Five Out and One In

Ponson reportedly to sign, while Hart, Seabol, Lincoln and Mahoney dropped, Parrott optioned out plus some new names to consider.

With the non-tender date upon them, the Cardinals chose not to offer 2006 contracts to four players Tuesday night, making them free agents. They are:


Second baseman Bo Hart, who had his 15 minutes of fame during the 2003 season, but has spent most of his time in Triple-A since.


Infielder Scott Seabol, who had his first extended big league action last season, hitting .219 in 105 at-bats.


Reliever Mike Lincoln, who has spent most of his two seasons as a Cardinals battling arm injuries.


Catcher Mike Mahoney, who like Seabol was basically a career minor leaguer pressed into action and by default, became the backup catcher for at least part of the 2005 season, hitting just .156 in 64 at-bats. The writing was on the wall for Mahoney when Gary Bennett and Michel Hernandez were added to the 40-man since the end of the 2005 season.


In addition, reliever Rhett Parrott was outrighted to Memphis and removed from the 40-man roster.


The signing was foreshadowed by ESPN Insider on Tuesday and reported by the Post-Dispatch overnight. Troubled right-handed starter Sidney Ponson, who had been released by the Orioles in a contentious process that is still being disputed, agreed to a one-year incentive-laden deal with the Cardinals.


Late last season, the Orioles terminated Ponson's contract, which was for three years and $22.5 million and had been originally scheduled to run through the 2006 season.


Ponson, 29, the Orioles' former ace, has had numerous alcohol-related run-ins with the law in both the US and his native Aruba. He was just released from jail in Baltimore on Tuesday.


On the mound, he is a career 76-91 pitcher with a 4.81 ERA lifetime. However, Ponson has spent all of his time on mediocre Baltimore teams, with the exception of a partial season in San Francisco in 2003. There, he was basically a rental player and was not offered arbitration by the Giants before returning to the Orioles.


Ponson has good stuff – a 92-94 MPH fastball and a plus slider. But, he has also often been overweight and had elbow and shoulder problems in the past. Others have questioned his mental toughness and have doubts whether Ponson is too laid-back to become a dominant pitcher.


So, there is risk on multiple angles with Sir Sid. On the other hand, if he wants to prove himself, being the #4 starter for the Cardinals on a one-year, incentive-laden deal could be the ideal opportunity for both player and team. If.


Non tenders

Of the other 46 players besides the Cardinals' four not offered contracts for 2006, most of the top names were expected.


They include Washington's second baseman Junior Spivey, reliever Dan Kolb of the Brewers, catcher Jason Phillips from the Dodgers, starter Ramon Ortiz of the Reds, reliever Joe Borowski of Tampa Bay, second baseman Willie Harris of the White Sox and starter Wade Miller of the Red Sox.


Key players who were expected by some to be cut loose, but were instead tendered contracts include starters Kyle Lohse of the Twins and Gil Meche of Seattle and outfielder Corey Patterson of the Cubs. They were likely deemed too valuable to cut loose, though they could still be traded.


However, there are some unexpected names on the list, too.


Eric Byrnes, outfielder, Baltimore

Rumors were that the Cardinals were interested in Byrnes when Oakland was entertaining offers mid-season. Instead, Byrnes went to Colorado and then to Baltimore, when he was traded for Larry Bigbie. In Oakland, Byrnes was the epitome of a streaky hitter. When he was on, he was great, but also suffered through month-long slumps. Still, worth a look for sure.


Dewan Brazelton, right-handed starter, San Diego.

It is very odd that the Padres would non-tender Brazelton, considering they just traded for him from Tampa Bay for former starting third baseman Sean Burroughs. Brazelton is still young, 25, and though he has had personal issues that kept him off the mound, has considerable potential.


Chad Bradford, right-handed reliever, Boston

Was once the closer of the future for Oakland and would be a decent addition to someone's 2006 pen. Maybe the Cards will look that way if they can't land Felix Rodriguez.


Ken Harvey, first base, Kansas City

Harvey, who has battled back injuries recently, could provide a lot of pop off the bench and help out at designated hitter for some American League team, but is not a fit for St. Louis.


Jamal Strong, outfielder, Seattle

Strong is a speed-burner, on-base-percentage kind of small ball player and was on many top prospect lists for the Mariners for years. But, he is 27 now and has never been able to crack a major league roster, yet a starting lineup for any period of time.


Other news

As expected, outfielder Larry Bigbie has reportedly agreed to a $900,000 one-year contract.


Outfielder-first baseman Brian Daubach has reportedly agreed to terms on a split contract and will be a non-roster invitee to spring training.


The roster currently sits at 36, with the five subtractions plus the addition of Ponson. Expect more moves soon, either via signings of non-tendered players or a trade or both.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at


© 2005 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories