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John Smoltz to St. Louis

Aug 19, 2009, 8:20 AM EDT

John Smoltz is set to clear waivers today at noon. When he does, the Cardinals are going to sign him.  They’re going to use him as a fifth starter initially, with thoughts of moving him to the bullpen late in the year or for the playoffs.

The Cardinals are one of the few contenders who really have nothing to lose by giving Smoltz a shot in the rotation.  Between Todd Wellemeyer, Mitchell Boggs, Brad Thompson, and P.J. Walters, their fifth starters have been utter abominations. Those guys are a combined 10-15 with a 5.45 ERA, and given that they’ve allowed 320 baserunners in 188 1/3 innings, that ERA probably represents good luck.

Only downside: NL guys like me will bang our heads against a wall if Smoltz waltzes in to St. Louis and starts to pitch effectively, because it will just be the latest painful data point reminding us of the disparity between the leagues.

  1. dennis - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:07 AM

    Dave Duncan will do his magic with another pitching project – this time Smoltz, and betcha dollars to donunts, will rejunventate him and make him another payoff acquisition the Cards have made this year. Also, shows the Cards want to win – which is great for the club and the fans – the best in baseball.

  2. JK - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:23 AM

    If the AL is so damn good they can afford to get rid of the abomination that is the DH.

  3. Charles - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    As a lifelong Cards fan, I’m thrilled with this. For years I had to watch Smoltz tear up the Cardinals. I have to believe he can still be an effective pitcher.
    As far as the difference in the two leagues, I have the general impression the AL is better.
    But hasn’t the NL won two of the last three World Series? Cards in 2006, Phillies in 2008.

  4. Charles - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    As a lifelong Cards fan, I’m thrilled with this. For years I had to watch Smoltz tear up the Cardinals. I have to believe he can still be an effective pitcher.
    As far as the difference in the two leagues, I have the general impression the AL is better.
    But hasn’t the NL won two of the last three World Series? Cards in 2006, Phillies in 2008.

  5. Jeff - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:33 AM

    the AL is so damn good at pitching BECAUSE OF the DH – that’s why the NL is pitcher friendly and also a rest home for the guys who still have a little bit left to give.

  6. Bob - Aug 19, 2009 at 10:35 AM

    Good luck with him. He was atrocious as a starter this year in Boston. They gave him far too many chances, and lost quite a few games because of it. The only team he looked good against was Kansas City.

  7. rnc55 - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:21 PM

    are the cardinals really that far ahead in the standings that they can afford to lose every fifth game?

  8. Paul Sousa - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:28 PM

    It might be a good idea he plays in the NL. He wasn’t even competitive in the AL. It was like a bad car accident. You only watched his start against the Yanks out of depraved curiosity.

  9. Cards Fan - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:32 PM

    My question is…if the AL is so darn superior, why has the NL won 2 of the last three world series? The difference between the leagues is the DH. That’s what makes the AL seem superior. Having that additional true hitter in your lineup helps to inflate pitchers ERAs. Neither league is hands down SUPERIOR. I get so sick of hearing that.

  10. Joey - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:40 PM

    They are already losing every fifth game. At Smoltz will be someone new. Trust me as a Cards fan, President Obama couldn’t do worse than our fifth starters have this year. And his pitch didn’t even make it to home plate.

  11. Chicago Dave - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    The Cards are losing every fifth game now. Smoltz can’t be worse than the guys who have been filling that slot.

  12. DENNIS AGAIN - Aug 19, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    Regardless of which league is perceived as superior the bottom line is – will this acquisition improve the cardinals. I think “Yes” and the reason, as I’ve stated before, is that the Cards have the best manager/pitching coach combination in baseball, will make Tom their latest project and get the most out of him – which is better than what the had as the 5th starter. And they already have one of the best set of starters and low ERA to show for.
    So – YES – this was a great acquistion – PERIOD, ended, no more discussion needed.
    (and you AL fans can go suck on you DH – that’s just not baseball as it was intended)..

  13. Kevin Ehrhart - Aug 19, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    This is classic Cardinals. Take an experienced proven player and put him back into a healthy environment (coaching, players, supportive fans) and watch him return. This is a great player and a great organization. Sorry Cubs.
    Kevin Ehrhart
    kmehrhart@smog-ortho.net

  14. aw sure - Aug 19, 2009 at 1:31 PM

    Better than losing every other game you turds!

