True, but it's those out-of-nowhere great games that would make them a tough team to gauge for gambling and daily fantasy.
Jose Martinez was overlooked in the minors, true, but he also hit .380 at the Triple-A level. So that is why he got the nod for extra-man work over Voit and Wisdom. In seven minor league seasons Wisdom hit .245. That is why he fell off the 40-man roster and that is why it took injuries to others for him to finally get his cup of coffee. Voit hit well in a part-time role here but, again, he was no Jose Martinez. Will he destroy the American League East this season? I hope so. He is a nice guy and a local product. But might also remain stuck in his Class 4-A role and eventually head off to Japan, as Stavinoha did before a knee injury pretty much ended his career.
I don't think Mozeliak ever stops looking for relievers, but for now the 40-man roster is full. He has to weight the market against what he has now. I've long advocated for two quality additions for the bullpen this winter, but we'll have to see where this goes. My guess is the Cardinals would make one more move if a real value emerged for a short-term deal.
If Nylander is in that deal, sure. He is a proven talent. Remember the price Edmonton paid for Larsson. Understand how hard it is to find a Top 4 defenseman, much less a high-end guy for the top pairing. Scarcity dictates that any team bidding for Pietrangelo or Parayko pay a massive price. Accepting anything less would be ludicrous.
There is no reason to keep this core together. But dealing core players in their late 20s for unproven players, however promising, is stupid. The Blues could win in the near term with many of these same players. Collectively, this group is a mess. Individually, there are some nice assets that other teams covet.
Sure, that is a big deal. That is where baseball is going now -- put a shutdown reliever in the game when the other side needs shutting down, whenever that is. Being able to work a second inning is a plus, too. So is his ability to handle right-handers as well as lefties.
Hicks is ready for late-inning work. I would agree that he is not ready, yet, to be marked down as the closer. So, again, I still advocate making another quality add. Maybe it will take a trade to make that happen. The Cardinals still have some overcrowding on their bench.
This front office is as aggressive as it was last year when it made the big trade for Marcell Ozuna and tried to upgrade the bullpen with multiple moves. None of that worked as well as the team hoped, as it turned out, so the team made some more moves in season. This is the same front office with the same mindset. Missing the playoffs again created some urgency, but there was urgency the previous offseason too.
The possibilities are vast, especially with the team likely to move one of their right-handed hitters currently stuck in extra-man roles. I'm not sure what odds Cardinals management gives Drew Robinson to fill that role. He did hit that the Triple-A level after some earlier minor league struggles.
Sometimes a group goes soft. It doesn't usually happen to this degree in hockey, where the players are famously prideful. But a lot of guys on this team got comfortable with their long-term deals.
Again, is there enough work for him? For the back-up catcher role, maybe this team will have to just call Pena back and call it a day.
Mike Matheny had nothing to do with Fowler's failure. Dexter was arguably the worst position player in baseball last season and at some point Matheny had to scale back his usage. Matheny's job was to win games, not do everything humanly possible to coax less terrible player from a particular veteran.
The Blues have plenty of firepower. And as they showed when they beat Edmonton and then pinned Vancouver in their zone for the entire first period, they are not too old or to slow to win. Trouble is, they only play at the pace here and there. Against the Canucks, they buckled again after allowing two quick goals. This group lacks mental and emotional toughness, not ability.
You are right, they could afford to do that. That would have a trickle-down effect that would make each reliever truly earn his spot. I don't believe the Cardinals would be that bold, but if they DID do it that would send quite a message to the team and the rest of the division.
That's how fans think. General managers who think like that get fired and don't get second chances in the league. Tarasenko and Pietrangelo are still very good assets in the NHL. The Blues have a not-so-proud history of shipping off proven players for prospects and draft picks. Many players deemed incapable of winning here moved on from here to win the Stanley Cup elsewhere.
He is a heck of a player. And given the woeful showing by the players the Blues moved to get him, Armstrong would make that trade 1,000 times more.
Pham is one thing -- a guy who has put up numbers, when healthy, at every level -- and Voit is another. I appreciate the enthusiasm and I want nothing but the best for Luke, but we'll see if the AL East is begging him for mercy next season. As for Hamilton, I don't know that using a roster spot for a pinch-runner is a ticket to title town.
All Martinez can do is hit. And he can hit as a part-time player, which is an important skill. So if the Cardinals trade him -- and I expect they will -- they need to get back value like a reliever (Will Smith was rumored earlier) or for prospects that truly restock the system.