Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
Good question. I didn't see the need to to give Randy Arozarena some ABs this week when Thomas was already on fire. Maybe upper management read last week's chat, saw the tremendous public demand for Arozarena a promotion and decided to throw fans a bone.
Maybe a few. This has been a weird year for managers in this league. If the Nationals get to the postseason I'd go with Dave Martinez, given the high volume of injuries his team suffered. This has been quite the in-season recovery.
Against a right-hander, and with O'Neill and J. Martinez injured, I'd have Fowler in center field leading off, Edman in right field hitting second, most of the usual suspects (Goldschmidt, Ozuna, DeJong, Molina and Wong) and then Munoz over Carpenter hitting eighth.
Either he hits or he doesn't. Once again he is falling into the doesn't category and at some point somebody else has to play. Everything is magnified during a playoff chase and Carpenter has been a substandard hitter since last September. When this team gets healthier and there aren't outfield at bats for Edman and Munoz, the pressure will increase on Shildt to do something different at third base.
Most Cardinals are hitting below their expected levels. Some are a little off, some are way off. The Cardinals made their coaching shift hoping to create more clarity with messaging to the hitters, but either this big leagues will make more consistent hard contact or they won't. You can't hold a guy's hand while he's in the batter's box. As for baseball generally, we're seeing more homers due to the launch angle obsession and the juiced ball. Guys swinging for the fence has caused some batting average erosion, as have the extreme shifts. But with the Cardinals, the failure runs deeper than that with most of these hitters.
The Cardinals are thrilled that Wong is hitting as well as he is. So I believe the thought is leave him there, let him flourish and don't put anything extra on him that could knock him back into a slump. He has been their most consistent hitter since June.
Either he signs with the Blues for the available money or he goes to the KHL. Blues GM Doug Armstrong doesn't have much flexibility here. His cap space is what it is. Given the team's depth at forward, I don't believe he is sweating the KHL thing much. If Barbashev leaves the fourth line for Russia, he leaves the fourth line for Russia and the Blues can revisit him later if they choose. Armstrong knew he couldn't bring everybody back. Longer term, Barbashev is not a guy likely to get protected from the expansion draft.
There are real concerns about the core group, yes. Goldschmidt isn't the hitter he was in Arizona and Carpenter is where he is. DeJong is a No. 6 hitter who has some room to improve, but I believe we've seen his ceiling. Fowler is giving you what he has, which is below average for a right fielder. Jose Martinez has proved he is just an extra guy, albeit a handy one. That's why I would keep Ozuna if the market crashes for him, as I expect it will, so that the team can have time to sort through all the younger outfielders to see what it has.
I'd say the ceiling is an occasional 10-victory season when other SEC programs are in flux, but generally Mizzou is a low- to mid-tier bowl team in this conference, winning six to eight games a year. The top half of the league rakes in four-star recruits in bulk load year after year. I don't see Mizzou ever doing that because I don't see MU getting into the "aggressive" recruiting game that Ole Miss played for a few years there.
Again, this team has an army of forwards. MacEachern could play on the fourth line. I see Kyrou seeing regular NHL duty at some point this season, assuming he gets healthy, and I'd expect Kostin to get his first look as well.
It's early to dismiss Molina for the stretch run, given the steady job he did before getting hurt. Wieters has hit some homers, but he's also hit just .216 with runners in scoring position this season. As for Carpenter, he needs to hit, and soon, or Shildt will need to spread out some of those third base at bats. Carpenter has been consistently substandard since last September.
The Cubs are getting some relievers back and none too soon. They sent Derek Holland out to face Bryce Harper. Yikes! Holland is a guy they pulled off the pile and he got stuck in the highest of high-leverage scenarios.
I don't either team taking a huge hit there. The XFL isn't going to pull huge revenue dollars out of the market, away from the Blues and the MLS audience is different than the Cardinals audience. Maybe the Cardinals take the bigger hit from casual fans if the team is adrift in 2022.
The Yankees also have way more talent, a fact nobody would dispute.
Lance was Lance. He was always sarcastic -- about his pending free agency or anything else.. I believe the Cardinals saw some potential decline there with pitcher who relies more on his fastball than almost any other hurler. But to Lance's credit he tweaked his approach and also picked up a bit more heat this year. And, yes, the Cardinals look stupid for letting him walk. Add that to the list of bad decisions.
I said Lane would get some at bats and he did. I joked about Arozarena getting his statue -- but I also noted that he would eventually get some at bats and he did. When Jose Martinez got hurt Sunday, that opened the door for more opportunity. After what Thomas did Sunday offensively and defensively, I would have left him in the lineup. But maybe Cardinals read this chat, saw the public outcry for Arozarena decided that was the route to go.
Wacha could be a guy looking for a tryout next spring -- with either a minimal big league contract or minor league deal with a spring training invite. His extensive injury history combined with lots of bad pitching this season could push him to the edge of the market.