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Game 102 Open Thread: July 31, 2007



9-8, 4.45

7-12, 4.57

just before the deadline, the pirates traded for matt morris --- what on god's green earth is dave littlefield thinking? to acquire morris, who's pricey and on the downside of his career, he gave up a speedy 26-year-old outfielder named rajai davis who possesses the qualities the cardinals should be trying to add. davis is young (26), fast (251 minor-league steals), and has very good on-base ability (a .375 career minor-league obp), plus he can play centerfield. where were the cardinals on this guy? i hate to knock morris, who i love dearly as a baseball player and a competitor, but we couldn't top that offer? littlefield probably asked for anthony reyes. . . .

morris has an era of 8.48 over the last month and 4.57 over the last 4 years, one point worse than steve trachsel. but that's still a full run better than the cards' scintillating new pitcher, joel piniero, who has logged a 5.56 era since the beginning of the 2004 season. that's 2d-worst among all major-league pitchers who've thrown 500 innings over that span --- only casey fossum was worse. eric milton, mark redman, and ramon ortiz have all outpitched this guy; kyle lohse, jeff weaver, brett tomko, and odalis perez have outpitched him by a lot. . . . i didn't rag on the cardinals when they passed on the high-dollar free-agents last winter because i thought they were committing themselves to player development. todd wellemeyer and joel piniero are not the type of players i thought they intended to develop.

neither is matt morris, for that matter. it woulda been fun to have him back, and lord knows the cardinals could use a healthy veteran in the rotation in the short term. but long term? if st louis had a player like rajai davis in the system and gave him up to acquire a player like mattymo, i'd scream bloody murder.

before i leave the subject of the trade deadline: i gotta wonder whether the cardinals made an offer on wilson betemit, who got traded for scott proctor, a so-so middle reliever. proctor has not commanded much trust in the yankee bullpen this year, getting used almost exclusively before the 8th inning and/or when the yankees are trailing or are way, way ahead. if i were the dodgers, i'd much rather have acquired former closer troy percival; think he was made available? . . . . . it's a shame the cardinals' most tradeable players, their late-inning relievers, were all off-limits for this reason or that. the club might well very have picked up a useful piece or two for 2008.

don't get mad if chris duncan sits tonight; i'd sit him too against paul maholm, who has held left-handed batters to a .209 / .255 / .314 line in 2007. right-handers are pounding him to the tune of .295 / .347 / .452. the outfield should be ludwick, taguchi, and en'cion left to right. maholm has posted a 3.80 era since june 1 (10 starts), mainly by cutting his home run rate; he yielded 1.6 hr per 9 innings in the first two months of the year, just 0.7 hr/9 since then. his h/9, k/9, and bb/9 haven't changed much.