(Hold on. Give me two minutes. Have to log back in and get the questions back. My bad.)
This seems to be the prevailing question facing Shildt at the moment. Ozuna has hit for power, sure, and that's his job, so I'm not sure if he belongs in this group. Kolten Wong got off to a rip-roaring start with a good OBP, and then has scuffled since -- his downturn definitely related to the quality of pitching the Cardinals saw for a stretch. His defense has been strong, and that keeps him in the lineup, and his speed doesn't slump, when it gets on base. He's not vaulting to leadoff, so he remains a good fit in that seventh, eighth spot, for sure. Carpenter at leadoff is the question facing Shildt. I asked the manager about this yesterday at the ballpark, and he underscored a commitment to Carpenter in that spot. He's moved him once already this season. Once. And it's not uncommon for a manager to get a hitter going by giving him a different vantage point in the lineup. Hey, maybe batting behind Goldschmidt changing things, maybe in front of Fowler changes things. Who knows. But that's the handy way to give a different look for the player and a different look to a team that is scuffling, and no one is saying it has to be permanent. The Cardinals have had internal discussions about this move, and it would seem like this road trip -- if the offense continues to wheeze -- would offer a chance to try a different look. Heck, they'll have a DH at week's end.
None that has momentum. But there will always be talk about it -- in here, around the Cardinals, and eventually as the trade market starts to get moving talk with other teams. But not just a lefthanded starter. A starter. A starter who could improve the rotation.
Trade them in July. Or, realize that they've had the same thing with pitching -- and how has that worked out? Prospects are just that -- prospects. Not guarantees. There is no such thing as having too much talent. The Cardinals have three or four really strong third base prospects. By the time they're ready for the majors they either all won't be at third base or the Cardinals will eagerly toast their luck and find a way to make it work. Having talent and depth are good things.
Not ahead of those who are producing. I get where you're coming from, I do. But this is a lot like saying a winning team has good chemistry. No kidding. Winning does that. The Cardinals went on a good run last year because the young players were producing -- not because they were young. Austin Gomber and Jack Flaherty brought an energy to the ballpark because of their results, not because of their age. And, yes, maybe because they were new -- and in baseball new is always exciting because new hasn't failed yet. It inevitably will. The game is hard. Just a few weeks ago, there were questions in here about Jose Martinez playing more because he brings a lot of joy and excitement and enthusiasm and fun to the ballpark. He also brings hits. He thumps. Production is the baseline, and then we -- fans, writers, etc, -- hang little ornaments on that tree of production to dress it up: youthful vigor, veteran savvy, lifelong minor-leaguer on Christmas morning, etc., etc. -- and there's nothing wrong with that, but we cannot ignore the fact that those shiny narratives (hate using the word that way) all hang on the limbs of production. And production has those players where they are right now.
Doesn't appear to be. But we're going to see more of Bader in the coming week, for sure. He'll have a chance to win back some at-bats, and the Cardinals will have the extra hitter in Texas so that Jose Martinez can be the everyday DH. Bader can roam center. And the Cardinals could probably put out their best of blend of glove/bat available. That said, there's a sliding scale to the "hit and field" equation you have. That's always the case. Would you replace Wong with Munoz? Munoz can clearly hit. But Wong is an elite fielder and that slides the scale his way as a starter because his bat isn't as far behind Munoz's as Munoz's glove is behind Wong's. You can go around the diamond and make calls like that. You can go around the division and see positions where the better glove is playing while a better bat sits because the team has done the calculus on where the biggest gap is and sided on who should start.
As long as he gets outs. That was the answer I got yesterday. Twice.
First, this weekend for the Cardinals when they visit Texas. Second, for the NL in the near future, yes. As baseball and the union negotiate the next CBA. Both sides are open to it and momentum is clearly there for the NL to accept the DH and we'll see some changes as a result.
That has been discussed and could happen soon with the return of Tyler O'Neill. He is eligible to come back in the middle of the week, and the Cardinals are thinking about reducing the bullpen by one, adding to the bench, and then looking at what can be done to the bullpen as Carlos Martinez readies for his return.
We have officially entered the area of the chat where we start discussing people losing their jobs. Candidly, it took longer than I expected. Any pitcher who has options and does not have a role or is not producing could be sent down in the next wave of moves. Yes, that includes Gallegos (who has done well), Webb (who had a curious day Sunday, for sure), and even Leone, who has options remaining and can be sent down to find his feel again. Brebbia has options too, but he has a clear role, as we've seen a lot this past week, including Sunday.
Just outlined moments ago. More than half of the current bullpen has options.
That is true for 29 other teams, too. I get it. It's maddening. The fact that the structure of rosters and contracts make that an outcome for 30 teams is frustrating for the game, but it does have a benefit. Players have guaranteed contracts. That's a union win. And given how little players make in their early years, when maybe they're at their best, then I do see the benefit of protection later. It's not ideal. And we're coming up on a CBA discussion where at least some of this should be addressed and corrected so that teams do get closer to their best 26-man roster -- and young players are compensated closer to their production than they are currently.
Understood.Thank you very much for clarifying that.
Well said. All true. The rotation is the concern here. (And lack of run support recently.)
Entirely reasonable suggestion.
One of them did, for sure. I'll go that far. Pirates looked like a young team still figuring things out. The Cardinals looked like a team that couldn't figure things out. That's not who they are.
That would take the union accepting players off the 40-man roster into their fold, and there has not been any movement in the direction. The talk of unionizing the minors has come and gone, peaks and valleys, but I haven't heard anything recently about it.
Probably not. They've had a solid upturn of playing time here recently.