I have not heard of him specifically, no. With the chats they've had with the Marlins it's possible to imagine they've discussed an assortment of players. They talked about the shortstop. They circled back to talk about the outfielders of interest, Yelich and Ozuna, and inevitably likely heard about what the Marlins would consider doing with Stanton, but I have not confirmed Ramos as a target of interest.
Mostly it has to do with others not hitting. And Matheny suggested that Molina looks comfortable there and that apparently is good enough for a Supreme Court appointment to the fifth spot in the lineup. I believe I've offered my rule of thumb here before: Molina, as good a contact hitter and reliable hitter as he is, the lower he bats in the lineup, the better that lineup is. Taking the fifth says a lot.
At the same time the Cardinals had a first-round pick who is a superior defensive player at second base who bounced through the minors with some offensive upside -- oh, and contracts expired. Albert Pujols left. Carlos Beltran came and went. A core player was not retained or added. I don't see Carpenter "blocking" those acquisitions, I see the Cardinals not making those acquisitions, not closing those deals. Carpenter could have moved around. Carpenter has shown he could have moved around. If the Cardinals had a chance to get an upgrade it wasn't Carpenter being riveted to that position that kept them from making it. Those are my comments.
I'm starting to think the chatters have their new Jon Jay. Goodness.
Tone is tough to tell in the chat, and I try to keep it moving. I try to pay particular attention to the well-thought-ought comments -- like yours -- and try to veer away from the ones that just hurl cliches at me. How hot is Mike Matheny's seat? Well, I know whatever my answer is to that question it will inevitably not be hot enough to satisfy the person who asked it. I go for honest as a tone, and sometimes wry. Sometimes sarcastic. There are times I know when it come across as preachy or condescending and maybe sometimes, after a few hours, that's not by accident. What I hope to create here in the chat is a conversation, and to do that we can get conversational.
And, yes, conversations have short responses to short questions. Then a laugh. Then we move on.
Both of these can be true. The story about Oquendo and the early fielding practice has been told in bits and pieces -- and some events that didn't happen on the same day have come together to be repeated as one story. There was an fielding practice Oquendo wanted to have and players went to Matheny, and the practice later was cancelled. Oquendo argued for it to be a regular thing, and it became that after some discussions on how to have it fit. He felt there were fundamentals coming apart, and Matheny stressed that the organization had really put an emphasis on fighting fatigue. This was a subject that had to be sorted out and was litigated later in coverage of spring training, too, as a schedule was hatched to try and do both things -- Oquendo's emphasis on work, early, and repetition, and the Cardinals concern that so much time in the cage, so much times in the field, so much time on a plane, etc. had to be modified to fight fatigue.
Oquendo is a pro's pro, and that's by players trust him.
That can coexist with the fact that Oquendo has long wanted to be a teacher in Florida. For the last several years, even stretching back to when he was working with Tony La Russa Oquendo would talk to us about working for the team in Jupiter someday with the young players, as he did each spring. When he did not get the manager job, some of us thought that would be the time he moved. He didn't. He stayed on. And now he's made the move, and he's gotten healthier -- he's moving around on better knees, not always in pain -- and he's teaching. He enjoys the teaching.
You want paint-by-numbers, but the story isn't that simple. Both of these can be part of the larger story, and both be true.
Thanks. That's a kind thought. I never thought of the chat as literature. More like a content cloudburst.
Fair question. This is the question that should shepherd the team from this season into the offseason: OK, how fast can you change this thing and why wasn't it done yesterday.
This probably runs 50/50. But can't please everyone.
It's a great question. And it's something that Oquendo has worked with Marmol to help set up. So, here's what the Cardinals do: They have infield practice AND outfield practice at some point during home stands, and then there is almost daily individual work with infielders by Marmol. Marmol will go out and spend 12 minutes with Carpenter and then o the same with DeJong, and if Wong wants the work then Wong gets the work as well, and Wong is one of those that usually goes for the extra work. Gyorko does a lot of the team infield and during-BP work, and Marmol is there if he wants it.
There is little doubt that he's been missed. But, I must repeat this Florida thing did not come out of the blue.
They have been exploring, yes.
That, in my opinion, is not the biggest problem with this team. These games look a lot different if there is more offense to be had. Tied, leading by a run -- that's a team that is vulnerable to any sort of mishap in the bullpen and, yes, it exposes misplaced handling off the bullpen or misplaced pitches from the bullpen. Either way. Get another run a game, and the Cardinals look much difference, and there's no reason why this lineup with the career OBPs it could have had on top or a third hitter to bring some damage to the table could have gotten one more a game. Offense masks a lot of failings. Lack of offense only exposes them, aggravates them.
Have only heard this come up in the chat or on message boards.
Unless you're suggesting I own the piling. Is that what you meant?
There is. As Mozeliak recently told us there are Scenarios A to Scenarios Z because of the weird spot the Cardinals find themselves in as a sub-.500 team but still in the race. He said if they were 15 games out there would be Scenario A and Scenario B, and if they were 12 games up there would be Scenario A and Scenario B, but these days there are myriad.
Nope. Just is perception of the media, particularly the ones he deals with on a daily basis.
There's interest in both, though I've heard more teams thinking Grichuk might be a move-low trade and not much on Wong. I'm going to make an educated statement that the Cardinals are hearing the same thing -- from more teams eyeing Grichuk than eyeing Wong.
I don't see it that way, having covered the tick-tock of the moves. Mozeliak did not see an appealing value play when it came to the middle-order bats. Look back at the free agents available. So, what he said the team had to do was "get creative." Remember that. Remember those phrases? What he meant by that was stacking OBP, loading up the top of the order with leadoff hitters. If he could have three of the top five, six OBPs in the game atop his lineup then Stephen Piscotty would feast as the middle-order hitter the Cardinals imagine he'll become. That was the recipe. And so they went searching for the players who could pull that off, from Eaton to Fowler, and even the talks about Blackmon. That was the theory. It all comes apart when those three OBP guys are 1) struggling to OBP, 2) in the minors, and 3) back in the leadoff spot because of Nos 1 and 2.
I understood it. They wanted more offensive upside at the position. The team needed some kind of shove to wakeup from a stupor. Kelly offered both. A message and an opportunity for him, and a bat off the bench that the Cardinals didn't have with Fryer this season.