rostermania I: giles and the geezers

so much for raking the embers of 2005 -- at least for now. i'll still give `em a stir from time to time, but it's past time to start gathering wood for the hot stove. so here's a little twig to begin with:

who is jacque jones?

both twin city newspapers have been reporting that the cardinals are interested in this guy, ditto the padres. it's a daily-paper rumor, so take it for what it's worth. i for one can't see it; he's a poor man's tino martinez, albeit a few years younger (31 next year); has topped .800 ops only once in his career, checked in at .757 this year, .742 last. one of the guys at USS Mariner tried to make a case last month that jones possesses stealth value -- a decent platoon hitter (he handles right-handed pitchers pretty well) and very good defensive skills. but it'll probably take a multiyear deal at about $5 million per to land this guy; does he provide $5 mill worth of upgrade over john rodriguez? not bloody likely.

a site called Unofficial Major League Baseball has undertaken to predict where the top 50 free agents will sign. UMLB hit .300 last year (15 correct picks out of 50), which doesn't sound very good until you learn that sports illustrated only went 6 for 50. . . . . anyway, UMLB finalized his 2005-06 projections before the playoffs began, and already he's missed a coupla calls that implicate the cardinals. first, he had jay payton signing with the cards for 2 years/$6 million; the athletics picked up his option, for which we can all be glad. second, he had brian giles returning to san diego for 3 years/$28 million; still might happen but doesn't look probable at this point.

another site called the Roto Authority has what i consider the "default" projection for st louis: giles comes aboard (RA doesn't project salaries), sanders and grud'k re-sign, morris departs (for the dodgers). let's plug that into my handy-dandy Roster Matrix, rough out the salaries, fill the remaining blanks with some random candidates, and see how that team might look. in this particular scenario i'm assuming that tavarez and nunez sign elsewhere and ray king is traded for prospects; also going with the now-standard 12-pitcher configuration. let me emphasize that i am by no means endorsing this particular set of transactions; i'll be trying out all sorts of combinations over the coming weeks for the amusement of myself and as many of you as can stand it. and i'm very interested in fielding roster suggestions / ideas / pipe dreams from you and plugging them in. rostermania: it's fun cheap and legal. while supplies last . . . .

2006 ROSTER MATRIX
SCENARIO #1: GILES + GEEZERS

EVERYDAY BENCH ROTATION PEN
molina c
~$600K
taguchi of
$1m
carpenter rhp
$5m
is'hausen rhp
$8.5m
pujols 1b
$14m
luna if
$350K
mulder lhp
$7.5m
mota rhp
$2.5m
grud'k 2b
$2.5m
gall 1b-of
$320K
marquis rhp
~$4.5m
eldred rhp
$900K
rolen 3b
$11m
rodriguez of
$350K
suppan rhp
$4m
flores lhp
~$500k
eckstein ss
$3.5m
bennett c
$650k
an reyes rhp
$320K
thompson rhp
$350K
sanders lf
$3.5m
seabol 3b
Memphis
wainwright rhp
Memphis
ty johnson lhp
$320K
edmonds cf
$9.5m
schumaker of
Memphis
cali lhp
$320K
giles rf
$10m
duncan 1b
Memphis
lincoln rhp
still rehabbin
TOTAL
$54.6m
TOTAL
$2.6m
TOTAL
$21.3m
TOTAL
$13.4m
OVERALL PAYROLL: $91.9m

same team as 2005 pretty much, except all the geezers are a year geezier --- all but two players are over 31 years old; avg for the eight is 32.5. the bullpen is shaky again, but the free-agent options at that position appear to be surprisingly thin; moreover, this exercise informs me that freeing up dollars to sign TWO established middle relievers may require some hard choices. either that, or some flex in the teams' self-imposed $90m salary cap. . . . anyway, brace yourselves for a jose mesa-type signing (maybe even ol' jose himself). jocketty may be best served to shake somebody free on the trade market, either this winter or at the midseason deadline. i've plugged in guillermo mota more or less arbitrarily -- he throws hard but a) wants to close and b) didn't have a very good year in 2005. his square in the chart is hot linked to mlb.com if'n you want to check his career line.

a final thought: if we sign brian giles we should all be aware going in that the dude is a nutjob.

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