Cardinals series time, and Astros County traded questions with C70 At The Bat on the upcoming series. I asked five questions, C70 asked five questions. Here are C70's, and I'll get the link to AC's answers later today.
Astros County: Seeing as how the Cubs just swept the Nationals, ESPN is anointing the Cubs as being "back." Of course. What is it going to take for the Cardinals to hold off the Cubs/Brewers/Astros for the division?
C70 at the Bat: I do worry about the Cubs somewhat, if only because as a Cardinal fan, you hate to lose to them. I'd much rather see them closer to Pittsburgh than St. Louis. That said, with Ryan Ludwick starting to find his bat, the Cards are in better shape than they were earlier in the year. Getting a boost out of Troy Glaus or Khalil Greene, both at AA right at the moment on rehab assignments, would help a lot as well. The Cards also need a better fifth starter, as Todd Wellemeyer has been erratic, but mainly bad.
AC: The Cardinals have been linked to Roy Halladay, where the word was "give Toronto the minor-league rosters and let them circle five names." How does the Cards' fan base view trading away five prospects for Halladay?
C70: It's an interesting question. Many people don't necessarily want to see a farm system that right now is just starting to come into its own to be ravished for Halladay, but it seems to me that a lot of people, and I'd lump myself into this group, are willing to give up Brett Wallace (the top prospect in the system) and 2-3 others for an ace pitcher that would be under control for a year and a half. The Cardinal farm system has gotten to where a deal like this would hurt, but wouldn't destroy it. All that said, I'd be surprised if it happened or if Halladay was traded at all.
AC: The Astros have a reputation as being a second-half team. Does that concern Cardinals fans?
C70: The focus has been so much on the Brewers and Cubs this year (added to the fact that the Cards haven't seen the Astros since, what, April?) that I think Houston is a little bit under the Cardinals radar. The longer they hang around, though, the more nervous Redbird fans will probably be.
AC: What has been the most surprising aspect of 2009 for Cardinals fans?
C70: Interesting question. There are a number of them. Skip Schumaker has played a tolerable second base, or at least at a better level than many expected. Colby Rasmus has started to blossom, though that really wasn't a surprise. On the downside, Rick Ankiel and, until recently, Ryan Ludwick were nowhere close to their 2008 forms. I guess probably the biggest surprise is that the Cards are still in first, even with the offensive struggles of the first half.
AC: When is Mozeliak going to stop screwing around and just give Pujols his $300 million?
C70: It's not completely on Mozeliak. While there is some caution in the front office, trying to get a read on what they should pay Pujols, a lot of the hesitation is coming from his side. The feeling is he wants to see if this is going to be a contending team for the future and that management isn't going to gut the team to pay him. I think that's one of the biggest reasons they are seriously considering Halladay. I feel like AP will eventually sign with the Cards at less than people think he would be worth, but it may be as late as November 2010.