Anything happens since we last chatted? Cardinals came home. Adam Wainwright returned. Yadier Molina charged an opposing manager, who admits he misspoke. There was a walk-off loss, the coldest game ever at Busch II or Busch III played by a baseball team, and there was yesterday's late-game rupture. There's been very little offense. You probably have very many questions. And this evening the Cardinals are set to add the closer you've been clamoring for. Lots to talk about. Away we go.
If Hicks isn't in the bullpen, that is. Enjoy it while you can. Doubt they can keep that group together for a decade. The odds say there will be an injury or two because they're pitchers, and the salaries are going to eventually get to a point where someone (some-two?) leave for greener pastures.
I do not know the dollar figure. It was not robust. It was a two-year deal, and it was meant to give the team a break on his inevitable arbitration salary, but give him security in exchange. It was not a massive sum, all things considered, not when you look at what DeJong will eventually make, guaranteed, or what Wong makes now. That was Pham's issue. The offer was based on where he was with service time, not entirely based on the production he just gave the Cardinals. That's the system. He knows it.
Gilmartin is definitely in the discussion, yep. I saw him pitch, of course, and also had a chance to talk with him for a bit about that approach as a lefty specialist. He showed good stuff, especially when Maddux got him out there against lefties. What works against him at this point is he's not on the 40-man roster, and we've already seen the Cardinals do the 40-man two-step to get Holland onto the roster. That cost them two weeks of Alex Reyes -- the pitcher they often point to as a reason they didn't make the playoffs last year. The lefty that isn't in the majors, isn't on the DL, and is on the 40-man roster is Austin Gomber. The Cardinals are ready to lean on Leone and Norris in the coming days against lefthanded hitters to compensate.
They better hit. Kolten Wong is better than "pretty good" at second. And, in truth, the strides that Paul DeJong made at shortstop should be noted. He's done well there. Matt Carpenter had a fine game at third base Sunday against Arizona. That was lost in all the other brouhaha. Your overall point is well taken: They better hit.
Yes. Matt Bowman has been used even more frequently than expected.
If he can get on the 40-man roster, and at this point that would be in September unless there is a need earlier. Schrock must be protected this coming offseason so that he isn't snatched up in the Rule 5 draft. And you've heard me say this all before. They don't need to rush because there's time to find out what he is. Let him play. Let him play a lot. And let his production or his health or the health of others make the decision when it's necessary. He's got a strong hit tool, as the scouts say, and he may have the versatility that gets him to the majors and gets him onto the field when he gets the majors as a bench player. But there's no rush here. And your question might change after a month, after three months. If he keeps producing, you'll also have your answer.
I am not, no. Some of my colleagues do. I have never been one to listen to the broadcasts when I can watch the game myself. I want to cover the game -- not repeat their coverage of the game. I've never been one to listen/watch broadcast of a game I've attended, and please know that's no reflection on the broadcasters. It's just personal preference.
Evidently. That's going to change before this evening's game, though.
Good question, and it is one that we had a discussion about in the press box, Rick Hummel and I. It all comes down to when the Cardinals made the assignment -- not necessarily when it was announced. So, I double-checked last night with the transaction order. Here was the explanation I received: His option was officially March 30. That makes him eligible to come back April 9. That's the full 10 days. And that means he be activated today, this evening. That's the plan.
Probably. But, one thing to note, is they won't be facing Syndergaard, deGrom, and Ray in the division. That's a positive for this lineup, which does look like as it warms, it will warm, and that will come at a time when it can devour the division rotations. A binge of runs is on the horizon afterall. Two series against Cincinnati is coming, on the horizon.
It has been the most alarming trend of the offense. Was just updating the log that I keep game to game and the strikeout rates are enormous. They had 50 strikeouts in the first five games of the season. They had 72 after seven. As a lineup they have -- let's see here -- 87 strikeouts and 71 hits. They've had four games when they've walked one time or less. The Cardinals pichers have only struck out 83 batters so far this season. That's upside down. It figures to right itself some as DeJong breaks free from his funk. Spoke to him yesterday about his rash of strikeouts -- six consecutive to start his home season -- and he said the strike zone was bigger than it should be for him and he was letting Ray and others expand the zone and get him lunging at pitches. He said that everything looked like a strike out of the hand and he lost his sense of the zone.
It wasn't Mozeliak. It was Holland. He was ready to accept a one-year deal. The Cardinals and Holland's representatives were in talks all the way back at the GM meetings in Florida. There was coverage of their interest leading into those meetings and during. Come January, the Cardinals articulated that they were hesitant to commit too many years to a closer like Holland because of the arms they had coming up in the system -- and concerns about how Holland's season ended. As the season arrived, Holland warmed to the idea of another one-year deal and the option the Cardinals offered, and thus a deal was hatched. Cardinals would have rather he accept a short-term deal in November, but they couldn't impose it on him.
Fair. But a shortstop who hits for that kind of power becomes a star. It's a crowded position, but it always rewards someone who plays it with power.
Probably Peak Whitey Herzog.
We have access to both. I've never been a broadcaster, so I'm entirely sure of their setup, but I know they have monitors nearby as well. I can see a pitch break, yes, but how well depends entirely on the location of the press box. PNC Park and Nationals Park are both so high up that the details of a changeup are revealed by the hitter, not the pitch. AT&T Park is so low that you can see it all -- just about as well as the hitter can, just with more time to react to it. But, yes, we can tell when a pitch breaks, and often what kind of pitch it is -- whether that's by watching the pitch itself or, after thousands of these games, watching the hitter react to it.
Guess we'll find out when they get there. This is all new. To him. To the team. To the media covering the team. I imagine we'll see a Hicks Shutdown at some point in midseason similar to what happened to Wacha and Shelby Miller and othrs around the All-Star break.