Avoiding the Drama…

It’s been a busy few days for the Cardinals. Let’s go through the proposed timeline (WARNING: There are many rumors and opinions here, so don’t take all of this as fact).

Tuesday Afternoon: Card’s GM John Mozeliak and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein agree to a trade; the Cardinals will send Chris Duncan and a player to be named later (or cash) to the Red Sox for Julio Lugo and cast covering the rest of his contract. I believe Mozeliak was in St. Louis as the deal was made and the team was in Houston, being swept by the Astros.

It’s been rumored that Mozeliak alerted the team prior to the game Tuesday of the deal, and that manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach/father Dave Duncan were both upset about the deal and threatened to quit the team. I believe that Tony does not/did not like being out of the loop on the deal, as he was used to working with the previous GM (Walt Jocketty, now GM of the Reds) on who would be on his team. Now, Mozeliak was showing that he was running the team.

Duncan was upset over how his son was treated – he was a scapegoat in the STL community. Fans bashed him, media bashed him. He also felt the front office didn’t want him; from STL Today:

“‘The way I look at it is he was traded for a player who had very little (leverage) … he was designated for assignment,” Duncan said. “It’s highly unusual for a major-league roster player to be traded for somebody like that. So somebody wanted to get him out of the organization, and they’ve accomplished what they wanted to accomplish.

‘Either that or we don’t have anybody in the minor leagues that they wanted for (Lugo). One or the other.'”

Duncan was out of line speaking against the front office. Was Chris treated unfairly in the last few years? Yes. Did the organization treat him unfairly? No – the fact that he was given as many opportunities as he received was more than most organizations would do.

Mozeliak went on damage control. The deal was either put on hold or was being slowed down so he could get LaRussa and Big Dunc calmed down. The deal was then announced Wednesday afternoon.

My opinion, the reason why not much else was said about the deal is because Mozeliak went against what he said the team would do and deal prospects for a rental of Matt Holliday. Mozeliak needed to keep LaRussa happy after the Duncan trade, so he got him the guys he’s wanted for the last year, even though it caused him to trade away prospects that they were wanting to build on.

Today, the Cardinals acquired Holliday from the Athletics for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson. I’m cringing as I write this.

Holliday hasn’t lived up to the hype outside of Colorado. Now, he didn’t have much protection in Oakland, but his numbers were definitely influenced by Coors Field. His numbers should be better than Rick Ankiel’s, but I don’t think this is the move to put the Cardinals over the top.

Oakland needs to be commended here – they gave up an OK package for Holliday, and then received a better prospect after a couple mediocre months of his services. I’m smelling Mark Mulder Part 2 for the Cardinals.

Wallace was recently ranked the 22nd best prospect in baseball by Baseball America. He’s a great hitter. The question is his defense at third, which ranges from average to horrible depending on who you talk to. He was the Cardinals first round pick in 2008 and was currently at Triple A. Mortensen ranks from middle rotation starter to above average reliever. He had 1 stint with the Cardinals this year, which wasn’t promising. He was a first round pick in 2007, in Triple A less than a year after being drafted, and was currently in the rotation in Triple A. Robinson was a 3rd round pick in 2008 and playing in Springfield. He’s projected to be a 4th outfielder at best.

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