Oct 5, 2011; St. Louis MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) scores a run past Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (44) in the fourth inning in game four of the 2011 NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

The Cardinals and Oswalt need each other

Edwin Jackson is now a member of the Washington Nationals, in case you didn’t know. Jackson signed a one year deal worth $11 million. He will be a part of a revamped and very deep Nationals rotation joining new acquisition Gio Gonzalez with Stephen Strasburg, Chien-Ming Wang and Jordan Zimmermann. The Cardinals now have no choice but to sign Roy Oswalt.

The Rangers and Red Sox are now out of the bidding (supposedly) according to various reports this week. If those reports are all true, then Oswalt’s only option now is to sign with the Cardinals, and maybe even at a cheaper rate than he thought. We are less than two weeks from spring training and this is the time when if you don’t have a team, you need one quickly.

 

Oct 5, 2011; St. Louis MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday (7) scores a run past Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt (44) in the fourth inning in game four of the 2011 NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE

 

The Cardinals need another starting pitcher. Adam Wainwright is coming off of Tommy John Surgery and there is some risk involved with guys coming back from it. Right now Jake Westbrook would bee the number five starter, and Roy Oswalt would be a major upgrade over him. 170 innings out of Oswalt is better than 190 of Westbrook.

Without Albert Pujols, the Cardinals may need to rely on the starting pitching more than ever if they want to repeat in 2012. Oswalt needs the Cardinals and the Cardinals need Oswalt. Now its time to get it done.

Welcoming Back the Wizard?

It appears Ozzie Smith may be back at spring training as a special instructor. Ozzie is one of the most beloved Cardinals in history but hasn’t really been involved in the organization since he retired. The start of the riff happened in Ozzie Smith’s last season in 1996 when La Russa preferred Royce Clayton at shortstop over Smith. The Cardinals acquired Clayton the previous winter which obviously didn’t thrill the veteran Smith. In spring training, Smith out performed Clayton, however Clayton was named starter. Smith ended up appearing in 82 games that year, hitting .280. Smith took his issues with La Russa public, calling him a liar amongst other things.

July 13, 2009; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals former infielder Ozzie Smith waves to the crowd before the 2009 All-Star home run derby at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

La Russa had invited Smith to be an instructor before but then took the invitation back after Smith said he would be back involved with the organization when “management changes”. La Russa didn’t want to be around when Smith came back either and didn’t feel that Smith’s presence would be good for the team. It’s clearly about ego and both parties feeling that they were right back in 1996.

Ozzie can bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this club though.  Rafael Furcal made 10 errors in 49 games with the Cardinals after coming over from the Dodgers. Who better to help Furcal with his fielding than Ozzie Smith, one of the best fielding shortstops in the history of the game? Smith was also a great base runner and can bring some knowledge to all the Cardinals about base running. It’s not that the Cardinals coaches are bad, but these are the two areas where Smith excelled in his career.

Everyone is going to have conflicts with people they work with. It’s just sad that two iconic figures of the game and of the Cardinals can’t get along and that Smith wasn’t a part of the organization for so long.

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Tags: Adam Wainwright Edwin Jackson Gio Gonzalez Ozzie Smith Roy Oswalt Stephen Strasburg Tony La Russa

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