Walton's Wanderings – December 4, 2006

Bringing you the best St. Louis Cardinals-related news and speculation from around Major League Baseball.

Especially this time of year, it is difficult at times to separate news from spin, yes, even potentially locally.

Izzy ahead of schedule

Most Cards fans already check out the P-D regularly, but this one is still worth noting, as it paints a most optimistic picture of the Cardinals closer's rehab from his second hip surgery in recent years.

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A pessimist might question the timing of this, wondering if it might make Walt Jocketty appear to be less desperate for starting pitching at the Winter Meetings. In reality, it is probably just coincidence.

Still, Izzy hasn't got onto a mound and thrown a baseball yet. So, I recommend keeping enthusiasm under control. Wainwright is still in my pen until proof is shown.

Izzy on his knuckle curve

To accompany all the feel-good optimism, Izzy talks about one of his favorite pitches.

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Schmidt agent spin?

Agent Randy Hendricks told ESPN.com that his man, free-agent Jason Schmidt, is "not committed to the West Coast", apparently despite what the pitcher said himself.

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I imagine Schmidt got a stern talking-to for being so honest and limiting his market value as a result. Hence, the spin control.

Add the Dodgers to the list of clubs who are actively pursuing Schmidt. Have we gone beyond 30 clubs yet?

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Jennings in big demand

The Cubs, Houston, Minnesota, the Mets and Texas have been actively pursuing Jason Jennings, the Rockies' starting pitcher.

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No mention of the Cardinals this time, though…

Zito and Cards mentioned in same sentence

"Barry Zito is at the top of the list of available free-agent pitchers. The Dodgers, Baltimore, Boston, Texas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, the Cubs, Arizona, St. Louis and San Diego are among potential suitors for Zito."

(See the same link as just above this.)

I put a good amount of credence in what Tracy Ringolsby says. On the other hand, the Cardinals were one of ten teams on the list, so no need to chill the champagne.

Lowry seasoned vet

"San Francisco might be willing to part with lefty Noah Lowry in the right deal. He was just 7-10 with a 4.74 last year but was 19-13 his first two seasons, including 6-0 as a rookie in 2003."

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It is just like Jocketty to trade for names not considered by most. I'm not saying it will be Lowry personally, but it could be someone like him. Lowry just fell short of Super Two status, so has one more year of being super cheap. The Giants would be fools to trade him.

Interestingly enough, the Gigantes have no players between three and six years of service. (The Cards have six.)

Weaver still sentimental favorite

Even the LA Times thinks Jeff Weaver should return to St. Louis and says that is the "prevailing opinion around baseball".

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No word on whether Scott Boras is impressed by the sentiment expressed. Hey, maybe Boras would do a package deal for Zito and Weaver? Not!

Mulder's tee times to suffer

"As Byrnes has said all offseason, any upgrade is more likely to come via trade than free agency, although they remain intrigued by Valley resident Mark Mulder. Mulder already has offers from San Diego and Texas and has drawn interest from more than 10 teams."

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The recent spin out of the desert remains less favorable for Mulder.

Suppan as a Cub?

Jeff Suppan also is possibility for the Cubs, but the Chicago Tribune thinks he will eventually re-sign in St Louis. Ted Lilly and Jason Schmidt are their supposed top targets.

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Darn. I used to like Suppan, too. First the Cubs and now, the Pirates?

Suppan's price keeps going up

"The Pirates have interest in Suppan, and the feeling is mutual. He enjoyed the four months he spent with the Pirates in 2003 but will almost certainly wind up signing somewhere for four years and at least $40 million. That dollar figure is likely on the conservative side."

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Even the local Pirates papers are seeing Suppan exceeding four years, $40 million! Trade, Walt, trade!

Sosa backs Mac

…and Bonds and Palmeiro and himself, too, for the Hall of Fame. Honest. Birds of a feather?

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(This is a summary story. The rest is in actual interview video available online.)

Reds tweak uniform

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Not as bad as the D'backs new threads, but remember the stuff on the inside is just the same…

Pujols apology to Howard

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If you thought Pujols was surly before (I do), how will he be after this debacle?

Too bad it was blown up so much that it had to come to this, but good to see Pujols addressing the issue both privately with Ryan Howard and publicly, too. Now, will everyone please be quiet and move on? We have six pages of posts about this on our Message Board!

Cards to spend two nights in Memphis

A second exhibition game has been added in Memphis the day following the Cards game against the Redbirds on March 30. The first annual "Civil Rights Game" between the Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians will be held on March 31. Tickets go on sale via the internet Tuesday, December 5, with on-site tickets available at AutoZone Park the next day. The game will be televised on ESPN.

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Weaver still dreaming of Cards

For those who hung on until the end, here is a tidbit with more info beyond what is in this link.

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I am hearing renewed rumblings that Jeff Weaver still wants to return to St. Louis. He is not pleased with the progress of negotiations and with not being offered arbitration and wants his agent to get a deal done with the Cardinals pronto.

Unless Scott Boras gums up the works, which is surely possible, a very reasonable contract in the two years, $13 million vicinity (guaranteed) may get done this week. That would leave Jocketty with just one more starting pitcher to line up and relieve a lot of pressure for both the Cardinals and Weaver.



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

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