Ok. So Yadi's hurt now. I guess it is now time for ¡Gary Bennettmania! So let's look at a brief summary of this season:
- Josh Kinney's feelgood period ends with him on the DL
- Carp (remember when we had one of the top three starters in the majors?) gets shelled in his first start, ends up injured
- Cards get swept by the pond scum the first week of the season
- Edmonds comes back looking weak
- Rolen comes back poping up everything
- Pujols has his slowest start ever
- The team suffers painful loss after painful loss, sometimes acting like it will come back, often not
- Anthony Reyes gets demoted, almost inexplicably is sent down to Memphis
- Looper, one of the few bright spots of this season, all of a sudden starts looking shakier (fourteen runs in fifteen and two thirds over his last three starts)
- Molina, also one of the team's few bright spots this season, gets hurt
We are getting to the point where the only hope is that this season doesn't end up being the Cubs' magical season where they finally get everything together at the all-star break. This team hasn't dug itself into a bottomless pit yet, but something has to start turning out right pretty soon. There are still a bunch of individual stories to follow, and still a lot of things that can go right for the team, and perhaps an interesting midseason trade to be made, but eh.
The Cardinals options for this season therefore seem to be:
- 1) Blow up the team: they stink, and even if individual players might have some value, they're never going to be able to play together. Get a bunch of prospects. Call up Ankiel and Ludwick and Bozied, and see what they can do.
- 2) Slog through this. The basic roster construction is good, it's just a matter of bad luck and injuries combining to disaster: even if this team doesn't recover upon the return of Mulder and Carp, the 2008 version is well assembled to compete.
- 3) Comb the trade market--see what's out there, and let it dictate what you decide to do--you see a hot MLB-ready prospect out there, you ship out Izzy and Edmonds. If A-Rod or Ichiro become available, you go and get them, try to salvage this season, and build around them for next season.
- 4) Go all Steinbrenner--trade away guys for whoever you can get. Try to stabilize the team for the rest of the season, and make up for the lost talent with offseason FA signings.
- 5) Tear down New Busch. Build a replica of Old Busch on the footprint. Make Bennett wear a rubber Matheny mask. Make Duncan answer to "Mr. Walker." Trade a tee and a pitching machine for Reggie Sanders. Force Wellemeyer to grow a Matt Morris-style beard. Set all of the calendars in New Old Busch to read "July 31, 2004." Start conversations about whether or not Bush is going to get re-elected.
Option 3) Probably makes the most sense. There's probably something out there that can be had for Looper or Izzy. Maybe we can get a few pieces to build around. A core of Pujols and Carp is pretty damn good. If Mulder can come back solid (and his comps by age indicate that's possible, at least), that's another piece that can help the team out for 2008. Just try to make deals that improve the team, with an eye on next year.
Ugh, this season.