Sunday Morning Coffee with Ray Mileur

It's that time of year, when we turn the clocks back an hour, marking the changing of the seasons. St. Louis Cardinal fans are waking up an hour later this Sunday morning to check out the Birdhouse and other news sources to see if the trade-winds have begun blowing across Cardinal Nation.

Still recovering from the sting of missing the playoffs this year, Cardinal fans will not be satisfied with just hosting the All-Star Game in 2009 They expect postseason baseball to return to Busch Stadium. For that to happen, the Cardinals are going to have to make at least one trade, if not a couple, to fill in some roster holes before spring training.

Six Cardinals have filed for free agency, including; shortstop Cesar Izturis, righthanders Braden Looper and Russ Springer, lefthander Ron Villone and infielder Felipe Lopez. Catcher Jason LaRue was briefly a free-agent before signing a new one year deal with the Cardinals to serve as the backup to Yadier Molina for the 2009 campaign. Early indications are that the Cardinals won't re-sign shortstop Cesar Izturis, who did everything asked of him defensively in 08, but his lack of offense may mean the Cardinals will be making that first offseason trade to fill the hole at short.

Word is, St. Louis could be interested in dealing for one of my favorite young players and rising star, San Diego shortstop Khalil Greene, who made $6.5 million last season but had a terrible season, punctuated by broken hand.

If the Cardinals can pick up Greene, he'll have to wait to see who he's going to be turning double-plays with, as the Cardinals shuffle their middle infield cards; Adam Kennedy, Aaron Miles, Felipe Lopez, Brendan Ryan and even Jarrett Hoffpauir, to decide which ones to hold, which ones to pass or to fold.

While the fans are wondering when St. Louis is going to make their first big trade this winter, I'm hoping the Cardinals will come to terms soon with utility infielder, Aaron Miles.

One of my favorite signings last season was the one-year contract given to Miles. A signing that paid off significantly. Aaron had his best offensive season since 2004, posting a career high batting line of .317/.355/.398 (BA/OBP/SLG), while playing in 134 games and everywhere except at first base and behind the plate.The only reason he didn't play those two positions, was because they didn't ask him to.

In addition to exceeding expectations with his bat last season, Miles' fielding percentage was solid and above major league average at each position he played, (2B – 85 games, SS-24 games, 3B-11 games, OF-six games and a scoreless inning in relief off the mound). In my opinion, he warrants a new contract from the organization in 2009.

Acquired from the Colorado Rockies with outfielder Larry Bigbie, in exchange for pitcher Ray King on December 7, 2005, Miles was non-tendered by the Cardinals at the end of the 2007 season, before signing the one year deal last January.

Since arriving in St. Louis, Aaron has shown a great deal of versatility with our club over the past three season, proving to be a quality player both as a starter and off the bench. It's likely the Cardinals will non-tender the arbitration eligible Miles again this winter, but I'd like to see a deal sooner than later, to reward him for his significant contributions to the club.

The Cardinals could use a healthy starter, need a couple of arms in the bullpen and have question marks about the infield up the middle. Most St. Louis fans are hoping that Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, will make a big trade this winter or make a big splash jumping into free agency market, to address these needs. For me, it's the little things in life that I enjoy, and it's the little things that lead to a World Championship. So I say, give me Aaron Miles again.

 

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