Right or wrong, the front office approach to this spring, as we speak, is to see what they have in O'Neill, Thomas, Carlson and Bader, to name some. There isn't likely to be a high-priced veteran imported. They've had a chance to get Brantley before and there hasn't seemed to be much interest.
We saw that the Reds had good starting pitching last year and a good bullpen with Iglesisas, Lorenzen and Garrett. They didn't score as much as they thought they would last season, ergo the add of Moustakas among others. But they may be sacrificing too much defense in playing him at second base. I see the Reds as over .500 but not by much. Still, possible contenders.
I see a window of 89 to 92 wins, as the roster currently is constructed.
The confusion here is that the Cardinals had to offer $17.8 million as a qualifier in order to get the draft pick. When Ozuna not surprisingly declined that offer, hoping he would get a multi-year offer somewhere, that doesn't mean the Cardinals offered that same number again. More like $15 or $16 million for one year, I would guess. So it was not a $200,000 difference. They never said they didn't want Ozuna but they wanted him on their terms and that didn't include more than one year or as much as the Braves offered. Their posture all along this off-season was that until Ozuna was signed by somebody, he still was in the picture. But they clearly didn't pursue him relentlessly. The Cardinals, as mentioned previously, wanted to get a better read on their young players.
There always is that danger when players who are good in the clubhouse are dealt and Martinez especially kept things lively and loose and Ozuna was a popular player also. We'll have to stay tuned to see how much the chemistry changes, if at all.
This will be hard one to answer until sometime in late March or early April when the pitchers are sharper than they might have been in the spring. Both will have to cut down their strikeouts or they won't be playing.
Cardinals-Cubs tickets probably will be easier to come by in April than in the summertime. I would just go through the Cubs or even on-line. The Cardinals' dugout will be on the first-base side, if that helps you with location.
I would prefer to see Helsley as a reliever and Reyes as a starter but, in the spring, even though both will be conditioned as starters, they are likely to wind up in the bullpen if they make the club, which I would expect Helsley to do.
There is no way the Cardinals could acquire Arenado and his $35 million contract without some money going the other way and the Rockies aren't believed to have much interest in either Carpenter or Fowler, the latter of whom they already have had.
Fair comparison, I guess, but they haven't been able to keep O'Neill on the field long enough to find out.
That question was answered. They wanted to look at their young players and they didn't want to be tied to Ozuna long-term. One year maybe was answered but not at $18 million.
It would depend on what the possibilities were but Carpenter already has said he would do under the right circumstances.
You never ignore a player like that, especially if he can be acquired for one year but this falls into the Ozuna category a bit. They wanted to look at young players although they made Ozuna an offer and the same philosophy presumably would apply to Puig.
Anybody is a possible trade partner and the Cardinals, even though they have had their much publicized differences with the Astros, hadn't rejected unilaterally in talking trade with them before.
I see Carlson beginning in the year in Memphis, where he played for only a month, albeit a productive month, in 2019. I suspect the Cardinals don't want to apply more pressure than he already might feel. That doesn't mean he couldn't make the club out of spring training but they Cardinals would prefer to bring him up later and keep him up rather than starting him in the majors and then have to send him out. You don't know how a 20-year-old might react in the latter circumstance.
You can have 26 players on the roster this year and Knizner also has the versatility to play first base. Wieters, a switch-hitter, gives the Cardinals a lefthanded presence on the bench, something they didn't have a lot of last year.
I would imagine Jeff Albert will have to address this topic at least once.
Even with Ozuna, it was among the least productive outfields. Carlson should be a big-time player someday soon and that day well could come this season. Let us not forget that Ozuna went 12 for 100 at one point in September so, other than the Atlanta series in the playoffs, he wasn't exactly lighting it up offensively or defensively late in the season.
I have heard no particular names discussed. They have Justin Williams on their roster and the former Tampa Bay player swings a good bat although has been hurt much of the time last season. He will get a good look in the spring. A veteran lefthanded hitter who could be a spot player always could be obtained during the spring.
"Provided" is a key word. If he is entirely healthy, the Cardinals certainly will look at Cecil. They have 7.5 million reasons why as he enters the final year of what has been a disastrous investment so far.