Cardinals Mailbag

For those questions that don’t fit neatly under a specific post or if you just prefer email, send your questions to I will answer them here, just like in the old days at The Birdhouse.

On passwords, Wilson and Martinez

Hey Brian!

You’re still doing a fantastic job.  I just have a couple curiosities maybe you can help me with:

1. How is Josh Wilson doing in Extended?
2. Jose Martinez’s absence.  Is it due to illness of his newborn baby this past offseason or other?  Either way, is there a way to send him well wishes for a speedy return?


p.s.  Your website is awesome.  I’ve tried to get on, but I messed up the password somehow.  Someone sent me a new one, but it didn’t work either.  No matter I just enjoy your original topics and overall coverage.

Brian’s take: Thanks for the kind words. I have reset your password and emailed it to you. For anyone else out there having this problem, please contact me and I will fix you up.

Now to your questions. I exchanged emails with Josh a few days ago. He says all is going well, but he has no idea when he will be promoted – could be a day or a month, he says. I only have hearsay on Jose’s situation, so I can’t comment. I am not aware of a good way to contact him at this time.

Perez fantasy advice – trade or hold? (03/09/09)


I heard you on rotowire’s fantasy focus last week and I was impressed by the depth of your cardinals knowledge.

I am weighing a decision in my deep nl only home league and I thought I’d run it by you to get your two cents.

My theory on saves is to go cheap if you can and grab ugly saves for less. I am heading into our auction with lindstom (fla) and mike Gonzalez (atl) both at $2 against an $80 cap. I also have chris perez for $2 and he is currently my final keeper.

All I seem to read recently suggests that perez is THIRD in the race for saves right now behind franklin and then motte. But, I love perez’s makeup and he seems to me to be the kind of guy who could really grab that job and run with it (though Larussa seems to hate him…)

So my question to you… Do you think perez gets 15 saves this year? Or do you think he will remain buried behind the veteran franklin and serve as a setup man this season and perhaps beyond?

Thanks very much for your time and thoughts!

Mark Anestis

Brian’s take: Mark, the ninth inning plans for the Cardinals remain unclear. La Russa pegs Franklin as the fallback closer while Dave Duncan has some different ideas for how to use the pen, the details of which he has not yet disclosed. All things equal, Duncan will make the call as the head of the staff.

To answer your question, my biggest worry about Perez is his heel, which required a cortisone shot over the weekend. Assuming he remains healthy, I think he will get those 15 saves. While Motte is a sexy pick right now, I am not convinced he is ready nor do I think he will be given the ninth inning no matter how well he pitches this month. Believe it or not, I see Franklin as the least sure of the three. He showed me last season that he cannot handle the job and does not offer the upside of either Motte or Perez.

Good luck with your trade decision.

Solid behind Brad (03/06/09)

I know you’re a very busy man these days, but I’m curious about something.  Yeah I know me and a million other Cardinal fans.  What is the Cardinals win/loss record when Brad Thompson starts a game?  I seem to recall from last year that it was pretty good or am I mistaken.

Randy Wile

Brian’s take: Last year, Thompson had six starts. The team went 4-2. In 2007, they were 12-5. 2006, 1-0 and 2005, none. Total record: 17-7.

How about some schedules? (03/04/09)

Can you email me a game schedule for the Gulf Coast Cardinals?

Julie Jones

Brian’s take: The GCL doesn’t typically begin play until the second half of June. I have not seen 2009 schedules yet.

Ducky fan club

A very interesting article on the numbers, but I’m baffled by one thing; why is Joe Medwick‘s number 7 not retired by the Cardinal organization.  He was an outstanding player for us before he was shipped out.  A HOF player.  He was good enough for the Hall but not good enough for our organization?!  I don’t get it.  I think this is an injustice, unless you know of a good reason why not.  In which case, please enlighten me.

Perhaps you could champion the cause of Ducky to get his proper due with our beloved team.  Go for it Brian!!!


Brian’s take: I have never understood the Cardinals’ thought process regarding retired numbers and Hall of Famers. In fact, I wrote an article about it back in 2005 called “Retirement Mysteries” (sorry, Scout subscribers only).

The reason I did was to try to understand why Frankie Frisch, Jim Bottomley, Johnny Mize and Medwick were never recognized with retired numbers. I have stated why (this article is free) I believe they are all deserving before Willie McGee or even Bruce Sutter (yes, I know it is too late for that one). You’ll have to read the article to appreciate the lack of clarity that exists. Basically it is all up to ownership.

Generally speaking, the Cardinals are not particularly history-focused, in my opinion. For example, as far as I could tell, they let the Billy Southworth Hall of Fame induction pass without even a mention at Busch last summer. It was a shame.

How to see early spring practices (2/11/09)

I saw your article about Spring Training dates. I’ll be visiting Florida with my kids from Feb. 15-20 and was wondering if it’s possible to see any players/practices during that time. I realize that the games don’t start until later, but my kids would be happy to watch practices (or try to get autographs) if that’s a possibility. Please let me know. Thanks.


Brian’s take: I am not down there that early and don’t ever enter that way, so don’t consider this the be-all-end-all answer. But based on what I have seen later in March, I would guess that you should be able to approach from the side/rear of the Cardinals complex and get up to the fences at least the closest two of the six back practice fields.

I suggest hitting the Roger Dean site in the morning, between 9 a.m. and about 11 a.m., as things get a lot quieter in the afternoons. There are several of semi-retired folks at the main stadium serving as security guards that are generally more than willing to help with directions.

Follow this link to see a satellite map of the area. Enter this address: “4751 main street, jupiter florida 33458” and you will see the main stadium. Scroll the map up and to the right to see the Cards’ six practice fields. The two on the bottom should be your most likely target, probably entering from the right.

Good luck with your trip. I wish I could be down there that soon!

Darryl Kile Award (01/23/09)

Thank you for putting this online as this is the first that I’ve heard this news. I am also disappointed that Russ Springer won’t be back, I thought he was the most dependable out of the bullpen.

Terry Vance

Brian’s take: You’re welcome, Terry. So few seem to care about good news these days. Adam Wainwright was a most deserving winner.

Yes, Springer was very effective the last two years and the team will miss his experience. I felt he should have been given the closer’s job when Franklin was struggling.

However, now even without him, they have at least eight qualified relievers for seven openings this spring. How quantity will translate to quality remains to be seen.

On Saturday, look for my next article looking at this very subject – the loss in experience levels in the pen.

Izzy update requested

Brian, hope you are having a happy new year! Since Fuentes signed elsewhere, do you think there is any chance that the Cardinals will offer Izzy an incentive deal?  Have you heard how his rehab program is coming and whether he still wants to pitch next year?  If he doesn’t return to the Cardinals, is there any other team that might give him a shot?  I listen to MLB Home Plate all the time and have not heard one word about him.  Looks like the Cardinals are going cheap this year so it seems that a healthy Izzy might be a bargain.

Lynda Freeland

Brian’s take: Lynda, happy new year to you, too! The rumors are that Izzy definitely wants to pitch in 2009 and if so, I believe he will get a job somewhere. While he may represent a fallback option for the Cardinals, I hope both sides decide to move on.

The two were great for each other for the better part of seven years, but Izzy, a proud man, may need time to adjust to not being the center of the action as closer and I think that will occur better somewhere else.

Welcome to TCN! (12/12/08)