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Au revoir, slick rick

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Well, the Rick Ankiel era is over. The guy might still have an outside chance at being a somewhat servicable left handed power bat off of the bench for someone, maybe. I guess that would require him not being hurt.

I'm kinda sick about talking about the various pitchers that are out there for the Cardinals to get. They'll get some sort of mid-to-low level rotation guy, and the guy will slightly outperform his career averages in the Lou, and it will cost the Cadinals a middling amount of cash. Unless they come out of nowehere and sign Zito, it won't make that much of a difference, but will leave the team with the payroll room to take on some other team's salary dump at the deadline. The only real gamble at this point is on the health of Reyes and Wainwright.

Last season should indic ate to everyone how expectations can be completely insane, but a few things are beginning to be somewhat clear--the Cubs have certianly improved, if only by adding Soriano and having a healthy Derreck Lee in the lineup full time. The Astros have probably taken a step back, while the Brewers and Reds will probably improve with their youth movements getting another year to mature and compete aggressively. I would even expect the Pirates to be improved.

Eighty three wins will not win the central in 2007, and I would expect it to still be a four team race at the all-star break, with the Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Cubs all within striking distance until relatively late in the season. I'm already getting excited about the season, and can't wait to see these guys on the field again.