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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Jocketty-TLR-Pujols in Cubbie blue?

Already eliminated from the playoffs for the fourth year in a row with a declining winning percentage each year and without a championship since 1908, the Chicago Cubs have long since reached the time to look ahead to “next year.”

Some things have changed since the last time we’ve reviewed the situation. The man hug that reverberated around the baseball world earlier this season between free agent-to-be Albert Pujols and then-Cubs general manager Jim Hendry (see linked article below) lost its sizzle when the amazingly-resilient GM was finally sacked last month after nine high-spending but uneven years in the chair.

While it remains to be seen, some believe the Cubs’ new owners, the deep-pocketed Ricketts family of Ameritrade fame, will try to make a splash this winter.

One theory, presented by the Chicago Sun-Times and based on comments from a major league source, says the Cubs are considering the idea of getting the key members of the early-2000’s Cardinals band back together.

Specifically, the dominoes might fall in this order. First, Walt Jocketty is lured from Cincinnati to the North Side to replace Hendry. Then, Tony La Russa is hired to manage the lovable losers. The trifecta would be complete with the signing of Pujols to man first base for many years into the future.

Though the above scenario might have seemed ridiculous even a few months ago, it feels far less crazy today. All three gentlemen will be free agents after the season and each may have good reason to look elsewhere.

Further, the usually-guarded Jocketty made a series of very positive remarks to the Sun-Times about the Cubs as an organization, the resources available (traditionally, a division-leading payroll poorly spent) and the strength of the farm system. Perhaps it was in how the remarks were presented, but it appeared to go beyond the brief, polite but non-committal comments he might normally be expected to offer.

Couple that with the uncertainty of the Pujols contract situation and a perfect storm could develop this fall and winter. Of course, it would have to be considered low odds, but think of it this way. It probably is no less likely occurring than the 4.5 percent chance the current Cardinals have of reaching the playoffs, a hope to which many are valiantly clinging. The prospect of landing this triumvirate, however unlikely, could fuel renewed hope for Cubs fans, too.

Who do you think will join the Cubs in 2012?

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87 Responses to “Jocketty-TLR-Pujols in Cubbie blue?”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    Wednesday lineup:

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Jon Jay (L) CF
    3. Albert Pujols (R) 1B
    4. Lance Berkman (S) RF
    5. Allen Craig (R) LF
    6. Skip Schumaker (L) 2B
    7. Yadier Molina (R) C
    8. Daniel Descalso (L) 3B
    9. Edwin Jackson (R) P

  2. friendmouse says:

    I voted “none.” All three are all too smart and not that desperate.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      It would be hard for Tony to join the Cubs. He will feel loyalty to the Cards and to the White Sox, inhibiting this.
      On the other hand, if the Cubs wanted to spend their brains out on Albert, then TLR could consider accompanying him. Reinsdorf would probably give Tony permission to play for the Cubs, in the best interest of baseball.
      Walt is a GM already. He is unlikely to leave on his own.

      Strange things can happen. How many foresaw LeBron and some other free agent going to the Miami Heat. After the WS win in 1964, Johnny Keane jumped ship to the Yankees.

      If Walt, Tony, and Albert move to Wrigley, it would be nice if they take Theriot and Corey back with them.

  3. crdswmn says:

    David Kaplan, a sportscaster in Chicago, tweeted this morning that TLR told him the Cubs were the one MLB team he would never manage. Of course, enough incentive ($$$) might change his mind. I refuse to allow myself to hope.

  4. CardinalFan4Ever says:

    I think I would quit watching baseball if AP went to the Cubs..

  5. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Crazy idea…………………………………….

  6. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    The reason that this is all irrelevant……………lead off triple………. and Craig and shoe can’t hit a ground ball…………. can’t swing at a strike………… both swinging as hard as they could…………. MM is an idiot. We have no momentum going into Philly………..we will get our butts kicked……….. the loss of Holiday is actually a plus from where I sit…………… we are situationally irresponsible………… period…

  7. CariocaCardinal says:

    Not that I particularly care that he stays, but does anyone no what the option dates are on TLR’s contract? When does he have to be offered, when does he have to accept/decline?

    • Brian Walton says:

      Not only have I not seen that in print, I haven’t even heard any rumors about any dates. I don’t imagine it matters. If it is like most other years, TLR will spend most of October deciding. Maybe the Cards will be a bit more nervous because of Pujols, but I can’t see them pushing him into a corner.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        The Carpenter contract had some negative repercussions………… the sudden struggles of AP tell another story……….. the “whiff ” incident on Monday speaks of a suddenly arising conflict of interest between AP and Tony ………………. thats not so obvious to most, but the dynamic of it suggests a peculiar variable that I’m not prepared to name just yet……………… where as a salvo by BD should have been expected………….and is hardly something to test alliances……….. something obviously did……..and by AP’s performance in this series……..its clearly emotional with a slight hint of betrayal………

        Pittsburgh has a fetish about AP and Tony……..tv crews and producer always have a camera on Tony………… I would say that Tony is still medicating and under quite a bit of stress from his shingles outbreak………. obviously conditions aren’t comfortable for him…………the face is a funny thing,,,,so many muscles that are responsive to emotional states………and of course that works inversely…….
        The absents of Dave and a likely difficult future for both…. suggest to me that Tony may seem to be rapping it up………and likely AP seeing this becoming more apparent………is feeling some abandonment issues………….but hey, thats just me…………… I see dead people……….

  8. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Thats a thoughtful post Easy…………….. there was a change this week between the upbeat cheerleader “team player” AP ………. who really led his team offensively and defensively in the last home stand……
    and the sulking error prone self interested team deflating egotist that hindered them in Pittsburgh…..

