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two reyes limit

here's the cliff-notes version of joe strauss' article in this morning's post:

  • ponson has won the "competition" for the 5th starter job (as we first heard from bernie last week)
  • wainwright is slated to make one more start, after which he may or may not get added to the mix for the bullpen
  • reyes will be optioned to memphis after starting today --
  • -- and the start might be "for the benefit of other clubs as much as for the Cardinals."
trading reyes seems counterproductive from a payroll standpoint -- his departure would leave the cards with four holes in the rotation next year and only one affordable option (wainwright) available to fill any of them. but you increasingly get the sense that the cards are ready to move on. beginning with the ponson signing, every word and gesture has nudged reyes closer to the exit. has anyone read a single quote this spring such as "anthony threw the ball well today" or "he's coming along"? i guess you could say he hasn't thrown it partic'y well; you could say that ponson has beaten reyes on the merits. he has had the better spring. what's missing is any sense that the organization is committed to reyes long term. every indicator suggests the opposite. if that's the case, it would make sense to trade him now while his stock is still high; nothing like a lousy april at memphis to wreck a guy's value.

moving wainwright to the bullpen seems a logical move; might mitigate the loss of the other reyes, ie al. the leading contenders to fill that set-up-the-setup-man role are currently bryan falkenborg and josh hancock, according to both the official site and the post. it's not looking particularly good for jeff nelson. the post story quotes duncan as saying the club is looking to fill reyes' slot with "a guy who can strike somebody out," while the cards dot com article had this from la russa: "The competition around [Nelson] has gotten stiff. There are several guys who are throwing the ball well. It's not like he's not facing competition. . . . there's not a lot of room to maneuver there for Jeff. He's going to have to be as impressive as he can be."

nice knowing ya, kid.

speaking of al reyes, in case you missed it -- and you prob'y did, since it has barely made a ripple in the press -- he signed a minor-league deal with the devil rays; thanks acr for posting that bit of news. reyes to rays; how did those headline writers resist. the rays' official site characterizes him as being at the tail end of his rehab program, but the associated press report (via rotoworld) says he's out for the year. tampa prob'y hopes he'll pitch enough this season to be showcased as late-season trade bait. best of luck to mr reyes.

another rehabbing pitcher, once considered likely to become reyes' heir apparent, is getting glowing reviews per ken rosenthal:

Reliever Felix Rodriguez, who missed more than two months last season after undergoing surgery on his left knee, has emerged as the surprise of Nationals' camp, throwing 94 to 96 mph and looking like the pitcher he used to be with the Giants. Rodriguez would give the Nationals another formidable late-inning option to go with Luis Ayala, Gary Majewski and Chad Cordero.
washington got him on a $600K deal that escalates to $1.2m if he stays on the 40-man roster throughout the year.

then there's that other would-be stl mound signee, whose elbow owwie is being attributed to scar tissue. the toronto star says blue jay brass were "scared out of their wits" by burnett's abrupt departure from saturday's game; i can't imagine their wits are resting all that easy yet, despite aj's clean MRI. for the moment they're putting a happy face on things, but this sounds ripe for one of those "ummm . . . it's worse than we thought" announcements a week or two down the road. a best case at this point is that burnett only misses his first turn in the rotation.

how are the blue jay fans dealing with it? how do you think? on the other hand, this could be a field day for the told-you-so camp in cardinal nation -- and if burnett comes up lame, they'll be entitled.

back this afternoon with results of the astros community projection.