This is one side of the argument. The other is because Molina just came off a career high year when it comes to durability and one of the second half performances of any position.
There is no "might" about it. It will be tricky.
I've covered it in multiple stories. I've been told the story has been passed around baseball and stirred discussion. I know of a national publication that is working on a story about it too, but with the Internet all publications are national. The story I did wasn't a secret.
Because he's the face of the franchise, one of the best catchers of his generation.
A few years ago, maybe. Hasn't really been a player they pursued a bunch.
Yes. This is a viable strategy. Just as effective would be the try to splash on the best available, signing-issue guy on that first pick and take your chances with him getting a bulk of the signing bonus, then downshifting to your suggestions. Just as viable is taking the lost cash and pouring it into the international market, or cross the fingers and hope one of the appealing Cuban players becomes available during this singing period so a play can made for him.
You're lefthanded. Of course.
He has competition coming from a handful of NRI players. At least three.
I would like to see him myself before answering this question, and that also includes the chance to talk to him and talk to others who see him pitch here in the coming weeks.
He is earmarked to be the starting shortstop at Memphis. His spring will reveal a lot about whether he gets the call this season. A strong spring, followed by a sturdy start, and he'll reach the majors. He's certainly on pace for a September callup.
Strong spring. Good versatility. An injury above him.
Alright. Sorry for the break. Let's speed to a finish.
Interesting question. I'm of a mind that the more amateur players acquired the better the odds of getting an impact player. Cast a wide net, increase your odds. To me, that means this pinch will be felt and there is no making up for it, just redeploying the money that cannot be spent in the draft into an area where it can be -- international waters. As much as they'll miss the picks, I bet they miss the flexibility of the bonus slot money as much, if not more.
Absolutely. There are many good ones, and they range from Bill James Handbook to get a sense of the new metrics out there and how to use them to Nine Innings, which was a great dive into all the different aspects of the game through the course of a game. That's by Daniel Okrent. I enjoyed Pure Baseball by Keith Hernandez and A Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball as similar books that explore the strategy and gamesmanship of baseball in really accessible ways. Moneyball gets a lot of attention because it was new at the time -- but also because it's so dang well-written. Seriously. Michael Lewis makes us all look awful. And that brings me to something I did before heading off to cover baseball: Grab a stack of Roger Angell books and collected works and just soak them in. Baseball writing doesn't get better than that, and you'll have a good feel for history as it enriches everything he writes.
Good. Healthy. Building arm strength. Flashed a breaking ball that was better than we've seen at previous times in February.
Depends on how deep into the tourney Team USA goes. Could be several weeks.
He has. In his statement he has often said that the club and his baseball operations will "wear this for a long time." He has said numerous times that the whole group has to work to come back from it.
They are. It appears that other issues -- the international draft, for example -- dominated discussion. The schedule and the split 15/15 of the leagues still has all the trappings of leading toward the universal DH. It just got pushed back a few years by the new CBA. It's a carrot that wasn't caught.
In some well-versed, amazing and delicious corners.
The Cardinals feel they have that guy in Bowman, or other options.
From what I've read so far and talked to players about in the past ... No pitchers. Pitch counts will climb because foul balls will increase. This will have an unintended consequence of possibly lengthening games as a result of longer at-bats, earlier pitching changes.
I agree. I continue to try and find better ways to do this. Spring training always affords the chance to experiment and adjust the chat, improve upon it for the year, see what new toys I have at my disposal. Expect some of that in the coming weeks. Maybe more video answers? Who knows? We'll toy around with a few options.
Interesting question. As of now, that assumption -- Molina in a lesser role, sharing time with Carson Kelly -- is not one that Molina would be keen to sign into. He'd probably look elsewhere, or at least want to hit free agency through the mutual option and see what else is out there for him. The twist you put on it is whether that would help his Hall of Fame candidacy. Tough call. His Hall of Fame campaign is going to be built around his Gold Glove awards, the Cardinals' championships, some counting numbers, and the comments about him made by all-time greats and Hall of Famers like Pudge Rodriguez and Johnny Bench. The Gold Glove needs playing time (usually) to win, but championships can come in any role, and a Cardinals' championship even in a split-shift role is going to burnish that resume. I think either way it won't have a profound impact on Molina's candidacy, and if anything continuing on with the Cardinals will heighten it slightly because he'll stand out as one of those rare one-team players that have become endangered.
The way you describe it is the goal. That's the idea. Now, a pitcher like Mike Leake consciously altered his approach because of the defense behind him. The Cardinals, as a staff, tried to go more toward a K route because the groundballs weren't getting turned into outs. Leake had a career-high K rate. That's not a coincidence. That's an adjustment. With three of the game's best groundball pitchers in the rotation again this year the Cardinals would like to have the defense to do exactly what you describe and not have to try and get a guy fishing just so the ball doesn't slip through.
1) If he's on a minor-league contract, options don't come into play. A player must be on the 40-man roster for the options to play a part in the decision. The NRI player won't go on the 40-man until its certain that he's going to go on the 25-man active roster. Otherwise, he'd just stay on the minor-league deal and dutifully report to the team he's been assigned. Many veteran players have opt-outs in their contracts so that they can, on a certain day, leave their minor-league contract and become a free agent.
2) A team can talk to the player about his preferences and try to lobby him on the opportunity that awaits him around the corner.
The Cardinals are trying to determine this, as is Wacha. It's part of the discussion that will take place. At this point, Wacha is headed to spring training as a starter. The Cardinals do not know if that's a 20-start pitcher, a 150-inning pitcher, or if he can be the 30-start, 200-inning guy needed from a top-line starter. Wacha doesn't yet know either. His role is going to be fluid, responding to his readiness and his performance, and he could very easily leave spring training as a starter and end the season as a swing reliever.
Seems like a good spot to end. Tried to warn you that I would have to step out a little early today as a result of getting ready for travel tomorrow and some news to write about today. A good warmup today. Good questions to sort of getting my back in the swing of things for next week -- when the deluge arrives. We'll have a chat from Jupiter next week, on the eve of the Cardinals' workout. Should be a lot to talk about. There will be a lot of coverage leading into that day. Already there's a new Best Podcast in Baseball posted at StlToday.com, and over the coming days Rick Hummel and myself will be providing stories and updates and blogs and all sorts of stuff from Roger Dean Stadium and the Cardinals complex. In Sunday's paper, will be the annual look at the questions the Cardinals must answer this spring. A year ago, they left with more questions than when they arrived ... That is something they would like to avoid.
I expect to face questions through spring. Those tend to be the most lively chats. Let's see that trend continue. Until next week, aloha.