There is breaking news out of St. Louis as the Cardinals deal long time prospect Colby Rasmus along with relievers P.J. Walters, Brian Tallet and Trever Miller to the Blue Jays for outfielder Corey Patterson and pitchers Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczynski and Edwin Jackson. Jackson was acquired by Toronto from the Chicago White Sox earlier in the day.
Cardinal nation no doubt will instantly recognize the name of Octavio Dotel from his days as a Houston Astro in the early 2000's when the Astros and Cardinals would fight for the National League Central Divison title. Dotel was a part of one of the best relief corps in all of baseball when the Astros boasted Dotel, Billy Wagner and hard throwing Brad Lidge. These three will forever be tied to one of the most historic pitching performances of all time as all three pitched on June 11, 2003, when six Astros pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the New York Yankees.
The Cardinals hope the 37-year-old Dotel can provide a veteran spark to an otherwise lifeless bullpen that has been marred with blown saves and forced to employ a closer-by-committee the last few years.
As for Edwin Jackson, the Cardinals will be receiving a young starting pitcher who was an All-Star in 2009 who can come in and make an immediate impact. The Cardinals starting rotation has been somewhat shaky this season, beginning with the news out of Spring Training that Adam Wainwright would miss the entire 2011 season and possibly part of 2012 because of Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Then we all watched as Chris Carpenter couldn't even buy a win, going 1-7 in his first 15 starts. To be fair, a lot of that blame goes back to the bullpen's inability to finish the job. Carpenter, however, has rebounded nicely and hasn't lost a start since June 17th.
Bringing in Jackson makes sense. With the absence of Wainwright, he is the type of pitcher that Dave Duncan loves to work with. A guy who has all the tools who just needs a few adjustments to bring it all together. Coming in, he immediately makes me think of Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis. Guys who won't rack up strikeouts, but can give you six or seven solid innings and set the Cardinals up for a W every five days.
The only thing with Jackson is his contract. With Pujols due for a deal, and the amount of money Jackson will command when he becomes a free agent at the end of the year, the Cardinals will really have to ask themselves how seriously they think they can contend and at what price.
With the departure of Rasmus, the Cardinals open up a regular spot for rising prospect Jon Jay and have rid themselves of a clubhouse headache who, according to Manager Tony LaRussa, "Doesn't listen to his coaches". LaRussa also praised Rasmus and talked about his bright future when speaking to KSDK TV-5 in St. Louis.
There's no doubt Rasmus, despite his underacheiving numbers this season, has the potential to become one of the game's top outfielders with his combination of power and fielding. However, Rasmus would be wise to mature as quickly as possible and get his attitude problems behind him or he will find himself with a career dotted with bright spots, but largely filled with unachieved potential.
As for Cardinal fans, they will hope that this trade doesn't end up like the 2005 trade of Dan Haren for Mark Mulder. The trade is infamous among Cardinal fans as Haren has continued to have a very successful career with multiple All-Star game selections as well as an All-Star start, and has finished among the top pitchers in voting for the Cy Young award. Mark Mulder, on the other hand, spent the majority of his time in St. Louis on the disabled list and never regained the form that made him a two time All-Star in Oakland.
Time will tell if this trade will work out for the Cardinals. That will all be decided if and when Jackson signs a contract extension with St. Louis.
No matter the outcome, they can't always be winners like the Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio trades, right Cubs fans?
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