or..."How Fast They Fall." In 2002, Junior Spivey was an all-star, and he was a major part of the Richie Sexson trade after the 2003 season. He was a Brewer so recently that I'm still the sponsor of his Baseball-Reference page!
But...Washington didn't have room for him, especially after trading for Alfonso Soriano, and he decided today to take a 1 year, $1.3 million offer from the Cardinals, which is likely to make him their opening-day second baseman. Not a bad deal for the Cards--I somehow knew they weren't going to go into the season with Hector Luna in the starting lineup.
Also, the Cards signed Juan Encarnacion to a deal not unlike the Cubs's Jacque Jones signing. The Cards win again: Juan isn't Larry Walker and he isn't even Reggie Sanders, but he's better than Jacque, and he's better than John Rodriguez would be over a full season. The downside is that Encarnacion is signed through 2008, and while he's coming off a career year, he's going into his age 30 season, so is more likely than not going to both regress and decline. Not a good combination for someone who's barely a league-average stopgap in the first place.
Sadly for Milwaukee, these two deals probably make the Cardinals a solid 93-95-win team again, which may be enough to put them out of reach for this year. Neither guy will have the impact that Brian Giles would have, but they are the incremental solutions that Jocketty has excelled at picking up (like Abraham Nunez and David Eckstein, who contributed so much last year) and LaRussa always gets so much out of.