The politics of that gets tricky. Mizzou would prefer that SLU go back to being a so-so program so it would be less competition for local talent. That said, if Ford stays and SLU keeps winning, I could see a big-money game at Enterprise Center to benefit both athletic departments.
I believe the Cardinals need to aim higher than that, for the reasons outlined earlier.
Obviously the Blues would need to get a huge package to move Pietrangelo. Again, when healthy this guy is a Top 10 D-man. So any trade would involving him would have to bring back a very good defensive prospect capable of growing into a Top 4 role.
Fowler produced an .851 on-base plus slugging percentage in '17. That number -- versus last season's .576 -- would make him useful as a No. 2 hitter. Nobody is saying he was a MVP candidate two years ago, but he did hit .280 with runners in scoring position and .292 with RISP. And his on-base percentage was solid at .363.
Great in the short term for the Mets, since Cano has defied Father Time as a hitter and the Mets got a potential lock-down closer. Ditching Jay Bruce and his money was good too. And money is not a problem for the Mets, so the back end of Cano's money is something that franchise can handle.
Bortuzzo gets a new contract, yes. Carl Gunnarsson, no. While Jordan Schmaltz hasn't earned a future here, I am intrigued by Mikkola. And Scott Perunovich could jump right to the NHL after his second collegiate season.
That is beyond the score of replay review.
Don't hold your breath on him coming back and taking over as the leadoff guy. I am a huge Jay fan and teams can do much worse than him for a fourth outfielder, but let's not get carried away.
At least five years and $125 million. I imagine he will want a lot more. I also imagine he willing to bet on himself to start better next season and try to push his value into the six-year, $180 million range. Is there a deal to be made somewhere in between?
I don't fret about the hitting so much as winning puck battles. If winning those battles include separating guys from pucks and maybe marinating D-men along the walls to soften them up, great, but this game is all about being strong on the puck. There is no room to work out there since everybody is playing the same pressing style.
Sure, there is money to spend. That is comforting because if the team develops needs along the way -- and it always does -- then it can take on salary to fill them.
Obviously the Cardinals need Bader and O'Neill to develop in the near term, and for DeJong to at least hold form and Wong to stay on the field. Because this team has crazy pitching depth and tremendous payroll flexibility after next season, I see no reason to expect a total collapse or tank job in 2020. Let us not forget that it all starts on the mound in baseball.
I am a big Jeff Brown fan as well. He hasn't built the credentials to become a NHL head coach, but the Blues could do worse for an assistant coach on the next staff.
Let's be real here. As long as Molina is ambulatory, he is the everyday catcher and his back-up will have to accept the caddy role. Period. So the Cardinals will target their back-up accordingly and hope Knizner is ready to take over if Molina suffers another long-term injury.
It would be nice to have a fourth line capable of sustaining pressure and converting chances. Having a fourth line playing six minutes at even strength and landing a few body checks doesn't move the bar.
The Blues get a fair amount of odd-man rushes. Time after the time they miss the net, make a bad cross-ice pass or get in too deep with the puck. And, yes, if this team ever got organized and ever starting making tape-to-tape passes with more consistency, it would get more chances off the rush.
Kyrou does add speed, but he has to put it work. He used his speed to create a chance immediately against Edmonton. After that, as noted earlier, he disappeared. His adjustment continues. At some point, player development will take priority over everything else with this team and that will impact who plays with whom and for how long each night.
Kostin has done nothing yet to suggest he is NHL -ready, so promoting him now would be a mistake. Binnington? Sure, give him a look at some point. I'd play Thomas and Kyrou 15, 16 minutes per game unless they get so rattled that playing them at this level becomes detrimental to their development.
Kelvin Herrera is an interesting guy. He would be a prime relief target but for the foot injury he is still recovering from. If he can get a deal like Trevor Rosenthal got, with incentives, he could be interesting.