Monday, January 19, 2009

It's been a month...

There is not much going on as far as the offseason is concerned.

We have three outfield positions and five guys are trying to get a starting spot on the roster for those three spots.
The St. Louis Cardinals' outfield is so crowded some players are surprised they're still around.

Rick Ankiel was a big draw at the team's Winter Warmup on Sunday with his autograph going for $60, twice as much as the going rate for manager Tony La Russa. But it's been an uncertain offseason for the former pitcher who hit 25 homers in his first year as the starting center fielder, seeing his name mentioned as trade bait for a starting pitcher.

"Are they rumors or are they not?" Ankiel said. "I mean, who knows? I heard I was getting traded, but you never know until something happens.

"You prepare to play and that's all you can do."

Skip Schumaker thought he'd be part of a blockbuster deal for former Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, who ended up in Oakland.

"I thought I was gone, I'm not going to lie to you," Schumaker told reporters. "I thought that was a done deal, and from everything I heard and from pretty good sources I thought I was definitely out of here."

The uncertainty is a byproduct of the team's depth. Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick are both coming off breakout years, Ankiel was a force at times and power-hitting Chris Duncan appears ready to reclaim playing time coming off cervical surgery.

Plus, 2005 first-round pick Colby Rasmus apparently is ready to crack the major leagues. That makes it five players for three spots.

Thus, the rumors. Schumaker and Holliday worked out with former home run champion Mark McGwire in the offseason, and discussed the possibility they'd be trading places with Ludwick joining Schumaker in Colorado.

"He didn't think it was Oakland, he'd never heard that and I don't think anybody really did," Schumaker said. "He thought the same thing as me, that he was probably headed here and I was probably headed there."