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pzonehitter speaks

i heard back from yesterday's rumor-poster, pzonehitter, about the vazquez trade situation:

About yesterday's time-line: I received my info at approx. 6:00pm. I'm told that at that time the Cards were fairly confident they would make the deal work for Grudzielanek. When they were informed he wasn't coming they made the deal sending King to Colorado for Bigbie and Miles.

They still feel like they will be able to resign Morris. We'll see.

As for the Vasquez/Quentin talks; I'm told that the discussions have stalled but are still ongoing as we speak. Seems that the Cards want the D-Backs to eat 6 mil of Vasquez's contract. The feeling is that some in the Cards organization would really like to make a BIG deal before they go home to take some of the pressure off of losing Burnett. A lot of frustration building within about the unwillingness to spend.

Also the Cards feel the Rule 5 pitcher they selected, Juan Mateo, has a real chance to make the club.

so let's sort through this stuff. first of all, pzonehitter continues to make sense to me. my gut instinct is that he's on the level. i don't know him, and he hasn't "proven" himself by tipping me off to unpublished information that later proved to be true. it's possible he's simply making all this stuff up, or making educated guesses based upon bits and pieces that have appeared in the newspapers and chat rooms and web sites, etc.

but i don't think so. i think the trade proposal rings true intrinsically, and it's consistent with ev'ything we've heard -- officially and via whispers -- about the cardinals' designs upon vazquez. the money all balances out, and in my mind so does the talent. start with the nucleus of the deal: arizona receives two pitchers who both have been better than vazquez the last couple seasons, and who have a lower combined salary than he does. that exchange is skewed in the dbacks' favor, so they add quentin to the deal -- but he's such a great value that now the trade lists in the cardinals' favor. so the cards toss in wainwright to rebalance the scales, and then they haggle about whether lambert or pomeranz also has to be included, and who adds what money . . . .

that's a convincing scenario to me. so pzone is either telling the truth or is a grade-a bullshitter. call me a sucker, call me gullible; i believe he is telling the truth.

pzone mentions juan mateo, the cards' rule V selection, a 22-year-old pitcher out of the cubs organization. he's dominican, signed with chicago in 2001 at the age of 19 but didn't pitch until 2003 for some reason. he threw mainly in relief his 1st two years, then had an excellent year in the florida state league (high-a classification) last year. splitting duty last year between the bullpen and the rotation, he went 10-5 with a 3.21 era, 1.15 whip, 10 ks per 9 innings, and a 5:1 strikeout-walk ratio. two top cardinal prospects pitched in the same league (lambert and pomeranz) with less impressive numbers. mateo did not appear on baseball america's list of the cubs' top 10 prospects, nor was he named as one of the fsl's top 20 prospects. john sickels says some nice things: "I like this guy but he is a long way from the majors. Well, now he's not I suppose. If the Cards want to keep him, they can stash him away in the back end of the bullpen. Dominican, 23 years old, throws strikes."'s inside the ivy rates him the 29th-best prospect in the cub system. a few observations from iti's recent profile about mateo: "His out-pitch is a nasty slider, and he throws low and away to right-handers. He's also got a great fastball, plus-91 mph on the gun, and a great attitude. . . . He's got a lot of untapped potential. It's somewhat tough to figure out as he's just now popping up on everyone's radar, so nobody really knows how good he can be yet. I think he has a lot of talent."

the cards either have to keep him on the major-league roster all season or return him to the cubs.

finally, the bigbie-miles thing. i cannot believe that aaron miles is a serious candidate for the ev'yday 2b job; i'd sooner they give a shot to luna. his ops away from coors field last year was .539 (.208 / .247 / .292); in 2004 it was .649 (.277 / .301 / .348). he's 28 years old, and this is as good as it gets. he just can't hit. had gap-doubles power in the minors, but at this level . . . . . well i repeat, he just can't hit. miles did have a good year with the glove in 2005 --rate2 was 108, 2d-highest range factor in the league (grud'k was 3d). but his zone rating was not impressive, nor was his defensive win-share total. luna was better in nearly ev'y defensive category, albeit in limited playing time.

that's as much as i know . . . . . .