talk money with other clubs.

Edmonds is a career .289 hitters with 350 home runs for the Angels and Cardinals. He's a four-time All-Star and an eight-time Gold Glove award winner.
If Edmonds can average 25 homers a season for the next two seasons, he'll essentially be a lock for the HOF.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

NL Gold Glove Winners

C: Brad Ausmus, HOU
1B: Albert Pujols, STL
2B: Orlando Hudson, ARI
3B: Scott Rolen, STL
SS: Omar Vizquel, SF
OF: Carlos Beltran, NYM
OF: Mike Cameron, SD
OF: Andruw Jones, ATL
P: Greg Maddux, LAD

Congrats to Albert and Scott. Yadier Molina should have gotten one.

Cards to talk to Mulder, Luis Gonzalez

The Post-Dispatch reports today that Walt Jocketty will talk with Greg Clifton, agent for Mark Mulder. Clifton also represents Luis Gonzalez. If you remember, during the NLCS, Gonzalez was the second analyst in the booth with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said he's had a similar conversation with lefty Mark Mulder since, but Tony La Russa recalled a specific exchange during the NL Division Series against San Diego.

Mulder, his manager and the GM were talking and inevitably Mulder's future came up by way of his past.

"He was saying how Cardinals fans have never seen him, the real him," La Russa said this past weekend. "He won 16 games (in 2005), but they never saw him at his best. He has the desire, and I think we have a desire for the Cardinals' fans to see him.

"To see the real Mark Mulder."[...]

Jocketty on Thursday reaffirmed the Cardinals' interest in having Mulder return for a third season with his club and said the Cardinals may be interested in doing something different from the one-year, incentive-rich offers Mulder is bound to receive. Jocketty will travel to Arizona next week to meet with the organization's pro scouts and see the Arizona Fall League, but if the schedules can mesh, he and Clifton plan to meet. Clifton said he imagines Mulder would attend any meeting as well.

Whenever the GM and agent talk, another name is expected to come up: Luis Gonzalez.

The veteran outfielder, who will turn 40 next September, is also represented by Clifton and apparently caught Cardinals fever while broadcasting playoff games last month. Clifton said nine teams have contacted him about Gonzalez, who finished second in the NL with a career-high 52 doubles this season. Cleveland, Baltimore, Texas, Cincinnati and San Francisco are five of the nine.

The Cardinals are not, for now. Jocketty did attempt to trade for Gonzalez, a lefthanded-hitting left fielder, this past summer and said Thursday he still had interest in Gonzalez.

"I saw him during the playoffs, and he said in St. Louis that he'd never seen fans like that," Clifton said. "I've said all along, for me, I think Luis, well, you talk about a perfect fit for a guy and for a franchise. That's it. Veteran guy. In that atmosphere. He's got a lot left in the tank."

Fresh from a 16-win 2005 season that gave him a 75-35 career record, Mulder, 29, started this season a lefty in his prime with a jackpot awaiting him this winter. Clifton told Mulder recently that instead of a few fat-wallet teams being in the bidding for him, now more teams are going to be interested because "it could act like a year trial for everyone."[...]

With only two members of the starting rotation under contract for 2007, Jocketty must remake the staff, and he said Mulder's uncertain availability means he'd be signed to augment a staff, not complete it.

"You don't count on him for that need," Jocketty said. "He would be an additional guy that you would sign. You plan your staff for who you need on opening day. He would be the additional guy because when he does come back you cannot expect him to be the Mark Mulder of two years ago. You expect him to have to need time to get back to that level."

The contract comparisons that have been made are Matt Morris and Kevin Millwood, both of whom signed incentive-laden, one-year deals after injury. The Cardinals may turn to another contract for inspiration — Chris Carpenter's. Twice the Cardinals signed Carpenter as a free agent coming off a year missed because of injury.

Jocketty said it would not be prudent for the Cardinals to have Mulder signed for just the coming year. The Orioles are reportedly interested, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, with their ballpark and location, could be an attractive suitor for Mulder, who winters in the area.
Mark Mulder, when he is at his best, is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game today. Unfortunately, this year was an off year for him but I look forward to many seasons of Mulder pitching for us and putting up HOF numbers.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Worth the read...

