This is my first fanpost, so I hope you guys find some interest in the topic.
With the news on Mulder today, and with Springer traveling with the team on this road trip, the Cardinals are going to have to make some tough decisions soon. If you guys/gals could put on your GM hat for the next two months, I'm wondering how you would resolve the issues facing Mozeliak. Here are the issues, as I see them.
We have been fortunate that our pitching has been performing at, or above, the expectations. This makes it particularly difficult to handle the surplus of 4 and 5 starters and RH middle relief. These guys are difficult to trade, especially early in the season; and too many of them are without additional options. If only a few of them had flopped, then the decision would be more clear cut.
Instead, the Cardinals are faced with having Wainwright, Lohse, Looper, Wellemeyer, Pineiro, Thompson, Mulder, Clement, and (cringe for the aftermath) Reyes as starting options. Carpenter will be an option later in the summer, but I believe that his time-table is too far off to join in this dicussion, as there is enough time to make an hole for him. So, I'm going to take him off of the table for now. Wainwright and Lohse are the only two starters with enough track record to justify calling them untouchable, so that leaves us with three spots for seven potential starters. Then, you have Isringhausen, Franklin, Springer, Thompson, Wellemeyer, McClellan, Reyes, Looper, Pineiro, and Clement as options for RHP out of the bullpen; and Villone, Flores, and Johnson as options for LHP. Obviously, I'm just talking about current major league options; and, as the table seems to be plenty full, I'm going to leave out the Motte, Perez, Worrell, et al. options. Isringhausen is the only untouchable on the relief list, IMO; so that leaves us with nine options for four RHP spots, and three options for two LHP spots. (I guess potentially we could go with three LHP and four RHP, but that doesn't make anything easier.)
Only Reyes, Thompson, McClellan, and Johnson have options remaining; and we now have 13 guys that we can mix and match to fill 9 spots. It looks like Johnson is probably still a little ways off, and we're still not sure about Clement; but there is a potential that both could be available before June 1.
So, how would you go about resolving this? Let's take out what we think LaRussa or Duncan would advocate, so as not to start any "they hate Reyes" discussions, please. I am asking more what you would do, not what you think they would do. I also think it will be extremely difficult to get any kind of value on the trade market before late May or early June, so that is an additional factor that will handcuff you as a GM.
I'm going to initially reserve my thoughts, so as to not sway the discussion at the beginning. I would like to see who thinks that one should option down the young guys to make room for the returning veterans makes the most sense, in order to make an informed decision before making moves this summer; and who thinks that one should cut loose the older talent in order to make room for the burgeoning younger talent. Do the standings have an impact on your decision? Are you willing to give away players without getting full value, or does the value of younger players developing in the major leagues outweigh the lost value?
Thanks for your time, and I look forward to the discussion.