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Baseball: Cards get Larry Walker

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posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 08:37 AM
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the best team in baseball just got betterm this is a monster deal for the cards

Cardinals Acquire Walker

by Bo Mitchell - Managing Editor, Fanball.com
Saturday, August 7, 2004
Larry Walker vetoed a trade that would have sent him to the Rangers just before the trading deadline last weekend, but he put his house on the market this week, and was traded by the Rockies to the Cardinals on Friday night.

Walker was sent to St. Louis along with cash considerations in exchange for minor-league pitcher Jason Burch and two players to be named. Published reports indicate the Cardinals will pick up about $9 million of the $17.5 million remaining on Walker's contract, which runs through next year and has a buyout for 2006.

The deal further augments an already loaded Cardinals lineup and plugs their biggest hole. Walker will play right field and Reggie Sanders, who returned to action on Friday after missing five games with a ribcage injury, will move over to left field. Exactly how the new batting order will shake out remains to be seen, but any time you can write a lineup card with a right-left-right-left-right grouping of hitters including Edgar Renteria, Jim Edmonds, Albert Pujols, Larry Walker, and Scott Rolen, you're in good shape.

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I'm sure Tony La Russa will figure something out.

Walker, 37, has battled through injuries his entire career and this year has been no different. He has only played in 38 games because of a groin injury that sidelined him until June 22. Still, he's batting .324 with six home runs, 20 RBI, and a 1.094 OPS in the 108 at-bats since returning to action. Per usual, when he's healthy he's a great hitter.

The credentials he brings with him to St. Louis include pretty much the entire Rockies' record book—marks that will one day fall to Todd Helton. He has more than 2,000 hits, five gold gloves, three NL batting titles, has appeared in four All-Star games, and won the 1997 NL MVP award.

Obviously, leaving Colorado's Coors Field usually deflates a hitter's fantasy value as much as it enhances a pitcher's value. That has to be a concern for those owners who have enjoyed Walker's brief time in their lineup this season.

Check out the splits. Since 2001, Larry is batting almost 100 points lower away from Coors (.279 to .370) and also has fewer home runs (46 to 34), RBI (190 to 116), and a much lower OPS (1.137 to .886). During that same time, he is just 7-for-29 (.241) at Busch Stadium with three home runs and seven RBI.

That doesn't tell the whole story, however, and Walker should not be put on the fantasy trading block because of his trade away from the thin air of Denver.

The intensity of a team going to the postseason is sure to spark a fire in Walker, who has always been one of the game's fiercest competitors. And it doesn't hurt to get the lineup protection he'll suddenly have in St. Louis, whether it's Rolen, Pujols, Sanders, or Edmonds hitting behind him. In Colorado he had the likes of Preston Wilson, Matt Holliday, or Jeromy Burnitz protecting him in the order. It wasn't quite the same.

Speaking of Holliday, Walker's departure means the rookie outfielder will likely go back to playing every day. Those fantasy owners who benched or even dumped Holliday upon Walker's return from injury six weeks ago might consider picking him back up or getting him back in the lineup



Ben

posted on Aug, 7 2004 @ 02:14 PM
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First- i thought that the trade deadline was over.

Second- Cards are going to give any team a run for their money int he playoffs now, they sure have a good team off the bat.



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