Ozuna, Bader and O'Neill could well be the trio. Bader and O'Neill could get the same run Grichuk and Piscotty got there. Neither has anything more to prove at Triple-A, so let's see if they can earn that chance between now and October.
Yes. The only thing that could hold that up is if Ross has to tag in early as a long reliever for one of the other guys.
Perhaps. His power is real and he quickly adapted to short-season ball. But then so did Rowan Wick. We'll know more if he excels in advanced Class A Palm Beach (a hard place to hit) or blows past the Florida State League to Springfield in, say, 2020.
The Cardinals don't believe he needs shoulder surgery, so presumably a winter of rest and rehab will bring some life back. We'll see about that. Offensively he is doing enough to stay in the mix, especially with the offloading of Pham and injury to Fowler.
He would be great, as long as he was willing to be as honest as Jim Edmonds is. Also, he would be a great instructor in the organization. He may want to do some family time first, but imagine him as a pitching coach. He has a knack for picking up the little things.
Missouri should jump at the chance to get into that action. If legalized betting is here to stay, then why let the money flow to other states.
Check out his game log for this season. Pretty solid, save for two bad starts in July. Also, he cost this team nothing in the way of prospects.
It doesn't take away from next year's payroll, but DeWitt hasn't forgotten about loss of tens of millions in dead money. Remember, he hadn't experienced that level of dead money loss before. Maybe he will shrug it off as the cost of doing business . . . but I doubt it.
The Cardinals are barely over .500. Carpenter has 29 homers, but 25 of them are solo shots. He would do more damage in the middle of the order, but he can't hit there. He doesn't run well and he is poor fielder. I appreciate Carpenter's surge -- he came off the waiver wire to save my fantasy team in the HR category -- but I don't see MVP there.
ESPN's Keith Law sees Genesis Cabrera (Pham trade) as a possible No. 2 starter and Conner Capel (Mercado trade) as a possible MLB regular. So those are better returns than the team got for Aledmys Diaz and Matt Adams. Did the Cards add another Anthony Rizzo at the deadline? Probably not. With teams coveting elite prospects more than ever before, it is hard to trade for that level of talent unless you trade a top veteran to a contending team in the playoff hunt. And the Cardinals were ready to move, say, Carlos Martinez.
By moving the energetic Bader and O'Neill into the fray -- along with Hudson and Poncedeleon onto the mound -- the Cardinals did give their fans something to watch. But fans still want to see this team land true cornerstone offensive players one way or another.
Reliever abuse is a fair criticism for Matheny's tenure. While trying to win every game during the 162-game marathon, he leaned heavily on certain relievers and burned them up. The Cardinals invested big money to build a deeper bullpen this season, but it didn't work out and Hicks found himself trying to keep the whole thing together.
Given the money left on his contract, I'm guessing he will get every chance to straighten himself out. That will be easier in September after the roster expand, which redefines the term "low-leverage" for relievers. With 15 or 16 relievers, Cecil might become the go-to guy when the team is up or down a touchdown.
Fowler was fine in Year 1 of his contract and performed admirably while moving down in the lineup to accommodate Matt Carpenter. So there was no reason to anticipate the need to replace him this season. There was also no reason to pass on the Marlins fire sale. Ozuna was worth a shot -- and he may still have one big season in him as he plays the "walk" year of his contract in 2019.
Because the team doesn't have that many imposing hitters. Also, I refuse to believe there is a massive psychological impact from batting fourth instead of fifth. The job is the same: Come up with men on base, drive home runs.
Yes, O'Neill may be another Grichuk, Good fielder, power hitter, strikeouts. That would be an upgrade over what the team got from Fowler this season. Maybe he can give more, but at least O'Neill offers an upgrade. As for Bader, he could be a Magneuris Sierra with more pop.
The Padres are in tank-and-rebuild mode. They want to take a look at younger pitchers. That they couldn't get a suitable offer for Ross at the trade deadline indicates that he isn't viewed as a big difference maker, but he should offer an upgrade over what Gant has done this season.
Almost everybody they HAVE to protect are either on the team right now or have played for them this season (See Kelly, Carson). The Cardinals have some relievers on their 40-man that are simply here to get the team through the season. Maybe there will be tough call on Greg Garcia, if the team decides to keep Gyorko and commit to Sosa as infield insurance. They already made the hard call on Lyons and a few more of the marginal relievers could be in some peril.
Right now it looks like the Cards need another cornerstone hitter, even if Ozuna morphs back into a power hitter. They are conceding that Martinez, their steadiest hitter this season, can't play everyday. But lets see what Wong, DeJong, Bader and O'Neill do. Those players are still defining themselves.
Do the Cardinals try to re-up Ozuna for less money and bet on him regaining shoulder strength and power? Or do they let him play out the walk year? Or will Ozuna bet on himself, reject contract extension offers and aim for a big free agency payday? Interesting call for all around.
They knew Gorman had the most power of any hitter in the draft and they liked his work ethic as well. As for the fast start, the real test comes at the full-season level. Again, Rowan Wick was an offensive beast at the short-season level. (Not that he was a comparable prospect.)