Your're right. Management flunked the first half of the season and flushed out a manager with a career .555 winning percent -- and THEN made the needed roster changes. And there is no award for Midseason Comeback Executive of the Year.
Sure, Bradford could have walked away earlier. But he wanted to keep getting paid and, amazingly, he has kept getting paid. Sam is a great guy, but he has never been a great quarterback -- even when healthy -- and yet he's been paid like a Hall of Famer in his career.
I'll take DeJong over Machado all day defensively at shortstop. But as noted earlier, it's always possible the Cardinals could acquire a great defensive shortstop and slide DeJong over.
There are few shutdown closers. They're up, they're down and they're hurt. The Norris/Hicks tag team has worked fine down the stretch and the Cardinals could take a group approach to the late innings next season, given all the arms in the organization.
It could happen. Patrick is still in a tough spot, given his age and the team's current crowding on the infield.
The Blues were very good at shot suppression last season, so some of the heat Jake took last season was justified. He had two terrible starts back to back that gave Hutton is chance to run with the job, then later in the season Allen failed to finish off a good late streak. So, yes, he must find consistency this season or his days as the No. 1 here will end.
Mike tended to protect veterans, yes, but he also put young guys in prime position on teams that won postseason series. So I'm guessing Wainwright would have won a tie for a spot under Matheny, but I doubt Mike would take him over a younger player who starred in high-pressure, late-season games.
There is no reason not to look at Leone at least in low-leverage scenarios come September. He could still be a long-term asset and next month the team can have a massive bullpen.
No, it's Nashville's to lose. Or maybe it's Winnipeg's to lose.Both team are still better.
They will remain competitive in the NL Central with no changes because this team, as constructed now, is tearing it up. We always talk about one more impact bat or maybe a slick shortstop to slide DeJong over, but otherwise this team should be just fine. Add Reyes to the pitching mix. Bring Wacha back to the rotation. Get Martinez back to the rotation. Get Ozuna's shoulder stronger. That could be something.
Sure, it would have been nice to see Matheny get to manage the same team Shildt got. But as the guys around the team every day note, there is a better vibe with the group. Matheny let the negative stuff get to him. That made him tight. A tight manager can make everybody more tight.
No, DeWitt, Mozeliak and Co. flunked. And they proved that by purging the bullpen of failures. Fowler is $50 million of deaf money. Fortunately for Shildt, he got hurt. As for Matheny's failure to make good use of young players, history tells us Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness, Kolten Wong, Matt Adams, Randal Grichuk, Oscar Tavares, Stephen Piscotty et al did well on previous teams and DeJong, Hicks, Flaherty, Weaver and so forth have done well for him more recently. Matheny was far more receptive to young players than Tony La Russa was. That started in spring training, when the kids worked side by side with veterans rather than in segregated groups. So this belief that some how Matheny was hard on kids is baffling.
No, I think he'll play next season. He has been diminished for a while now but the guy battles on.
Yes, there is a bit of gap behind these guys. That is why John Mozeliak made a series of moves to add Double-A and Triple-A talent to the organizational chart. Backfill!
IF the Cubs are hitting, sure, the Cubs could be the better team in a short series where the back end of that rotation and the middle of the bullpen wouldn't be as big of a factor. Ah, but will the Cubs get it together at the plate? And could the lesser pitching depth knock that team into the play-in game? I am not predicting that, but it could happen.
Mikolas is the sure thing, of course. If Wacha is healthy and pitching like Wacha, that is two. Flaherty looks like the No. 3. After that . . . who knows. The team will sort that out between now and October.
Haven't seen him lately. Apparently he was double-parking in the PGA gallery, but he's had time to hit the Stairmaster.
No, the reason front office changed the roster after the managerial change was that the team was still lacking. You could argue that they waited because they didn't want the team to improve under Matheny, thus forcing them to keep him as manager. Matheny won a lot of games playing kids, in the field, in the rotation and in the bullpen. That said, as noted earlier, Matheny let all the negativity get to him and there is no doubt that his tightness left the team tight. And message fatigue is a thing.
I don't see Albert playing out the whole contract for the money, but he has done enough this year to keep going -- unless his body tells him he just can't do it.
I think we agree on some things. I would have liked to see Matheny manage the new roster. Maybe the struggle would have continued, maybe not. But usage of young players complaint aside, there were reasons to make a change and the change has paid off.
OK, it's been a spirited three hours! Glad to get some serious disagreements for a change. Thanks for all the debate today. That's what makes this thing more fun. Until next time people, have a great weekend.