mlbtraderumors speculates on the trade market for luis gonzalez and lists the cardinals among the potential bidders. i would have to agree. gonzo could be this year's larry walker -- who, you may recall, was acquired in august 2004 to provide a postseason upgrade over the makeshift platoon (lankford / mabry / cedeno / marlon anderson) that kept the position warm for the first four months of the year. gonzalez is 38 years old but has a far better health record than walker ever did -- he has played at least 146 games in 9 of the last 10 seasons. he still has some pop and, perhaps more important, excellent on-base ability; picture him batting 2d ahead of pujols-edmonds-rolen. he's also a buddy of la russa's, which is not inconsequential.
the dbacks will probably be in the postseason hunt at midseason and looking for a pitcher; they reportedly like both marquis and suppan. both pitchers will be free agents at the end of the season, while gonzo is signed through this year with a club option for 2007. but the option will prob'y be declined no matter where he is playing by season's end, so the trade would involve an exchange of short-term commitments. seems to make a lot of sense, at least on paper; we'll see if the same holds five months from now.
here's baseball prospectus' christian kahrl on the new cardinal pitcher, josh hancock: "He's always had pretty good command of his slider if a less-than-dominant fastball, and it isn't like failure in the Reds or Phillies organizations are iron-clad proofs that you're someone who can't pitch. On the other hand, his up-side really isn't much higher than adequate fifth starter or solidly useful tenth or eleventh man on a staff, so don't get really worked up."