Baseball is about to leave us for four months, and that's sad news to anyone who loves the game. But as we shift into offseason mode at StLCardinals.com, we'll try to make the most of the opportunities that fall and winter give us.
For one thing, the offseason means mailbags on a weekly basis, rather than catch-as-catch-can. So be sure to get the questions rolling in again.
As always, if you have a question, use the link below to submit it -- and please be sure to include your first name, last initial and hometown, and to use the word "mailbag" in the subject header. Otherwise, your mail may be directed to the spam folder, or be ignored in an unbecoming manner.
I have heard recently that the Cardinals are interested in signing free agent Brian Giles of the Padres. With his high on-base percentage and power, he would be a good replacement for Larry Walker and the Cardinals would still have a left-handed bat in right. Is there any truth to this rumor, and what do you think about this possible acquisition?
-- Stan D., Rock Valley, Iowa.
Well, this has certainly been question 1a, and it's intertwined with 1b, which I'll get to after this one.
Giles, first of all, is simply a fantastic player -- an exceptional hitter who plays solid defense, runs the bases well and is basically the prototype of a Tony La Russa player. PETCO Park killed his numbers this year -- away from home he hit .333 with a .463 OBP and .545 slugging percentage. I'll take two, please. However, he'll be 35 before next season starts, so I'd hesitate to give him too long a deal. Maybe two years with an option -- I think three years might be unwise.
As for the likelihood, it will depend on how the market shakes down. There aren't a lot of premium players, hitters or pitchers, on the market this year. Along with Giles, you're looking at Johnny Damon, possibly Hideki Matsui, and then a lot of guys like Juan Encarnacion and Jacque Jones. I don't see the Cardinals spending a ton to land Giles, but if he decides he wants to play here, it wouldn't be shocking.
With the short success of Anthony Reyes, could you see him in the starting rotation next year? I think the staff could really use a power pitcher, and Reyes definitely has looked impressive.
-- Paul B., Edwardsville, Ill.
And here's a variant of question 1b.
I think there's a very good chance Reyes will be in the rotation next year. I don't think he'll be handed a spot, but I think there will be a spot available, and I expect he'll go into camp as the leading candidate. His stuff is excellent, and his command is getting there. Plus, he'll be cheap.
The rotation is a big question, but I think it won't change much. Mark Mulder's 2006 option vested based on the number of innings he pitched, so he's already in the fold. Jeff Suppan's $4 million option looks like a no-brainer in the current free agent climate. And, of course, Chris Carpenter signed a multi-year deal early in the season.
So that leaves Matt Morris and Jason Marquis. My personal suspicion is that someone is going to give Morris a bigger deal than the Cardinals want to match, but that's certainly not a for-sure thing yet. Marquis will likely be back with one caveat -- if the Cardinals decide to go the trade route in adding an outfielder, there's no denying that he has trade value. I don't think it's a likelihood, but I'd say it's a possibility.
I would like to know if there is a list of everyone who tore off a countdown number at Busch -- and what the significance of the person who tore it off is -- anywhere on the Cards website.
-- Kathleen G., Steelville, Mo.
E-mail your query to MLB.com Cardinals beat reporter Jenifer Langosch for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
If the Cardinals organization felt that Jim Edmonds being thrown out of Game 5 of the NLCS caused a change in the outcome of the game, do they have any recourse against the umpire or umpiring? I am not so much interested in your thoughts on whether or not they would be right (though I am interested in your thoughts on it), but more if there are procedures to be followed and forms to be filled out, etc.
-- Erin R., St. Louis
There wasn't really any recourse for the Cardinals in that situation, for one reason: a protest may only be undertaken when a team believes that the rules have been wrongly applied. A team cannot protest a judgment call. To invent an extreme example, if Phil Cuzzi had also called Edmonds out as a result of his complaint, that would clearly have been in violation of the rules of the game and the Cardinals could have protested.
Unfortunately for Edmonds and the Cardinals, the rule on arguing balls and strikes is written quite strongly. Per the official rules, if a player argues ball/strike calls, he may be ejected. That's not to say that the ejection was appropriate -- I agree with La Russa that there should be some extra leeway in the postseason -- but it was within the rules.
If a protest is filed, it is announced that the game is being played under protest, and the game continues. Once in a long while (most famously, the "Pine Tar Game" between the Royals and Yankees in 1983), a protest is overturned, but it's extremely rare.
I am nine years old and my favorite player is Jason Marquis. He was very good all year at the plate. I know he led the Majors in hits by a pitcher. When was the last time a pitcher had 30 hits in a season?
-- Christian B., Lumberton, N.J.
This was a fun question to research, Christian, so thank you. I did some hunting in MLB.com's historical stats, and came up with quite a few interesting tidbits regarding Marquis' year at the plate.
Marquis cranked out 27 base hits this year, which was the highest total for a pitcher since Rick Rhoden had 28 in 1984. Before that, Jim Rooker had 29 in 1974, the only other pitcher since the advent of the designated hitter to have more than 27 hits in a season. The last pitcher with 30? That would be Catfish Hunter, who racked up 36 knocks way back in 1971.
Marquis also led pitchers with 10 extra-base hits this year. That was the highest extra-base hit total by a pitcher since 1986, when Rhoden had 10.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.