The Sunday Night Hot Stove League Report

The Cardinals get $2,000 for Johnny Urinal. If you can get that for Johnny, you can only imagine how much free agent, starting pitcher, A.J. Burnett is going to cost St. Louis.

Here's a recap of all the moves made by the St. Louis Cardinals this week.  __   Ok we are done.

The big news this week out of St. Louis?

Somebody paid $2,000 for a urinal from Busch Stadium.  You had to ask.

Of course the fact that the Cardinals haven't made any moves doesn't mean there aren't things going on behind the scenes.  As a matter of fact, there has been some moves made this week that may impact the decisions that the St. Louis Cardinals are going to make. With the price of free agents this winter the Cardinals may need that $2,000 to sign somebody before it's all over.


A.J. Burnett

At the top of the Cardinals Christmas shopping list, (we still say Christmas here, for all you politically correct fans), on the top of their list is starting pitcher A.J. Burnett.  The Cardinals maintain, this week, that starting pitching is still their top priority and that they are still very interested in trying to reach a deal for Burnett, who is being courted by at least nine suitors.

Burnett, the prize of this winter's free-agent starting pitching market, already has a five-year deal on the table for about $50 million fromf the Toronto Blue Jays and Burnett's agent, Darek Braunecker is expecting as many as two more five-year offers.


Matt Morris

The Cardinals have maintained contact with Morris.  The Texas Rangers are expected to offer Matt a two year deal this week, but as of this weekend they they have yet to get Morris to even visit Arlington Texas, let alone to start looking for a new home.   

Morris considered a second-tier free agent this winter is on everyone's list, but doesn't appear to be at the top of anyone's list.

The Detroit Tigers have expressed interest in Matt and an offer from them could be in the works.

Morris has a deal on the table from the San Francisco Giants reportedly in the three year, $24 million vicinity.  A deal with the Giants makes a lot more since for Morris than a move to Texas or Detroit in the American league.  If for nothing else, Morris would join with his former batterymate Mike Matheny, for the next two seasons, barring any trades for either one of them.

With the obscene amount of money being discussed this winter for pitching, Morris is likely to cash in, it's just unlikely he will cash in with St. Louis.


Brian Giles

Giles turned down the latest offer from the San Diego Padres and while it appeared early last week that the Yankees may no longer be interested in his services,  according to a report in the New York Post, the agent for free-agent outfielder Brian Giles and Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke yesterday.

With Giles likely not returning to the Padres after the club turned down a three-year, $30 million proposal from Giles, Joe Bick is gauging other teams' interest in his left-handed hitting client, who will be 35 in January.

No offer was made by Cashman.

"I have said I am interested and we talked," Cashman said. "But I am talking to everybody. We are canvassing all the free agents and trade possibilities."

Bick explained that since talks with the Padres broke off last Wednesday, "some other teams have become encouraged" about signing Giles, who batted .301 with 15 homers and 83 RBIs in 158 games this past season when he made $8 million.

It's doubtful that the Cardinals would agree to a three-year deal for $30 million dollars.


Jacque Jones

According to a report from the St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Free-agent Twins outfielder Jacques Jones, who was paid $5 million by Minnesota last season, could end up with a $20 million, three-year offer from the St. Louis Cardinals soon."

We have discussed the signing of Jones in great detail for some time.  This isn't breaking news that the Cardinals would be making an offer for Jones.  Based on market conditions, if you wanted Jones, three years at $20 million would seem reasonable.


Mark Grudzielanek

Mark has indicated his desire to return to St. Louis.  Recently the Kansas City Royals, who had made an offer for Grudz, have dropped out of the bidding for Mark because of his demand for a three year contract.

The demands for a three year contract will hurt his chances to return to St. Louis.  I just don't see the Cardinals giving in on that point.

Grudzielanek, has also been targeted by Boston, the NY Mets and the Texas Rangers may consider Mark if, they trade second baseman Alfonso Soriano this winter.


Reggie Sanders

The Cardinals have kept the lines of communication open with Sanders.  At this time the focus on the front office is on starting pitching.  By the time they get around to Sanders it may be too late.

Kansas City Royals made their pitch  to Reggie Sanders recently and they will be trying to lure him from St. Louis to the other side of the state.  Other teams looking at Sanders include the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins. 

Sanders will be wanting a multi-year deal and St. Louis would probably be unlikely to go past a two year offer.


John Mabry/Mark Sweeney

Teams other than St. Louis are showing some interest in John Mabry, and it looks like it is very possible that the Cardinals may let go for yet a third time.  As we have reported the Cardinals have indicated they are interested in discussing a deal that would bring former St. Louis Cardinal, Mark Sweeney back to the fold.

The Cardinals will be looking for a left-handed bat to come off the bench and Sweeney could be the answer. He had another solid season as a bench/role player for San Diego last season, hitting .294 with eight home runs, 40 RBI and a .395 on-base percentage.


Joaquin Benoit

If healthy, Joaquin Benoit may end up being the best bang for the buck this winter.  While not a free agent, the 28-year-old Dominican Republic native is arbitration-eligible this offseason, and has exhausted his three years of minor league options.

