The United Cardinal Bloggers is an alliance of people that, well, blog about the Cardinals.
Some do it better than others, but I think we can all agree that Cards Diaspora is the bastard stepchild of the whole operation. So when the UCB's winter project was announced, they wanted to leave us off the 'Question of the Day' roundtable. I cried and bitched and moaned until they let us particiapate.
Here's how it works -- A member of the roundtbale posts a question, the others that want to reply, do. The posts are collected and made into one big blog entry. So... read below. Click on some of the links. Explore the mystery that is blogging.
We asked the question:
"In a few hours Mike Matheny will be named manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Let's help a brother out. Kick one player off his new team. Remember, the one you exile will never be allowed to play for the Cardinals again and the organization will receive nothing in return. The Cardinals will, however, not be obligated to this contract. Make it a professional decision. Make it a personal decision. Make it a good decision."
Here are the reponses from around Cardinal Nation...
Daniel Shoptaw (C70 At The Bat) -- As much as I'd hate to do it, I think I'd give Jake Westbrook his walking papers. There are a couple of options (Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt) that I'd rather see in the 2012 rotation and Westbrook's contract is preventing that.
Daniel Solzman (Redbirds Fun) -- If it means being able to bring Mark in to the rotation, then Westbrook most likely. My second choice is Theriot.
Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM) -- Arthur Rhodes. With a younger Mike Matheny as manager the need for the wily veterans may be more of a thing of the past. Lefty relievers can be had from the market, so let's do that.
Ray DeRousse (STL Cardinal Baseball) -- Westbrook without any hesitation. He's currently competing with Kyle Lohse for the dubious title of worst contract on this team. This little Dave Duncan project has been a total bust, and his contract (and subsequent immobility) hamstrings the pitching staff.
Tara Wellman (Aaron Miles' Fastball) -- This would, undoubtedly, be the hardest part of the job for me. As much as I sit on my couch and yell at the stupid mistakes they sometimes make, each one of these guys does, in fact, had some kind of positive impact on this season. And for that reason, they had some positive impact on me. (That's where the "personal decision" part comes in!) That said, if I have to pick one guy, it's Ryan Theriot (shhh, don't tell the rest of the Ryan Theriot Fan Club I said that!). Did he have some clutch hits? Sure. But long term, he is not an asset to the 2012 Cardinals. There are much better options -- even guys currently on the roster -- at second base and/or short stop. And hey, he got his ring and proved his point about the "right side of the rivalry" with his former team! At least he has that...
Christine Coleman (Aaron Miles' Fastball) -- Jake Westbrook. Professional decision-wise, the money from his contract can be used to get a starter who's more reliable. Personal decision-wise, he got his nice moment in winning Game 6 of the World Series and being recognized for it by La Russa during the championship celebration. (Not that I needed to give you both of those decisions, I know. But I did think TLR calling out Westbrook was an awesome moment -- and the perfect one to now send him off into the sunset with as well.)
Kevin Reynolds (Cards N' Stuff) -- I certainly see the value between letting Westbrook go...but "path of least resistance" is the tie-breaker here. I go with Ryan Theriot. I like his contributions, but when we sign a new shortstop, the man is obsolete. Skip-haters like to pretend that Theriot is a viable option at 2B...and offensively, his bat interests me (except for the fact that he is a smurf with a power hitter's swing)...but the idea that Theriot should be a second baseman is to buy into the myth that his defensive struggles are related to the position he plays. The man wasn't a good SS primarily because he is not a good defensive player...period. The kind of errors and misplays he makes are not limited to SS. He's not versatile enough to play 3B, he's no better than anyone else at 2B, he is a liability at SS even in a back-up role, an outfielder he is not, and he can't switch-hit. When it comes down to it, I like the dude...but keeping him makes no sense once we sign a starting SS. That makes him a complication if he IS on the roster. Let him go and move on.
