Just got settled in here -- I'm in the press box in Glendale AZ, where numerous STL Cards prospects are in the Arizona Fall League
Well, I've been pretty open about how I'm not really expecting much from Jhonny Peralta this season, though John Mozeliak has said he is "bullish" on Jhonny. I would very much like to see more production out of the third base position. But I don't think there are teams that that are yearning to pay the salary for 35-year-old Jhonny Peralta. Could the Cards keep him on the bench and upgrade at third? Any discussion is possible, but is it feasible? As for Justin Turner, he is 32 and he was extended a qualifying offer (draft picks are valuable to the St. Louis Cardinals). I don't know how realistic this particular possibility is. Maybe 25 percent?
Fowler is fascinating for many reasons -- he gets on base, he's proven to be a team leader, he's got some wheels (though he is entering the dreaded 30s). As I sit here, there's Harrison Bader out there in the Glendale outfield. He's young and coming off his first full season in pro ball, but maybe he's the answer in the outfield IN 2019. Not next year. So are the Cards going to be able to sign Fowler but not have him gobble up mid-30s money and keep a prospect such as Bader or Mags Sierra from ascending?
I miss being an NFL town. There's clout to it. I feel that St. Louis is a tad emasculated by the Rams departure. But I don't miss the Rams themselves. I don't miss Jeff Fisher bungling things (it's funny to think, for a moment, his coaching career trajectory if he didn't win the Music City Miracle game). I don't miss bad quarterback play. I don't miss the deflating atmosphere in the Dome, because that was one of the worst in-game experiences I'd ever witnessed. I wish STL would get another shot at being a modern NFL team. I just worry we'll never get it.
Squatty hahha, what an amusing description. I stood next to Harrison Bader during an interview the other day here, and I would say that he's probably 5-11 to 6-foot, though due to the fact that I'm like 2-foot-7, I don't have the best gauges on heights. And he seems pretty ripped in the arms and such, BenFred-esque. Bader is definitely a talented player who can hit to both fields, but probably not a 25 home-run guy in the majors. He's also extremely confident. I like this quote he gave me here in AZ: “I think confidence is just something that you have to have. You have to know yourself as a player, you've got to know and understand your game – and you can't be anybody you're not going to be. If you take me, for example, I'm somebody who's not a home run hitter – I might have the ability to hit one – so I'm just going to do my best to apply my level of confidence, and my understanding of myself, to my game."
It was pretty fancy indeed. The MLB General Manager Meetings were at the Omni -- specific name, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia -- though Derrick Goold and I didn't stay there, because it was like eleventy billion a night. All you need to know about this place -- the dinner menu at the resort included grilled Spanish octopus, medjool dates and an assortment of cured meats.
I forsee the Cardinals trading Matt Adams. He's still young enough, and with that lefty bat, that a team could say: let's give him a chance to play everyday and see if he can hit us 25 homers. The Rockies, for instance, could use him at first. We've often pointed to Charlie Blackmon as a possible fit for St. Louis' outfield, and indeed he had a stellar season, but I don't get the sense that the Cards think Blackmon could be the answer -- moreover, would the Rockies even trade him? They had an improvement of a season in 2016 and could be on the cusp of wild-card talk in the next couple years.
I look at it like this. Mizzou may very well lose on Saturday. But if you go into the day acknowledging that the loss will happen, then ask yourself: Can I still have a more fun day in Columbia than in (insert your Missouri town here)? I say yes. It's supposed to be 55 and sunny on Saturday in Boone County, with just a 10-percent chance of precipitation. You could have a relaxing, comfy tailgate experience, catch the first half of football, and then go have the chokes-and-cheese burger at Flatbranch or the splendid burgers at Booche's. And perhaps a Tropical Liquor drink too? It's no Bed, Bath and Beyond, but that's a nice little Saturday.
Eaton, maybe, yes. Derrick Goold's reporting has shown that Eaton is a realistic fit for the Cards, even if he plays left and Randal Grichuk remains in center. Eaton is a prickly personality, I've heard, but a passionate ballplayer. In the past three seasons, all with the White Sox, Eaton has slashed .290/.362/.422. Pret-tay, pret-tay good.
