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Cardinals shopping for “an established lefty” reliever

Nov 26, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT


Left-hander Mark Rzepczynski will likely be back in 2013 after an up-and-down season, but Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the Cardinals are looking to sign “an established lefty” reliever to pair with him in the bullpen.

“I’m not opposed to a multi-year deal with a reliever,” general manager John Mozeliak told Goold. “In the past we’ve always been chasing that complementary lefty, whereas this year we might be looking for someone who can share the burden with Rzepczynski.”

It’s not a great offseason to be in the market for left-handed relievers, because Jeremy Affeldt‘s three-year, $18 million deal to re-sign with the Giants sets a high bar and the best remaining targets are Sean Burnett, Randy Choate, J.P. Howell, and Mike Gonzalez.

  1. paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    This is just….well….dumb.

    The Cardinals have a lot of righties that are fantastic at getting out lefties. Instead of focusing on handedness, they need to focus on ability. Rosenthal is great against lefties and may be in the pen next year, Sanchez is great against lefties, Salas and Boggs are both very good against lefties, and Motte is great at getting out lefties.

    The Cardinals don’t need another matchup lefty….they have at least four right handers that are good at getting out batters no matter which side of the plate they stand on that project to be in the pen next year

    • stex52 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      There you go, fighting the established wisdom again.

      I agree, though. A right hander with a good slider can clobber left handed batters as well as any left hander. Concentrate on skils and durability rather than simple handedness.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        I fairness, the Cardinals have been wasting fewer roster spots the last couple of years than they used to on dumb players to have on a roster….for example, fewer players whose only contribution is veterany goodness….their one remaining blind spot is this matchup lefty thing. I’m all for having a good lefty in the pen, but if he can only get out lefties…he’s really not very useful in a pen full of righties that can also all get out lefties.

    • spudchukar - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      While you are correct in principle, it should be remembered that not all left-handed hitters are alike. Some are disastrous vs. Lefties and can be carved up like no righty can do. At time Scrabble has this ability, when he throws strikes and can get hitters to chase his slider, but at other times his sinker is not especially tough for lefties to hit. So another lefty, especially one who can really handle left handed power hitters, who are mistake hitters, is still a viable play for the Cards management.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 3:40 PM

        I don’t think they’re as locked into the “handedness” to any beyond reasonable logic, just not sure they trust Scrabble enough to have him as the sole lefty down there – God knows I don’t.

        If they do actually pursue another one, I hope to hell it’s not just a situational guy – if you’re gonna give a couple years and top $$ it better be to someone that can get more than one out against an alleged favorable matchup.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        The problem is that there really aren’t that many left handed hitters that can’t hit lefties at all and that won’t be pinch hit for in an important late game situation. So, sure there are some hitters for which a lefty would be ideal….but there aren’t many that will be left in to face a lefty when that lefty can’t get out right handers.

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        One more thingy on the lefty stuff I failed to bring up..

        Having more than 1 helps to force the other managers hand to a degree, some feel the need to play the matchup game (necessary or not) and put the opposition in a position to deplete their bench by pina bitch hitting.

        A balanced bullpen can also help keep a weak hitter in the game in the late innings and keep a dangerous bench bat on the bench, or at least up against a more pitcher favorable situation.

        Beyond that..

        I’d love to see them go off the grid a bit, get away from the Mujica/Boggs/Motte trio every few days and let Rosenthal and/or Kelly go “super reliever” and give them significant innings (more than 1) from the 6th an beyond…

      • okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 4:23 PM


        “pina bitch” = “pinch”

        Or maybe I’ve coined a new term for match up’edness??

  2. burm61 - Nov 26, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Raffy Perez from Cleveland

  3. storebrandcookies - Nov 26, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    Ha!, the “Leftorium” episode featuring Ned Flanders. Good episode.

  4. proudlycanadian - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    If they need an established lefty, I can suggest a popular contributor to this forum.

    • historiophiliac - Nov 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Ha! I almost posted something about being in the market for a complementary lefty myself. lol

  5. unlost1 - Nov 26, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    RICK ANKIEL now!

  6. okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Beyond the “leftorioum” convo and totally off topic, a good read from former big league scout (one that actually goes to games and doesn’t just blog about “scouting” based on Fangraphs info)’s Bernie Pleskoff on Cards 2B prospect Kolten Wong:

    • okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      *EDIT FUNCTION* again damnit – what’s Wong with me?

      OK, that was bad and totally predictable…


    • paperlions - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

      Thanks for the link, but damn, that guys says some things that really make me question his credentials.

      First, a .342 OBP in the AFL is not “outstanding”, it is average, at best, and he kind of sucked in the AFL, displaying no power at all despite facing below average (for the AFL) pitching in an all-offense league. Wong’s .348 OBP in AA this year was also disappointing….but that league does favor pitching, so….

      Second, if Wongs game resembles that of Darwin Barney, then the Cardinals need to trade for a 2B, because Barney sucks. His OBP is bad (and was always bad in the minors), he has no power, but does play nice defense…pretty much the exact opposite of how he characterized Wong’s game.

      Third, Wong can’t steal bases worth a crap, he gets caught waaaaay too often…and that is in the minors where both pitchers and catchers are far easier to steal on…and he still sucks at it.

      Fourth, Wong hasn’t displayed the ability to take walks that this guy talks about. Sub-10% walk rates in the lower minors are nothing to write home about, and his 7.5% in AA last year was disappointing to say the least. He may have a great approach that should lead to walking a decent amount, but thus far the walks are not manifest.

      I’d love to be high on Wong, but all I really see (as his absolute ceiling) is a guy with line drive power, average on-base skills and below average defense….and there is pretty much no where else for him to play…the bat isn’t good enough (and doesn’t project to be good enough) to play a corner and the glove isn’t good enough to play any other up-the-middle position…it is pretty much 2B or bust. I am hoping for average regular 2B, and that feels optimistic to me.

  7. westcoastredbird - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    There was a lefty out of the Kansas City bullpen named Tim Collins. Kind of a smurfy dude but he did a number on the Cardinals in interleague play. He definitely has some “out” pitches that scrabble doesn’t have. He strikes out about 1.5 batters per inning. Might be worth talking to KC. This guy has definitely more than a pulse which is the minimum requirement for a lefty reliever.

  8. okwhitefalcon - Nov 26, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    I don’t disagree with your assessment but I don’t don’t doubt Pleskoff’s credentials, he’s a respected guy but does tend to brightside some for sure.

    His report mirrors Law, Parks and a few others I read – not much difference beyond the Barney comp which was a bit odd as well.

    As I’ve said before, Wong’s probably a helluva lot closer to Luis Alicea than he is Dustin Pedroia although remains a fav with the Hyperventilating Geek Prospect Fraternity.

    Here’s more on him from today’s STL PD:

  9. okwhitefalcon - Nov 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Cool audio interview with Chris Carpenter on today’s Bernie Miklasz Show, audio here:

    Carp is feeling great and will begin his program early this off season

    Rosenthal is training 4 days a week with Carp, Miller was invited but chose to work out o his own at home.

    Lot’s more good info beyond, give it a listen if you’re so inclined.

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