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by alex ciepley
New York is still colder than a well-digger's butt in Montana, and the Cubs are still sitting in stasis. While there are few rumbles in Cubbieville, the rival Cards have lost their starting shortstop. Edgar Renteria was an option for the Cubs at short had they not re-signed Nomar, but he ended up with the Red Sox for the Starbucks coffeeish price of 4 years, $40 million.
I was eager for some thoughts coming from our red-feathered friends, so I asked a couple writers who follow the Cardinals for their take.
In fact, Renteria is closer to the #9 guy on the list (Alex Cora) than he is to the #4 guy, your very own Nomar Garciaparra. Don't get me wrong -- I loved rooting for Renteria. He's a steadying presence (he's got those imperturbable eyes), and I loved how he'd light it up with gap jobs to the opposite field. But for a guy with a good-but-not-great bat and a good-but-not-great glove, he's not worth the investment. I'd like to see the Cards plow the money they offered Renteria into someone like, well, for starters, Placido Polanco.
Dayn Perry writes for both FoxSports and Baseball Prospectus, and mentioned to me earlier this season that he might have gone insane if the Cubs had made the postseason and beaten the Cards in a short series.
My take on Renteria... If the price is $10-million per at four years, I'm not disappointed he's gone.
I think he's an overrated player. Take away his 2003 season, which looks aberrant when considered with the balance of his statistical record, and he's a tick above league average for the position with an overvalued glove. My hope for the Cards is that they trade for Julio Lugo, who I think will as productive as Renteria over the next four years at a fraction of the cost. In other words, far better value on the dollar.
I think it's a misplay by the Red Sox, and perhaps an intentionally conspicuous signing designed to mollify those fans who are indigant over losing Pedro.
If I could construct an ideal off-season for the Cards from here on out it would entail signing Clement, Pierzynski and Polanco and trading for Lugo.
I certainly won't miss seeing Renteria come to the plate against the Cubs, but I also agree that the Cards were fortunate to miss out on what will soon look like folly for the Red Sox. Isn't that Nomar deal looking better by the day?