Bobo's here, looks like we have some ballplayers. Let's go!
I am a big "sign Ozuna" guy, although his hitting in the last week hasn't made much of a case for that. My point is that Dexter Fowler and Jose Martinez aren't going to be around forever, so there is room for these young outfielders doing forward. But I can easily see the Cardinals seeing this your way. This team does have a lot of outfielders. Lane Thomas showed well, Randy Arozarena is at least good enough to play in the big leagues, Tyler O'Neill has real power and then there is the boy wonder, Dylan Carlson. Of course, if the Cardinals pass on Ozuna after the big trade price they paid to get him, they sure better spend that money on real pitching help.
Wacha has done a nice job lately, but the Cardinals need the 18-4 Mikolas to show up this month or else the team might not have to worry about their playoff rotation. Miles has had a good start, then an OK start lately. Once the Cardinals get past Pittsburgh, the schedule gets much tougher and the pitching will sort itself out one way or another. Flaherty and Hudson have been great, but the other three haven't been consistently good enough to inspire great confidence.
You would hope the Cardinals do better the next time they try to reduce their outfield clutter. But it seems unlikely that Garcia (great power, too many whiffs) and Williams (turned pro in 2013, just one MLB game) have. much trade value. Williams was great down the stretch for Memphis, but he has been kicking around the minors for 2,261 at bats.
I don't believe the Cardinals set out to stand pat at the trade deadline. They encountered a weird market with fewer teams selling than expected and a lot of mediocrity being offered a high prices. Trading away a potential key asset for a middling stopgap pitcher was probably the best Mozeliak could have done. I still wonder if the Cardinals can get to the finish line with the pitching they currently have, but I can understand why they ended up hoping for internal solutions.
What validated the Cardinals approach was their fielding good teams while the Cubs were losing 400 games in four years. The Cardinals don't ever want to lose 400 games in four years. That the Cubs may not get a dynasty from their tank-and-rebuild gambit does reinforce the argument against that approach.
Somebody needs to be the regular pinch-hitter and that is not an easy job. Putting a younger player in that spot is usually a bad idea, although Lane Thomas handled it fairly well. Martinez could have value moving forward in 2020 in that role while a younger outfielder plays every day at Memphis instead.
It seems pretty clear that the Cardinals will either get a one-game playoff with Washington (very bad!) or a NLDS against the Braves (not as bad.) And it goes without saying that they don't want the wild card route because an upset of the Nationals would send them against the Dodgers.
Those seven games in 10 days will be something. If the Cubs have their swagger back -- and it's trending that way -- they are a handful in that park. A lot of teams have looked bad playing them in Wrigley Field this season.
I wrote a column on that topic earlier in the week. That was a real missed opportunity to sustain momentum for both ticket sales and recruiting. Odom will rally the guys like he always does and he will win some games this season, but that meltdown was a big setback for a program still in teh building mode. Maybe my biggest concern is that you couldn't tell which team was the SEC team on the field. The lack of four-star recruits was glaring. Can Odom ever get to the Next Level with his recruiting? And don't me started on the Xs and Os. The Tigers had all summer to get ready for what Wyoming does and you saw the result.
If he wins 17 or 18 games, that is really something in today's game. But Flaherty is the better pitcher by a fair amount.
There is no mystery to what Hendricks does. He is going to pull the string on you. The Cardinals have endless video of him carving each of their hitters up. You would like to think they could adjust, right?
Fowler has been OK this season, but if he is setting the bar for the outfield production this team is in trouble. That is why I have not jumped off the Ozuna bandwagon. Counting on some combination of Bader, O'Neill, Thomas, Arozarena and Carlson produce strong MLB numbers in two outfield spots is a big gamble. Meanwhile, Pham and Grichuk are pounding homers elsewhere . . .
Well, this team has more offense than last year's team with different faces. Goldschmidt, Fowler and Edman weren't there last season and Wong wasn't hitting like this. Last year's fade didn't team the team anything, but it did convince management to add another impact hitter.
That would seem to make sense, because it's never too early to start marketing. Not sure if the MLS has a philosophy on the timing of the name/logo rollout in advance of the team's debut.
As long as Edman plays like he has played, Carpenter will have to fill in here and there and pinch-hit. Shildt is managing every game like it's a playoff game. And, in a sense, that's the case with the Cardinals trying to outrun the Cubs for the division title.
I look at this year's bullpen and I see lots of signs of strain still. Hicks didn't make it through the year. Gant hit a rough patch in the face of heavy usage and now it's Gallegos' turn. Also, Martinez pitched four games in a row. Shildt works the matchup game as aggressively as Matheny did. So when a team goes on the roll like this one did, the top relievers get beat up. That's just the nature of the job. All a team can do is load up the bullpen will all high-leverage guys, something I push for annually but something we never quite see.