Miranda Remaklus (Aaron Miles' Fastball) -- Tyler Greene. He's had his chances. I don't see him being any less 'skittish' with Matheny. He may actually scare him more. I also give kudos to Ryan Theriot. He was good to have around to give guys breaks at the end of the season/postseason. But just going ahead and cutting your losses with him would be fine. Like Tara said, Ryan got his WS ring and did so on the right side of the rivalry! With the end of the season, I think the bylaws of the Ryan Theriot Fan Club will permit us to discuss this issue.
Bill Ivie (I-70 Baseball) -- I fully support the "Ryan Theriot needs to go" movement, but in the spirit of the question, he is currently a free agent and not a Cardinal. I'm jumping on the Westbrook ship here. He is a waste of space that is keeping home town boy Mark Buehrle's dreams from coming true.
Erika (Cardinal Diamond Diaries) -- Adios, Ryan Theriot. The fascinating part of Aaron's question was the caveat stating the player "will never be able to play for the Cardinals again." So even though Theriot is already out the door as a free agent, I use my vote to ensure he won't sneak back in through a window. The Cardinals need their middle infielders to be skilled at fielding a batted ball, preferably while spinning. Sure, Theriot proved he could get on base, but his defense made me cry. (Seriously, there were tears once.) That is why, for the sake of Matheny, Theriot must go. And stay there.
Chris Mallonee (Birds on the Bat 82) -- It has to be Theriot. Bad defense, bad arm, no power, decent average. Too many other good pieces on this team to bring him back.
Nick (Pitchers Hit Eighth) -- It's the "the one you exile will never be allowed to play for the Cardinals again" portion of this one that makes the decision for me. I can envision a scenario where Jake Westbrook has some usefulness on-field. If I were confident enough that his realized payroll-space gain would be used efficiently to replace him, I might go that route - but failing that and assuming he CAN (not that he will) add value, I won't boot Jake. If there is one player I wouldn't lose sleep about NEVER coming back to the Cards, it's Ryan Theriot. I'm not as viciously opposed to him as many, because I think that given a finite set of responsibilities, he can be useful too - but it's that "never come back" thing that leans in his favor. In summary, I'd love to have Westbrook's salary space in that vein of the question, but the never come back clause outweighs it in Theriot's favor.
Dathan Brooks (Twitter) -- My first thought when I saw this this morning was Theriot. I've thought about this most of the day, going over the roster in my mind. In the spirit of "helping a brother out", I think kicking Theriot off the team is the way to go. Not releasing him, not non-tendering him, not trading him away for a bucket of balls..."kicking him off the team", just like Hooks said! Theriot, yer outta here!
Mark (Retrosimba) -- I'd say goodbye to Arthur Rhodes. Being part of a World Series championship team is quite a cap on his long career. He's 41. Time to retire as a player. Why push it?
Dustin McClure (Welcome To Baseball Heaven) -- In the end though my vote goes to Tyler Greene. This is strictly for personal reasons. I realize he’s not a mainstay in St. Louis and also a low cost option. I know he has his share of supporters (especially the anti LaRussa folks) but I just don’t ever see him contributing much to the Cardinals. I’d love him to prove me wrong and personally flip me off at the 2013 Winter Warm up after a strong 2012 season but I’m not holding my breath.
Malcolm Pierce (The Redbird Menace) -- Ryan Theriot, for all the reasons listed so far. He really doesn't have a position. He certainly can't play shortstop and his defense at second has been underwhelming as well. Skip Schumaker was almost my choice, and I hope we never see him in the infield again. I liked the 2b experiment, but it probably should have ended a couple years ago. But unlike Theriot, he could have some use as the last outfielder on the bench. If I had to see one of them back--and I hope I don't--it would be Skip. Jake Westbrook is frustrating but if he actually has infielders behind him instead of Theriot and Schumaker, he might still be useful as a fifth starter.
JE Powell (STL Fear The Red) -- I would have to go with Jake Westbrook. I think you can find a comparable pitcher for less money and then the money saved could be used to upgrade somewhere else, perhaps 2nd or short. Westbrook frustrates me every time he takes the mound and I just don't feel is worth what he is paid.