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joe strauss tucked the following sentence into his article about matt clement this morning: "The Cardinals remain in the market for additional pitching, ideally for a lefthanded swing guy." the available free agent who best fits that description is mark hendrickson, who has been on the cards' radar for a while. he went 4-8, 5.21 in 123 innings with the dodgers last year --- 3-7, 6.13 as a starter; 1-1, 3.69 as a reliever. others who have filled this role in the recent past include odalis perez (late of the royals) and mike bascik (who yielded #756 to barry bonds). i'm guessing this person is envisioned as opening the season in the rotation, moving to the pen whenever mulder gets back on the mound, and being available to return to the rotation if / when mulder falls apart . . . .

after the edmonds trade, i mused that the cards had the payroll to add two pitchers --- one innings-eater and one high-upside reclamation. clement goes into the latter slot; hendrickson (who has a spotless health record) would fit into the former if he's brought aboard. if they do add him, the rotation looks like this:

st louis memphis
wainwright reyes
looper parisi
pineiro hawksworth
clement boggs
mulder /
brazelton /

not real inspiring, but i agree with the general conclusion houstoncardinal arrived at yesterday, ie the rotation shapes up to be modestly better than last year's. if nothing else, it should be more stable; whereas last year's opening-day rotation featured two guys who'd never made a big-league start and one who'd made fewer than 20, this year's (with or without hendrickson) will be seasoned --- and there prob'y still will be innings available for any of the young guys who does well at triple A. it won't be necessary to scramble for innings, as it was last year; the group may still be lacking in quality, but you can't say it lacks for quantity.

here's the latest roster matrix, with hendrickson penciled in just for fun; i assume clement will earn most (but not all) of his performance bonuses:


molina c
spiezio ut
wainwright rhp
is'hausen rhp
pujols 1b
schumaker of
looper rhp
franklin rhp
kennedy 2b
miles if
pineiro rhp
springer rhp
rolen 3b
larue c
mulder lhp
flores lhp
izturis ss
barton of
clement rhp
johnson lhp
duncan lf
ryan if
carpenter rhp
wellemeyer rhp
ankiel cf
jimenez if
reyes rhp
hendrickson rhp
ludwick rf
encarnacion rf
parisi rhp
perez rhp

the payroll actually stands at about $99m, with thompson on the roster; replacing him with a lefty swing guy (hendrickson or somebody else) would push the total north of $100m.

trivial factoid: so far this off-season the cardinals have not added a new player who logged either 400 at-bats or 20 starts last season. the last time the cards went an entire winter without acquiring at least one such player was 1991-92; their big pickup that off-season, andres gallaraga, had taken 375 at-bats in 1991; they also added tracy woodson, ozzie canseco, and paul kilgus. here's a complete list, if'n you're curious:

400 AB 20 GS
2006-07 a kennedy
2005-06 j encarnacion s ponson
2004-05 d eckstein m mulder
2003-04 r sanders
m anderson
j suppan
2002-03 b tomko
2001-02 t martinez
2000-01 d hermanson
1999-00 d kile
p hentgen
an benes
1998-99 e renteria
1997-98 k mercker
1996-97 d deshields
1995-96 g gaetti
r clayton
r gant
an benes
t stottlemyre
1994-95 k hill
da jackson
1993-94 r sutcliffe
1992-93 g jefferies
m whiten