Tonight we reach the first sub-.500 team in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals.
2007 W-L: 78-84
2007 Pythag W-L: 71-91
2007 Payroll:~90 mil
2008 Payroll:~92 mil
Coming: Troy Glaus, Matt Clement, Cesar Izturis, D'Angelo Jimenez, Jason LaRue, Ron Villone
Going: Kip Wells, Jim Edmonds, David Eckstein, Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio, Gary Bennett, Russell Branan, Miguel Cairo, Troy Percival, Kelly Stinnett, Preston Wilson
It certainly wasn't the best of times for the defending champs once removed, their season could yet again depend on the elbow of one of their stars.
I really liked the Glaus deal for the Cardinals; they got the younger and steadier producer who doesn't have an issue with every single manager he's worked with.
Pujols has elbow issues - or so we think - and it could cost him 2008, if it doesn't expect more Albert being Albert with one exception; less runs batted in thanks to Cesar freaking Izturis leading off. Come on Tony, you're better than that. Adam Kennedy will likely play and bat second. The powerful Chris Duncan will more than likely bat behind Glaus and Pujols, and Skip Schumaker will fill out the lineup along with Bengie Molina. Brian Barton, Aaron Miles, Jason LaRue, and Josh Phelps will be bench players, with Bo Ryan possibly breaking the pine as well.
Chris Carpenter is scheduled to miss at least half the season, which makes Adam Wainwright the unofficial team ace. He had a very solid if not unnoticed season last year.
Braden Looper and Joel Pineiro - two guys who were relievers opening day last year will take up the second and third rotation slots while Matt Clement and Anthony Reyes fill it out, although the Cards do have an interesting non-roster invitee in Dewon Brazelton, of course him starting a game that matters for the big league club means the season went past hell.
Jason Isringhausen had a spectacular 2007 season and in the real contract year could test the free agency market for that last big payday. Ryan Franklin, Russ Springer, the brothers Flores, Tyler Johnson, Todd Wellemeyer, and Brad Thompson will compliment Isringhausen, and it'll be interesting to see if Ron Villone can make an appearance this year.
The Cards will only go as far as Pujols and the rotation can carry them - Captain Obvious.