Aggregate is the fall-back plan. This is how the Cardinals outlined it for me a few weeks ago: They see Fowler and Bader as the incumbents. They need improved performance from both, and they recognize that. That leaves LF open, and the Cardinals are betting that from their mix of outfielders they can have an .800-.850 OPS emerge -- either from one player or from the group as a whole. It's a big bet considering how soft the offense was this past season. But that's what they're thinking. It worked for them on the pitching front this past season -- from quantity they produced quality, even though they never once paid for certainty. There is one hitch in their plan. The numbers might favor them if they're trying to take five or six and put them into one spot. It's gets problematic when they try to put four or five into two outfield spots, and expect that great return. That's why an addition from the outside is still in play.
Noted. Thanks. I've just finished a baseball novel that will be coming to shelves this spring training. I'm eager to let people know about it when I can.
They would welcome that conversation with Pittsburgh. Do not yet know how the new administration in Pittsburgh feels about a) trading Marte or b) doing so within the division. The Cardinals are reluctant to trade within the division. Always have been. Mozeliak has said he doesn't like the idea of seeing a player on the other side of the division for six-plus years. That's a hard calculus, he admits, no matter what the hard data says.
No. Just not all that likely to stay. There are other teams interested, and as of last check they're willing to commit a number of years that the Cardinals aren't. No deal is done yet, so that tells you where the conversations are, at least. Ozuna has stated that his preference is to remain with the Cardinals, and his agent is honoring that request by keeping the Cardinals involved. That said, Ozuna is intrigued by Cincinnati, from what I've been told. The White Sox can make the call on him being a DH at some point.
He agrees with you, and has talked openly about it. Speaking of .300 hitters. He expressly said this past spring training that he sees himself more as that .300 hitter, closer to .300, cranking out doubles and OBP, and the Cardinals would welcome that hitter back for the No. 2 spot in their order, for example.
He was not the assistant hitting coach in 2017, just FYI.
Of course. That's possible with any player. That's my point: Ownership would like to avoid that, and guess what -- so would Molina.
Depends entirely on the return. They will keep Dylan Carlson. Any one else is on the table for discussion based on the return. The Mets tried to get O'Neill or Bader as part of a larger deal for Wheeler. So that tells you where the interest is. I continue to maintain that Colorado isn't doing its due diligence if it hasn't called the Cardinals to talk about Bader. It's not brain surgery to see how good he would be there and how much he would help the Rockies.
OK. We'll see. He might do quite well at that ballpark ...
All of the above. Approach. Don't discount the ballpark, either. But, yes, the Cardinals have had difficulty in recent seasons getting better, more, the same from acquisitions. We're going to see that start to change because so much of it started about two, 2 1/2 years ago, and that's when we really saw the downturn. Ozuna being the most recent one that stood out, with Miller an example that some might give, or Goldschmidt, but neither really fits the standout examples that we've seen like Cecil, Fowler, etc. The front office has fixated on the coaching/managing aspect of it, and they brought it up as a concern when they fired Matheny, for example. Too many steps back.
Not entirely. I did a deep dive into the Mercado trade last week, and won't repeat the whole thing here. That had more to do with betting on Lane Thomas ahead of Mercado than anything Bader had to do with it. Also: There's room in the same outfield for Pham and Bader. They made that trade when Bader was overtaking Pham for playing time, and they had already committed the contract to Fowler and had Ozuna on the other flank. Also, Tampa Bay wanted Pham of that group -- and were willing to give the Cardinals want they did desire, which was lefthanded options. That much is definitely true, as you say.
We were watching a different guy at times, it seems. For most of the year, I saw a Carpenter who was trying to access the other part of the field, trying to drive that ball to left field, and find that alley out there to doubles that he once took advantage of. There were times when he was pitched in a way that made it in possible. Take a look at the approach pitchers had with him -- and the flares to left field that he did with some pitches. That's a hitter looking to use the other field, but not driving the ball to the other field. We can check the spray charts as a example because FanGraphs offers both batted balls and hang time as an example of how often he did try to go to left field in 2019 vs. 2018 and how he did it more often, but also had the more hang time to show for it ...
Yep. They do that. And have for almost 20 years now. It's standard, and it's one of the proprietary things that all teams talk about and one of the reason why analytics has advanced the way they have. The Cardinals and other teams project what kind of team they have by run differential and predicted return on that production. You bet regression is part of that because aging models are a big part of any projection used in baseball or any other sport. Depreciating production from depreciating athleticism and age.
He hasn't. Andrew Knizner is the current heir apparent. Knizner has done great. He earned a crack at the majors in 2020. It's just whether the Cardinals have an alternative, and whether they want him to play every day and develop and not rust. He's in that spot that Carson Kelly was in with one twist. If the Cardinals need a starter at catcher for stretches in 2020 due to an injury to Molina, then it's entirely likely that Knizner would leapfrog whoever the backup is and get those starts. He's positioned for it. That's possible. Or, if the Cardinals don't sign a backup -- say a catcher who can hit lefthanded or switch hit or something like that -- then Knizner would be the guy. He's fine. His spot and his status with the organization is strong.