Jay Redfern writes a letter to his father about the Cardinals and their World Series win.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Gold Glove Candidates

Here are my choices in the National League as I voted at ESPN:
1B - Albert Pujols
2B - Craig Biggio
3B - Scott Rolen
SS - David Eckstein
OF - Carlos Beltran
OF - Andruw Jones
OF - Luis Gonzalez
C - Yadier Molina
P - Greg Maddux

American League:
1B - Mark Teixeira
2B - Mark Loretta
3B - Mike Lowell
SS - Derek Jeter
OF - Gary Matthews, Jr.
OF - Grady Sizemore
OF - Vernon Wells
C - Joe Mauer
P - Jon Garland

Rumors floating

I have to take issue with Gordo on sending Scott Rolen to the New York Yankees for Alex Rodriguez. You have a gold glove defender in Rolen. Why send him away for a natural short stop who CHOKES in the playoffs?
Alfonso Soriano sweepstakes: His people are asking for Carlos Beltran money, which will pare down the list of potential suitors. Cardinal Nation covets him as a dynamic left fielder to put up front in the No. 2 slot, but we can’t see that happening.

The Phillies would love to get him, but they will have to convince one-dimensional left fielder Pat Burrell to accept a trade out of town.

The only other impact free-agent outfielder, Carlos Lee, will benefit from the Soriano sweepstakes and get overpaid as well. The Astros could really use a guy like him.
People seem to keep forgetting that Soriano prefers to play at second base.

I don't see the Cardinals giving up Chris Duncan for anyone. Sure, he had a few bad games in the outfield but he's still learning the position. Give him sometime. I'd welcome him Dontrelle Willis to the club though in a heartbeat.

As to Carl Crawford, I wouldn't give up Anthony Reyes for him. I'd send Juan packing if that were the case.

Hmmm...Bonds going to Detroit means a pay raise for Andy Van Slyke, who already dealt with him once as a member of the Pirates.
Could he land in Detroit? Jim Leyland kept him in line during their days together in Pittsburgh. But if Bonds lands in Motown, look for coach Andy Van Slyke to ask for a raise. Dealing with Barry again is not something he would cherish.
Would Van Slyke be welcome in St. Louis as a third base coach IF Jose does indeed leave?

MLB4U.com is reporting a rumor saying that Soriano has agreed in principal with the Cardinals to a 7/$70 contract. It would solve the problem with the two-hole and second base.

Ford Frick Award balloting underway

I just finished my first ballot for the Ford Frick Award at MLB.com. The fans get to choose three of the ten names that will appear on the ballot when it is sent to BBWAA. You can vote up to once a day in November.

I cast my three votes for Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, and Mike Shannon.

Candidate biography of Joe Buck:
16 years (1991 -), all with the Cardinals...Also FOX Sports lead baseball announcer, teaming with Tim McCarver...Has been with FOX for 11 seasons (1996 - )...Has won three Emmy Awards (1999, 2001-02)...Began with FOX at age 27, becoming the youngest play-by-play announcer to call a World Series since Vin Scully (25) in 1953...Has broadcast six World Series (1996, 98, 2000-03), seven LCS, six All-Star Games and Mark McGwire's 62nd home run in 1998...Began baseball broadcasting with the Louisville Redbirds in 1989...The son of Jack Buck.
Tim McCarver:
27 years, the last 11 (1996 - ) with FOX...Club experience with the Mets (1983-98), Yankees (1999-2001) and the Giants (2002), and, network experience with ABC (1984-89, '94), CBS (1990-93) and the Baseball Network (1994-95)...FOX's lead analyst, teaming with Joe Buck...Won three straight Emmys (2000-02) and has received 12 nominations as a network analyst...the only network baseball analyst to broadcast the last 15 regular and postseasons...Covered the '86 and '88 All-Star Games...Broke in as a broadcaster with the Phillies (1980-82), sharing booth space with Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn...Teamed with Jack Buck (1990-91) and the Sean McDonough (1992-93) for CBS...Played in 21 major league seasons (1959-80) and is one of seven modern-day players to play in four decades...Played in two All-Star games and won two World Series with the Cardinals.
Mike Shannon:
35 years, all with the Cardinals...The Cardinals radio announcer in KMOX, was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in recognition of his popularity and performance on the air and, as a player, on the field...Broke into the big leagues with the Cardinals in 1962 and went on to star for the Redbirds' World Series championship teams in 1964 and 1967, and their NL pennant winner in 1968...Joined the Cardinals' front office in 1971 as assistant director of promotions and sales.
I did consider voting for Charley Steiner considering that he went to Bradley University.

