By now you probably know that Hooks and I show some negativity every once in a while. I’m probably a little more positive than he is, seeing how I had faith in the Cardinals’ front office signing someone significant last off-season (instead of waiting until July, realizing how easy it would be to win the division, mumbling “Ah, fuck” under their breaths, and trading away some kids to make a shoula-been-a-lot-longer-than-four-days post-season run). Trevor Miller wasn’t the “big name” I was looking for, to say the least.
Not to mention, I’ve been in the “Cardinals will land Holliday” camp since the Joe Strauss article a few weeks ago, if for no reason other than by default, because no one else seems interested.
But long story short, saying that I’m a more positive person than Hooks is like saying Amy Winehouse is sexier than Kirstie Alley.
So did you really expect us to come up with warm, fuzzy decade retrospective posts about the Cardinals this week? Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t bother writing crap every day about this team if we didn’t live and die with them. But it’s always fun to look back at the failures; things like this make the victories sweeter. Or I’m a jerk, one of the two.
Honorable Mentions of Terrible-ness:
There were a ton of guys in the first couple years of this decade who were on the Tony LaRussa “should have had him five years ago but I like my veterans” team. Shawon Dunston, Eric Davis (technically signed in Nov. ’98, but whatever), Bobby Bonilla, and even the return of Ray Lankford in 2004. I was there to give him a standing O on the final day of the season. Lankford hit a bomb in his final at-bat, we all cheered for him, and it was that day that I realized all of this cheering and standing ovation crap was getting out of hand. But I guess that was more of an “Alright, sure we appreciate you. Now retire. Now.” type of deal, so I’ll quit complaining. None of these guys really broke the bank other than Davis (2 years, $8 million), but they didn’t contribute anything other than groom the youngsters like Eli Marrero and JD Drew, and helped turn them into the franchise players they are today. By the way, Lankford and Todd-baby Zeile are on this year’s Hall of Fame ballots. I want to see them pull down a few votes, just so we know who needs their HOF voting privileges revoked.
Couple more notables: Braden Looper (3 years, $13.5 million), Juan Encarnacion (3 years, $15 million), Mark Mulder (1 year, $7 million), Todd Wellemeyer ($4 million to avoid arbitration – 2009).
7. Adam Kennedy (3 years, $10 million – November 2006)
It seemed like a good idea at the time, right? Cardinals needed a second baseman. Kennedy was a safe bet to be pretty useful (ie. get some hits, get on base, play D…the usual). He brought it strong in ’07 with a mighty .219 average, .572 OPS, and had his own home with a 30 year mortgage in the well-populated city inside the Tony LaRussa doghouse.
6. Jim Edmonds (2 years, $19 million – November 2006)
If the Cardinals wanted to be nice to Jimmy, all they had to do was pick up his ’07 option and let him go out on (probably) good terms with the organization and maintain a little dignity. It was $10 million to pick up the option, but the Cardinals, always willing to hand out huge contracts (wait, no they aren’t…), gave Edmonds the extra year, and doubled the value of the contract. It was classic overreaction to winning the ’06 Series by giving lots of money, and years, to old dudes.
5. Jason Isringhausen ($50.25 million total over 7 years)
I don’t really want to look up the contract details other than Izzy was paid all that money for a lot of headaches. I think Rick Ankiel could have had 47 saves for the ’04 Cardinals, with maybe one or two more walks.
4. Matt Morris (3 years, $27 million – January 2002)
This was an extension given to Matty Mo, buying out a couple free agent years. Ignoring the 15 wins, do you remember how God awful he was in 2004? Once again, the ’04 team scored like 12 runs a game, so Rick Ankiel could have put up a 4.72 ERA in 200 innings and go 15-10. Unfortunately 3 for 27 deals went to every crappy pitcher back then, so it looked like a bargain at the time.
3. Kyle Lohse (4 years, $41 million – September 2008)
I hope Lohse earns his money, but wow. This looks bad. Really bad. If the Cardinals would have waited until free agency last year, let the economy kick our ass, and just “not do that” – would the Holliday/Pujols long term contracts worry anyone right now?
2. Scott Rolen (8 years, $90 million – September 2002)
My expert, well thought out analysis: Barf.
1. Tino Martinez (3 years, $21 million – December 2001)
The Rolen deal was for a lot more money, a lot more years, and if not for some restructuring, the 2010 season would finally be the last year of that contract (Rolen just signed an extension for less per-year money). It hurt the Cardinals towards the end of the deal, hurt the Blue Jays, and the Reds overpaid for him at last year’s trade deadline.
But Tino Martinez is hated in St. Louis. When you think of Rolen, you think of winning baseball and happy times. Injuries too, but Rolen contributed to a lot of wins. And let me say it again: Tino Martinez…is HATED…in St. Louis. If we were to write a column or post a Twitter message that Tino Martinez was eating a steak at Tony’s Restaurant downtown, how many of you would rush to Taco Bell, order one of everything, eat it on the way there, barge in the door, knock over the maitre d’, zap Tino with a taser, then drop a deuce on his New York-loving face? All of you would, even the women.
Here’s to hoping that Bill DeWitt learns from these mistakes and…ah, nevermind.
HMW note: Sorry if any of these figures are incorrect, I gathered info from Baseball Reference and random Google searches, so if you need to correct me on anything, feel free to show me up.