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busted blockbuster

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well, so much for that rumor . . . . i think.

joe strauss's article this morning reports that the cards' efforts to acquire javier vazquez have crashed -- a sopping wet blanket on the rumor posted here last night that had jocketty offering marquis, suppan, and two prospects (prob'y wainwright and lambert) for vazquez and coveted outfield prospect carlos quentin. seems likely that pzonehitter, who posted the rumor, received information that was a few hours old -- hence no longer operative by the time he got it up at VEB. that might explain pzone's reference to re-signing grudzielanek, a viable intiative for most of the day but a defunct one by 10pm central, when pzone posted his diary.

but it's very possible that pzone's story was accurate -- just not timely. (i've got another inquiry pending with him to see what he thinks of the strauss story.) as i noted last night, the putative trade was consistent with numerous published reports about the cards' heavy interest in vazquez; it also gibed with whispers i'd heard on tuesday that the failure to sign burnett might force the cards to consider trading cherished prospects (specif., lambert and wainwright). and an early-edition version of strauss's article (posted here) stated this: "The Diamondbacks expressed interest in minor league pitching, including Memphis starter Adam Wainwright and former No. 1 draft pick Chris Lambert." that line got edited out later, when the p-d updated the article to reflect the king for bigbie and miles deal.

if you went to bed at a decent hour last night, you've got some catch-up reading to do. . . . .

anyway, that outtake-sentence lends some credence to pzone's story. it's possible that at 4 pm the cards and dbacks were discussing the vazquez-quentin deal, or something like it -- and maybe that's the hour at which pzone received his information. exit pzone; then, some time later, the cards ask the dbacks to kick a few million bucks into the deal, and the dbacks say nyooooooo. crash, burn.

all speculation. but we should hope that pzone's story had some truth to it. because if the trade he described was ever close to going down, that would be a sign that jocketty hasn't resigned himself to filling out the roster with cheap retreads. this would be a very bold move, and it would make sense on a number of levels:

  • the cards would be moving two players who are bound for free agency in 2007
  • they'd be getting one of the top 10 or 15 prospects in the game, quentin
  • they'd be adding the young outfielder they desperately need
  • they'd be adding a productive ev'yday player making the league minimum, providing several years of payroll relief
  • they'd be adding a power pitcher
heretofore i have not been enthusiastic about javy vazquez, who strikes me as matt morris at twice the price -- but if he comes attached to carlos quentin i'm a hell of a lot more interested. vazquez's career record is 89-93, his era a pedestrian 4.28. but he does strike guys out (career 7.8 per 9 innings), and he's durable -- at least 32 starts in each of the last 6 years, with innings totals ranging from 198 to 232. he's also the type of hurler duncan has had success with -- a veteran who already knows how to pitch and just needs a little fine-tuning (see woody williams, chris carpenter, darryl kile, etc etc.).

it was only a rumor, so believe it or don't. i can tell you that the putative trade did pass the payroll test, bringing the club in at right about the $90m limit:

2006 ROSTER MATRIX
SCENARIO #8: VAZQUEZ AND QUENTIN

STARTING 8 BENCH ROTATION PEN
molina c
$400K
bigbie of
$400K
carpenter rhp
$5m
is'hausen rhp
$8.5m
pujols 1b
$14m
rodriguez of
$350K
mulder lhp
$7.5m
looper rhp
$1.5m
jimenez 2b
$800K
luna if
$330K
vazquez rhp
$11.5m
flores lhp
$400K
rolen 3b
$11m
cruz if
$800K
morris rhp
$7.5m
dotel rhp
$1.5m
eckstein ss
$3.5m
bennett c
$600K
an reyes rhp
$320K
ty johnson lhp
$320K
quentin lf
$320K
gall 1b-of
memphis
thompson rhp
$350K
edmonds cf
$12m
schumaker of
memphis
warm body
$320k
taguchi rf
$1m
miles if
memphis
lincoln rhp
pumping gas
TOTAL
$43m
TOTAL
$2.5m
TOTAL
$31.8m
TOTAL
$13m
OVERALL PAYROLL: $90.3m

the batting order would likely be:

eckstein ss
quentin lf
pujols 1b
edmonds cf
rolen 3b
taguchi rf
molina c
jimenez 2b

if the strauss article is true, by the way, it's one more instance of the stl ownership's stinginess -- because strauss implies that the talks broke down over the cards' demand for a cash kick-in from the dbacks. when arizona refused, the cards walked away from the table -- just like they walked away from giles, burnett, grudzielanek, and others this offseason. miklasz has some some choice words for dewitt & co this morning. . . . .

will update as soon as i hear from pzonehitter . . . .