Re: Rumor: Cardinals close to signing Matt Clement
December 31, 2007
Reportedly interested in signing with the Cardinals a few days ago, Matt Clement has apparently balked at the prospect of taking a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. He is said to have decided that, if he can't get a guaranteed deal elsewhere, he'd just as soon pitch for a team close to his western Pennsylvania home: The Pirates or the Indians...
It's one thing when the Cardinals can't convince players to come to St. Louis over offers from the Yankees or the Red Sox. But when players decide that, all other things being equal, they would rather play for the Pirates... Well, you've got problems, mister.
It's hard to believe that, as things appear right now, the Cardinals will start 2008 with a worse starting rotation than the one that completed the 2007 season.
Wainwright and Pineiro will be holdovers. Looper, according to the Cardinals at the end of last season, was a candidate to be sent back to the bullpen. Now the team can't afford to lose him from the starting five. Mulder is probably going to miss a month at the very least. And Kip Wells' spot still is vacant. So it looks like Anthony Reyes will spend another season butting heads with Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa while Brad Thompson and Todd Wellemeyer will fight it out for the fifth slot until Mulder returns... If he returns. Chris Carpenter is so far off in the distance that it's best not to even dream about his return before it's all over but the crying.
We've all heard the excuses: There's no one the team likes available on the free agent market. We don't have anything in the farm system anyone wants in return for pitching. But, after promises that the franchise would be aggressive, it's an insult to the fans that this club's leadership has done nothing to address glaring needs. Whose fault is it that the team was allowed to degenerate into this predicament? And since when does showering the paying customers with praise as baseball's best fans absolve the team of making any effort to be competitive?
Back in the Walt Jocketty glory days, you could always hope that there was one big trick up the old master's sleeve. But it appears that not only does this edition of the Cardinals have nothing cooking, it has nothing in the pantry and no intention of heading off to the grocery store anytime soon.
It is pretty bad when the Cardinals can't get a pitcher like Clement to sign a minor league deal.