No, the title isn’t a typo. Just a little fun with the Cardinals roster (and non-roster invitees) and a history book. Okay, Baseball-Reference.com – who uses books these days?
This shows the results the Cardinals would garner if each player below produced the stats they produced in 2004.
THE 2004 2008 ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
C: Jason LaRue – .251/.334/.431, 14 HR
1B: Albert Pujols – .331/.415/.657, 46 HR
2B: Adam Kennedy – .278/.351/.406, 10 HR
3B: Troy Glaus – .251/.355/.575, 18 HR (207 AB)
SS: Cesar Izturis – .288/.330/.381, 4 HR (and a gold glove)
LF: Juan Gonzalez – .276/.326/.441, 5 HR (127 AB)
RF: Juan Encarnacion – .236/.299/.405, 16 HR (rough year...RIP Juan)
B: Yadier Molina – .267/.329/.356, 2 HR (135 AB, rookie)
B: D’Angelo Jimenez – .270/.364/.394, 12 HR (563 AB)
B: Josh Phelps – .251/.304/.450, 17 HR (371 AB)
B: Ryan Ludwick – .220/.278/.380, 2 HR (50 AB)
B: Aaron Miles – .293/.32/.368, 6 HR (522 AB)
SP: Chris Carpenter – 15-5, 3.46 ERA, 152 K (28 GS)
SP: Matt Clement – 9-13, 3.68 ERA, 190 K (30 GS)
SP: Mark Mulder – 17-8, 4.43 ERA, 140 K (33 GS)
SP: Joel Piniero – 6-11, 4.67 ERA, 111 K (21 GS)
SP: Ryan Franklin – 4-16, 4.90 ERA, 104 K (32 GS)
SP: Kyle Lohse – 9-13, 5.34 ERA, 111 K (34 GS)
SP: Dewon Brazelton – 6-8, 4.77 ERA, 64 K (21 GS)
LH: Ron Villone – 56 G, 4.08 ERA (10 GS)
LH: Randy Flores – 9 G, 1.93 ERA
RH: Cliff Politte – 54 G, 4.38 ERA
RH: Todd Wellemeyer – 20 G, 5.92 ERA
RH: Russ Springer – 16 G, 2.63 ERA
CL: Braden Looper – 71 G, 2.70 ERA, 29 SV
CL: Jason Isringhausen – 74 G, 2.87 ERA, 47 SV
That’s a downright solid infield, if we pretend that Glaus didn’t miss more than half the year. And hell, Iz2ris and Kennedy were useful players back then. LaRue could even hit a little bit. And that Pujols guy, he was decent.
The outfield tails off hard, however – Juan Encarnacion (who I feel I can use, since the Cardinals are still paying the guy) had a downright awful year even by his standards. Juan Gonzalez was in the twilight of the twilight of his career…I guess he’s in the next morning now. I could stick Ankiel’s .500 OBP (1 AB) or Ludwick’s 50 ABs in CF, but I don’t really see the point. Schumaker would make his debut in 2005 along with Chris Duncan, so neither of those guys can slot into the outfield. Who’s still unsigned today that the 2004 2008 Cardinals could grab? Lofton? The actual 2004 Cards had Sanders, Edmonds, and Walker.
Pretty good bench, too – Jimenez could rotate in at both 2B and SS and hit as well or better than both of the other guys. Phelps had pop even back then and was still doing a little catching, not that this team would need it. Molina was making his debut as a 21 year old. I threw Ludwick on there just for the hell of it. Aaron Miles got 500+ AB in his rookie year…and did exactly what he always does. Again, this team needs some outfield help; darn those young OFs on the 2008 Cards, they’re screwing up my team.
Pretty strong (and healthy) rotation. Hilariously healthy, actually, compared to now. This experiment landed right on Mulder’s bad year in Oakland, unfortunately. There are also just a lot of candidates when you add Franklin back to a starting role and throw flame-out-extraordinaire Brazelton into the mix…and I didn’t even use John Wasdin, who made 10 starts in 2004. That helps the shallowness of the bullpen a bit, since not all of those guys could be starters. Note: I really only threw W/L records in there because it’s fun to see how good (or not) players’ teams were – check out Piniero and Franklin’s records over in Seattle. Clement got no help in Chicago, while Mulder won 17 games with a middling year in Oakland. Yet more evidence to the worthlessness of W/L.
The bullpen isn’t bad – talk about a closing duo in Loop and Izzy. Springer and Flores were both good, but in limited time. Villone was a solid and durable lefty, and his ERA would likely have stayed under 4.00 if he hadn’t been thrust into the Mariners rotation every once in a while. Politte was good for the White Sox that year, if not amazing. Wellemeyer was atrocious for the Cubs, just terrible. Hard to argue with the back of that bullpen, though.
If it weren’t for the lack of a serviceable outfield, I’d wonder if this team wasn’t better than the actual 2008 Cardinals. I’m not sure just how sad I should be at that revelation.
For those slogans we were trying to think of for this year’s Cardinals, I have an idea:
“Party like it’s 2004!”