Mulder to Orioles?

The Washington Post reports that Cardinals pitcher Mark Mulder is interested in Baltimore.
Free agent pitcher Mark Mulder, formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals and thought to be one of the premier players on the market before he had season-ending shoulder surgery in September, expressed an interest in joining the Baltimore Orioles through agent Gregg Clifton. That could be a boon for the Orioles, who are looking for a veteran pitcher to add to a young staff and who have had trouble attracting marquee players.

"One of the things Mark has really benefited from is having a good pitching coach," Clifton said Tuesday. "People don't realize the draw of Leo Mazzone. Mark is a veteran guy who at least would consider Leo as a mentor."

Woody Williams expresses interest in Cards

The Post Dispatch that former Cardinal pitcher Woody Williams is interested in coming back to the Cardinals.
As the free agent filing period continued Tuesday, second baseman Ronnie Belliard, utility player Scott Spiezio, shortstop Jose Vizcaino and pitcher Jeff Weaver joined catcher Gary Bennett as Cardinals who have filed.

The flurry occurred as third base coach Jose Oquendo interviewed for the San Diego Padres managerial vacancy. Oquendo traveled to San Diego on Monday and met with general manager Kevin Towers well into Tuesday night. The Padres are expected to conclude a first round of interviews this weekend, with two finalists to be invited for a second round next week.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals will contribute four leading starting pitchers to the market. Besides Weaver, Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis and lefthander Mark Mulder are set to file.

"We're trying to bring back as many guys as we can. But at the same time we fully realize this could be a tough market, especially for pitchers," Jocketty said.

"Our priority is to rebuild our rotation. We want to find the best quality starting pitcher and the best quality hitter. And I'm not sure who those players are right now."

Any pursuit will come after the Cardinals address center fielder Jim Edmonds' $10 million option for next season. The club has until Nov. 15 to assume the option, exercise a $3 million buyout or negotiate an extension.

Jocketty reiterated Tuesday the club's desire to bring back Edmonds for an eighth season. What he left unsaid was an organizational desire to do so for less than $10 million next season.

"We want him back with us next season," Jocketty said. "It's something I told Jim last week. I would expect to see what can be done relatively soon."

Edmonds' agent, Paul Cohen, said talks have yet to occur but indicated that lines of communication are open. "We've always had a good relationship," Cohen said. "I would expect we'll talk soon."

Edmonds is scheduled to have surgery on his right shoulder in the next two to three weeks.[...]

Former Cardinals righthander Woody Williams has told friends he would be interested in returning to the Cardinals as well. Williams, 40, was 12-5 with a 3.65 ERA for the NL West champion San Diego Padres this season.

Jocketty said he considers Anthony Reyes part of the 2007 rotation but said Adam Wainwright's role would be determined by what transpires between now and February.

Wainwright, 25, became a relief sensation after failing to win a spot in the rotation in spring training. Given a chance to close after a hip condition disabled Jason Isringhausen, the rookie delivered the final pitch of each postseason round.

"I believe Wainwright's role will be determined by what we do this offseason," Jocketty said. "If we fill the rotation with people from outside the organization, he may remain where he is. If we can't, we may have to look at him as a starter."

The issue is further complicated by Isringhausen's expected absence early next season.

Regardless, the Cardinals' bullpen is unusually settled. Braden Looper, Josh Hancock, Josh Kinney, Randy Flores, Tyler Johnson, Brad Thompson and Ricardo Rincon remain under control.

"There is far more certainty there than the rotation," Jocketty said.
There you have it. I have no problems with the bullpen. Remember, when Rincon went on the DL, he was replaced with John Gall on the roster. Eventually, Tyler Johnson found his way to the big leagues. So did Kinney.

The biggest thing to me is SP and 2B.