Elias on the St. Louis Cardinals Roster

An analysis of the Elias Player Rankings for the entire St. Louis Cardinals' roster includes an equal measure of the ridiculous and the sublime.

In yesterday's tome, "Breaking Down the Cards' Free Agent Picture", I waxed on and on about the Cardinals' impending free agents in the context of their standing in the Elias Player Rankings.

The Type A, B and C rankings have no immediate on the situations of all the other players on the roster, since they are signed or can be tendered contracts for 2007.

But, a number of the youngsters, such as the pictured Yadier Molina will soon be arbitration-eligible and can use these rankings to their benefit in preparing to argue their case for more money.

The numbers can also be used by teams to help guide them as to when to consider buying out arbitration years of players who might otherwise milk them for more money in yearly arbitration cases later.

(Hint: Walt Jocketty, while you are busy with all those other weighty contract matters, don't wait too long to lock up the aforementioned Mr. Molina or you may pay substantially more later.)

For those reasons and more, I thought it would be illustrative to review the rankings of all Cardinals players within their position grouping in the National League, offered along with my comments about each.

You'll see some interesting positioning among the Types, some sublime and some ridiculous, including Juan Encarnacion, Chris Duncan, Molina, Rick Ankiel(!) and Jason Isringhausen.

Designated hitters, first basemen and outfielders
Rank     Score  Type Comment
1 Albert Pujols 100 A 1st perfect score since '02
24t Jim Edmonds 72 A Bad seasons for him look good here
29 Juan Encarnacion 70.667 A Like it or not, the guy has value
35/36 Line between Type A and B  
42 Preston Wilson 60.778 B May be harder to re-sign as a result
52 Chris Duncan 53.444 B Can he match big debut campaign?
58/59 Line between Type B and C  
63 So Taguchi 48.333 C Would he go to another team?
69/70 Line between Type C and no compensation  
101 Larry Bigbie 20.667   Will the Cards non-tender him? 
115 last  
NR John  Rodriguez     Not on the radar yet, I guess
Rank     Score  Type Comment
12 Yadier Molina 65.934 A Just made top group despite low BA  
13/14 Line between Type A and B  
20/21 Line between Type B and C      
24/25 Line between Type C and no compensation  
36 Gary Bennett 23.626   Cards can go cheaper with another
40 last        
Second basemen, third basemen and shortstops
Rank     Score  Type Comment
7 David Eckstein 82.011 A Pretty amazing the Angels cut him
18 Ron Belliard 71.645 A May be too expensive to keep
25/26 Line between Type A and B  
26t Scott Rolen 64.596 B Two subpar years put him here
43/44 Line between Type B and C  
52 Aaron Miles 45.022 C Last one in Type C - about right
53/52 Line between Type C and no compensation  
74 Jose Vizcaino 23.28   Was just a stop-gap for Eckstein
82 Scott Spiezio 15.528   His 2005 in SEA was really awful
86 last        
Starting pitchers        
Rank     Score  Type Comment
1 Chris Carpenter 97.222 A Can't argue with this
21 Jeff Suppan 75.735 A Solid 2006 puts his value sky high
31/32 Line between Type A and B      
32 Mark Mulder 63.889 B Just below the line - could help or hurt
35 Jeff Weaver 60.049 B May have found a home near the Arch
37t Jason Marquis 59.641 B Color him gone
52/53 Line between Type B and C      
62/63 Line between Type C and no compensation  
101t Rick Ankiel 0.98   Amazed to see him here or anywhere
101t last  
NR Anthony Reyes     He'd better be up there next time
Relief pitchers        
Rank     Score  Type Comment
19 Jason Isringhausen 72.137 A Not paid like #19, which is a problem
43/44 Line between Type A and B  
51 Josh Hancock 57.41 B Surprised he is best of the rest
52 Braden Looper 56.828 B Clearly overpaid for role/return
54 Jorge Sosa 56.338 B Good candidate to be non-tendered
57 Adam Wainwright 56.093 B Won't be this low next year
72/73 Line between Type B and C  
80 Randy Flores 45.867 C Results better than ranking
86/87 Line between Type C and no compensation  
125 Tyler Johnson 29.026   Will also be higher next time
128 Ricardo Rincon 26.516   Only due to his 2005 in Oakland
143 last  
NR Josh  Kinney     Emerged too late in season
NR Brad  Thompson     No idea why he isn't here 

In a future installment, we will look at the impact of the Elias rankings on potential free agent targets of the Cardinals. Until then, as a rule of thumb, it is reasonable to assume the Cardinals may try to avoid Type A free agents requiring them to forfeit a draft pick, instead focusing on Type B players.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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