  15. KyCardfan - Aug 19, 2009 at 1:59 PM

    They’re losing every 5th game right now with Wellemeyer and Boggs. Low risk, high reward in getting Smoltz.

  16. Nolan Leara - Aug 19, 2009 at 2:09 PM

    Sorry but this move is no slam dunk. No one can say if he is going to succeed or not. I personally feel that he should be used in relief. He still may fall flat on his face. Or, finally, he may revert to the old Smoltz of the past, and lead them to the W-S. It will be seen very soon. A lot of fun to watch.
    Shely

  17. Mike - Aug 19, 2009 at 2:16 PM

    Obviously, you haven’t looked at the interleague and All-Star results in a few years…

  18. Cory D - Aug 19, 2009 at 3:01 PM

    Let’s remember guys, he’s only going to be a 5th starter until the post-season, then he’s getting moved to the bullpen to be the 8th inning setup guy for Franklin.
    This is the good news for Cards fans… his 1st inning numbers are VERY impressive, even if the greater 2009 resume isn’t. 1st inning ERA is 0.65, and I seem to remember him being pretty effective out of the bullpen once before….

  19. Mike - Aug 19, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    I am a Yankee fan living in St. louis and get sick of hearing how great the Cards and their fans are. LaRussa has choked with more great teams than any manger in basbeall and Duncan is a good coach for Vets but can’t develop young pitchers. The fans are no better or worse than any other fans, they just have noting better to do in the part-time town of St. Louis. If Smoltz has any success it will be beaise he is pitching in the weak NL central down the stretch.

  20. JRay - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:08 PM

    Well the Cards are playing GREAT ball except every fifth day. So really they have nothing to lose by bringing him in for a try. It is costing them nothing and he can’t be any worse than what they already have as a fifth starter. Plus I would assume his leadership alone is worth the $97,000 they are paying him.

  21. GBS - Aug 19, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    Why is everyone still talking about this? DENNIS AGAIN said “no more discussion needed.” Isn’t that enough for you folks? Why must you continue to debate and discuss when DENNIS AGAIN has spoken?

  22. Matt - Aug 19, 2009 at 5:21 PM

    Hey Mike, I’ve been to every stadium in baseball and the Cards have the best fans and baseball environment BY FAR! They are knowledgable, courteous to home and away players alike, and just enjoy baseball in general. I have yet to go to another stadium where the fans cheer for a sac bunt or for working the count. As a Yankees fan you should definitely not be talking about teams choking especially given the astronomical payroll, crybaby players (some), and lack of titles since 2001 for the Yanks. LaRussa and Duncan have developed young pitching as well… Wainwright and Haren are two right off the top of my head. Name the last Yankee developed pitcher to be a Cy Young contender… Joba doesn’t count yet and Phil Hughes has not lived up to potential. If you can’t find things to do in the “part-time town” of St. Louis then you aren’t looking hard enough. Keep hating and being miserable and then go back to NY where you can be unhappy and complain all you want and fit right in.

  23. jim - Aug 19, 2009 at 6:14 PM

    Love it… Go John…. Boston bytes anyway, you are much better off with the cards and the NL.

  24. Andy1979 - Aug 19, 2009 at 6:40 PM

    THEY LOSE EVERY FIFTH GAME ANYWAY trying to fill that hole as it is. i havent seen wellemeyer pitch a decent game since may, Boggs is too inexperienced and unproven to fill the shoes of a dependable starter, all of Thompson’s wins have been high scoring events won by the sheer power of the card’s offense and certainly not by any lights-out pitching of his own. bring in smoltz i say…let’s see what he’s got, it cant be any worse than the variable riff raff the 5 spot current holds

  25. Andy1979 - Aug 19, 2009 at 7:05 PM

    SOooo….youre saying that wins by the AL in the all star games and interleague play respectively outweigh wins by the NL in world series’ the last 3 years? …..i was gonna get out the scales on this one but lemme just take a stab at a reply and simply say: youre high. Additionally if you love your Yankees so much then i suggest you got back to that armpit you call new york and root for your crappy teams there…that is if YOU can find a full time job fool.

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