Well, Austin Gomber entered today's start with the most strikeouts of any starting pitcher in the Arizona Fall League. He's worked hard on his change-up, his AFL manager Aaron Roward told me, and Gomber has gobbled up a lot of innings here. He's either a Springfield or Memphis guy next season. Carson Kelly is here too, and he's the most-impressive Card, understandably so, since he even played for the Cards briefly last season. The "Yadi" heir hit a laser today at the game here, as literally dozens of fans cheered. What's so impressive about him is his aura. I last saw him in the Cards clubhouse in September, and he was a quiet rookie, soaking it all in. But in these minor-league settings, he's the Big Man On Campus -- players gravitate toward him, and I saw as much during my time hanging out in the Glendale clubhouse. The Q is, where will Kelly be next season. The answer should be Memphis, because he'll continue to get at-bats there -- and, also, innings behind the plate, which is just as important for him. And then, if Yadi's to get hurt, call up Carson to start for St. Louis -- and not go with Pena.
Bader the Gator was a fun ballplayer, it seems, and in pro ball, he brings similar zest. He'll run into a wall for you. Literally, he did that a couple times in Class-AA, according to a teammate's account here and some articles I looked up. Of course, and I mentioned this in the paper the other day, that style of play is similar to the old All-Star Aaron Roward, who is Bader's manager here in Glendale.
I actually am working on a piece about Delvin Perez for tomorrow's paper (and website), and yep, Jose and Delvin will indeed spend a lot of time together. That's definitely exciting.
I definitely like your passion, but I don't forsee a Jansen or Chapman wearing the Birds on the bat (or Melancon). Yes, the Cardinals will acquire some reliever to fill the Zach Duke role (as of now, the Cards No. 2 lefty in the pen is Ken Dayley). But I think the plan to shorten games is with the man formerly known as Closenthal. Trevor Rosenthal, as Gooldsy reported in your Post-Dispatch today, will come to camp as a starter, but the realistic fit is having him fill the Andrew Miller role we saw from the Indians reliever in October. I'm a little worried about Rosey bouncing back after injury -- will he be the same pitcher from 2015? Or with some of that 2016 sprinkled in there? -- but I like the creativity of the move. Another guy who looked so good last year was the kid, Matt Bowman. I'm excited about his potentially increased role in the pen.
I don't know about straight-up, but man, I can't see the White Sox trading Sale without getting Reyes in return.
Fair points, and that's the thing -- at least I have higher standards for the football team. I liked/like the Barry Odom hire, and fine with seeing it through, but this season has been a disaster. So many failures. I deemed it realistic for them to get 6 wins -- now I'm not sure they'll get 3 (3 total, not 3 more). Yes, as we look back, Gary Pinkel's final recruiting classes do not, talent-wise,live up the recruiting classes of a team that went to the SEC Championship Game (regardless of how diluted their side of the conference was). But the thing that has frustrated me the most with Mizzou is how the defense has deteriorated. If I'm Odom, I don't bring back Cross. As for basketball, I just don't know what to say, it's a debacle.
Or even the night before Game 7 of the World Series!
A fair question. It's possible they could skip a start here and there. Take this for what it's worth, but when I spoke to Mo here at the GM Meetings, he said there wouldn't be any innings restrictions on starters.
Are my blatantly, purposeful jokes STRIKING OUT with you? Like, a baseball batter getting three strikes before getting four balls or hitting the ball in play?
I'm with ya. I sense that's a realistic plan.
I read that it was Carp himself who wanted clarification, so the team gave it to him. But yes, if Mo and the fellas come across a can't-miss trade, one that would move Carp to a different position (maybe even left?) I'm sure they won't be afraid to call up Carp and say, "So about that first base stuff...."
Bahaha, I actually am flying out tonight. But I appreciate the offer. I've spent most of the trip at the Omni, working and doing interviews and such, though someone on Twitter did point out there's a SHAKE SHACK in Scottsdale, so I went and picked up that last night. SHAKE SHACK is the best meal on earth.
Well-played Mark S. OK everyone, I've gotta finish my column for tomorrow before our flight back. Thanks, as always, for hanging out here!