That's a contributing factor, but not a leading factor. The driving part of this decision is the Cardinals' wish to get Hicks on a routine, on a set schedule. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol remarked today how the team has tried different proactive approaches for Hicks' health. They had him on a schedule where if he warmed up and did not pitch, he was still unavailable that next day. If he pitched two innings, he was out for the next two days. And if they planned to push him to three innings, he would be out for three days. At that point, they started to think about what it would like if he was on a starter's five-day schedule, and whether that would be best for his arm, best for his performance, and best use of his talent. That's how they got here, and then, yes, having a 28-man roster and the ability to put Andre Pallante in middle relief and Ryan Helsley at setup frees up Hicks for the starter spot. They are eager to see how his arm responds to the regular schedule, and that's the biggest reason for this move. Oh, and they can dream a little on the 102-mph sinker greeting a hitter in the first and fourth innings.
That is correct. The Arch in the grass can be difficult to maintain through the course of the season due to the weather and traffic on the grass. They don't want to weaken the grass during the summer months by carving the pattern into it that might make that possible.
And a state holiday in Pennsylvania, home of the Pirates. Go figure.
As detailed earlier, they are making a big bet on the scheduling aspect of this. They think getting him on a schedule when he knows he's going to pitch and then he can spend the middle days on maintenance and recovery that it will work out better for him and healthier for his arm and still productive for the Cardinals. It's going to be a tricky thing to balance. And I asked Marmol about whether they need him to go about 40 pitches, 60 pitches, or 80 pitches by the end of the month when the roster shrinks to 13 pitches, and he said the goal then has to be four innings from Hicks, at least.
Yes, Albert Pujols is set for at least one start at DH in the coming week. That's on the schedule, and it would no be a surprise to see him get two. This past week ...well, the starting rotation was thin in its contributions to the team, honestly. Outside of Adam Wainwright's superb six scoreless innings, the other two starters combined to throw less than necessary for a club already down a starter (Flaherty) and committed to a short-burst starter (Hicks) with a long reliever to follow. The lack of innings from the starters can have a cascade effect, and it puts a heavy ask on Dakota Hudson to cover innings so that the Cardinals don't run thin on relief headed into a four-game series at Milwaukee -- during which Wainwright will not pitch. That's a classic case of losing a series before it starts because of the bind the pitchers put the bullpen in. Is it early? Yes. Are starters coming off of a short spring and experiencing these issues elsewhere in baseball? Yes. Does this all seem familiar to what the Cardinals dealt with a year ago ... Absolutely.
Woodford pitched well in spring. Woodford handled long relief well on Sunday. Would not be a surprise if Woodford eventually makes some starts in that fifth spot. Or, that by the end of April he's thrown more innings than Hicks for the Cardinals. And innings are one measure of how well a pitcher has thrown.
Yes. They did before spring training. Ponce de Leon is now with Seattle. (He was with the Angels). Carlos Martinez is with the San Francisco Giants, though not on the major-league roster.
The designated hitter exists now in the NL, so yes. When his bat is ready, there will be a place for his bat.
I think the list is shorter than that. Goldschmidt would be on it, though. He's a strong baserunner, part of the Cardinals' improvement on the bases, and he's selectively aggressive like you describe. Helps that Carlson knows that play because he's been asked to make that play, too. Tough error for him Sunday. He didn't deserve the error. Let's see MLB adopt a team error so that a thing like that doesn't ding the fielder who did everything right.
I do not know. He broke in a new glove this spring. I did not ask what happened to the previous one. Miss on my part, clearly.
No more than any other agent, honestly. Scott Boras likes his clients to get to free agency. But they don't all get there. Kyle Lohse was tired of free agency and wanted an extension with the Cardinals and got it. Other Boras clients have signed extensions during the arbitration years, and yes some include free agent years.
Depends on the deal, honestly. I'm sure we could dream up some trades that the Cardinals would be willing to trade one of those players to pull off. Depends entirely on the return. They're not going to move any of those four or really Winn and a handful of others for a short-term addition that isn't a guarantee or a clear improvement.
Sure seems like they're going to talk in the neighborhood of 40-50. That seems reasonable. Other teams manage the catcher spot in that same way. About the only guarantee is that Knizner won't catch Wainwright until the Molina-Wainwright duo have set the MLB record for starts by a battery. On Wednesday, vs. KC, that will be No. 306.
Dakota Hudson with Jordan Hicks in relief.
I am willing to see if they prove me wrong. I think it's still a fair question.
Would that be ... Molina, Pujols, Wainwright, Arenado, and Goldschmidt? That's an interesting premise. Molina and Pujols are in. Arenado is on his way. Wainwright has a case that grows stronger with each year, and it will be fascinating if he takes aim at 200 wins this season or next and how that heightens his Cooperstown resume. I will repeat: He's going to be in the Hall of Fame. He'll either get there as a player or, if he chooses to pursue the career, as a broadcaster. Goldschmidt is definitely an interesting fifth there. First base is a rigorous position when it comes to the offensive demands expected of a Hall of Famer. As of right now, on the Hall of Fame monitor, he comes shy. He is compared at his age to Derrek Lee, the Cubs' former first baseman. And we've all see the trouble that Fred McGriff has had getting support for the Hall of Fame. (He should be in.) Goldschmidt could hit his 300th home run this season, and he will surpass 1,600 hits. Does he need to get to 400 and 2,000 to really generate momentum for support? I could see how the conversation about him and around him compares to the one we're having now about Wainwright. How long will he continue to pitch? What number is he going to surpass to really generate the support?
Well, he might pinch-hit for Edman depending on the situation and the opposing pitcher. That's one possibility, given how the Cardinals' bench is set. But you're right -- for the most part it's a three-headed DH and that's how this is all set up, on purpose, with the roster.