Sunday, December 11, 2005

Matt Morris rejects Texas Rangers

Matt Morris has limited his choices to the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. I still have hope that he will return to St. Louis.
The Texas Rangers have been told that free agent pitcher Matt Morris will pitch elsewhere.

The Rangers had offered Morris a three-year, $25 million contract but he as turned it down. The San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals are considered the leading contenders to get him.
If you recall from earlier, the Post-Dispatch reported on the deal that St. Louis is giving him.
The offer guarantees Morris about $13 million over two years and would grow to $20 million should the Cardinals assume the option. The deal, similar to the extension signed by Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter last April, isn't believed to be competitive with what the Giants and Rangers have offered.
Chances are he will return to pitch next season for the St. Louis Cardinals.

It's interesting to note how much the Cardinals have changed since 2002. Just look here:
Jocketty hopes to soon sign Ricardo Rincon as the replacement for Ray King. The Cardinals remain involved for Octavio Dotel and Braden Looper, either of whom would serve as a righthanded bridge to Jason Isringhausen. An alignment including two more lefthanders, Randy Flores and Tyler Johnson, has been considered. On Wednesday, manager Tony La Russa doused the possibility of Adam Wainwright being projected for the bullpen by saying it's more important Wainwright continue to be groomed as a starter.[...]

All but 10 members of the 2004 World Series team are gone. Only Jim Edmonds, Isringhausen and Albert Pujols remain from the team that lost Darryl Kile in June 2002.

Unable to acquire starting pitching, the Cardinals may now devote those resources to a right fielder. Jacque Jones and Juan Encarnacion remain the most visible names, and Jones has expressed a desire to play in St. Louis. The non-tender date also may make available additional help in the infield and bullpen. For now, the Cardinals have a full rotation and bench but vacancies for as many as three starting position players and four relievers.
The article does bring up a good question with regards to second base. What happened to Bo Hart?

Joe Strauss over at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had five questions for General Manager Walt Jocketty this past Friday.
Q: A lot has been made about the team's payroll remaining relatively fixed. As a mid-market franchise with the game's sixth-highest payroll last season, is it reasonable for your fan base to expect that practice to continue? Or is the market catching up to you?

A: "I don't think that many clubs will be getting close to the level we're at. I would be very surprised. If they do, they'll be losing a lot of money. There are clubs in our division - the Cubs, obviously, are capable of doing that - but I don't think anybody else will. Houston could, because they're in a bigger market than we are. (But) they don't choose to do that."
Dan O'Neill lists his presents for the holidays to St. Louis figures.
Walt Jocketty: Roger Clemens. "The Rocket" can not re-sign with Houston until May, which means he is available. If the Cardinals truly want to upgrade the rotation, give Clemens a deal he can't refuse, i.e. he only has to show up on days he is scheduled to pitch and he only will be scheduled to pitch against the Florida Marlins.

David Eckstein and Aaron Miles: Complimentary membership to the Lollipop Guild.[...]

Tony La Russa: The serenity to accept the things he cannot change, the courage to change the things he can, and the wisdom to play Hector Luna.[...]

Scott Rolen: Col. Steve Austin's shoulder.[...]

Mike Shannon and John Rooney: A chemistry set.

Whitey Herzog: A fishin' pond nobody knows about.

Dave Duncan: The new Ipod, which plays music, plays videos and detects pitch-tipping.
MAJOR EDIT: Morris will not return to St. Louis either.
Righthander Matt Morris, the Cardinals' first No. 1 draft pick in the 11-season
tenure of general manger Walt Jocketty, told the Post-Dispatch Saturday night
that he would not be returning for his 10th season with the club.

Morris, drafted in 1995 and the winner of 101 games for the Cardinals, said he
hadn't decided with whom he would sign as a free agent. He said he had narrowed
the field to two teams, one of which is believed to be the San Francisco
Giants. Multiple sources said Saturday night that the Giants appeared the clear
frontrunners. In San Francisco, Morris would be rejoining former St. Louis
teammates Mike Matheny, Steve Kline, Mark Sweeney and Jeff Fassero.

Speaking from his home in Jupiter, Fla., all Morris would say for the record on
his choice was: "Not the Cardinals. I eliminated them today."[...]

Morris was offered a two-year deal, plus a club option, that would have paid
him roughly $6.5 million a year - what staff ace and Cy Young Award winner
Chris Carpenter is receiving. The Giants and Texas Rangers are both believed to
be offering three-year deals in the area of $8 million a year. But Texas
general manager Jon Daniels told writers Saturday night that the Rangers are
not in the running.

Morris acknowledged that the difference in the offers "certainly was a big
consideration" and that he had figured he wasn't the Cardinals' first choice
when he heard how fervently (four years, nearly $40 million) they had pursued
free-agent righthander A.J. Burnett.

"When I saw them going after A.J. that hard, we (he and agent Barry Axelson)
got it in our mind that I wasn't going to be in their plans at the time, and we
started exploring some other options," the 31-year-old Morris said. "Then I
woke up on Dec. 8 and saw they had offered me arbitration. But I don't think
they were serious about signing me.

"My whole career has been there, and it's been a blast with the fans and all
that's happened there. But as time went on, it's been a little easier to see
which path I was going to take, and now we'll see which exact path I'm going to
be on."[...]

On Saturday night, Jocketty said: "We were told where it was going - that it
was going to be three years, possibly. That was just beyond where we felt
comfortable going, and we told them that unless there was a change of heart, we
would probably be parting ways.

"I remember his first year when he came (1997), we flew out of spring training
to Houston and he came up to my room and signed his first major league
contract. Then I negotiated a contract (three years for $27 million) with him a
few years ago. I've always been very close to him and his dad. They're great

Morris chose his words carefully in his exit speech.

"It's hard to let go," he said. "I think St. Louis (with its offer) made the
decision a little easier, but I appreciated what Walt and ownership did. They
treated me like gold from day one. It will be sad to move on.

"It's been a great run, from the day I was drafted. I would have loved to have
been in the new stadium. ... I'm going to miss playing there."
Matt, we will miss you tremendously. At least this Cardinal fan will.

No comments: