Except for one issue: Winning percentage. Can't divide by zero.
Not necessarily. I know this is a vogue thing these days. But allow me to offer something to consider: This afternoon, after the coaches meetings had taken a break for a little bit, Jose Oquendo took to Field 1 here at Roger Dean Stadium with a bat and set to work on infield. He went out there with a handful of coaches, and eventually there was Mozeliak, Matheny, Maddux, Oquendo, Shildt, and others all out there -- and one player. Matt Carpenter. Carpenter has been spending this kind of time with Oquendo and Marmol for the past few weeks, and his purpose is to get more agile around the diamond. He is trying to work on things that make him a better fielder at all positions. And we watched him do these drills the other day that were like basketball drills. Cones and jab steps and chest passes and all kinds of things meant to hasten his first step and improve his lateral reaction. If you think it's possible for a fielder to improve -- by positioning, by agility -- and you think that work helps a fielder do that, then this is the example.
Interesting way to go about it. It's not weight to show the gap between, say, Trout No. 1 and Pham No. 2 in center field, though I'm not sure how much of a difference that would make. I do think that it speaks that what we're talking about in this chat a few times. There are 10 shortstops from 10 different teams and each team really only needs the one to be a starter. There are 10 starters from several teams, but to be a contender a team needs five, and thus I really would like to know who are the top 50 starters and of that group who is the best of the No. 3 starters, who is the most consistent of the No. 4 starters -- because you show me that team and I'll show you a division contender. The Cardinals have a lineup that should be robust and certain and impressive. The rankings underscore that.
Or a reliever. Go with reliever. But of those two Donaldson because his contract expires.
That would be something. The front office would be thrilled. The chats would likely be dull.
A relative of Gene Tenace runs the place. Kid you not.
It is not. Teams are flush with cash. The Cardinals included.
That is pretty standard around baseball for the front office to measure the team as it goes. One month in. Two months in. Forty games in. It's the quarter point of the season that people talk about, and Flag Day is another one that the team talks about. So all of those are true. There is a rolling evaluation, and when a trend is identified -- 40 games in, 100 at-bats in, 40 innings in, Flag Day -- then an adjustment. Or, better put, a correction.
(And also 373 career losses, Rick Hummel reminds me.)
He is not yet arb eligible. This is his final year where the Cardinals can just renew his contract at something just above the minimum. Next offseason he will be arb eligible, and he will have three seasons of cycling through arbitration: after 2018, after 2019, and after 2020. He will then be a free agent.
Huge year for him, yes. If he can repeat last years he establishes himself as a rotation fixture. If he can improve on last year's then he positions himself for a payday through arbitration and a good run into the free-agent market as a desired starter with postseason pedigree, health, and all of the bells and whistles of solid contract. Yep, big year. And, no, I don't get the sense there is motivation at this point on either side for negotiations. The Cardinals have that one more year of control and that's a conversation that can come a year from now when they both have another year to draw on.
Sure hope so. Competition brings out the best in all things. And the competition when covering politics and the White House between those two newspapers has certainly been good for them and good for journalism in general. We might be seeing some of that in the sports world too as a media outlet makes a play for the best and brightest covering baseball and challenges newspapers to keep their content strong and compete for the best baseball writers that bring that coverage. It has the potential to be an exciting time -- especially for readers.
Sometimes. I enjoy the interaction. I can't unsee some of the questions.
They are going to prep him as a reliever this season and unleash that slider in leverage spots.
Mayonnaise. Just never been a fan. Cottage Cheese, too.
It will be discussed during the next round of CBA negotiations, driven by the union.
Rick Hummel. I get to sit next to him every day. He, Vahe Gregorian, Bernie Miklasz, Joe Walljasper, Bernie Lincicome, Tom Timmermann, and the late Joe Strauss have been the writers I've had a chance to work closely with, and each has helped me in some way and taught me how to do a better job, whether they intended to or not. I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Not sure if that was the question you're asking, but those are the people who have informed me, helped me, steered me, and inspired me as writers, first hand. The writers who have inspired and informed me without their knowledge, just because of their work are numerous.