If Stillman was going to fire Armstrong, I'm guessing that would have already happened. Like you say, give the new guy a chance to hire the new coach. Since Armstrong is still on the job, that indicates that he is leading the coaching search. And if he makes that change now, he is limiting his pool of candidates. Then again, if he makes a big trade before changing coaches, maybe he will move a guy who could have responded well to the next coach. So that's the argument for hiring the next coach before making a big change. Add all of this up and you can see what sort of pressure Armstrong is under.
Going back to my student days (ancient times), then I will go Willie Smith almost shooting Missouri past Michigan and into the Final Four.
Baseball has changed. It's all about launch angle and the long ball. The terrible Royals appear to be adding speed to have some fun next season, but they will be the outlier. Most other teams will be striking out and hitting homers. I agree that this isn't much to watch, but this is where the whole sport is now.
Bill Bidwill had no standing in the St. Louis business community, which was an old-money fraternity at that time. And he had the same problem when he went to Arizona. Bill was a nice enough guy. He meant no harm. But he was just a doofus who fell into a team and that's how important people tended to treat him.
In sports, all you can do is make decisions for the best reasons and with the best information you have. Sometimes smart decisions yield bad results and sometimes stupid decisions work out great, thanks to dumb luck. All team management can do is stick with its methodology and operate with consistency. Like Tony La Russa always said, "men not machines."
As noted earlier, adding one more strong reliever would get the Cardinals closer to that target. That would force the returning veterans to pitch well enough to fend off the young arms for a job. And that would allow the young arms more time to develop. Win-win! Build a surplus and let nature run their course.
No, I said if you trade those guys, get real value in return. Those two players, plus Parayko, have special value. Schenn, Schwartz, Edmundson, Dunn, Bortuzzo . . . there are plenty of other prime-age guys to shop as well. I don't see why any of these guys are untouchable. Just don't be stupid and trade Chris Pronger for Eric Brewer Plus Two Stiffs.
The Blues have employed about 4,761 former Cup winners in the past, hoping that somehow that will lift the group to greatness. And every single one of those former Cup winners failed to do the job. Mike Keenan jammed a bunch of Cup-winning Oilers into the Blues dressing room and we saw how that ended.
You might want to see how they pitch first.
Maybe, just maybe, the Padres have finally had their fill. It's a shame what that franchise did to Allen Cordoba, derailing his development with a Rule 5 claim. They stuck him in the big leagues before he even reached the Class A level. Not surprisingly, he didn't hit in limited duty for the Padres in 2017 and he didn't hit last season in the low minors.
There is too much money in the industry for that. It's tough to get to the big leagues, but once guys really establish themselves they get lifetime financial security. So, yeah, sometimes they don't like the hungriest guys out on the field.
There are no individuals on this team that are so troublesome that the team should just pay them to go home. The problem is the group performance. So the team has to hire a new coach and alter the team nucleus through constructive trades -- not by angrily dumping guys and getting little or nothing in return.
Goaltender will be the top priority for sure. And Bobrobsky will be the top guy on the market. That will be Armstrong's second big call, in addition to his coaching hire. Since the Blues will have cap concerns even without those two defensemen, an aggressive offseason would mean moving key guys from this nucleus for a good return.
If I could only learn to take columns the other way instead of trying to pull them through the shift . . .
This team has to trade talent for talent, not talent for a speedy third-line winger, a late first-round draft pick and some 19-year-old import who must adjust to life without lutefisk for lunch. And that is hard to do. Most of the trade proposals NHL insiders pitch for the Blues are cringe-worthy.
If the Blues can trade for a Cup winner who can actually play well and help the team, great. Adding a guy to tell war stories and let teammates fondle his Cup ring won't cut it. Here is what a Cup winner can tell a team that hasn't won a Cup: "You have to play as hard as you possible can every single shift for two months to win the Cup. Any questions?" Teams organically get better and better and better as they go through the playoffs . . . or they don't. David Perron can hold a seminar on how the Vegas Golden Knights played for the Cup last season as an expansion team. Their ascension was one of the great team stories of all time. So how is Perron's amazing experience lifting the Blues this season?
The Cardinals are already a legit contender. Depending on the price they would have to pay for Kluber, that could make them even stronger. But this team already has impressive starting pitching competition.
Toe Blake. Lonnie Smith. I hear you.
Actually, I believe the guy Nick Krypreos wanted to make the centerpiece of the Pietrangelo trade was Andreas Johnsson. That's like getting Eddy Beers as a key piece for Joey Mullen.