The St Louis Cardinals agreed to terms with Mark Mulder today–2 years, $13 Million!! Yep, the baseball Gods must be crazy!! Now, I have no problem taking a chance on the guy–the Astros did the same with Carlos Hernandez in 2003. But, they weren’t crazy enough to pay him a multi-million dollar contract.(granted Hernandez was just a rookie at the time) In fact, they passed on Wade Miller two years later…My suspicion is it was based on the failed Carlos Hernandez experiment.
Carlos Hernandez, the Astros rookie phenom Lefty injured his shoulder on a freak play sliding into second base in 2001 (turned out to be a torn labrum, underwent surgery in 2002)…Wade Miller tore his shoulder up in 2004 (another torn labrum), underwent surgery, got non-tendered by the Astros after the 2004 season, signed with the Red Sox in 2005, was riddled with injuries that year, underwent another shoulder surgery, signed with the Cubs in 2006, was ineffective, underwent more surgery, and has now been re-signed for 2007…this story is so similar to that of Carlos Hernandez, who worked so hard to try to come back, but never could–In the end, the Astros finally cut him after the 2006 season.
Why the Cardinals think that Mulder who had the same surgery as both Hernandez and Miller will turn out to be different, befuddles me…medical statistics have shown that only 8 percent of pitchers who undergo the type of labrum surgery that Mulder has, ever recover enough velocity to pitch in the majors again…the only successful example that I know of is Chris Carpenter.
Do the Cardinals believe they can catch lightning in a bottle twice? If so, more power to them. However, a betting man (or woman) would guess that it is more likely Mark Mulder will end up just like Carlos Hernandez and Wade Miller–trying to come back year after year after year, finally to be cut by his team.