"It didn't generate much attention, but that two-year, $13 million contract the Cardinals gave Joel Piniero was a sign that owners are going to spend ridiculous sums of money on pitching this winter -- and they won't be deterred by the lack of good pitching, either. Piniero threw less than 100 innings with basically a league average ERA last season. I can't even imagine what the Kyle Lohses and Carlos Silvas are going to get. But it's another reminder just how awash with money is baseball."
I don't think the main thing we should take away from this little blurb is how overpriced Joel Piniero and average pitching is, but the bigger point is "how awash with money is baseball." If DeWitt doesn't open his pocketbook the next few years (and I'm talking everything from trades, to free agency, to arbitration, to keeping homegrown/cheap talent: Wainwright, Duncan, etc) we are going to be in BIG trouble.
I'm with a lot of you on here about being competitive in '08, but really pushing hard for some quality talent that COULD hit the free agent market next year. But even with a LOT of big contracts coming off the books after '08, we still will have quite a few holes to fill, and filling those holes won't come cheap. We need to have a solid group next year that stays in the NL Central race (a very good possibility, even if we are fairly complacent this off-season) in order to continue selling tickets because next year all the millions from expiring contracts aren't going to buy a whole heck of a lot if this trend (and I think it will) continues.
I would hate to have to go through a full blown rebuilding process, but if DeWitt doesn't want to spend the money, we'll have to. We have to keep in mind that if the very little farm talent we have doesn't pan out, there is no way we can field a competitive team with other teams' homegrown talent. I also hope a lot of things go as we are planning (Rasmus ready in '09, Ankiel being 80% of the player he was this year, Wainwright staying strong with all the innings he'll pitch, sign some decent players to contracts that make sense, etc, etc) or else that will put us in an even bigger hole.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. But I for one am a little scared if DeWitt doesn't decide to spend - but if/when he does, I hope it's wisely.