    Give this some thought………..Lozano made a huge move when he left BHSC……….. that was about something………..(see past threads)……… Lozano knows that the primary foundation for AP’s market value has to spring from St. Louis……..but the likelihood that he would be able to fulfill his “vision”….as shared with Albert using BD’s wallet was slim and none……………but he did not share that pessimism with Albert…………. AP, as all players do, form opinions………he knows of the dialogs with Mo and BD and how they were forming there offer based on lineup projections…………. That 15 million dollars in the CC option was thought to be going to him……….. he sees now that his fantasy is fading as he is being “herded” toward the door……..unless he gives up the “prestige number”…….and then some…….. He is/was closing in on the RBi + batting average deficit, and leading a magnificent late season charge…………….. and then this new contract……………… Tony asking him to hit behind the runner with a controlled swing….runners at 1st and third, no outs in the first….passing a HR mega bonanza further down the order didn’t sit well………… He got a slider center cut that slid off to the outer black……that was tailor made for the call…….. he took a huge swing missing the ball off the end of the bat 6 inches…….Jay was throw out……..looking out for fly balls the whole way………. he gets the rbi for the Sac fly and nothing off his average for his efforts…….. he clearly was defensive in the dugout against MM and Tony’s inquiry………..he took it out to the field and aside from his OPO HR…did nothing else…….3.5, the Braves start hearing footsteps………. they won 2 in a row now…… their slump ended……………….

    the good news………… Philadelphia will be a showboats paradise……….Berkman is bound to wake,,,,,, AP will likely smooth out a little bit……… If we were to get into them…..they will just Play Atlanta soft just to get us out………….

  9. crdswmn says:

    Sports Illustrated poll of Top 15 “meanest players” in MLB. Carp was #7 and Albert was #8.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/1109/mlb.poll.meanest.player/content.1.html

  10. crdswmn says:

    Apparently a number of Cardinals players dressed up in drag costume for their trip to Philly. Group pictures I have seen were either too small or too blurry to identify anyone. Here is the only clear one and it is identified as Adron Chambers.

    http://yfrog.com/nvsfjaj

  11. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Mo is attempting to shelve Holiday……………. Lohse is passed over again……even in a situation that could have no consequences………………. they anticipated this move 4 days ago……….. probably………. even after the 6 scoreless against the Brewers……….. Tony is working closely with Mo in shaping a scenario in which there would appear to be possible money available to lavish on AP……..apparently……… I wonder if thats why Lozano pulled pulled on AP leash, explaining to him the ridiculousness of that proposition……………. thats too far fetched……..couldn’t be.

  12. crdswmn says:

    Okay, here is a much clearer picture.

    http://twitter.com/#!/stlbirdbrian/status/114134265075220480/photo/1

  13. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I just read the thread on your scout forum Brian, entitled……..Carpenters Extension……………..

    Baffling is the only word that truly describes it.

    1) Cardinals are not signing more pitching……….period…… the Carpenter contact has little to do with pitching……….it has everything to do with preparing the public’s sense of well being for changes that are coming……….the Cardinals could have taken that option at 15 million…..and traded him the next day for a top prospect, enjoying a complete salary bail………. they had endless maneuvering space. Carpenter is headed for a job as a pitching coach in the organization or (broadcaster). The value of his contract probably looks more like 2/27 with the insurance buffers…………

    2) The no trade clause is “sold” by the team, to the player……for certain concessions……….they can be an expensive reclamation………. the Boras No Trade is a deadly device ……… it means he has leverage extending well beyond local issues…………no way in hell Bd/Mo are getting near that…. the illusion that Jackson was ever intended as a keeper is laugher………. He needn’t take a two year deal…..Boras will get him 4…..3/33 at the worst……..no trade is unlikely………….. BD cashed in Rasmus to create our largess……….. Tony did his part……… Scrabble is all that is really ours…………

    3) AP has entered the ” everyman for himself” mode……..again……….. Holiday is hurt, but for his price per game tag…… he could be playing………. he is under Mo/Dr.P’s control now……. preserving his value/marketability against a probable team collapse……….Lynn disappeared………Sanchez won’t show unless things tighten up next week ………..

    4) there was a secret settlement on collusion issues this last winter………. give that some thought..and why that was necessary……….

  14. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    ROTATION ADJUSTMENT

    La Russa made a minor tweak for his rotation in Philadelphia. He moved Chris Carpenter, who started Tuesday, ahead of Kyle Lohse, who worked Monday. Carpenter will face the Phils on Sunday and Lohse next Monday. Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook will have the first two games of the series.

    The switch was made, said La Russa, so that Carpenter would start the season finale at Houston on Sept. 28.

    Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/article_e0877602-623a-597d-bee6-6a28f2486fc2.html#ixzz1Y2eugJEB

    This is Rich……………. the move Chris out of a Halady confrontation……announce that Jackson will pitch Monday……… and now Tony changes back and feeds Lohse to Haladay………… maybe Tony is just screwing with their heads………..

    and then this…………”The switch was made, said La Russa, so that Carpenter would start the season finale at Houston on Sept. 28.”…………….right……….thats bound to be a big game………

  15. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    No mire quirky post from WC until you moderate your group Brian.

  16. CariocaCardinal says:

    I seldom read Gordon has I don’t consider him very knowledgeable or much of a writer but I did today and he had a great line

    “Arthur Rhodes has volunteered to return. He is certainly old enough to get every consideration for that job.”

    Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/jeff-gordon/article_4b5d41da-dfab-11e0-951b-0019bb30f31a.html#ixzz1Y4FVtiEg

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