Bobo's here, ballplayers are now welcome!
Ah, the combination of three evils: Too many home games too early, a poor start by our heroes and the cost factor. It's certainly not getting any cheaper to attend games. This team is spending to the salary cap, so the ownership needs to get that back at the gate. Hence the pressure on management -- or more directly, the coaching staff.
The field of potential third basemen for next year's team is enormous. Guys like Seager and Lamb could become trade targets. As you note, Carpenter could slide over if there is a Goldschmidt trade . . . your guess is as good as mine. The Cardinals are in the market, but they cannot dictate the market. Mozeliak and Co. must weigh trade prices against free agency prices and strike when they believe the price is right.
There are only so many dollars to spend on sports in St. Louis. I believe in the MLS will work in the cozy stadium format, but I don't see the dollars there for the NBA. And the NFL . . . until somebody is willing to step up to bankroll a $1 billion stadium and then another $1 billion to buy a team, that is not even a thought for St. Louis.
Bryce Harper offers Scott Boras his change to cement his legacy as the World's Greatest Agent. Anything less than insane dollars won't on a contract. This could take months. The Phillies have the best combination of ambition and money to spend, so Philly would have to be in the lead.
With no moves, good health (and the corresponding return for form for Marcell Ozuna) and serious bullpen upgrades would put this team back in the playoff hunt. That also presumes a full season from Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha and Alex Reyes, which creates the potential for dominant starting pitching backed by powerful bullpen.
I'll take the over, presuming a win or two early in the SEC Tournament. Mark Smith's eligibility is the key, since he gives them the perimeter threat and backcourt experience they desperately needed. Mitchell Smith, Pickett, Pinson, Watson -- these guys ought to improve on the fly. And I expect Tilmon to enjoy a big breakthrough, despite his tough showing against Iowa State.
This comes up every week. When I look at how the team played at home against the Wild and on the road at Chicago, I saw strong defensive zone play. They got caught running around here and there, but the team didn't give up much. Schmaltz had a couple of costly lapses against the Wild that decided that game and Bouwmeester accidentally kicked in the only Blackhawks goal. Otherwise it appeared this team is relocating its defensive identity.
The Blues competed hard and played tight team defense at Chicago. I also liked a lot of the Minnesota game. So there are positive signs are arguing against a coaching change. But like Yeo says, the Blues need to start winning games or else. This team is deeper than most in the NHL, especially right now with all the NHL-wide injuries. Yeo must be running out of time to get results.
Goaltending, for sure, and roster continuity. Suter, Parise, Koivu, Coyle, Brodin, Spurgeon, Dumba, Zucker . . . Those guys have been around awhile. Dubnyk has been one of the NHL's most consistently good goaltenders and Boudreau has been one of the league's better regular season goaltenders. That franchise changes GM and the new guy, Paul Fenton, decided to keep most of the guys in place. It is paying off.
Adding a superstar would be great, but the odds are strongly against that. And while superstars can make winning easier, there are no guarantees. Ask the Angels and Nationals about that. To win more games, the Cardinals simply need to play better. That means better hitting up and down the lineup, a deeper and more proficient bullpen and a starting rotation without holes.
The Cardinals are making an early push for reliever Andrew Miller, which is no surprise. There is a health/mileage risk there, but the Miller upside is pretty high. He could add another high-leverage reliever to the pile, perhaps as a tag team partner for Jordan Hicks.
The coaching market always plays into this. Other teams may be looking to make changes, too. Armstrong made his move for Ken Hitchcock, for instance, because other teams were getting interested. As for Quenneville, he will want a long-, long-term deal with crazy dollars. Remember, he is pulling $6 million year from the Blackhawks. Making such a contract work here would NOT be easy.
I still see a half-dozen guys who could come off the 40-man roster without crippling the organization. There are some depth relievers the team doesn't want to lose, but there is no serious crunch.
True enough. In the era of three-point games, playing catch-up is difficult. I believe this team has the talent to go on an extending winning streak, but will it ever have the right chemistry to make such a run?
Larry Robinson is available and working for the Blues. But those sorts of neutral zone traps don't work under the current rules. If the Blues reduce the number of glaring errors in the middle of the ice and build on some of their recent defensive zone success, they might finally gain some traction.
That is the MLS preference. It's part of its branding and market targeting toward young professionals.
I'd say the team is a disappointment, but it's not a bunch of experts picked this team to win the Stanley Cup.
People like shortcuts. I agree that the Cardinals strengthen themselves by making several moves not involving either of those guys.
Mental blocks are a mystery. They come in many forms in sports and there's no great explanation. If psychologists and psychiatrists knew why they came, then they cure them,