The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Why the Cardinals Will Repeat
In my opinion the Cardinals will again win the World Series and repeat as World Champions in 2007.
It all starts at the top with the best general manager in baseball, Walt Jocketty. He has been very successful in making impact trades when needed, without giving up the Busch Brewery. If needs become apparent he will make more moves.
Picking up Adam Kennedy as a free agent will stabilize the second base position, after going through several years of multiple choices. He and Eckstein have played together in past years and will make an excellent DP combination. They will combine with 3rd base Rolen and 1st base Pujols to form the best infield in baseball.
Molina is an excellent handler of pitchers and has a rocket arm in throwing out over 40% of potential base stealers.
Although he has been weak with the bat, he showed hitting potential by being MVP in last year's post season.
The outfield could be somewhat questionable. Hopefully, Jim Edmonds has another good injury free year in him for center field.
Chris Duncan should be another good RBI man for left field. He is not a defensive asset, but So Toguchi is back to play defense for him in late innings.
Hopefully, Encarnacion will overcome injury and continue to improve in right field.
Preston Wilson, from the Astros, is also available.
Of course, the big question mark for the Cardinals is starting pitching, after losing Suppan, Marquis and Weaver to free agency.
It always helps to have the best pitcher in baseball, Chris Carpenter, for ace of the staff.
After being a starter for most of his career, Wainwright should be able to make the transition from an effective closer to a dependable starter.
Reyes should also be able to be a more consistent starter.
I remember watching Kip Wells in Pittsburgh several years ago. He had outstanding pitches and all the Pirates' fans thought he would be their ace for many years. However, he turned out to be a mediocre pitcher, much like Jeff Suppan was when he pitched for the Pirates.
Tony LaRussa is given a lot of credit for the Cardinal's success, but in my opinion Walt Jocketty and Dave Duncan, pitching coach, are the keys for their world championship team.
Just as Duncan worked wonders with Suppan, he will develop Kip Wells into a very effective pitcher.
Remember last year, when Weaver had a lousy record with the Angels, but after Duncan did his magic, he was one of the keys to winning the Series.
The Cubs and Brewers should both have considerably improved teams this season. The Cubs gave Soriano everything but Wrigley field and with Deron Lee back, plus some injury free pitching and Lou Piniella managing, they could be very strong.
Although Milwaukee can not afford much, Suppan should help them considerably.
A key for the Cardinals is to have Izzy come back and be the closer, he has demonstrated that he can be over many seasons.
Also Mulder coming back strong is big.
Never fear Cardinal fans, as the dairy farmer says, "The Cream always comes to the top!"