long, long drove east in i-70 yesterday. the game fell apart just before i even got into ktrs' signal range (i heard the action on an affiliate). when i got to my folks' house and turned on the set, there was jocketty explaining that isringhausen isn't a likely candidate to be moved. paraphrasing him: "jason likes it here, and he has a full no-trade; he doesn't want to leave. and in any case, there isn't anyone available on the trade market who we find attractive. as we get closer to the deadline, maybe that will change; teams might make some talent available a few days from now that isn't available now."
that might just be walt blowin smoke; let's all hope it is. there is no reason to keep playing for this season, and with carpenter gone for most of 2007 it's more urgent than ever to make a move if the team wants to have a chance to compete in 2008. isringhausen is their only tradeable player who might fetch some impact talent in return; we got an approximation of his worth via yesterday's trade of scott linebrink from san diego to milwaukee for 3 minor leaguers. linebrink is not a closer and isn't under club control next season, which makes him less valuable than izzy; yet he fetched a good prospect, wil inman, who looks to be roughly analogous to cardinal farmhand tyler herron --- a high-round draft pick who dominated the low minors. he's still young and still a few years away, but the potential appears to be there for this kid to be very good. probably won't happen any time soon, though; he only got moved to double A last month and hasn't adjusted well --- 5.45 era in 8 starts, 7 homers in 39.2 innings. his ETA is probably 2009 at the earliest. one of the two other players in the deal, joe thatcher, is mildly intriguing --- a 25-year-old independent-league refugee with some gaudy minor-league stats this season. think josh kinney.
if the cardinals were to put izzy on the market, i'd like to see them pursue a player like the dodgers' chin-lung hu, who per a recent ken rosenthal column might be made available in the dodgers' attempt to land octavio dotel. this guy is a superior gloveman, a shortstop, with some speed and a decent batting eye; he is 23 years old and close to major-league ready. he didn't make Baseball America's list of la's top 10 prospects, but john sickels rated hu #5 in the system with this comment: "awesome defensive player with a bat that could develop further." it has developed this year, although it should be noted that those figures are ballpark-aided; he's batting .529 at home for las vegas (one of the hitter-friendliest parks in triple A) but .188 on the road; in double A he posted a .952 ops in his cozy home ballpark (jacksonville), .845 on the road. nonetheless, this is a guy who has the potential to solve the cardinals' shortstop problem through 2013 or so; his name has been mentioned here at VEB before by an astute reader.
if linebrink's worth inman and a couple of throw-ins, then surely izzy is worth hu + 2.
another team that's probably in the market for a big-time reliever is detroit. my SB Nation brother blogger ian casselberry at Bless You Boys is all over this; here he ponders the value of kyle farnsworth, and in another post he suggests zumaya and rodney may not be pitching at 100 percent. how funny would it be if the cardinals dealt troy percival back to them? . . . .
one last note about the trade market: the cardinals might balk at trading russ springer for the sake of the pitcher's autistic son. if springer isn't moved and that's the reason, more power to the cardinals.
* * * * * * * * * *i see that my cameo in the Riverfront Times has been discovered. i just read the article and am not entirely comfortable with how it reads; let me clarify a couple of points. first, the writer took a bit of license in stating that "Borowsky cites several instances in which the Cardinals might have benefited from his observations." that's not how the conversation went; i was asked about some of the number-crunching we've done here at VEB, particularly with respect to reyes, and asked if what happened in seattle (where felix hernandez adjusted his pitch selection because of a post at the blog USS Mariner) could ever happen here. i said i would like to think so. that's a far cry from saying, in essence, that if the cardinals would be better off if they listened to me; i'm not that cocky. my statement at the end of the RFT piece is far more reflective of how i really feel:
here's the other point: the question isn't really whether the cardinals might learn a thing or two by listening to me; the question is whether they could learn by listening to us. i'm just one fan; i bring my knowledge and my opinions to the table, and so does everybody else, and we hash it out together at this blog in the comment threads and the diaries. the same thing happens at the many other cardinal blogs and chat sites, and on the better talk radio shows. sometimes we fumble toward a rough consensus, and sometimes there are sharp divisions. but if the cardinals (or any other organization) are going to derive any value from fan insight, it's going to be by paying attention to the discussions we have --- the collective wisdom, not just one person's opinion --- and by using the data we gather and present, as a group, during the course of our discussions. the reyes project is a perfect case in point. when i wrote about reyes' pitch selection with men on base and his good results on pitches up in the zone, the data i relied upon was collected by a member of the community --- Solanus, one of five volunteers who have been charting pitches all season.
i talked about some of the other good cardinal blogs and discussion sites with the RFT reporter, but that material didn't get into the article, probably because of space constraints. the article leaves the impression that it's all about me, or all about VEB, and i couldn't disagree more strongly with that. it's about the whole fan base. that didn't come across in the RFT piece, and i wish it had.