MLB: Should the St. Louis Cardinals Sign Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, or Both?

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MLB: Should the St. Louis Cardinals Sign Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, or Both?
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Edgar Renteria, in the skull cap, gestures to the crowd during the World Series victory parade. The San Francisco crowd was hyped on a beautiful November day.

Life for the last two World Series MVPs has been overrated.  Winning the trophy has been like a mini-Madden jinx for these players.    

MVP Edgar Renteria helped the San Francisco Giants earn their first World Series title since 1958.

Without his tiebreaking homer in the last game, the Giants may not have won.  It was the second World Series-winning hit of his career.

To thank him, the Giants let him go.

The Cardinals should go try to entice him back to St. Louis before the Cincinnati Reds sign him.  The Reds own a patent on scooping up ex-Cardinals.

A two-time World Series champion, Edgar Renteria had his 2011 contract option rejected by the Giants on Nov. 4.  For the Barranquilla, Colombia, native, the option was worth a reported $9.5-10.5 million.

San Francisco bought the veteran major leaguer out for $500,000, according to reports.

No longer a million dollar baby, Renteria turns 36 years old next Aug. 7.  He's no spring chicken, but he is still a million dollar ballplayer—ask Cliff Lee. 

Renteria has been missed in St. Louis since 2004.  The Redbirds got horrific production and youth-type mistakes from their shortstops most of last season.

He is a clubhouse leader who is batting .287 for his career and is still more clutch than many younger players.  In fact, he’s probably forgotten more of his clutch hits than the current Cardinals shortstops have made.  In 1997, he hit a walk-off single in the seventh game of the World Series—in extra innings in his sophomore season—with two outs.

A 15-year veteran this season, he was on the disabled list for much of 2010.  He played in the fewest games he ever has.  The Giants almost left him off the playoff roster, but they’re glad they didn’t.

Now he has a big decision to ponder.  The temptation to walk away on top of his game —like many pro athletes wish to—may be too much to allow any team to sign him.     

“It’s always hard to think about retiring,” he said after the Giants' World Series victory parade.

Not many teams are in the market for aging ballplayers.  Derek Jeter is 35 years old, and his contract negotiations with the Yankees could get messy, according to Hal Steinbrenner.

Hideki Matsui was let go by the Yankees after he won the 2009 World Series MVP.  He was 35 years old.  Matsui signed with the Angels, and they didn’t make the playoffs. 

It wasn’t his fault; in 2010, he batted .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI.

Q: Will what happened to the Yankees befall the Giants in 2011? 

A: Most likely.  The Yankees let Johnny Damon walk, too.  Now the Giants are looking at the same scenario: losing a World Series MVP and another important cog in the offense.  

Both organizations put the squeeze play on the money for their World Series MVPs.  That's a big reason why no one should be expecting the Giants to repeat.

While they may have strong pitching, they could be losing two of their best bats.

Giants shortstop Juan Uribe will turn 32 in January—allegedly.  He has a $3.25 million contract, but free agency is pending. 

The Cardinals need a big-time bat to replace Ryan Ludwick’s. 

Uribe is probably more of a slugger than any middle infielder the Cardinals ever had.  Listed at 6'0" and a generous 230 pounds, he is built like a running back.  He hit .248 with career highs of 24 home runs and 85 RBI in 2010. 

He lost his starting job with the White Sox to Alexei Ramirez in 2008.  Nobody else wanted to sign him until the Giants gave him a minor-league deal. 

He earned his current contract after batting .289 with 15 home runs in 122 games for the Giants.   

Albert Pujols's contract is the team’s first priority, and it should be.  Pujols is possibly the best player baseball has seen in the last 15 years.  He wants to win, but he needs help.

The Cardinals opening day starting infield, other than Pujols, hit a grand total of 11 home runs last season.  11.

Pujols re-upping with the Cardinals could hinge on who else the Redbirds sign. 

I hope Tony LaRussa finally learns (1) to feature Brendan Ryan in a reserve utility role, and (2) that Skip Schumaker isn't a championship-caliber leadoff man.

Under hitting instructor Mark McGwire, last season, Schumaker batted .265 with five home runs and five stolen bases.  He fanned more than he walked. 

Ryan batted .221—a big drop from the .295 he hit in 2009.

Uribe could possibly play third, shortstop or second base, and Colby Rasmus could be groomed for leading off.  If the Cardinals were to sign Renteria and Uribe, they would be adding much needed offensive punch.

By signing Renteria, who hit .330 in 2003 for the Redbirds, the Cardinals would add clutch hitting off the bench.  His veteran leadership skills and winning ways would bring the Cardinals' quiet swagger back.

Besides swag, both Uribe and Renteria would add solid defense at third—something the Redbirds sorely lacked nearly all of last season.

I want to hear what you all—my seasoned readers—want to comment about.  What do you think about Renteria/Uribe wearing the birds on a bat in 2011?

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