Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
Well, management would not blow up the team. There will be some roster flexibility with guys with minor league options, but not a lot. In that scenario, Jose Martinez would be playing a lot of outfield and Jedd Gyorko would be getting a lot more infield work. If half of your position players tank and your two very good reserve hitters also fail, then it's just not your season. The trade market won't offer much until July.
He underwent a pretty thorough test that prescribed strengthening around the joint. Could he suffer further damage as he pitches more? Sure. That is an occupational hazard, especially for guys who can get out of control with their mechanics. This is why the Cardinals have hoarded pitchers. They have 20-plus strong candidates for 12 or 13 staff slots. They are especially deep with starters.
If half of your starting position players suffer bad starts, firing the manager won't change anything. That is just a scapegoat move. In Shildt's case, he has just a half-season under his belt. The Cardinals gave Mike Matheny a good long run and that is how Bill DeWitt Jr. likes it. In Matheny's case, there were issues that build up over a period of time and management still gave him a half-season to try to resolve them.
Schenn is both a center and a wing. He isn't strong on faceoffs, but he handled the defensive responsibilities in the middle last season far better than anybody expected. Can the Blues afford to extend him beyond next season? Sure. Can they afford to extend both him and Alex Pietrangelo? That gets tougher because, as you note, Joel Edmundson is due nice coin too. If Maple Leaf Nikita Zaitsev is worth $4.5 million per year, then so is Edmundson. Joel skates OK, but if he takes the Next Step in his career it will be with his physical play. Vince Dunn is breaking out and he will be due a nice raise in a season, so GM Doug Armstrong must be careful with who he pays. He cleared space by moving out Lehtera, Berglund and Sobotka, but the Steen/Bozak dollars may not return great value in a couple of years. On the other hand, Jordan Binnington won't cost a fortune to resign and both Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson (and their $8.3 million cap hit) could exit the books after this season.
As Tom Timmermann noted on our "Net Front Presence" podcast, the issue of late with the Blues power-play has been zone entries and control. The Blues are fine once they set up, since their puck retrieval is pretty good and they have so many weapons spread over two units. Vladimir Tarasenko's goal at Minnesota was a good example of that; great work on the boards by Robert Thomas and Ryan O'Reilly created the open look for No. 91. Right now the Blues are playing so often that they don't have meaningful practice time to tinker with their special teams.
Maybe I got 9 for Machado and 8 for Harper. Manny gets the nod because left-side infield is a premium position. I mark down Harper for fielding regression and offensive inconsistency. Bryce has tons of charisma, but that doesn't get the runner home from third base with two down in the eighth inning.
OK, so Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Paul Coffey would be a crazy first unit. That would leave Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson and Charlie Huddy for the second group over the boards. Not bad.
The Cardinals have certainly been burned by their investments in middle-tier free agents, most recently Mike Leake and Dexter Fowler. They paid one-year premium for Greg Holland, an accomplished closer, and got burned there too. But right now they can find value on their payroll in Molina ($20 million), Matt Carpenter ($14.75 million) and Paul Goldschmidt ($14.5 million). All three could end up in the All-Star Game. And Andrew Miller at $11 million this season could be a nice buy. But under this ownership, the Cardinals will not build their roster with top-of-the-market free agents. As we note each week, the goal is to build the roster internally and then fill needs with trades and the occasional free-agent buy. That strategy will not change under DeWitt.
Yeah, they buzzed around pretty good and had enough chances to score. Credit Anton Khudobin for closing that game out. It could have easily been 5-4, The Blues showed some resilience. That was a positive to take from the loss.
Ah, Robert Kraft. This is embarrassing. He can expect to be the butt of many jokes. What was he thinking? Dude is megarich and he is hitting the same "spa" as the working class folks down in Florida. Why? With his dollars, he should have one of his lackeys line up something a little nicer to address whatever needs he had. Not that we're endorsing illegal activity here. Just sayin'.
Bill DeWitt Jr. is a hands-on owner. He makes the big calls and he was not interested in a 10-year, $300 million offer for Machado. Note that every other team with a real shot at the playoffs this season also passed on that price as well. Again, if you want your baseball team to sign free agents to double-digit term and hundreds of millions, then this is not the team to follow.
Trout needs to get at least $40 million per year. He is a category of one as a player. There are a lot of exciting guys coming into the game, but right now he's it.
1) Hudson, 2) Ponce de Leon and 3) Gant. Credit Gant for doing nice fill-in work last season and he could settle into a No. 5 starter role again this season if some others either get hurt or struggle. But given his developmental arc, I don't see a real high ceiling there.
You could hire, say, Jimmy Fallon to give those interviews, but the answers would be the same because the Cardinal Way is the Cardinal Way when it comes to roster construction.
The Blues finally lost a game, so here comes the speed question again. The Blues didn't look slow outshooting the Stars by a 2-to-1 margin. Nor did they look slow while beating the high-flying Maple Leafs. Nor did they look slow beating Tampa Bay or Nashville twice. And if the Blues do need more quickness up front, they can just play Fabbri and Kyrou and be done with it. Oh, and trading Pietrangelo now is a ridiculous idea.
If I had to pick nit with Pietrangelo, it would be his habit of shooting high into traffic. Other than hitting a rival player in the head, as he did Thursday, nothing good can come from such a thing. Not that we are endorsing hitting rival players in the head with the puck. Just sayin'.
I did not see that, but Harper's defensive metrics were dreadful last season and he failed to pass the eye test on effort at times. That said, it's easy for former teammates to trash a guy when they know he jilted the team and he's not coming back.
If Martinez is healthy and Wainwirght is good to go, then it would be Mikolas, Martinez, Flaherty, Wacha and Wainwright. That would leave Reyes as a potential late-inning threat and Gant as the long man waiting for his inevitable chance to fill in.
Fans are way more concerned about the taking-a-knee thing.