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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cardinals Release Scott Spiezio

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Here's the scoop from Matt Leach at mlb.com.

The Post-Dispatch has a story, of course, but they never link to us, so why should we link to them?

The kicker to Leach's story:

[St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony] La Russa, who said he hadn't talked to Spiezio since learning of the arrest warrant, said news of the allegation wasn't a complete surprise.

"I had heard there was an incident in California, but I didn't think anything would come of it," La Russa said.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but the Spiezio debacle sheds a new light on the Cardinals' seemingly counterintuitive decision in early January to re-sign utility infielder Aaron Miles.

It was odd, in that the team seemed to have enough infielder-types going into the spring, and that they'd opted not to tender Miles a contract offer in December, making him a free agent. Then they turned around and signed him for $1.4 million.

That move was decried by sabermetricians all over Cardinal Nation. Larry Borowsky, who operates Viva El Birdos, which for my money is the best Redbirds blogs out there -- and one of the best baseball blogs, period -- surely spoke for many on that fateful day.

(Though not for me. I like Miles. I'll concede his defense doesn't hold up to statistical analysis, and that the same goes for his bat. I like the guy's attitude, though, and I like being able to point him out to my kids as an overachiever who makes his bones the hard way. God forbid there turns out to be a warrant out for his arrest.)

Here's what the Post's Derrick Goold wrote about the signing:

"The way we are set up now, we're fully protected in the infield," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "You look at the need we had, and there's a comfort level with Miles. ... He gives us added flexibility."

Miles provides depth at both middle infield positions and may be the answer if questions arise with [second baseman Adam] Kennedy, [shortstop Cesar] Izturis or switch-hitter Scott Spiezio, who missed more than a month last season in rehab for substance abuse.

The club also has Brendan Ryan, a young shortstop who turned in a solid performance when called up from the minors late last year.

Also, a few weeks ago Post columnist Bernie Miklasz noted that La Russa had "called out" Spiezio for being late to the team's annual Winter Warm-Up event.

I'm just sayin.'

-Tom Finkel

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