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I.

MEMO

RE: Rawlings™ Gold Gloves, Offense, 1B A.P.

Friends,

Am pleased to see voting continue apace—remember to place all ballots in the accompanying SASE by Friday. I've had my secretary attach a list of first basemen sorted by games played at first base. I can not stress this enough: please make sure your first place vote goes to someone who played at first base. 

In any case, there's been some confusion and someone recommended, as a result, that we reiterate the criteria for selecting a Rawlings™ Gold Glover based on his offensive contributions. You will find this list attached.

  1. Candidate must be an excellent offensive player. I think this goes without saying.
  2. Candidate must not be too excellent an offensive player. There is a point at which one's offense simply becomes a distraction, one that may in fact be detrimental to team defense. If one's first baseman hits .357 what's to keep a shortstop from playing down on his heels, content that a run or two can be made up on offense? It's a useful corollary to remember that players whose offensive skills seem ill-suited for their position—not enough power at first, too much speed in an outfield corner—are outstanding defensive players, because if they weren't why would they be playing the position at all?
  3. When all else fails, just guess. Who's to say? There are lots of great defensive players in the league. Just vote for somebody you think is one!
  4. Say Rawlings™ before you say Gold Glove. In the phrase "Adrian Gonzalez is going to win the Rawlings™ Gold Glove!", for instance.
I hope this proves to be of assistance. For our next meeting I'd like everyone to come in with their pick, bake sale or car wash, so that we have time to debate the winner.

Yours,
Bud Selig

II.

Al at Bleed Cubbie Blue reports, from the Sun-Times, that Mark Cuban will not be the Cubs' next owner. I don't know about you guys, but for me this is cause for a sigh of relief. Cuban may be a little crazy, but he's also a guy who has no readily apparent upper spending limit—a guy who seems to own the Mavericks as a money-losing hobby first and a business that might make him some money only incidentally. 

If he'd have been able to combine that with the Cubs' unreal revenue stream... well, I think their idea of a free agent problem would be running out of free agents. 

III.

Lots of interesting stuff in this Strauss article, which has already made the rounds. In order of interest, for me, we have:
  1. Chris Duncan ready for Spring Training(!?)
  2. The Cardinals have expressed early interest in Jeremy Affeldt and Arthur Rhodes. Neither is a top-of-the-line lefty reliever; Rhodes, 39 next year, has had intermittent control issues since his Seattle heyday while Affeldt still has those troubling years with Kansas City weighing down his record. But both seem likely to be a significant upgrade at a spot where the Cardinals got no traction all last year.
  3. Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel might might might be traded, maybe. Honestly this seems to really mean that Ryan Ludwick might be traded—seeing as, at this point, he's already been involved in purported discussions for Braves 2B Kelly Johnson and, now, omnipresent trade icon Matt Holliday.
Now, I think Matt Holliday is an excellent baseball player, above-average in every facet of the game and underrated by the fact that just about every player hits better at home than he does on the road, unless he's Albert Pujols or some other kind of cyborg, and doubling a player's road split rarely seems to accurately gauge their value.

But trading Ludwick straight up for him only works if your owner is Mark Cuban, because if Holliday has the kind of season that would make the trade a successful one the Cardinals would suddenly be on the hook for a six year deal. Ludwick, on the other hand, will be cost-controlled for the next few years, which could well take the Cardinals right through his prime.

As for Kelly Johnson, he's a fine player but it would be an aggressive move for Moz to make, one that not only assumes that Ludwick will regress but that Rasmus (or Rasmus and some combination of Mather and Duncan and Barton) is ready to put up, say, a 110 OPS+ and sterling defense to off-set some of his value. Given Mozeliak's early trades of Rolen and Edmonds, two beloved former all-stars in their own right, I think he's gutsy enough to do it, but I don't know if he'll see enough value there.