On Monday afternoon Walt Jocketty continued his quest to reassemble the 2005 Cardinals by taking his second member of MV3, outfielder Jim Edmonds.
This last move struck particularly close to your correspondent's proverbial home. The Cardinals wall calendar in my room (the real one, not the proverbial one) has been set to May 2007 since some time in May, 2007—it's Jim Edmonds preparing to transfer his weight onto that stationary front foot and presumably hit a baseball 400 feet to center field. What started out as laziness and inertia—what am I supposed to do with a wall calendar?—has become a statement of purpose: Jim Edmonds is my favorite Cardinal. I will root for Jim Edmonds no matter what.
And now Walt Jocketty has to acquire him heading into a crucial series with the Cincinnati Reds. What a jerk! Edmonds joins Scott Rolen, Miguel Cairo, and Jason Isringhausen, whereas the Cardinals can only offer Aaron Miles, who was briefly a Red before the team smartly decided that they couldn't afford to play that particular former Cardinal, and Jason LaRue, who is not allowed to hit balls over Jim Edmonds's head for the duration of this series.
While the Reds rest from their most recent Cardinal acquisition, a list: The Top Five Cardinals who haven't yet joined the Reds.
5. Albert Pujols
I like Scott Rolen, and I really like Jim Edmonds, but picking up those two pieces of MV3 is kind of like getting Park Place in that McDonalds Monopoly contest and starting to plan your million-dollar shopping spree. Until the Reds trade Joey Votto and offer Albert Pujols a $500 million contract they've only got the pieces that come on every third medium fry.
4. Ryan Ludwick
I've just begun to accept the Ryan Ludwick trade. Jake Westbrook doesn't seem like return enough for an outfielder with a 120 OPS+, but having another pitcher who's not Jeff Suppan is nice.
With that in mind, if Bronson Arroyo were the pitcher and not Westbrook, I think I'd still be reeling. This would be like the moment in Final Fantasy III where you realize Kefka is not just a wacky comic relief villain but is in fact the megalomaniacal main antagonist of the game—where Jocketty's wacky urge to collect ex-Cardinals became a clear desire to destroy the Cardinals by becoming them.
3. Chris Carpenter
In certain kinds of thrillers there are two main heroes to which we are given full access: There's the thoughtful, occasionally worried but ultimately confident main hero, who typically lives to see the sun rise with his transparently planted love interest, and the heartstoppingly daring secondary hero, who never compromises, has no love interest, and is almost certainly going to die on page 250.
The bad guys are busting down the door, the main hero is ready to capitulate, and the secondary hero says: "You [well-meaning expletive] [well-meaning reference to female genitalia]! Take the high ground! I'll hold them here!" The main hero takes a teary look at the secondary hero, runs up the stairs, and hears screaming and machine gun reports until—an eerie silence.
Chris Carpenter is that guy. If Walt Jocketty leads a fully fledged takeover of the Cardinals, he'll pull the pins from all the grenades strapped to his chest and tackle Aaron Harang.
2. Rogers Hornsby, maybe?
Reasons Rogers Hornsby wouldn't join the Reds:
- He's dead. I wouldn't put it past Walt Jocketty to look up the people at the Hornsby Estate, at this point, but if there were a way to play a ghost at second base Tony La Russa already would have tried it in Spring Training one year.
- He retired as a member of the St. Louis Browns, and therefore is not only less than amenable to joining another color-team but also is stuck forever in the MLB Defunct Franchise Vortex with the version of Brad Wilkerson who could hit and Fred McGriff, who is still legally a member of the ill-conceived Tampa Bay Satan Rays.
- He was really mean—pull quote: "Once, while managing the minor leagues, Hornsby went into the shower and urinated on a pitcher who had been hit hard in the game that day."—and also probably a racist, having allegedly joined the Ku Klux Clan at one point. Team chemistry is one of those things that was apparently better in The Old Days, but I'd like to see the newspapers the day after Carlos Zambrano and Milton Bradley get into a literal pissing match.
1. Jim Edmonds
I'm sorry, I just haven't processed it yet. Give me a minute.
Okay, still not there.
I'll root for Jim Edmonds in any uniform, at any point, and in any season. But Walt Jocketty just shuffled his way off my Best Fans In Baseball-brand Standing-O list. The bastard.