At one point, those "free" tickets were purchased by some group, so they do count. For a long time the National League used turnstile count as its ticket barometer. Now, it's tickets sold in both leagues, so you may see hundreds of empty seats on a night when the attendance is announced as 40,000 plus.
Wacha, I think, would be a move if they decide they don't plan to start him any more this year or, especially next year. Wong hardly is considered to be dead weight, given his defense and that he's swinging the bat better now. Bader will get one more look in the next few days. The trade deadline matters in that there might be some starting pitching or even relief help to be had. The deadline comes at about the time Ozuna and Molina can come back and it would be hard to trade for any better hitters than those, so the offense just has to give them enough in the next 11 games before the Houston/Chicago home stand at the end of the month to keep them alive. They only have to get to the dance. They don't have to arrive in a limousine. They could get there in a pick-up truck.
Munoz has to play more but his infield defense is not all that good and infield defense is one of the strengths of the club. Carpenter will play every day now until/if it is determined that he should be a platoon player.
I don't like changing the coaching staff in the middle of the year when you just did that last year. If Bumgarner's arm is all right, I would take a run at him. He would add talent and perhaps a little edge to the clubhouse. Anybody with skill and also a little attitude might be a good tonic. The Cardinals don't have a lot to give up.,though, with Bader, Wacha among the leading candidates. A pitcher like Woodford in AAA would draw attention as would outfielder Arozarena but you might want those guys yourself. They do have a plethora of minor league third basemen at the lower levels and one or two of those could be appealing to other clubs.
As far as I know, the players had little or nothing to do with these. Goldy signing was not a bad one. They got him for less than he may have received if they had let him go to free agency and they needed a pillar around which to build their club. Mikolas could have been a free agent after the season, so they wanted to lock him up. Carpenter's extension at the time probably wasn't necessary but perhaps they were hoping he would get off to a better start than last year if he had a bit more security. He did start a little better but not nearly enough.
Let's see how this plays out this year first. I don't think any long-term analysis of Carpenter's future is prudent. He needs to fix the here and now.
There is no reason the Cardinals wouldn't sign any free agents and this season hardly is a lost one. This isn't Kansas City or Detroit or Seattle or Miami. Should you be satisfied with what you've seen? Of course not. But there is time to fix it this year.
Every team but the defending World Series champion says the same thing each spring, that things will be different. There will be many players here who will not be back next year. But, I for one, am not concerned about next year with 71 games to go in this one.
I don't believe I saw Harper or Machado in the All-Star Game last week. The Cardinals chose to pursue Goldschmidt, who hasn't torn it up either but that the was the call they made. And he wanted to be here, clearly. As for the other three, only Bader can be classified as a disappointment. Fowler has been pretty good. And O'Neill has been good for the last two days.
Spring training is fun no matter what kind of team you have. You don't have to watch just the players they have. You can watch the players they may have in the future, near or distant. And there are other things to do besides going to the games. Your call.
What they have to give up would be an issue. As long as you're three games behind with 71 to go, you're in the division race but it seems that the Cubs are the best team in the division now. Are they the best when the Cardinals have Ozuna and Molina back? That might be different. Those absences are like taking Rizzo and Contreras out of the Cubs' lineup. Let's see what the Cubs would look like if that happened.
Or you could look at it this way. The Cardinals are within hailing range without anything from Carpenter and sporadic contributions from Goldschmidt. They both should be much better in the final 71 games and Goldschmidt already is trending that way. The Carpenter issue is a big one, though. He may not be a cornerstone but he is better than what you've seen. Isn't he?
Low-handing fruit seems to translate into relief help and that's always out there. The Cardinals might need another lefthanded reliever unless Miller can be more consistent. I still think a starting pitcher with repute, like Bumgarner or Stroman, would help the most. That, and the reactivation of an offense they already have and paid a lot of money for.
The Cardinals won't be sellers, at not to a large degree, as long as they are contending. And, despite 46-45, they are contending, whether you think so or not. I choose to look at it as if they've had to patch some tires with Hicks, Ozuna and Molina out. They could use at least one new whitewall, though.
Mo and Girsch make the player decisions, for the most part, with Bill DeWitt signing off on them. DeWitt would make the call on a managerial change, as he did last year. I never see any problem with a baseball-oriented owner like DeWitt being involved in any of these matters. He knows the game and it's his team.
The Cardinals will be playing in the late July arena. They may have to take a leap of faith in the next few days, though, as to when Ozuna and Molina are coming back.
Hard to say. I'm not inclined to give him away yet until I'm sure Ponce de Leon is appreciably better. I'd like to see some lefthanded relief help.
Interesting question. I guess I would look at the runs produced category. How many scored and driven in did player A, with the better average, have, in relation to Player B, with more power and lower average? , Player B still is the better answer if he produces more runs.