depth charge

happy president's day, one and all. it's monday, which must mean i'm getting on an airplane to somewhere or other; i'll be back home tuesday, and toward the end of the week there's a chance the new-look VEB will be unveiled. i'll try to provide a heads-up if possible.

you've heard by now that matt clement won't be ready by opening day. bernie miklasz is aggravated about it, and well within reason. i can't say i disagree with a word of his rant:

[W]hen the Cardinals signed Matt Clement, we were told he was golden. Fully recovered from shoulder surgery. Good to go. Uh, wrong again. Looks like we were fooled again. . . .

This episode is an important reminder: never believe it when the Cardinals insist that a rehabbing pitcher will return on schedule. The ballclub has simply been wrong too many times to have a shred of credibility on these matters.

Clement was a low-risk signing, and he still could pay off big. It wasn't a bad move to take a chance on him. But that's not the point of my complaint. The point is, I'm tired of the Cardinals spinning their nonsense on the medical status of their injured players. It just happens too often.

And like an idiot, I continually try to give them the benefit of the doubt, only to get burned again.

he's speaking for a lot fans; we feel burned, too. it's not that we're particularly surprised by this news; it's just vexing to see the club seemingly caught off guard by it --- especially when (as bernie points out) the cardinals could and should have signed an insurance policy for a rotation heavily dependent on two longshot reclamation projects (ie, mulder and clement). many's the observer (at VEB, at the P-D, in the national press) who thought the '08 rotation looked mighty thin --- and that an insurance policy like jon lieber (1 yr / $3.5m) or josh tower (1 yr / $1.8m) or livan hernandez (1 yr / $5m) might make a lot of sense. it's not as if this will be the last time a cardinal pitcher has a health issue; indeed, i'll be mildly surprised if this is the last setback for clement. the best-case scenario is that he and mulder will be back in may; but what's the worst-case --- july? september? never? let wainwright, pineiro, or looper strain a groin or suffer some stiffness in his shoulder, and . . . . . well, just let's not go there.

they still have options --- kyle lohse and a bunch of de facto DFAs like josh fogg, jeff weaver, and odalis perez, guys who not even the most pitching-starved teams wanted. any takers? if there's a silver lining here --- and it's a big one, in my opinion --- it's that anthony reyes stands a good chance of being in the rotation when the season opens. make the most of your chance, a-rey.

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