in a rare sunday filing, Baseball Prospectus dropped this tidbit of gossip:
how much do i sound like a used-car salesman? the case i'm trying to build, you have probably guessed, is that reed johnson is merely juan encarnacion by another name. he's a couple years younger and coming off a better season, which might make him more attractive superficially; but the cardinals have other spare parts they can toss in (relievers, bench outfielders) that might tip the scales. the phillies, you may recall, bid heavily for braden looper's services last off-season --- they were the reason the cardinals had to commit three years to looper. they're desperate for right-handed bullpen help . . . kinda looks like a fit, no? the phils have a logjam in the rotation, the cards in the bullpen and among their reserve outfielders . . . . each seems to have what the other needs.
it's purely wishful thinking, and probably futile; as i said, if the jays do make rios available the cardinals can't really match the offer (although the jays' own website deems it "unlikely that the Jays would part with Rios" --- scroll down to the item slugged "just a coincidence?"). even if toronto won't give up rios, it may simply be that pat gillick thinks he can do better than juan encarnacion --- who is, after all, not healthy and at the age when a ballplayer's skills usually start to degrade.
whatever --- lieber's a reliably league-averagey starting pitcher (here's his career line) who'd slot well into the st louis rotation and is known to be available; someone to keep an eye on. he hasn't thrown a pitch yet in spring competition; makes his debut today. one hopes a st louis scout will be watching.
hey, speaking of trade-available rhp who've been mentioned in connection w/ the cardinals: carl pavano made his spring debut yesterday and reportedly threw well and pain-free.
within the st louis camp, the pitcher who's piqued the scouts' interest is kelvin jimenez. per matt leach:
every year, it seems, at least one important member of the bullpen by season's end is a guy who didn't make the team out of spring training. last year kinney and tyler johnson did it (and wainwright, you'll recall, claimed the next-to-last bullpen spot in a crowded camp); in 2005 that guy was brad thompson, in '04 kiko calero. so pitchers like jimenez, cate, cavazos, and falkenborg have a lot to gain by making a good spring impression, even if (as seems likely) they all start the year at memphis.