Cardinals Winter Notebook 12/05

"He's (Rolen) got a contract to play, and we need him to play," La Russa said Wednesday at the baseball winter meetings. "And he's going to be treated very honestly. If he plays hard and plays as well as he can, he plays. And if he doesn't, he can sit. If he doesn't like it, he can quit."

The family feud between future Hall of Fame manager, Tony La Russa and seven time Gold-Glove Award winner, Scott Rolen, continued in Nashville on Wednesday, when La Russa gave an ultimatum, "If he doesn't like it, he can quit."

Apparently things have gotten so bad between La Russa and Rolen, that the manager's calls to Rolen's agents this week have gone unanswered.

La Russa, who may be somewhat frustrated by all the media attention on what should be an "inside" issue, did make it clear when asked about trade talks involving Scott Rolen, "I don't want to trade him, I don't think we can afford to trade him."

It's gotten to the point one has to ask, how much of this problem between La Russa and Rolen is real, or how much of it is getting blown out of proportion by all the media coverage?

Scott Rolen indicating that he is willing to waive his no-trade clause and asking the Cardinals to explore potential trade offers, is much different than demanding a trade and refusing to play for La Russa. The latter, being the impression held by most fans and reporters .

One thing that isn't going to help, is playing out this personal conflict between the two, in front of the national media.

Rolen missed 50 games in 2007, submitting to season-ending shoulder surgery in September. Concerns other clubs have about Rolen's health, his waning bat and his contract, make it very difficult for the Cardinals to make any deal that they can live with.

Rolen has garnered interest from Milwaukee, Texas, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but at the end of Day 3, Rolen is still a Cardinal.


SO TAGUCHI: The Cardinals released the popular outfielder today, in a move apparently to free up a roster spot in anticipation of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday.

ERIC BEDARD: The Cardinals are just one of as many as 10 teams that have contacted the Orioles in reference to left-handed starting pitcher, Eric Bedard. The rumor is that the Dodgers made an offer earlier in the week Bedard involving a couple of 23-year-olds; right fielder Matt Kemp and reliever Jonathan Broxton. At the end of Day 3 that deal doesn't appear close.

The Cardinals are confident that starter Mark Mulder will be back by the first of May and that the staff ace, Chris Carpenter, should be back by or around the All-Star Break. Based on these assumptions, the Orioles who want to get younger, are likely to get more for Bedard from another team, than the Cardinals are willing to offer.

DAN HAREN: There were a lot of Cardinal fans who objected to the December 19, 2004 trade, that sent Haren, pitcher Kiko Calero and catching prospect Daric Barton to Oakland for starting pitcher Mark Mulder.

Haren is being shopped (or at least the offers are being considered) by Oakland at the Winter Meetings, but he isn't going to come cheap and fans longing for his return to St. Louis are going to be disappointed.

Haren signed a four-year contract with the A's worth $12.65 million in September 2005 with a club option for 2010. Imagine signing Haren today, for four years for $12.65 million.

Besides the money issue, the A's want a front-line starter back for Haren, that alone knocks the Cardinals out of play.

JIM EDMONDS: The Cardinals fully expect Edmonds to play in St. Louis in 2008, despite his offer to waive his no-trade clause.

SCOTT ROLEN: Early in the day, reported that, according to major-league sources, the Los Angeles Dodgers have become the team in greatest pursuit of St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen.

That may be true, but it's very unlikely that the Cardinals will trade Rolen after manager Tony La Russa made it clear to the national media today that the Cardinals cannot afford to trade the seven-time Gold Glove Award winner.

By the end of the day, the Dodgers general manager, Ned Colliti was telling reporters, that they weren't close to a deal for Rolen.

ANTHONY REYES: Teams apparently think that Reyes has fallen out of favor with the St. Louis Cardinals, which would somewhat explain the numerous inquires for him at the Winter Meetings.

KEVIN MILLWOOD: The Rangers may be willing to deal Millwood, if that is the case, the Cardinals could be interested. The 32-year-old right hander, started 31 games for the Rangers last season, finishing with a 10-14 record and a 5.16 ERA. The Cardinals front office has talked with the Rangers recently.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Tony La Russa, "If we get all four of these guys (Mulder, Carpenter, Edmonds & Rolen) back at some point in the season, playing like they can, we're really a good club again."

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