His best quality was that his team won games. In 6 1/2 seasons as their manager, his teams never were under .500. That includes no World Series wins and only one World Series appearance, which is a consideration, too.
Ortiz probably will be the last DH-type to go into the Hall. The DH position nowadays often is rotated among several players. There can be some argument about E. Martinez and, of course, Baines. But not Ortiz, who is one of the best clutch hitters ever, especially in the postseason. Nelson Cruz is today's most productive DH but he played many years in the field, too, and the Cardinals have a World Series banner to show for that.
I will pass no judgment until I see spring training for myself. Every year, no matter the manager, or the team, there will be an increase in concentration on "fundamentals." Whether the players pay enough attention or take them seriously enough is on them.
The Padres could adjust their dimensions if they wanted to accommodate Machado although they would have give a year's notice. He might like playing in perfect weather for at least half a season, plus the weather generally is good in other spots in the division like Arizona and Los Angeles.
I vote for Walker. I will again next year. But, ultimately, like Lee Smith, he will get in through the veterans' committee because the players and managers who will be on that committee will know that he was that good. Walker was hurt, in more ways than one, by playing about half his career in Montreal, which was hard on the knees and power numbers.
I would look at another veteran righthanded reliever. Their bench is fine, because Gyorko and Martinez both can hit righthanded pitching. And Fowler, a switch-hitter, will be on the bench when he isn't playing.
If Hicks continues to have success in the bullpen, that might be a hard move to make but the club did give Rosenthal some assurance that it would look at him as a starter if he really wanted to. If Hicks asked at some point if he could start, that might be a choice the front office would have to make. Closers, however, make a potful of money now.
I must admit the winter sports haven't been very invigorating except for SLU basketball.
Gyorko could be a trade candidate, especially if the Cardinals feel Munoz can cover what Gyorko does. We don't know enough yet about Robinson, although Dietrich has some value. He does not, however, play center field, as does Robinson.
It seems that many teams are happy with their DH situations. I'm glad the Cardinals kept Martinez there rather than give away a hitter who batted .305 with 17 and 83.
I can't speak for everyone but all the people I know who vote in the HOF elections do considerable diligence in examining candidates.
Maybe Ryan Madson or Sergio Romo.
Switch-hitting Tommy Edman, who excelled at both Springfield and Memphis last season, will be their infield reserve in another year or so. Munoz has considerable value because he can play both infield and outfield. Many of his infield errors came in quick bursts at shortstop, which is not his best position. But, with Goldschmidt and, presumably, a healthy Wong, the Cardinals' defense has improved markedly.
Helsley is being viewed as a reliever and, after overcoming some arm problems last season, can be expected to be a key part of the Memphis bullpen at the start of the season, with the potential of more. The Cardinals have plenty of starting pitchers, for the moment.
I didn't say they had to sign him. Really there isn't anybody in the second or third tier of free agents who appeals to me. Bud Norris?
Or can you root for both teams to lose? I bet that response would be the one that would win.
Ponce de Leon could be a starter who could excel in relief. Reyes also, but they really want him to start.
Ultimately, I fear yes. Every other league has it. But what I really would like to see is, in interleague play for one season, to let the NL fans see the DH and the AL fans see the games with the pitchers hitting. Just an experiment. But maybe the NL teams' fans, like here, would like the DH too much.