Goold reports that no matter what, St. Louis is considered to be right at the top of the list for Mulder's services. Mulder's agent also says that Mulder could make 21-25 starts next season. :Warning, agent talk!: We all remember Swamp Gas of '06, messy mechanics, hidden injuries and the club slogging him along through his pains rather then correctly diagnosing them. Maybe the Indians have the right angle in their pursuit of Mulder, pumping their medical and training staffs ability to reclaim talent rather then further destroy it, which is pretty much what the Cardinals did last season, as well documented by lboros this past July.
I could still see St. Louis as an attractive place for him, given Duncan's expertise and he's the already the devil he knows. He also knows the city, the fans, etc. Winning a ring last season doesn't hurt, even if he was only a spectator.
But can he come back? The last words a pitcher ever wants to hear is 'frayed labrum'. In Will Carroll's regular article Under the Knife, it doesn't sound so good.
Mark Mulder had successful surgery last week, but what does that mean? All surgery where the problem is corrected and the patient wakes up can be qualified as successful. What Cards fans want to know is if Mulder might come back as something near what he was. (Of course, Cards fans might not care if Walt Jocketty elects to let Mulder move on.) Mulder had a repair of his shoulder, specifically focused on the rotator cuff. The expected debridement became more significant once the shoulder was visualized, making this surgery much more like the 2005 surgery on Kerry Wood than the 2003 surgery on Matt Morris. Mulder faces a long road and a likely change in style when he does return. If he needs inspiration, he should look to Chris Carpenter, a guy who came back from worse to be a Cy Young favorite
Morris came back rather quickly, but he went from a top of the rotation pitcher to bottom of the rotation guy, posting an ERA of 4.98 for San Fran last season. As we're familiar with, Mo doesn't have the ability to follow up a 69 mph bender with a mid-nineties heater like he did in his glory days. If Mulder's injury was worse, then don't expect him to go back to throwing 91-92 as he did in Oakland.
It's not just Mulder's shoulder I'm concerned with, it's his back. (See this article at BTF for an great breakdown of Mulder's mechanics.) It was his injured back that many believed is what considerably slowed his delivery and put the strain on his shoulder. So even if his shoulder is ok, if that root problem is still there, he's going to still have that slow delivery, thus losing more on what might be left on his fastball, thus killing his shoulder again.
The fact that the Cards are interested in bringing him back shows faith that he can or will be alright, but they already missed it so many times with Mulder, it's hard to trust their judgment. I guess I'm worried Mulder could be on the Steve Avery career path, which is pretty freakin' scary. But if anyone can help Mulder reinvent himself, it would be Dunc. He was already reinventing him in an extreme groundballer in '05. Oh, and congrats to Mulder and best wishes with his new misses. [editor's note, by erik] BTW, speaking of misseses (is that a word?), my wife is 9 months pregnant and can go into labor any day now. So if you don't see any posts by me here for a weekend or so, you'll know Cardinal nation just got a little bigger.