He's considered one of the finest catching prospects in the minors. A catcher who is defensively ready for the majors -- and that has value to teams without a catcher like that -- and there are scouts that also believe if given playing time behind the plate that his offense will manifest and improve a lot like the guys the Cardinals have behind the plate now who got a chance to improve on the job.
They spent some time with Bonds, yes. Fowler told me the plan was to go to dinner or to spend one of the evenings together. He said the purpose was not to talk about hitting, "but I bet baseball will come up." Ozuna, Fowler also spent time talking to Bonds on Thursday, the first day in San Francisco. Bonds was at the ballpark that day. There was no specific feedback from either player about the content of those conversations. Ozuna declined to discuss. Fowler said just general baseball stuff came up and -- this was before he went to meet Bonds -- he expected some tips on his swing, just because Bonds and he are close.
Maybe. Or, maybe they want to see what the coasts look like. If there is anything from the Stanton endeavor that the Cardinals should/could take to heart it's that they need to sell players on the future -- not try to sell the past. Let them enjoy the past. Let them get to know Gibson and Edmonds and Carpenter and full ballparks and all that -- but sell them on the future. That's what Stanton wanted to hear about and said he didn't believe in as much as the Cardinals do.
I think this idea is intriguing, yes.
That doesn't seem to be the Cardinals' first choice, no. If anything he's being positioned to take on Greg Garcia's role in the same way that Greg Garcia took on Daniel Descalso's role when Descalso started reaching the later years of arbitration, and how Descaslo took on -- what was it Aaron Miles' role? We see this cycle every so often and Munoz is positioned that same way. Just righthanded.
This would be their argument, minus Harper being the only option to supplement.
That's really for the fan base to ultimately decide. To think this is happening only St. Louis is to miss a larger trend throughout baseball. Access is changing. The platform players have is changing. Some take to social media to speak directly to fans. Now teams are doing the same. Some teams are creating their own media entities -- on Twitter, in print, on TV, with podcasts, and so on and so on. I saw one team today post its lineup on Twitter -- sponsored by Honda! So, now information like that is the possession of a sponsor. Who is going to get it first in that regard if we're now counting lineups as something that reporters should convey to fans? Things are changing. The Cardinals are the only team to have the media offsite during spring training. The media work room there is now occupied by the in-house coverage group. This is the new world. And it's been my goal to try to adjust with it -- and look at new ways to better cover a team and a sport under these rules. It's not any different than what political writers are going through. It's just this is a game.
He's throwing. Saw video of him throwing off a mound. He's expected to sign with another team when he makes himself available.
Different personalities mesh differently. That's one of the things that Cardinals wanted to capitalize on this past winter. Girsch has strong relationships with some of the new GMs entering the conversation. Many of them have the same background -- how they got into the game, their education, and their age. Girsch also connects with some of the agents because of relationships he's nurtured through the years. Same with Mozeliak. In fact, there's a little bit of history repeating itself here in the sense that Jocketty had well-established relationships with people he had known around the game for 20 years and Mozeliak, as asst. GM, had relationships with others so that they could work together to get deals done. Mozeliak, for example, had a good rapport with Boras and would make those calls, and likewise now you see how Girsch has good rapport with some of the teams that the Cardinals want to talk with. A lot of front offices operate this way.
It's a fair question. It was reported on -- in the sense that it was asked about. It had been asked about. Now, the answers were either not newsworthy or not complete. I respect the reporter who was able to pin it down and push the story -- as we saw. If you scroll back in the chat earlier you'll see the detailed rundown of what I was able to report, and even some earlier conversations that maybe give you a sense of how and why it wasn't viewed as newsworthy at the time.
Sure. That makes a lot of sense.
I don't see Girardi as the polar opposite of Matheny. He's an appealing manager, for sure, and industry folks think Girardi runs a good bullpen. But, keep in mind, one of the people Matheny went to for advice on what to do as a manager, how to relate to fans, how to talk to the media, and how to reach out to players and all of that was Girardi. They're friends. He sought advice from Girardi through the years as he looked to shorten the learning curve.
Let's find out. He played a lot last year and got his OBP to a career best. He could play this year a lot in the second half and win a Gold Glove. He could start next year and get all the playing time at second and be an All-Star. Let's slow the roll before you take it to the extreme -- but given a good run, Wong has the ability to momentum-play his way into a career with some nice adornments.
They are very different personalities. I was not on the beat when Tino Martinez played for the Cardinals, but I read and heard enough stories -- and then saw him as a hitting coach with Miami -- to now how different they are. He couldn't stop being a Yankee, that's for sure. I think in some ways fans cannot stop seeing Fowler as a Cub. There's a difference. I also want to take a moment and think back to when the Cardinals signed Fowler. There was no indication that his skills were in decline. He had a strong OBP (a career high, sure) and a strong track record of being an OBP monster. That skill, his most marketable one, did not seem in decline at all.
Alright, we've been going for awhile here, and I appreciate the patience as I wrestled a bit with wi-fi before ultimately relocating and getting a chance and see England lose. Next week, the chat will becoming to you live from the All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. Please check local listings for the time. In the coming week we'll have ample All-Star Game coverage, and then we'll break out the midseason stuff. Jeff Gordon is already out with his midseason grades. You can see those at StlToday.com Next week, we'll have more coverage beyond the chat. And then, immediately after the break, the Cardinals begin a four-day, five-game stay at Wrigley Field that will shape the mood and moves of the weeks that follow. No small thing. Buckle up.