direct your attention for a moment to the "perfect world" box on the left-hand sidebar. it has not only been brought up to date but also expanded, with a bunch of new info designed to help us track the cardinals' performance in the wake of albert's injury. for instance, the box tells you that the cards were 34-21 pre-oblique and are now 1-2 post; that'll be updated daily. they were creating 4.93 runs per 27 outs pre-oblique and are at 4.27 rc/27 three games into the post-oblique segment of the schedule. there are a bunch of markers on the slate to help us gauge how well the cards are coping -- and, perhaps, how desperately reinforcements are needed. all the standard perfect-world numbers are also there; i haven't updated them as regularly as i'd like this season , but will try to do better so the injury tracking numbers stay current.
speaking of reinforcements -- take a gander at cards4ever's comprehensive roll call of potential trade targets, with their stats through monday's action. wow. no fewer than 35 guys on the list, accompanied by a poll and a discussion. if you don't find anyone you like there, there are yet more names (exclusively 1st basemen) at derrick goold's birdland, posted a couple days back.
if all these names look familiar, it's because they're the same ones cub fans brought forth, in great hope, as potential fill-ins for derrek lee. chicago was rumored to be close to a deal for millar at one point, then for conine; neither one happened. they've been linked to soriano since spring training; that didn't happen, either.
which isn't to say they are unobtainable, only that it's never easy to consummate a trade in today's baseball world.
i'm gonna toss out two more names here -- both pretty modest talents, but potentially helpful in the short term. the first is ryan church, languishing at triple a in the nationals' system. he's sort of a poor man's version of ray lankford -- strikes out a lot and doesn't hit for a great average, but has excellent power and plate discipline. he ran afoul of frank robinson somehow during spring training and was shipped out to triple a before the club came north -- this despite hitting .287 / .353 / .466 last year in half-time duty, for a team that is desperate for outfielders. he got called up two weeks into the year, made an immediate splash -- four homers in his first four games -- but got sent to the bench after a 1-for-12 stretch. he drew four walks during that little slumplet, mind you -- obp of .313, which is hardly disastrous. anyway, he got just 28 sporadic plate appearances over the next three weeks, amassed just four hits and four walks, and was sent back down -- to double a. take that, ryan. he's back at triple a now, hit a home run against anthony reyes two nights ago; his 2006 line (in 65 at-bats) is .215 / .346 / .477, with 4 homers and 11 rbi. taking this year and last year together, church has batted .273 / .346 / .465 in 333 at-bats --- an .821 ops, playing half his games in run-stifling rfk. he's 27 years old, a left-handed hitter, and makes the minimum; can play all three outfield positions.
i wouldn't think it would take much more than a so-so prospect -- travis hanson, say, or john gall or josh kinney -- to acquire this player. the nats obviously don't like him.
another guy who interests me is our old friend eduardo perez; played in st louis for four years (2000-03), and is a better hitter now than he's ever been. in his last 600 plate appearances (going back to 2003) eduardo has poked 30 homers and driven home 96, with a line of .274 / .359 / .504. this year he's playing for cleveland, under contract for one-year ($1.8m) with an option; is hitting .305 / .348 / .659 with 7 homers, 20 ribbies in only 82 at-bats. the indians are loaded with hitters -- 2d in the major leagues in scoring -- but desperate for pitchers; they rank 26th in mlb in earned-run avg. perez is nothing more than a platoon player for them, plays only vs left-handers.
i'm sure the indians would part with the guy for the right pitcher, but who? it wouldn't make sense to give up one of the starters for perez, who used to play a little outfield but is now, at age 36, strictly a 1st baseman. he'll return to the bench once albert returns; hence he's an insufficient return on a starting pitcher. would the indians give him up for one of the cardinal relievers --- brad thompson? seems unlikely to me. if there's a match here at all, it would probably have to involve an stl starter in exchange for perez and another player. it's an awkward fit, which is too bad -- they need a pitcher, we need a hitter, but there doesn't appear to be any easy way to balance the scales.
two diff'nt experts -- baseball america's will kimmey and baseball analysts' bryan smith -- are high on the cards' 2d-round supp pick, tulane 1b mark hamilton. here's kimmey's live-blogged reaction shortly after the selection: