Class AAA Triple Crown. No pressure.
(Honestly. There are tons of things they could do to make that happen. They could influence the pursuit with strong years, they could help the Cardinals set a price they're willing to go to, they could be a big factor with just good seasons. But it won't be that good year from them solely. It will be the market.)
They did option Marco Gonzales. FYI. This will be his final option year.
Here are all of the cuts, per the Cardinals' release:
"The team today optioned left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales to the Memphis (AAA) roster and infielders Eliezer Alvarez and Edmundo Sosa to Palm Beach (A), reducing the team’s 40-man Major League roster to 37 players. The Cardinals re-assigned pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon and Robby Rowland and catchers Andrew Knizner, Jeremy Martinez and Dennis Ortega to their Minor League camp."
I'll be honest, I just don't put much stock in spring training "slow downs," not when we see the player bouncing around and doing his work and just not appearing in games. There is a serious fear factor here with the oblique. Remember it cost Carpenter a month -- and it completely halted what was a raging good year for him at that point. He was hyper aware of the precursors for that injury and is going to do everything he can to avoid it. Everything he can during spring training is a lot different than everything that he could during April, August, September so on. Let's see what happens when the games really start before applying some of the tags we're seeing here in the questions or the ones that I'm not funneling into the public view.
Grichuk is even if Pham is in the majors.
Could see them trying to get lefty depth or outfield depth.
Depends on the position. He's a 6, maybe slight better at 3B. Haven't seen much of him at 2B, probably a 5 there if we say that 5 is average. He's impressed when given the chance, so there's no reason that's the rank now and he's moving up.
There's one. And there were many others like this.
That conversation with the Cardinals about an extension is on the horizon. Stay tuned. Oh and his representatives and the Cardinals are going to have a talk about it at some point. Oh's contract was written to assure he'd have access to free agency. So any movement on an extension is really going to be driven by Oh wanting security beyond 2017 (partly) and wanting to stay with the Cardinals out of fondness or loyalty. We'll see. This is No. 2 in the fascinating extension talks ahead.
I want to see similarities in the process. I do. I look for them. I ask about them. I try to strain my neck to see over the differences to find them.
In Yadier Molina, the Cardinals saw what you see and what Mike Matheny himself knew. The kid was coming. The kid was a generational defensive player. He was going to start and start a lot and then eventually come around at the plate and be one of the game's bests. Matheny knew his role was mentor -- and then if he wanted to play to move on. The Cardinals didn't want to pay him a starter's salary to be a backup to Molina, so he knew that meant the open market. I guess that's where the faint similarities are. Molina has no reason to share a job with Carson Kelly, whether he mentors him or competes with him, not this coming year and if this year goes like last year then not the following year. This is a tension -- a deadly embrace, in computer terms -- that did not exist with Molina-Matheny. The Cardinals were clearly going to move to Molina behind the plate. There's nothing like that here. They can go to Kelly, but given their choice right now between the two they're going Molina over Kelly. It's whether Molina wants the certainty of being the starter as much as he wants -- and how the Cardinals are willing to secure that, salary-wise.
Aside: Was talking about this with a few co-workers last night, and they asked how I would look at Molina's extension. I tried my hand at it. Interested? I'd start by doing something that it's not clear either side would discuss, so again this isn't reporting, this is an educated look at how an extension could come together. I would start the extension immediately -- rewrite 2017 into a four-year deal with more than $55-62 million of new money. Then I would scale it down. This year and 2018 would be the highest of the group. Then the 2019 season would be at the AAV of the contract. And then you'd go with 2020 at reduced rate. The deal would match his age -- and quite possibly the time when he's not catching 130 games a season. It would mirror Peralta's deal somewhat, but it would also add the bonus of making more now while he's at his peak. Serves two roles: pays him what he's worth, good gesture, that kind of stuff, and also turns the deal into a de facto three-year extension though the overall value of the deal stands out.
Just thinking out loud here.
That's not wise. A 25-man roster is meant to be used. It's not symbolism. The Cardinals too often willingly play with a fewer than 25-man roster. I'm thinking back to the 22-man doozy they had in the 2013 World Series. No, the 25-man is for use, not for rewards.
This is the most honest take, and it's appreciated Frank. Figures it comes from Frank.
Not entirely. There were two issues for Wacha. One he could prove during spring training and the other, like you said, is something he has to prove later. He has addressed the first issue so far: fastball command. That was really on display today as he got strikeouts with his fastball, his change, his curve, and his cut. All of that comes from fastball command. He was physically unable to keep that together last season, and as a result his best pitch, the changeup, went astray. Next he's got to prove durability and that, like Jake said, cannot possibly happen in March. Only time will reveal that. But you'll see the feel for his fastball go first. That will be an indicator of trouble just as it's now an indicator of success.
He addressed this somewhat in the video included in this here chat. Yes, he's going to have to alter his work during the season. That will mean less work between starts -- and different work. Core strength and flexibility are going to be the hallmarks of his work between starts. He'll throw less. Prepare to throw more.
Already did. Way ahead of you. For once.
He is pitching his way into the conversation, absolutely. You'll see him in the majors for sure. He also could be in the conversation if Rosenthal is not available.
Fryer is the backup in the majors. Kelly is the starter if he's needed in the majors.
Agreed. But that's on us, too. If it meant more to the fans, maybe it would mean more to the players, and so on. There's a symbiotic benefit that other countries get here and we're missing. They're right. We're wrong.