Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
The Nationals have Trea Turner at shortstop and he is one of the elite players in the game. If you put DeJong at third base or second base, his offense is unremarkable. As for the idea of trading long-term assets for immediate help, there just isn't much left to trade. Thanks to earlier trade depletion and various injury setbacks, the Cardinals don't have a whole lot to shop. You mentioned the top few, but there just isn't a whole lot on the horizon for this team. Other franchises will be better positioned to go big-game hunting.
That's fair. Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk got hurt because he was trying to bail out on a hit and he put himself in an awkward, vulnerable position. Beyond Zdeno Chara, there wasn't much side or physical toughness on that blue line. And winger Brad Marchand made some epic mistakes on the backcheck, including his whiff on Jaden Schwartz before exiting the ice and letting Alex Pietrangelo walk in for the crucial second Game 7 goal.
Gut feeling is he gets more money elsewhere and leaves for financial security. This team has salary cap constraints and plenty of depth up front. Calgary is among his bidders. The Blues' playoff run raised the value of big, strong, physical puck-possession wingers.
There will be a bit of evolution with that roster. Like I just noted, Maroon could get more money elsewhere. Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou could play bigger roles once they fully recover from their wrist and knee surgeries respectively. Zach Sanford and Sammy Blais will get to push for bigger roles. Klim Kostin could get his first look. On defense, I like rangy Niko Mikkola's potential. I would expect him to get his first look at some point this season.
The Cardinals are caught in the middle. They are good enough to hang in the playoff race again this season, especially with the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers struggling with their own issues. But they aren't one key player away from making a deep playoff run, nor are they so old and so bad that they need to start over. I see Mozeliak and Co. making some midseason adjustments as they usually do, but with their stockpile of arms depleted and their lack of blue-chip position player prospects, I don't see them achieving a massive upgrade.
Joel Edmundson is an interesting case. Once again he is a restricted free agent up for a contract. But this time he is coming off on an uneven season. Had he earned a regular Top 4 role, he could have been looking at five years and $20 million to $25 million. But he was up and down the lineup -- and in and out of the lineup -- so his value to this team is much smaller than that. So, yes, he could move into play as early as this summer. Let's see where his contract talks go and what happens with Jordan Binnington, who could eat a big chunk of the remaining dollars. We know that Oskar Sundqvist and Ivan Barbashev are going to get nice raises after taking a big step forward this season, so economics could factor into this.
Mike's comments were cringeworthy. Yes, the Cardinals cleaned up their fielding with hard work and the addition of Paul Goldschmidt to save bad throws toward first base. Yes, Shildt has done a nice job of putting runners in motion while also improving stolen base efficiency. But this is a .500 team three months into the season and management standards are much higher than that. I'm sure Bill DeWitt Jr. knows that significant attendance decline looms for this franchise if things don't change.
Making a seismic trade won't be easy given the dearth of trade chips in the minor and a big league roster jammed with players performing below their career norms. The Cardinals paid big prices to get Marcell Ozuna and Paul Goldschmidt. I don't know that they have the pieces needed to make another trade of that level.
They won't have the cap room to add Kessel. And then there is this: I imagine Craig Berube would rather smash his head into the glass again and again and again and again than having to fit Kessel into his team chemistry. There is no need to make The Chief wear the crimson mask.
C, for the reasons already discussed.
I do think it will come to that. This team is especially hard to watch offensively. Sometimes hours pass with nothing happening. Shildt is doing everything he can to create a better product, but the players will either perform or they won't.
The Blues can't play during the regular season the way they did in the postseason. The league won't allow it -- most of those hits would have brought penalties -- and the players couldn't sustain it. But the Blues can certainly stick to their basic premise of working cycles down low on offense with four effective forward lines and preventing opposing cycles in their own zone with their army of tall and persistent defensemen.
No, the Cardinals don't spend very top dollars on players. They offered $200 million to Pujols and they offered pretty big money to David Price, gut this franchise will never set contract records as long as Bill DeWitt Jr. owns it. That said, there are many ways to build a winner. Lately, the Cardinals have made more bad trades than good trades. And their overall record with international signings is not impressive. They've had some good drafts, but they've traded away some of their better picks.
There are a LOT of decent outfielders out there. And given the way the free agent marketplace crashed last winter, I could see Ozuna's value falling right into range for the Cardinals. I'm sure the dollars you mention would start the conversation.
No, for the reasons already discussed.
Klim Kostin, of course. With his size and chippiness, he could be a nice fit for a Berube-coached team. And there is still some scoring upside there. Winger Alexey Toropchenko is a rangy winger with some skill and plenty of potential to fill out. Winger Dominik Bokk, last year's top pick, is highly skilled. He should be a Top 6 guy in a few years. And little Scott Perunovich is a deft puck-moving defenseman.
As I always remind people, Bill DeWitt Jr. is heavily involved in all major baseball decisions. And he really, really, really likes to make his changes from within. He wants to grow executives and field staff just as the team grows players. It would be his call to make a seismic change in the front office -- and such a change would have to include him taking a fresh view of things too.
Right now, Yairo Munoz can blame Tommy Edman for making the most of his spot starts and recent pinch-hitting appearances. But I'm a Munoz fan so I feel your angst.
I really haven't covered high school sports. But I must say the most comical thing I've seen is watching high school kids trying to guard Bradley Beal. Thanks for coming! On the female side of things, Kristin Folkl was utterly ridiculous.