A few notable bits from recent Post-Dispatch articles that jumped out at me…
In a Joe Strauss column in which he dishes out grades to Cardinals acquired in the offseason:
Hindered by left shoulder issues, Spivey continues to play ineffectively at Triple-A Memphis and, according to sources familiar with his situation, may require surgery to have any chance of returning to form.
Miles’ chances of making the club appeared cooked when he jammed a hand in an early exhibition game, but he seized a chance afforded by Spivey’s and Hector Luna’s difficult camps upon returning. The semi-regular No. 8 hitter, Miles the switch hitter has remade himself offensively. He entered Saturday with a .383 on-base percentage and 14 walks to go with a .309 average. Miles had only eight walks and a .306 on-base percentage in 324 at-bats with Colorado last season. Miles and Luna are hitting a combined .315 and have largely negated Spivey’s absence.
Of the acquisitions, Miles is the only one to earn an A grade. Rincon and Spivey got F grades since they won’t be making any contributions this season while eating up $2,650,000 of payroll. Rincon is signed for another 1.45 megabucks next season.
Ray King has been fairly effective for the Rockies thus far, although his strikeout rate appears to continue its six-season decline. The desperation trade that Jocketty orchestrated by sending King to Colorado in the winter meetings for two players that the Rockies had no need for–Aaron Miles and Larry Bigbie–already looks like a fantastic move for the Cardinals with the centerpiece of the trade from the perspective of the Cardinals, B, only having collected two base hits so far this season after fracturing his calcaneus in Spring Training forcing him to miss the first month. My expectations for Bigbie are pretty high so by the end of the season, I bet that’s going to look like a lopsided trade in favor of the Redbirds that Walt had to make with his back against the wall, what with everyone who can read a paper knowing that he had to move an unhappy, declining King.
A nice story on Larry Bigbie from this article by Tom Timmerman describes how Dave McKay retrieved the ball that he’d singled to center off Juan Cruz Friday night and offered it to Larry.
“To come to St. Louis and get that first hit and get that first ball that you can put on the mantel,” Bigbie said, “and remember that as my first hit as a Cardinal.”
A year ago, when Bigbie got his first hit with Colorado, he didn’t save the ball. “Nothing against Colorado,” he said, “it’s just, being in St. Louis is kind of a different hype.”
You couldn’t really blame Bigbie for having any beef with Colorado, although his ire would be more accurately turned on Larry Lucchino: backstory here, here, and here. Rick Hummel managed to drag a juicier quotation out of Aaron Miles in this article: “After it’s all said and done, [going six for nine in a series] is a little sweeter that it was done against [the Rockies].”
An article of Tom Timmerman’s answered a question I’ve had for a while, and that has to do with when Eckstein gets a game off. I won’t quote from the article, but the answer is no time soon. He’s playing great and feels great, we’ve got plenty of off-days, and he’s been hitting exceptionally at home. Looking ahead, I don’t see any long road stretches looming before the All-Star break where you’d want to get him out of the lineup. My interests would have more to do with who bats in his place. Luna is the backup shortstop so Miles would be in at second and most likely would bat lead-off. He was the lead-off hitter for Colorado during 2003, 2004, and half of 2005, and is off to his best season getting on base this year. I’d guess that Luna would bat second and Taguchi would bat eighth and play in left. The game when Eckstein doesn’t play would probably come on the road, against a left-handed pitcher, in the middle of a stretch of games. I’ll go out on a limb and predict that if the Cards face Mike Maroth in the interleague series against the Detroit Tigers during June 23-25 that David Eckstein will get his first day off of the season. That’s either the 73rd, 74th, or 75th game of the season. There are plenty of long stretches in the second half where he’ll get some time off to make up for the heavy workload here in the first half.