Back in March, just before the start of the season, the United Cardinal Bloggers had a pre-season roundtable discussion on the state of the ball club, and what we expected from the Cardinals in ’08. Now at the All-Star break, the Cards find themselves right in the thick of a pennant race, and the UCB had our second round of discussion. Each of the participating blogs tossed out a question. Here’s the question I posted, the responses, and the links to the other blogs:
There is an obvious need for an upgrade in the middle infield for next season. There are some pretty good options that should still be available this winter. Should the Cardinals go after one? Who do you see as the everyday middle infielders in ’09?
C70 at the Bat: The Cards probably at least should make inquiries on some of the free agents, but I’d expect that they would be too expensive for what they bring. Sentimentally, I’d like to see Renteria back if his option isn’t picked up, but not for a whole lot. Furcal is the only “star” in the group, in my mind, but he’ll be way too expensive for the Cardinals to consider, I’d expect. We’ll probably see Kennedy and Ryan in the middle of the diamond next year, with perhaps Hoffpaiur as the backup.
The Cardinal Virtue: I’m tired of the weak infield. Furcal. Furcal. Furcal. We’re freeing up some major cash next year — I don’t believe he’ll be out of our price range. That said, I see Ryan and Kennedy as being the guys next year — show’s you how much faith I have in the brass pulling the trigger on an expensive free-agent.
Fungoes: A solid free-agent option is second baseman Orlando Hudson, who still figures to provide some ROI, even with a three-year deal. The team could do worse than a Barden (.371 OBP in AAA) – Hoffpaiur (.381) keystone combo, though.
As far as the middle infield dilemma, I don’t think the combination of Ryan and Kennedy is going to cut it. I think if the outfield is already pretty stacked, some of the freed up payroll should be allocated to an upgrade at either short or second. I’d be fine with either of the above suggested free agents, with Ryan or Kennedy on the bench.
66 more games to go. Hopefully the Cards can hang in there.