Greetings, chatters. We made it another week. And it's a good one. One of my favorite times of the year. Covered Arch Madness this weekend. SEC tournament is coming in hot. And on Sunday, I head to Jupiter for the final two weeks of spring training. I have not been to Florida yet, so my observations are limited to what I read and hear from afar, but I should have some on-ground opinions by next week's chat. Thanks for stopping by. Fire away.
I wouldn't pull the C because of the instance you mentioned. But hey, optics do matter. And there have been some missed opportunities for Petro this year to take the team by the sweater and pull it in the right direction. Has he done that? Backes was beloved. He was quick to hold himself and his teammates accountable. But did it lead to the Cup? I think we overthink this sometimes, but this team does seem to miss a Backes type. I'll say this: this team's downward trend has taken some shine off many, including the captain.
They wouldn't trade him. Shouldn't trade him. He's kind of important, remember? Starting center fielder and front of the lineup hitter. Personally, the edge Pham showed about his contract situation with the Cardinals was the least surprising development of spring. Pham hunts edges. He just found one. He's also a professional who knows he's playing for his pay day. Pouting and demanding a trade will not move him toward that end. Doing what he did last year will. Arbitration will treat him well with another season like he had under his belt. Motivated, ticked Pham is good Pham. And let's not act like the Cardinals told Pham he stinks. They moved Fowler out of center field to make him a starter.
I don't watch the show, but like the rest of America I was driven to the episode last night. #ThanksTwitter. I'm shocked the guy who signed up to date a bunch of women on national TV turned out to be a bad dude. Literally shocked. Stunned. I started feeling bad for the young lady. Then I remembered. She signed up for this! Then I remembered: I'm the loser watching this!
Much different scenarios in play. DeJong is 24 and was looking for security now, even if it meant sacrificing some pay down the line. Pham is 29 and is looking for a payday that makes up for lost time, and rewards his stellar year last season. One is much more appealing to the Cardinals. That's the one they finalized and announced.
Seems close, yes. But I can't be the only thinking it's not safe to assume Carpenter is ready for the opening day lineup. Still no games for him this spring. Mozeliak has called Carpenter's situation the "one disappointment of camp" and he's generally upbeat about all things spring. He also said he hopes Carpenter is getting to the point where he wants to push, which was an interesting comment as well.
Some college hoops news: AP SEC player of the year goes to Georgia's Yante Maten; Coach of the year goes to Tennessee's Rick Barnes; Alabama's Collin Sexton wins newcomer of the year ... Cuonzo Martin had some tough competition in Barnes. Vols were picked to finish 13th. I'm just glad noted cheater Bruce Pearl did not win.
That's one way to look at it, I suppose. Another way to look at it is that DeJong has security right now. He didn't have to wait. He didn't have to go do it again. Both he and the Cardinals hope he performs to the point that this deal looks like a steal. No pro player worth his salt doesn't think he can continue to perform at a high level. I don't think he will "slack off". I do understand the desire to have security now, especially when others in the clubhouse -- Wong and Piscotty, for example -- wanted the same. There's a trend that's been established by young Cardinals players. That factors in. It's my understanding that DeJong wanted this. Sought it. He's a mature, think-ahead player. This might not be the richest bet, but it's the safest one.
I'd just bring back Lance Lynn.
The Cardinals ranked way too high in # of runners thrown out while attempting to take an extra base last season. I think that number shrinks considerably now that Oquendo has returned to the controls. I'm not going to sit here and promise more stolen bases, but I think it's realistic to expect smarter, more opportunistic baserunning. Aggressive has too often be used as a cover-up for dumb. I think dumb baserunning is out the window with Oquendo back. And his impact should be noticed when it comes to infield defense as well. He's a steadying hand there. Always has been.
If you are going to alter the approach to alter the reputation, do it in a way that adds a player you don't already have under control. Go sign another starter. Fire a shot at the Cubs. Spend big because you can, not because it makes 100 percent sense. Don't do it buy giving money to a player you don't have to give money to.
There's still time for that, sure. But every day he doesn't play makes it seem less likely.
Can't he be both? Thankful for the opportunity and in pursuit of financial success?
Not with the Cardinals. Question is, how many of them wind up in the Cardinals' division?
Good one! I'll take the latter, but I doubt they can pull off a tournament championship without MPJ. The depth is starting to become a concern. Tournaments often hinge on guard play, and that's a weak spot. I've officially given up on predicting anything Porter-related. That's been my stance for a while now, and it's been helpful, because countless people have made themselves look silly by predicting his return, then falling all over themselves to explain why it didn't happen. It's turned into a circus. Too much speculation. Not enough reporting. Here's what I know: The ball is in Michael's court. If he wants to play, the Tigers are going to put him out there. He can say it's a decision made along with the staff, and whatever else he wants. But there was a reason that statement about him not playing against Arkansas came from his own voice. We know by now that Michael very much likes attention. We don't know how much he likes playing college basketball, and opportunities to do that are running out.
I agree. Sounds like Armstrong agrees as well, based off his moves and comments. I'm not sure some of the youngsters are as ready as fans hope. There's also a legitimate question of, should they be introduced to this team? This team should spend the rest of the season trying to figure out who it wants back next year, and who it wants to disperse. Anything that helps that end would be wise.
Seems to be the move, yeah. Could mix in some Voit as well. Unless it's a big enough issue that the team looks to add from outside.