Last season, Joaquin Benoit, the 6'3", 220 lbs., right handed reliever went 4-4 with no saves with a respectable 3.72 ERA, appearing in 32 games for the Rangers, pitching a total of 87 innings.


Winter Meetings

The winter meetings this year will be held in Dallas Texas from December 5-8 and while I know a lot of Cardinal fans would like to see the Cardinals GM, Walt Jocketty pull the trigger sooner than later, most agents are waiting to see what they can fetch at the winter meetings.

"And why shouldn't it?" asked one agent. "The players' association has stressed to all of us that every contract signed impacts everyone else, especially in arbitration, and they are adamant about getting every last buck."

There has been a long history of a lot of bad deals made at these meetings;

Mike Hampton, getting 8 years for $121 million from the Colorado Rockies.

Darren Dreifort, signed for five years $55 million, with the Dodgers, a deal at the time, I thought the Dodgers had lost their minds.  Eventually they probably did, in five years he made just 26 starts and managed to win just nine more games than I did that season.

The Colorado Rockies apparently have to over pay for pitching, they also paid Danny Neagle $51.5 million for five years and Neagle was eventually released when his ERA past his height.

Don't expect the Cardinals to make the same mistakes in Dallas.  It is highly unlikely that they will win any bidding wars for free agents like, A.J. Burnett, Brian Giles, Kevin Millwood, Jeff Weaver and others.  But Jocketty will be making deals and you should expect something to happen by the end of the winter meetings.

And for those of you who were outbidded for the Busch Stadium urinal, I have an old outhouse here at home, I can let go for for about half of that.




Major League Transactions This Week

11/25/05 Chicago White Sox
Acquired 1B Jim Thome and cash considerations from the Phillies for CF Aaron Rowand, LHP Dan Haigwood and a Minor League player to be named later.
  Philadelphia Phillies
Acquired CF Aaron Rowand, LHP Daniel Haigwood and a Minor League player to be named later for 1B Jim Thome and cash.
  Pittsburgh Pirates
Named Jeff Manto hitting coach.
11/24/05 Boston Red Sox
Acquired RHP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell and RHP Guillermo Mota in exchange for SS Hanley Ramirez, RHP Anibal Sanchez, RHP Jesus Delgado and RHP Harvey Garcia.
  Florida Marlins
Acquired SS Hanley Ramirez, RHP Anibal Sanchez, RHP Jesus Delgado and RHP Harvey Garcia for RHP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell and RHP Guillermo Mota
  Traded 1B Carlos Delgado and cash to the Mets for 1B Mike Jacobs, RHP Yusmeiro Petit and INF Grant Psomas. Acquired SS Hanley Ramirez, RHP Anibal Sanchez, RHP Jesus Delgado and RHP Harvey Garcia for RHP Josh Beckett, 3B Mike Lowell and RHP Guillermo Mota
  New York Mets
Obtained 1B Carlos Delgado and cash from the Marlins for 1B Mike Jacobs, RHP Yusmeiro Petit and INF Grant Psomas.
11/23/05 Milwaukee Brewers
Signed C Chad Moeller to a one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.
11/22/05 Florida Marlins
Signed free agent INF Alfredo Amezaga.
  Houston Astros
Purchased the contracts of RHP Matt Albers and RHP James Barthmaier from Single-A Salem and RHP Felipe Paulino Del Guidice from Single-A Lexington; Purchased the contracts of RHP Jason Hirsh and OF Josh Anderson from Double-A Corpus Christi.
  Kansas City Royals
Signed RHP Adam Bernero and RHP Seth Etherton to Minor League contracts.
  Milwaukee Brewers
Signed INF Brian Dallimore, INF Brent Abernathy, C Mark Johnson, C Mike Rivera, RHP Jerome Gamble and RHP Jared Fernandez to Minor League contracts with Spring Training invitations; Released RHP Gary Glover after he cleared waivers.
  Seattle Mariners
Signed free agent C Kenji Johjima to a three-year contract.
  St. Louis Cardinals
Purchased the contracts of SS Brendan Ryan and INF Travis Hanson from Double-A Springfield.
  Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Signed RHP Chad Harville to a one-year contract; Designated LHP Joe Beimel for assignment.
11/21/05 Cincinnati Reds
Outrighted LHP Ben Kozlowski to Triple-A Louisville and invited him to Spring Training.
  Milwaukee Brewers
Signed INF Jeff Cirillo to a one-year contract.
  Pittsburgh Pirates
Traded INF Bobby Hill to the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later; Purchased the contracts of INF Yurendell DeCaster and INF Craig Stansberry from Triple-A Indianapolis; Purchased the contracts of SS Javier Guzman and RHP Josh Sharpless from Double-A Altoona; Designated RHP Jeff Miller, OF Michael Restovich and OF Tike Redman for assignment.
  San Diego Padres
Signed INF/OF Eric Young to one-year contract; Acquired IF Bobby Hill from the Pirates for a player to be named later.



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