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A Penny Saved...

by LS Murphy

The St. Louis Cardinals completed their second deal of the off-season by signing starting pitcher Brad Penny to a one-year deal worth $7.5 million. Penny’s presence solidifies the starting rotation. As long as Kyle Lohse can bounce back from his injury plagued 2009 season, the St. Louis Cardinals will have one of the strongest starting pitching staffs in the National League.

Brad Penny came up with the Florida Marlins in 2000. He was a member of the Marlins 2003 World Series team. In 2004, the Marlins’ had a fire sale and Penny ended up in Dodger blue. For the next four years, he pitched in southern California. After being selected the opening day starter in 2008, Penny ended his career with the Dodgers going 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA.

His troubles continued into the 2009 season. A rough outing with the Boston Red Sox where he was 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA in his last five starts, Penny asked to be released instead of heading to the bullpen. The Red Sox granted his request.

In what would be common for the Red Sox in 2009, they picked up the remainder of Penny’s $5 million salary while he went on to pitch in San Francisco for the rest of the 2009 season. Back in the National League, Penny went 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA for the Giants.

Which Brad Penny the Cardinals get will be on the minds of the fans and management. LaRussa’s liked him for some time. Dave Duncan is notorious for getting pitchers back to form. Look at all he’s done over the years and Brad Penny doesn’t look like such a bad idea. The 2006 and 2007 All-Star may see a resurgence in his swaying career.

If Dave Duncan can’t help Penny return to form, Chris Carpenter is there to help. Carpenter’s discovery last season of John Smoltz tipping his pitches turned around Smoltz’s season. The bullpen works as a team to help one another. That’s one reason why the St. Louis Cardinals had two Cy Young contenders at the end of the 2009 season.

Only time will tell if the Cards made a good move in signing Brad Penny. If the pitching staff works their usual wonders, the headlines will read “A Penny Saved”.

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Cardinals Mix blog featured writers LS Murphy,Brian F. Logush
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