To me, the Cardinals start spring training with one of the widest spectrum of outcomes of any Cardinals team I've covered. The ceiling and the floor have a wider variance. If everything goes right, they could win the division. If enough goes just a step sideways, they could be third place, closer to the Reds than they are, say, the wild card-hunting Brewers or defending champs Cubs. The Cardinals have improved their lineup. No doubt. Ozuna does that. But so too does a return to form for Fowler and Carpenter, and the presence of Pham and DeJong, even if they don't match last season's levels. The lineup is legit. The rotation and the bullpen is where the variations exist. It's possible to see how this rotation, deep with youth, could crank out the quality starts and fuel a division-title contender, just as it is possible that they spin through the starters, rely heavily on a bullpen, and cause both to split at the seams. The do not have the kind of bullpen that is certain to shorten games. Eventually, that could happen. The firepower is there. But it's not a given. And I think that's what stands out most about this team. It's not a given. There are a lot of should-bes, could-bes, and will-bes, but in an offseason when they could have done more to get certainties, they are betting on performance, not counting on it.
Roger Dean Stadium is good for the fans. It is a decade or so behind when it comes to facilities for the players and teams. The newer facilities far surpass RDS when it comes to workout facilities, clubhouse, training, medicals, and staff offices. The Cardinals have outgrown their building at RDS and are in need of upgrades and expansion. They have the money to do so because of an agreement with the county, but here's the catch: Anything they do on their side, the Marlins have to spend the same to improve their side. That has to be negotiated because the lease/contract with the stadium does not allow for one side to become modern and leave the other undesirable. They have to upgrade at the same time. The Cardinals are eager to do so. They have even expanded across the street to a nearby building because they can do that without the same move by the Marlins -- and it's allowed them to create the Dept. of Performance training ground that would not fit in the existing RDS complex. So, fan friendly. Yes. You bet. A great place to see a spring game, and a throwback of sorts as far as proximity and views and crowds. But that throwback is also the issue with the facilities. The fields are in a good spot. The building needs to join the modern game.
They see these things related. They want a 90-win team and a postseason appearance. The revenue that comes with that -- and the longevity and flexibility and prospects to know that they can shoot for the same thing for the next four, five, six, 10 years. Don't dismiss that as a big part of the equation. It's huge for DeWitt. In your question you have to include the length of success because they're not looking at these moves in one-year outcomes.
That ballpark is gorgeous. One of the best in the game. Top three.
The Cardinals are pleased with Randy Flores' first two drafts, and they will have a real sense of them this year as some of those younger players are counted on to move up into the full-season clubs. The Cardinals have not gotten the return on their first-round picks when it comes to prospect rankings for the past several years. But they have continued to have success finding, acquiring, identifying, and developing pitchers. That hasn't changed. Flores has also advanced how the Cardinals do assess talent, and that is always the challenge of the person in that role. It's become one of the biggest responsibilities -- to constantly push to be ahead of the curve in analytics and scouting talent.
They are clearly independent. The ticket sales and crowds reveal that.
Yes. That will be one of the first stories of spring, as soon as it becomes apparent. Maddux and the Cardinals have both said that it will be something they get a feel for when the games begin, and I've asked pretty much every official about how this will work and been given that same answering. Spring is the chance to see how it will. We'll all be watching.
There is not. No. They can back on the fan ballot the next year, unless they have run out of years of eligibility, and then they go immediately onto the file of candidates for the Red Ribbon Committee to select.
Sure seems to be heading that way. Big year for the righthander. He senses it, too.
It was, in part, the Marcell Ozuna deal. That was being finalized that day -- even after it had been reported that the agreement was struck. Final details had to be worked out, and Mozeliak did stay behind to make that announcement and complete that trade. Archer was discussed at the winter meetings, but that was obviously not a point where they had to stay to work something out. The Rays had already left, I believe. I have no reason to believe that Archer was the reason they stayed -- and every reason to believe it was completing the Ozuna deal.
With every team making money these days -- revenue continues to find teams through many streams -- short deals are team-friendly deals. Short. One-year deals are the friendliest of them all.
Not at all. The Cardinals ownership and front office hired Mike Matheny to continue an era of success and to help ease them into what they hope would be a self-perpetuating run of contention fueled by prospects from in-house. Like him. They invested in him because of the potential they saw, and while he does have a bottom line position -- win, right? that's the metric -- they acknowledged early on that he would grow in the role and that they had to do everything they could to get him to his potential. That's not unusual. Other teams have talked about managers in the same way. Hinch fits that description. You'll hear similar things from the Yankees in the coming year -- about Boone's potential as a manager and shrinking that learning curve for him by outfitting him with tools all around him to do so. That's what teams do, especially in this GM-driven game that we now have.
It involves Reyes. It's too much for the Cardinals to stomach.
It's the smoke alarm. See earlier in the chat. If he has talented clients, teams will still come. That's not the worry. What is interest is that an agent said it, not the union.
Wasn't a change of heart, so much as an accomplishment of what they needed to pull off. They maintained the cheaper players who have just as much control.
I don't know why you would. He did well as a starter. He has a routine as a starter. He showed he can stay healthy last year and dispelled a lot of questions about what he needs to thrive as a starter. Seems to me the best way to use Wacha now is as a starter. Kudos to him for the season he had that brushed away such questions of his role.
Seems like this is a long way to go just to get to a point where the best reliever is used at the best time. Consider what Mike Maddux had to say about how demoralizing it can be when a team has a lead, gets through the thicket of trouble in the seventh or eighth inning, and then sees it come undone in the ninth. It's gut-wrenching. It lingers. If it happens often, it becomes a trait. That was his view. To me, if that's his view, probably sure go with the sure thing in the ninth and then develop the other folks.