20 December 2004

The Cards Mark An Ace

To be honest, it had been a pretty shitty day.

On Saturday, Kirsten and I spent the first part cleaning the house (Alright, Kirsten mostly) before heading out to do some last minute Christmas shopping.

After that, the plan was to head up to Atlanta and get back in time to take in the Cottonmouths game later that night.

A few hours and a 40 min traffic jam later, we're sulking on I-85 heading back home...no hockey game tonight.

Then, as we're flipping the channel on Kirsten's XM, we hit ESPN radio and two guys recapping the NFL action say the words "Mulder" and "St. Louis" in the same breath.


So, here we are, hurling toward Columbus, catching the middle of a conversation on the Cardinals pitching situation, trying to verify if what we heard was true.

"Is Mark Mulder a Cardinal?", I wondered.

Truer and sweeter words were never uttered. I must've sat there mouthing the words for the next 10 minutes:


As the radio guys gave the parties involved in the deal, I was waiting with bated breath wondering if the only Card mentioned was the only one dealt: Kiko Calero.

I should've known better. Billy Beane, the A's GM, is a notorious dealmaker and his antics are best described in the book "Moneyball".

The deal:

Mark Mulder to the Cardinals for Danny Haren, Kiko Calero, and minor league prospect Daric Barton.

The asessement: A fair trade for both teams...a classic example of both teams getting what they want.

Danny Haren is the short term centerpiece for Oakland. A rising star, his poise and experience at a young age will put him in the A's rotation to complete one of the best young staffs in the game.

Kiko Calero should shore up Oakland's thin bullpen, giving the team a young solid fireballer with devastating stuff.

On the other hand, Daric Barton is the long term wild card. At 19, he's a hitting machine...just the kind of catcher any team would covet. He's a few years out, but at his current pace, he should be a great backstop for years to come.

But back to Mark Mulder. Not since John Tudor have the Cardinals had a dominant southpaw ace power pitcher.
Case in point: Since 2000, only one pitcher has more wins than Mulder's 74. That pitcher is Curt Schilling.

Case revisited: Since the 2001 season, no one has won more games than Mr. Mulder. No one.

By the way, did I mention he's only 27 and just hitting his prime.

For years, the Cardinals have searching for another great power pitcher, dare I say, another Bob Gibson. We've seen some very promising ones fall from grace or never materialize.

With Mulder, a blossoming Adam Wainwright, and a reborn Rick Ankiel...the Cards could soon be back as a pitching powerhouse.

One more stat: The 2004 Cardinals averaged 5.2 runs per game.

In games where his offense scored 4 or more runs, Mr. Mulder is 65-4.

Mark, welcome to the greatest baseball city in the world.
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