A few problems with this part of Phillips' article
:Mark Mulder, St. Louis Cardinals: Mulder has not quite lived up to the status he earned in Oakland, but he still has been quite good. He adds great depth and balance to the Cardinals' rotation. He also adds postseason experience. The Cards gave up quite a bit to get him, but it was worth it for his ability on the field and the fact that his acquisition removed the one major stigma that hurt the Cards last year -- the lack of a No. 1 starter.
>> "Depth and balance" are not things you look for in a number one starter. You look for near-guaranteed wins. You look for awesomeness. This year, you'd take Kevin Millwood before Mark Mulder. There's nothing at all "No. 1" about what Mulder has done this year. The ERA looks pretty good, but 105/62 K/BB sure ain't great. I wouldn't want my game 1 NLDS starter to have a WHIP of 1.33 -- would you?
Of course, Mulder won't be starting game 1 of the NLDS, because he's not their #1 starter. Chris Carpenter is their #1 starter, and one of the best pitchers in the league. I'm not saying that the Cards should have had the foresight to know that Carpenter would somehow be borderline magical this year. But given that they now have their #1 starter, why would anyone claim that the trade for Mulder was the move that eliminated that "one major stigma" from last year?
Over in the AL, Danny Haren, who was one of three
players (Calero, Barton) the Cards gave up for Mulder, is putting up these numbers this year for Oakland, albeit in a pitcher-friendly park: 3.86 ERA; 1.25 WHIP; 153/52 K/BB. (Danny Haren, by the way, also has "postseason experience" -- he didn't give up a run against the Sox in 4 2/3 WS innings.)
They gave up too much for him. He hasn't been that great. They overpaid to get a "#1" starter and -- if only in hindsight -- that was unnecessary because Carpenter is better this year than Mulder's ever been.
End of story.