Apparently Tribe management used their training staff (only seven missed starts over the past two seasons) as leverage for Mulder's recent shoulder woes. Kevin Millwood, Bob Howry, Bob Wickman and Scott Sauerbeck all made successful recoveries from injuries with Cleveland — and Millwood and Howry went on to land huge free-agent contracts with other clubs.
This could be a major factor as Mulder, 29, is likely to prefer a short term contract with a club, laden with incentives, so that he can have the option enter the free-agent market in 2008 or 2009, with the opportunity to sign a major deal.
There had been some expectations that the lefthanded pitcher, would make a decision where he was going to play next season before his wedding this weekend in Arizona.
Back home in St. Louis, the Post Dispatch's Derrick Goold, reported today that, Clifton said he and Mulder have decided that a two-year deal is most attractive to the lefty, who is coming off shoulder surgery and will not be available to pitch for the first several months of the coming season. According to a report in the Arizona Republic, the Diamondbacks offered a five-year deal and will not have to tweak it to meet Mulder's preference.
The Cardinals initially offered Mark a one-year-plus-option type deal and is likely to refine it and submit another proposal early next week to Mulder's agent for consideration.
Cardinals General Manager, Walt Jocketty remains optimistic that the Cardinals may still sign Mulder, "I think they are still going through their process of talking to clubs and getting offers from those clubs," Jocketty said. "I think they want to do that before they make their final decision. We're still very hopeful. I think it's probably a combination of opportunity and dollars."
Earlier in the week I spoke with Walt after a press conference in St. Louis and he thought of the three Cardinal free-agents, Mark Mulder, Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver, that he felt the club was closest to signing Mulder.
For now Cardinal fans will have to wait and see, because Mark is getting married today and you can only make so many big decisions at one time.
Our best wishes to Mark and Lindsey.