When Carlos signed his five-year extension a few years ago, it was done with the idea that he would be a starting pitcher. And he deserves that chance. But I think the club is better with him pitching the ninth inning than the first _ in which he historically hasn't been very good anyway. If the shoulder doesn't hold up, Martinez goes back to the ninth, if able.
I guess part of it that the rule against gambling was already in place and evident in every locker room. The sign stealing is a more complicated issue involving several, if not many people, and the commissioner is sorting through various punishments, but, so far, with players seemingly immune to discipline, if they cooperate.
Not sure about batting order but on-field defense would be Goldschmidt, 1b; Wong, 2b; DeJong, ss; Carpenter 3b; O'Neill, lf; Bader, cf; Fowler, rf; Molina, c; Flaherty, p. Subject to change, of course if some of the aformentioned don't hit any batter than they did last year.
I don't think the Cardinals are actively courting either one. There likely is a smallish (in years) offer out to Ozuna and any deal with Colorado and the Cardinals taking on a $30 to $35 million contract in Arenado would require the Rockies taking on some Cardinals high salaries such as Fowler or Carpenter.
The last I heard was that he was doing about as well as expected, with his pancreatic cancer. ,
Until Hicks returns after the All-Star break and, perhaps thereafter, the ninth inning would be handled by a combination of Andrew Miller, Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley and John Brebbia. Or until Martinez's shoulder is balky and he assumes the role for the third time.
The cheating scandal, I think, will have little effect on attendance, except possibly in Houston. It would be good also to remember that man has cheated almost ever since the Garden of Eden and there always will be players, managers, teams looking for an angle or to subvert the rules. There's not a preponderance of scofflaws, but there always be that element. Fans can make up their own minds.
Edman, Knizner, Lane Thomas, Sosa,
Teams don't seem to make too many big trades anymore because there is always one potential team that doesn't want to take on extra payroll.
Unless there is an addition of a lefthanded hitter, the Cardinals do plan to see what Tyler O'Neill, Lane Thomas, Harrison Bader and later, Dylan Carlson can do in the outfield. Ozuna isn't likely to be back.
Ozuna would be back only on a two-year deal, I surmise. Bill DeWitt Jr., speaking in generalities this afternoon, said the club isn't likely to trade top prospects for a player (Arenado?) who would push the payroll well over its projected $170 million. And I never have seen Todd Frazier play outfield and I doubt if he could play it as well as Ozuna, who actually doesn't climb the wall to make every play. Todd Frazier is on a different team every year. How good can he be?
You won't see too much from the players other than maybe one or two of the best Boston or Houston hitters shouldn't get too comfortable in the batter's box if a veteran pitcher is on the mound for the other side. The Astros' and Red Sox players will hear it more from the fans of the other club. Can they take that on a consistent basis?
You haven't yet factored in Carlson, who could add speed and power in the middle of the year. DeJong did hit 30 homers but he needs to hit for a higher average. He strikes me as the key to the whole equation. No, this may not be a great lineup. But it doesn't have to be. I don't agree with the theory that six or seven of them are due for better years than last year, but some of them, surely Carpenter, will be better. Their team still will be built on pitching, defense and clean base running.
The Cardinals have traded seven prospects for Ozuna and Goldschmidt in the past two off-seasons. They aren't likely to make it a total of 10 for somebody like Arenado. Their philosophy is not to win at all costs but to contend as many years as possible.
Carpenter would want to know that he would be considered a regular player by another team before he even would consider giving up his no-trade. One other thing to understand. There aren't many teams right now ready to absorb two years of his contract at some $36 million.
Starter if Martinez breaks down again. Otherwise, long man like Gant and perhaps a late-inning lefthanded reliever.
I would assume Ozuna would want something in the $16 to 19 million range, for at least three years.
Derrick Goold and I both will be heading to Jupiter on Feb. 5.