Pitching, pitching, pitching, but Walt: from within..
It's an unreal and very unfortunate circumstance that the Cardinals wasted a magnificent play that will now always be viewed in a lesser light.
But the fact of the matter is, talent plays up to its level. And we didn't have the talent -- toeing the rubber or at the plate -- to keep up with the Astros' starting three.
Such a painful conclusion at least eludicates why even mediocre starting pitchers like Matt Morris will be driving a Wells Fargo truck this offseason -- teams are so desperate for those shutdown players that number in the very, very few that they'll toss piles of money at even the imposters. The Red Sox are the perfect example of why this is the case: in their 2004 offseason arithmetic, they concluded that their bats could make up for a lesser pitching staff; Ramirez, Big Papi, how could that be wrong? Yet, the great Dominicans were swept away in three games.
Theo Epstein was proven wrong on this count and it's certainly likely that you could see Manny traded for pitching talent this offseason. So the cycle will continue and even more money will be wasted on the average pitchers who won't accomplish a thing in the postseason.
From the Cardinals perspective, the most damning part about the Mulder trade, other than his inept performance in NLCS Game 6, will never be Barton; certainly, we could find any number of good hitters to hit .188 in a postseason series like the other guys currently taking up spaces 4-6 in the postseason lineup. It'll always be Haren, a guy who, for the most part, showed himself to be an admirable performer in the Fall Classic.
Even if he doesn't turn out to be the total stud that some are predicting, such individuals are the most precious commodity in baseball and should not be traded under almost any circumstances. The main focus for Major League teams, thus, will never be hitters; the vast amount of resources should remain on developing postseason-capable pitchers.