So how will fans in the STL respond if Maddon gets the short haircut in Chicago -- thus becoming available -- and the Cardinals miss the playoffs again?
Right now the MLB product is not great. Many teams have been losing on purpose and the games have become to watch. Add a work stoppage to that and you could see real damage. The ball is juiced this year and are fans thrilled? The periodic homers spice up games, but otherwise many of these contests are hard to watch.
Again, Bill DeWitt Jr. is heavily involved in these decisions. He favors continuity and longevity with his staff. And through 11 consecutive winning seasons, the team has remained in the playoff hunt almost that entire time. That builds a GM lots of equity, especially when his performance is compared to what rival franchises have done during that period. Certainly the franchise faces big challenges now for the reasons I've written about extensively. If this team doesn't rally this summer, it will be interesting to see if DeWitt looks outside the organization for new ideas. And would he be willing to step back from the process himself?
The only Cardinals regular who has hit consistently to his level this season is Yadier Molina. And he's been hurt. Marcell Ozuna came close to his previous level for stretches this season, but he's hurt. Everybody else has suffered prolonged slumps. So does moving Fowler or Wong up in the order change things? Munoz and Edman have had nice flashes, but are they team changers? It's not the order of the batters, it's the across-the-board failure of key hitters that has hurt this team.
That sounds about right for Petro. And he's earned it.
You would like to think the Cardinals would have better options for next year. Wainwright has done OK this year, exceeding the expectations of most, but he's certainly not a guy the franchise can count on for 2020.
Again, most every key Cardinal hitter is either hurt or mired in a long, long slump. Maybe Tommy Edman really is the second coming of Rogers Hornsby, but there just aren't a lot of compelling choices here.
Sure, the same who kept the team in the hunt 11 years in a row when other teams were losing hundreds of games on purpose to rebuild. That that Cardinals went that long without losing steam is amazing, At some point, a bunch of stuff was due to go wrong. And it did.
The top players are getting crazy money in the NHL. The league has great competitive balance, which is great for business overall. Pro hockey has never been healthier, nor better for the players. There is no reason to strike.
I would expect Ponce de Leon to get some chances this season. I am not sure he has enough weapons to be a high-end starter, but he will have a career. The Cardinals need Flaherty to take the lead and, yes, they need Alex Reyes to rise up from the ashes.
DeJong is hitting .175 with runners in scoring position and .138 with RISP and two out. He hit .200, .218 and .227 in the last three months. That's terrible.
Yeah, and so is Adron Chambers.
I believe Schenn can get more than that on the market, so I would not be surprised to see him chase that after next season. Maybe he could cut the Blues a break on an extension to stick around, but Pietrangelo is the bigger priority and we still need to see what Binnington gets.
Well, they are making less money than they did before. Call that what you want.
That could be an outdoor concert venue as well. As for the XFL . . . whatever. Maybe someday we'll have the McMahonDome with a retractable roof.
Sundqvist would sell himself short in a four-year deal. He could make some nice coin down the road as a No. 3 center. On a team full of pleasant surprises, he was right up there behind Binnington.
Cam Ward is dreadful and Corey Crawford has chronic concussion issues. Lehner did some good work in Buffalo, too, on terrible teams. I see a huge upgrade there for the Blackhawks in goal. Dallas added a 30-goal scorer in Pavelski who can win draws and balance up the top two lines more so than Mats Zuccarello could. Perry is a big upgrade for a supporting cast that got nothing from Nichushkin and little from Spezza. Duchene for Subban in Nashville is a great example of dealing from surplus to fill a need. The one team I haven't liked on this side of the league is Minnesota -- I can't figure out what Paul Fenton is doing there. That team needs to go with kids and start over.
He has the vitality, but is he so inclined? He sells 40,000 tickets a game and for all of our bashing, his team is in the hunt again. Mistakes have been made, for sure, but they have been made by a front office that outperformed rival franchises this decade.