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Cards keep their sights on Burnett

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Postby JTWood » Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:35 am

Saw this today, under the "losers" section of ESPN's evaluation of the Winter Meetings:

ESPN.com wrote:3. Cardinals
In so many ways, the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the best and most stable franchises in any sport. But these days, they're also one of the most puzzling.

They drew 3.5 million people this year. They won 100-plus games for the second year in a row. They have a new ballpark rising in the shadows of Busch Stadium and new revenue streams flying at them from all directions. So why are they suddenly spending money as if they're the Twins?

They could have had Burnett signed at these meetings if they'd been willing to offer him just a little bit more than $38 million over four years. They had a potential deal for Vazquez fall apart over money issues.

They let Mark Grudzielanek, a player they wanted to sign -- and who wanted to return -- take a hike because ownership wouldn't let the baseball people pay him more than $2 million a year. And they've now lost 16 players since the final game of the 2003 World Series, many because of pressure to keep the payroll down.

"That's a team whose window to win may be closing," one GM said. "They'll still be good. But they're getting thinner, and they're getting older, and they're getting more vulnerable."

And what happened at these winter meetings -- when a starting pitcher they clearly wanted to sign didn't bite on the "You Should Take A Little Less Because We're The Cardinals" sales pitch -- could be an indication of just how much more vulnerable they really are.

It's easy to be pessimistic at this point, because the Burnett domino could have set so many other good things into motion, like the departure of Marquis. Still, I can't help but think that Jocketty has something special planned.
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Postby JTWood » Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:43 am

And then there's this response:

StlToday.com wrote:Jocketty also reacted to criticism of ownership for failing to re-sign popular second baseman Mark Grudzielanek or left fielder Reggie Sanders. He said reluctance to give Grudzielanek a two-year, $6 million contract was due to his advice, not because general partner Bill DeWitt Jr. overruled his baseball minds. Club sources indicated concern about whether either player would remain sound in the second half of a two-year deal.

"We didn't sign Grudzielanek as a baseball decision; it wasn't a financial decision," Jocketty said. "We felt there was a certain value we believed we could spend for him. But we wouldn't go beyond that because we didn't think it was appropriate. If it was interpreted as a financial decision based on funds from our payroll not being there, that's a mistake. It wasn't an ownership move. Trust me. Bill DeWitt wanted us to sign him. I can assure you of that."

Regarding the 38-year-old Sanders, who received a one-year offer Wednesday but was not offered arbitration, Jocketty said, "We thought it was time to kind of turn the page."
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Postby SaintsOfTheDiamond » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:32 pm

JTWood wrote:It's easy to be pessimistic at this point, because the Burnett domino could have set so many other good things into motion, like the departure of Marquis. Still, I can't help but think that Jocketty has something special planned.

I'm not sure you can really look at it any other way at this point. I agree about Burnett being the spark that could have really set things in motion, but I'm also glad that they stood up and a didn't offer a deal like TOR did because IMO Burnett's not worth that.
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Postby JTWood » Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:39 pm

SaintsOfTheDiamond wrote:but I'm also glad that they stood up and a didn't offer a deal like TOR did because IMO Burnett's not worth that.

Completely agreed. I like how Walt said that they have certain values for players and that they are not going to pay crazy prizes even though the rest of the market is.
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