There is that chance, yes. Motivation is the thing that's in question.
It's almost always years. Years. Years. Years. Or, as the team calls them "out years." Those are the problems, and it's one reason why the Cardinals prefer to pay more on short term deals than to have a deal linger, linger, linger. Some exceptions: Pujols, Heyward, Price, and Stanton. All said no, thank you. Where some fans are right to see an issue is when the market chills like it has and there are obvious players out there that would reshape the roster and put the Cardinals, on paper, ahead of foes who they are, on paper, behind -- then why the wait? Why, when a free agent is waiting for a reason to sign, or we've seen some relievers go for reasonable contracts (in terms of years; looking at you Addison Reed), why not take that chance because the risk is less than the upside to this bystander's eye, especially when there is revenue to cover it on the shortterm should something go upside down? That's all.
Not now, no. But a labor brawl is on the horizon. It could be awful.
You outlined it well. Brett Cecil has to be a big part of the bullpen's makeover, and is certainly part of the reason why the Cardinals have avoided the aforementioned free-agent relievers. They were stung by Cecil's production after that commitment and couldn't get the ringing out of their years. They were aware that a bounceback was possible and that they had already committed the dollars to him. Cecil has changed things this winter to try and avoid the slow start that really has been a hallmark of recent years. He stayed in St. Louis this past winter and getting that rhythm and feel for his pitches earlier has been a focus -- which we'll get a chance to see how that translates early in spring training when those first bullpens arrive. What do I expect? I expect him to be the setup reliever the Cardinals need, a complement to Luke Gregerson in that way, and often the guy who gets the game from Leone to whoever the closer is.
Haven't had a chance to see Ryan Helsley in a game, in person. I always prefer to do that before having to write about a prospect. He and Jordan Hicks are two pitchers that will draw a crowd. Delvin Perez will be worth watching this spring.
One of the Triple-H pitchers: Helsley, Hudson, or Hicks.
I watched as I packed for spring training. Seemed entertaining. Football cracks me up because no one can decide what a catch is or isn't. Seems fundamental to the game -- and shouldn't be all that difficult.
Hasn't come up as an option. It is worth noting that the past few years, players have mentioned how he's been missed as a presence. Jose Oquendo has gotten a lot of the ink for his ability to relate and connect to the players and be a trusted voice in the clubhouse, and, yes, hold the players accountable. In some corners, Jay was described in similar ways. He had conversations with Seattle this winter, and there seemed to be movement toward a deal there. Could surface with Pittsburgh, too.
Of course the goal should be to improve. A team should strive to get the best roster it can get -- not one inch better than the closest rival. Because there are teams out there. Because there are career years to be had and contenders to emerge and things happen in the standings. Get the best, deepest roster you can and then go into the season. I am not one to say that the Cardinals need to chase the Cubs' moves, just one to suggest that they had a chance to, on paper, close that gap this winter.
No kidding. No one really saw this coming. Not sure anyone knows what is coming. Just guesses, like yours.
Could happen, sure. The interest hasn't waned.
Confident enough. He has the stuff.
A few ways to improve pace of play and time of game in easy moves:
-- Expand/call the strike zone.
-- Forbid team meetings on the mound. Catcher must request the right to visit and give a reason to the umpire. Otherwise, no chance. No infielders on mound. Get signs for that.
-- Experiment with two-box broadcasts, where the last commercial is running as that inning begins.
Just spitballing here.
That he did. That they did. Doesn't change the fact that week happened. Little followed. I guess that's a good question: Would you prefer the angst of the Brewers' fans who had to wait for their team to make a move or the angst of the Cardinals' fan who had an early Christmas and then waited as others opened their gifts?
The lawsuit was, according to a report, filed in Illinois. So this doesn't have anything to do with the Dominican Republic. It is also a civil suit, not a criminal suit. There were no criminal charges filed, and attempts to find a police report from the event have not been fruitful, as of me writing this. The lawsuit itself was not made available to The Post-Dispatch despite requests. Since the event happened in 2014, it would have been before baseball's current policies regarding allegations of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or child abuse, and the alleged events that are reportedly described in the lawsuit do not fit baseball's definition either. That is an important distinction for the Cardinals as this process plays out because of baseball's current policy when it comes to investigations and the right to suspend a player during said investigation.
I spoke to Carlos Martinez's attorney on Friday night and that conversation was reported in Saturday's paper. He said the descriptions were "inaccurate and false." He, too, had yet to receive the suit.
Depends on the role. Depends on past performance. Depends on the health, the strength, what the player is working on, etc. etc. We'd have to go almost player by player to discuss what they want to get out of spring training and then know what kind of barometer it is. Stephen Piscotty this past spring was trying to alter his swing and having a difficult time finding its rhythm and a feel, and that carried into the season. Scott Rolen used to stand up there and take pitches -- and his performance in games was not a barometer of how he'd start the season. Same with some veteran pitchers who annually get knocked around on fastball/changeup day and then by the end of March seem sharp and ready to go. So the last start is a better barometer than anything that happens in early March. Players like Bader, O'Neill, Wisdom, Voit and others have to produce right away because they're trying to get playing time in Grapefruit games so that they can make a case, and they need playing time to do so. It's no barometer of how they're actually going to do in the season -- with reduced roles -- but it's a barometer of whether they are going to make the team or not.
Bader, O'Neill, and newcomer Munoz would be the early favorites.