Bobo's here . . . and we've got ballplayers!
To me it was never going to make sense. Scott Boras is selling Harper has a transformational figure, a megastar that will take a franchise to new heights of popularity. And the Cardinals are already maxed out on that front. There is no urgency to overpay for one playing hoping that he will boost the gate and raise franchise value all by himself. I'm sure the Cardinals would revisit this if Harper's price came down to the mere ballplayer level.But I'm guessing that Boras dupes somebody into a huge overspend.
The Blues tried to rush the process and become a contender this season, spending in free agency and sacrificing Tage Thompson, a No. 1 pick and a couple of inconsequential veterans to get O'Reilly. That didn't work. Now, if Doug Armstrong can find his next goaltender, clear out a few of the older guys for draft picks and hang on to Alex Pietrangelo and Brayden Schenn for their final contract year, then the 2019-20 projection could still work.
Forwards are fairly interchangeable these days so I don't see the harm. The defensive responsibilities are simpler on the wing. Although Thomas is more accustomed to playing in the middle, it's surprising to see how often Thomas loses track of his responsibility while playing the wing. He had the reputation for strong two-way play in junior hockey, so this has been disappointing.
Of course some regression is in order. But it's also easy to project progress for all the young pitchers in whatever role they assume: Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Jordan Hicks. Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon . . . a lot of guys got on-the-job training last season. Alex Reyes is a big X-factor -- he is still a huge asset -- and there is always the chance that Carlos Martinez gets back on track. So I believe there is more potential for progression than regression with this staff. Now, I still believe this team needs to make two quality adds to the bullpen so that the doesn't have to move too many of the young starters to relief corps and strip away rotation protection.
Niko Mikkola is a rangy stay-at-home defender with European experience. He looked good in camp and he has held up nicely in the AHL. On the puck-moving side, Mitch Reinke has at least fill-in potential. He is small, but he moves the puck well and brought college experience and maturity to the mix. He wasn't terrible in his one emergency NHL appearance last spring. Scott Perunovich is tiny, but he is a dominant offensive defenseman at the college level and likely to turn pro in the spring.
The stated goal of the Cardinals is to contend every year, so the front office is always under pressure. Bill DeWitt Jr. doesn't like the tank-and-rebuild model, which is the easy way out for franchises that can't stay in the hunt year after year. That makes the Cardinals an outlier, one of the few mid-market teams avoid that cycle. The industry has changed for sure, with other teams copying much of what the Cardinals have done during the period you mentioned. Other teams are deep into analytics, too, seeking to improve their drafting and the efficiency of their player development operations. Other teams are hoarding prospects while trying to develop self-renewing talent bases while lessening their reliance on the inefficient free-agent marketplace. So like John Mozeliak mentioned when he stepped back from some of the day-to-day stuff with his new title, his job is to find new advantages for this franchise. We're waiting to see how that turns out.
I believe agent Scott Boras would rather take a nail gun to his own face before going down that road.
Johnson is a fabulous guy, just a delight to talk to. But he was terrible and expendable. Jordan Binnington earned his NHL look with strong play last season into this season and that promotion gives Ville Husso more work in the AHL. The Blues need to find out what they have internally before Doug Armstrong looks outside the organization one more time.
The Cardinals enjoyed elite starting pitching last season despite suffering myriad injuries. Like I said, they there appears to be far more opportunity for progression this season than danger for regression. And if the team makes two quality bullpen adds -- a must in my opinion -- then that will prevent the team from shifting its high-end rotation depth into relief roles.
Allowing younger players would be one way to build a better talent base. I'm not sure many kids right out of high school are ready to play football against 28- and 30-year-old men, but perhaps the XFL could create its version of the one-and-done.
Trading both Alex Reyes and Poncedeleon for Kluber? That's a bit dicey. Cleveland might leap at that, but the Indians regained Carlos Santana and thus greatly reduced any potential interest in Jose Martinez.
I'm sure the Rays have Mozeliak's contact information.
That's fair. Paul DeJong is OK at shortstop, but obviously not great. Matt Carpenter wasn't aesthetically pleasing at third base, but he wasn't disastrous. Can he hold up for a while season there? We'll see, but he knows that his ability to get another contract here might depend on it.
I'm not sure about his options. And I'm not sure that he will make it to Opening Day on the 40-man roster. He is there for depth right now, but very much on the bubble. He didn't nothing last season to merit firm investment.
Nah, it appears the process could drag on for a while. It doesn't help that the league really wants to be in Austin while the folks in Columbus are fighting to keep that team there. St. Louis is getting nothing but positive feedback with the Taylor family now involved.
That sport has a long way to go to get to that level. Some day, as in decades from now? Perhaps. The next decade will be interesting for Our National Pastime as it tries to make itself more appealing to the younger demographic.
MLB still has a massive fan base and it has been well ahead of the curve on creating new revenue streams. Franchise values have soared. If you put a NBA team in St. Louis, would it turn a nine-digit annual profit and stir a massive real estate development? That is unlikely to say the least.
Paul DeJong does not have any real competition on the horizon. The Cardinals have some interesting utility-type infielders, but no pure, blue-chip shortstops. But given DeJong's age and offensive production at that position, finding a new shortstop is not a big priority.
You know the top-end guys in the free-agent market. you know about the team's interest in the San Francisco scenario. Get beyond the top few free agents and the top few trade targets and you're talking about mere guys, not potential shutdown relievers. The Cardinals already have a bunch of guys and they have done some dumpster diving to add more guys. As the front office has indicated, the pool of useful relievers is not that deep.