There are many reasons for that. Which had discussed them week after week. Slow pace of place, lack of actual action, general failure of the sport to appear to younger fans . . . the game is not in a good place. It's a home run derby, with guys striking out, walking or launching homers with their optimal launch angle. They aren't playing baseball any more.
Colorado has some excellent young talent and a chance to add more in this draft. If Philipp Grubauer is a legit goaltender, I could see Erik Johnson and Co. making a run.
There are no easy comparisons for Binnington and contracts are based on comparisons. Matt Murray got three years at $3.75 million per year. Given his subsequent injuries and inconsistency that worked out about right. Does Binnington do something like that? Does he go shorter, bet on himself and then aim for top dollar if he stars? This could go a number of ways, depending on whether Jordan values security or is willing to take some risk for potentially much greater reward. As for Allen, I have advocated keeping him for at least one of his remaining two contract years as insurance, but that cost could be too high if Binnington gets paid for real.
After passing on the two big free agents who were just sitting there, the Cardinals could look to the Giants or Indians to add pitching if those teams go into fire sales. As for the offense, like you say the team is pinned in. With giant dollars committed to Matt Carpenter, there is no way to go for, say, Edwin Encarnacion.
This is a real dilemma. The management made its bed with some of these contracts. It has committed to an everyday lineup that does not click. The management has had to eat a LOT of money in recent years, so what is the appetite for more of that to shake things up? Also, there is no near-term offensive catalysts in development, unless you count Tommy Edman. And going down the road, it appears there will be fewer and fewer elite players hitting free agency in their prime. Nolan Arenado jumped off the market, then Mike Trout did the same. So the Cardinals need to develop their next offensive catalysts or else.
We will hear about more medical stuff going forward. But the fact that everybody at the NHL level was available to at least try to play at the end is encouraging.
John Gant did OK as a starter last season. He has been special in relief this season, so he needs to stay there. The real shame is having Carlos Martinez stuck in middle relief and Alex Reyes struggling to regain command in the minors. Those were supposed to be two big pieces of an outstanding pitching staff.
He is still really young. As the league adjusts to him, he has to adjust. In the process of doing that he has struggled with his command. These last two starts were a mess.
Clearly the Cardinals got burned by signing a pricey free-agent reliever, Greg Holland, who missed spring training. Mozeliak admitted the front office would think twice before doing that again. Beyond that, Kimbrel's playoff struggle, declining velocity and eroded command last season were flags as well. Apparently his workouts went well, but that often doesn't translate. But this was a good gamble for the Cubs because they print money -- so cost shouldn't be a deterrent -- and their bullpen was decimated. Joe Maddon was picking names out of a hat to close games.
No idea on that, given the crashing free-agent marketplace and the glut of outfielders kicking around baseball. Then you throw in his age, which impacts contract length, and his injury history. The going rate for a pretty good veteran player is $15 million to $20 million-plus per year, but I haven't studied the market enough to see where Ozuna should fit in.
Both could be a long, long time. But obviously the Blues are closer since most of that team will return.
Before the season? I thought this was a playoff team. Midseason I couldn't figure out whey they were not winning with that talent. At the start of the playoffs I believed they had a chance to make a run. After the way the first round played across the league, I thought they could win the Cup. And as I wrote in Tipsheet and said on the Net Front Presence podcast before Game 7, the Blues were in their comfort zone for that one. I liked their chances. It was the perfect set-up for this team's mindset.
Do we need to do a welfare check on Hullie? I will ask around tomorrow if I don't see him. He could be one of the many alums pushing the limits of human endurance with their Cup partying. And why not?
Third goal. The 2-0 lead is precarious. Binnington kicks out his leg to make an incredible save, then the Blues scored their third goal. That was a sledgehammer to the gut for the Bruins.
Is DeWitt eager to pay him every last penny of that contract to go away? No he is not. Dexter was hitting OK earlier this season so hope is not lost on him, but he is one of the many nagging offensive problems for this team.
Of course, the Cardinals are always trying to get something good for the players they trade. The front office is not just trying to clear clutter. But as I've written, this franchise has lost its personnel touch. Many ex-Cardinals are flourishing elsewhere and many current Cardinals are scuffling here.
There has been some overestimating. There have also been some guys suffering dramatic fall-offs, failure that's on them, not their coaches or their management. And there have been injuries, especially last season with the offense and pitching this season. Add it up and this team is falling well short of ownership expectations, so it will be interesting to see what happens if the Cardinals don't stage a Blues-like reversal.
As Armstrong noted after Game 7, he's not as dumb as he looked in midseason and he's not as smart as he looked today. The players turned this thing around, led by Craig Berube and Jordan Binnington. Now those two are going to get big, big raises.
The goaltending market is weird. There could be some pretty good veterans hitting the bricks with few teams bidding on them, which would create a tough trade market for a guy like Allen. Might Columbus show interest after Sergei Bobrovsky signs elsewhere? Brodeur is on the business side with the Devils, not so much the hockey side, but he might put a word in for him. Cory Schneider finished well for the Devils, so there is still hope there after he finally recovered from hip surgery. And he has three years at $6 million per left on his contract.