Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Mulder Signs Again

Mark Mulder will not be going to the Rangers. Actually, he won't be going anywhere, as Peter Gammons reports:

Mark Mulder is staying with the St. Louis Cardinals, agreeing Wednesday to a $13 million, two-year contract. Gammons reports that if Mulder makes 30 starts in 2007 and 2008, incentives can make the deal worth three years and $45 million.
This sounds like a pretty good deal for the increasingly stingy Cardinals organization. At first sight, the 2 years $13million contract seems like a joke. But the built-in incentives will obviously pertain to Mulder's staying healthy and productive. If he pitches up to capability, he will be rewarded handsomely. If he doesn't he will be paid accordingly. Good move by St. Louis because they will not be financially held-up if Mulder takes another long trip on the DL.

I would have to believe that Mulder could have gotten a load more guaranteed money somewhere else, but - to his credit - he decided to make another go of it with the Redbirds. Also couldn't hurt that they just won a championship last year.

Near the end of the article is a mention of Rick Ankiel, whom you may remember as the stud prospect whose infamous mental collapse led to a wild-pitch pandemonium. From the article:
St. Louis also agreed to a minor-league contract with outfielder Rick Ankiel . . . Ankiel, 27, batted .259 with 21 homers and 75 RBI for Double-A Springfield and Class A Quad Cities in his first full season as an outfielder.
That's right, Rick Ankiel will be roaming the outfields of minor league baseball next year. Splitting his time for AA Springfield and Class-A ball, Ankiel actually put up some good numbers. Especially for a converted pitcher once considered to be in the top10 all-time for pitching prospects. If Ankiel makes it back to the majors as an outfielder it would be one of the most outrageous, improbable come-backs ever made . . . by a 27-year-old no less.

From the AP, comes the original story of Ankiel making "the switch" in 2005 - there's an interesting sidebar. But right now let's add a little salt to the wound. See if you can remember this horror-show:
Maddux walked; Furcal popped to Clark in foul territory; Ankiel threw a wild pitch (Maddux to second); Ankiel threw a wild pitch (Maddux to third); A. Jones walked; Ankiel threw a wild pitch (A. Jones to 2nd); C. Jones was called out on strikes; Galarraga walked (Maddux scored on wild pitch by Ankiel; A. Jones to 3rd); JordanLankford (A. Jones scored, singled to Galarraga to 2nd); Ankiel threw a wild pitch (Galarraga to 3rd, Jordan to 2nd); Sanders walked; Weiss singled to Lankford (Galarraga scored, Jordan scored, Sanders to 2nd); James replaced Ankiel; Lopez popped to Viña. 4runs, 2hits, no errors, 2 LOB. Braves 4, Cardinals 6.
That's the line-score for the 3rd inning of the 2000 NLCS. After getting out of trouble in the first two innings of Game 1, the then 20-year-old Ankiel crumbled in front of our very eyes. This of course came after the Cards had generated 6 runs in the early going. To quote the very underrated film Wonderboys - "When we fall, we fall hard."

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