A curious bit of sports reporting appeared in this morning's Post-Dispatch regarding the St. Louis Cardinals' "frustrated" (and in the end failed) pursuit to return Matt Morris to the fold. Joe Strauss writes that general manager Walt Jocketty was "stunned" when the San Francisco Giants sent the aging right hander to the Pittsburgh Pirates. "Call it what you want. It looks like a straight salary dump to me," Strauss quotes one dispirited club official as saying.Willie McCovey could make, you dispirited club official, you. Sure, San Francisco managed to slice $13.7 million from its books by sending Morris packing, but the Giants -- languishing in last place in the N.L. West with a team whose median age is older than dirt -- picked up a 26-year-old speed demon of a center fielder named Rajai Davis. This is a guy with 251 minor-league steals and a career .375 OBP. In fact, Davis had a 21-game hitting streak going at Triple-A Indianapolis before the Bucs brought him up last month, after which he has proceeded to hit .271 in 24 games. Look for him to be in the starting lineup tonight when the Giants face the Dodgers.
The Cardinals' dismay, meanwhile, appears unfounded. As Larry Borowsky notes on his blog, vivaelbirdos.com, the team might well have landed Morris had they done more than absorb the majority of Morris' leftover contract and offer only two not-ready-for-primetime midlevel minor leaguers.
More to the point, says Borowsky, in exchange for a "salary dump," the Giants got a promising young starting center fielder -- a player the Cards should have pursued!
As a lifelong Giants fan, I'm absolutely giddy that the team has at last given up the old goat and gone for some young blood. Morris, who won 101 games for the Redbirds from 1997-2005, has been an absolute bust in his two and a half seasons with the Giants (though one could make the case that his 7-7 record and 4.35 ERA this season is the stuff of an ace on the current Cardinals staff).