First of all, I’m hoping that Santa gives us 500+ PAs from Colby Rasmus. There’s not a lot of doubt in my mind that if he’s given sufficient playing time, considering his plate discipline and his plus defense, it won’t be too difficult for him to be at least a 2 WAR player as a rookie. That should be true even if his batting average is relatively low and he doesn’t hit as many homers as we would like. That would make him roughly an average major-leaguer – a pretty good place to begin a career. For those of you who are skeptics and who think I’m bestowing Hall of Fame-status on Rasmus, Skip Schumaker was a 2.5 WAR player last season. I don’t see why Rasmus can’t be at least as good next year as Skip was this year. He’s probably at least a 2 WAR player just defensively.
Second – I really shouldn’t number these in this manner since they’re not really meant to be in any particular order – please, Santa, put 150 innings from Carp in my stocking. That may be too much to ask – sort of like that Red Ryder BB gun that little Ralphie Parker asked for but, remember, Santa brought Ralphie the BB gun. Of course, little Ralphie did end up "shooting his eye out" so maybe I should just ask Santa for Carp’s return to health and be thankful for anything I get.
How about another strong season from Troy Glaus? If he’s relatively healthy and plays 135-140 games, we get some good production out of the 5 hole and a type-A free agent if the Cards’ brass has the wherewithal to offer him arbitration next winter.
I’d like another strong season from Ludwick as well. He doesn’t have to be an All-Star; I’d be ecstatic w/ a .900 OPS. It’d be nice to get 190 innings out of Wellemeyer and another season from Lohse similar to last year’s. That may be a little greedy so how about 190 league-average innings? I promise to be good this year, Santa!
Santa, please bring me a Khalil Greene who plays as though it’s his contract year – which, of course, it is. I don’t expect Jeter (offensively) in his prime, but Greene’s averaged 1.9 WAR for the last 5 seasons, including last year’s abysmal performance. Getting 1.9 or 2 WAR this year would make him a pretty productive player (do I dare ask for 2.5 – 3?) and help the Cards a lot.
I’m also asking for Chris Perez to be able to hold down the fort in the 9th. Again, I don’t expect Mariano Rivera but if he can pitch well and keep his job, the Cards will be just fine. To help him out, can I get some health from Josh Kinney and the continued development of Jason Motte as well? Can I please have Chris Duncan’s return to health and confidence? If he just becomes a tradable commodity, I’ll be satisfied.
From the farm, I’d like to have Daryl Jones continue to develop into a potential Carl Crawford-type player. Crawford’s a legit CF playing LF and Jones will probably always be a LF due to his limited arm strength, but I’d like him to develop in Crawford’s mold in every other facet of his game. I’m going to ask for Brett Wallace to develop enough defensively enough to give the Cards’ brass reason to believe he can be competent for a few years at the hot corner. I know at some point he’s going to have to move across the diamond or become a DH, but if we could get 3 years or so from him at 3B, we’ll have a very productive third-sacker. I want continued development from Craig and Freese, and a comeback from Adam Ottavino. I’ve always had high hopes for him and this year may be his last year to get straightened out.
We’re going to need a SS soon, so please bring me continued improvement from Pete Kozma and a reason to be sanguine about Niko Vazquez’s future as well. I’d like Jon Jay to have another season like ’08 and Bryan Anderson to continue develop behind the plate.
Back in St. Louis, please give us another healthy MVP-type season from big Albert. I’m not going to ask for the voters to select him as our MVP – that’s too much of a crapshoot and, Santa, I know you don’t control some of those writers anyway. From the team’s perspective, is it too much to get to 90 wins? If you could bring us 4 more wins, we’ve got a chance. I’d never dream to ask for another World Championship – I’m not that greedy – but, if you could get us to 90, we’ll have a chance.
You already brought me one thing that I asked for – fangraphs has added a replacement value section that takes wRAA, UZR, and a positional adjustment and figures each player’s WAR and value in terms of dollars. It was quite a surprise to find in my stocking this Christmas Eve so I’m going to share it w/ all of you. You’re welcome!
Finally, I’d like to ask for a great year for my family and all my friends at VEB. Please fill their stockings w/ happiness and health and everything they need to make their lives just a little bit better. Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah and glad tidings for this day and the next 365.