OK, we're hear to talk stuff. As they like to say at the local fair dunk tank, "Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?"
Well, just because a guy is a successful high school football doesn't mean he would be a great recruiter. Yes, he knows the landscape -- but a really good recruiter in a territory knows the landscape even better. Also, can he become a great position coach and help the staff? This is not the equivalent of a great summer league basketball coach who has a history of working with the top players from across the region.
I believe a bigger problem is that he was a platoon guy for a huge chunk of the season. His defensive runs saved stat will get the attention of a lot of folks, but the fact he was in and out of the lineup under Matheny could be a big negative. But . . . a big finish with the Cardinals in the playoff race spotlight could help overcome that.
Several things happened. Subtracting ineffective players helped immensely. Reducing some roster cluster helped, since players spent less time guessing if they would play. The firing of Matheny signaled a reset for everyone, which eases tension. And give Shildt big-time credit for opening up more constructive communication. This managerial change went as well as possible.
That will depend on Wacha's comeback and how everybody else is pitching Sept. 1. The pitching scenario is fluid and it will remain fluid, thanks to looming roster expansion. Shildt will have lots of good options next month. He could use six starters, for instance, and spread guys out. Or he could give somebody like Jack Flaherty a break if at some point fatigue became a concern.
It was notable that Munoz saw outfield time in the minors while on his comeback. That set the stage for giving Ozuna a break. O'Neil will see outfield time while Ozuna is out, but so will Munoz -- who has been a nice offensive asset.
For September, four or five innings might suffice most nights. They will have two relievers for each starter given the roster expansion. What a luxury!
Bouwmeester and Gunnarsson are $8 million-plus coming off the books. Maybe Maroon gets $3 million per to $4 million if all goes well. But with Alex Pietrangelo and Joel Edmundson getting bigger money down the road, too, the team won't be able to keep everybody for the long haul. As with most teams, something will have to give at some point.
Make the playoffs, yes. Win the division? Still a heavy lift. But if they can win the Rockies series against a hot Colorado team, the Cubs will take full notice of that. Can Joe Maddon get that team back on a consistent offensive track? Will the pitching hold up? It appears the Cardinals certainly have enough to pressure them to see if they crack.
Munoz can play some outfield with Ozuna out. Gyorko has been fine. Will Shildt start Adams here and there and play Carpenter at third base? That is another option for the stretch run. Carpenter's defensive stats at third base weren't horrible, despite how bad his arm looked on some plays.
Again, they have enough to apply pressure. But Maddon has been careful not to push his guys too hard this year. He can still go to the whip if he has to.
There are many options. Wisdom played great as a fill-in, but he wasn't on the 40-man roster until late. Now that Adams is here, is Wisdom blocked? On the pitching side, Gallegos is on the 40-man roster and he could go. So could Greene, who has shown some promise after coming onto the roster. But is there any interest in using either at the big league level in September? Gonzalez is a guy the team would like to keep away from the Rule 5 draft but there may not be a way. I believe the Cards could drop one guy, promote the injured Sherriff from Memphis, then stick Sherriff on the 60-day disabled list to reopen that roster spot.
Yeah, 20 more victories ought to get them in the wild card play-in game anyway. As for catching the Cubs, don't be surprised if that team has one big winning streak left.
Nolan Gorman quick adaptation to pro ball impacts the long-term picture there. If the Cardinals believe he can play third base, the front office might not want to block him for the long-term. Might the team go for a stopgap? Perhaps. But Gyorko has held up OK and Munoz intrigues. What if the team can add a slick defensive shortstop and move DeJong to third base with Gorman eyeing first base down the road? Given what's out there at third base, that might be an option.
Carpenter's MVP pace is certainly helped by the team's push. This has been a down year for big-name players and what this team has done has drawn lots of attention. A few weeks back I didn't see Carpenter as MVP, but the team just kept winning.
Yeah, but now the Cardinals are in the heads of both Kershaw and Jansen. I would agree generally with that, but Clayton might flinch when he sees Carpenter leading off. And look! Adams is back! Of those teams, Colorado is probably playing the best. We'll see more about that potential matchup this weekend.
Whether the team acknowledged it or not, the shoulder issue was obvious all along. I found it interesting the team shut him down now, given the solid offensive production he was providing. I know roster management and the pending roster expansion played into that, but Ozuna has been pretty helpful at the plate this month. As for his throwing arm, it hasn't been there all year. Maybe the really believes 10 days rest will make things somewhat better. I'd be surprised.
I'll take the over, slightly. That assumes they can step on teams like Detroit, Washington and San Francisco.
Second base is set with Wong. He is elite defensively, under contract forever and proving capable at the plate. Arenado would be nice if he would sign an extension here, otherwise that is a costly rental. And I see almost no chance on Harper given the crazy dollars he can command.