With Houston apparently giving Miguel Tejada the kiss off yesterday, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says that Tony La Russa may be interested in bringing him in. It’s more of a “personal interest” on La Russa’s part, Strauss says, but that he has been discussed by others in the Cardinals organization.
But as Strauss’ piece makes clear, that — and just about everything else the Cardinals do — is being held hostage by the Matt Holliday situation. You sign him, you let Mark DeRosa dangle, and you pick up Tejada (or someone like him) to play third. Also if you sign him, you look to cheaper options to fill out that fifth starter’s slot. If you don’t, you go harder for DeRosa for third and/or left field and your options to fill out both the lineup and the rotation expand.
La Russa was patient and measured about it all during his press availability yesterday, but it’s obvious that the Cardinals are in a holding pattern. Everything they do for the rest of the offseason is in Matt Holliday’s and Scott Boras’ hands. But everything Scott Boras has ever done suggests that he has no interest in giving the Cardinals anything close to a sense of security on the matter any time soon. When a Scott Boras client is on the market, he is REALLY on the market, and the bidding hasn’t started yet.
St. Louis is not the sort of organization that gambles, and I can’t see them watching their plan Bs, Cs and Ds all get snapped up by other teams while waiting for Matt Holliday and Scott Boras to make up their minds.
The question, then, is how much longer before they officially cut bait?
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.