Somebody from the outside will have to be brought in--perhaps with more starting success in the majors lately than LeBlanc, who may be a good seat-filler for a while. I would bring up Liberatore and take my chances.
Molina has played more (and Knizner less) lately than I thought would happen. A good time to rest him would be tomorrow night with a day game coming up the next day and Martinez pitching. Knizner has caught Martinez several times although the pair's last couple of outings have been rough, including that 11-run first inning in Los Angeles. As for what's gone wrong--pitching and hitting--everybody should share in the blame, from the front office down to the bench players.
I like Carlson hitting first, Goldschmidt second and Arenado third. Ultimately, I would like to see DeJong at four again but he hasn't proven he's quite ready for that. O'Neill should stay at cleanup. It is clear he is a streaky hitter but his good streaks are really good. As for Arenado fourth, I would rather see him guaranteed an at-bat In every first inning. No matter how you slice it, the lineup has to be better.
Carlson will draw more walks than Bader as a leadoff man although Bader can steal more bases. If Bader can hit for power, as he has done in the past, he can help add some pop to the bottom half of the lineup, which has been invisible lately.
He's been up and down several times this year but if Oviedo goes down, I would keep him down for a while as he learns. The issue is whom do you bring up to replace him? And he's still been better lately than Martinez. You are correct, though, in that some young pitchers have been retarded by being thrown into the fire before they're ready and that's what the Cardinals have to weigh with Matthew Liberatore.
You are not necessarily wrong at all. One or two new players might not be enough to save this season--especially if good, young talent goes the other way-- but the front office owes the fans that effort and they're used to seeing a contender. Injuries, notably to Flaherty, have gut-punched this team and the Cardinals' lack of depth has been exposed. Next year would /should be better. How many of you, however, want to wait that long?
Hudson will have had nearly 1 1/2 years after his surgery before next season begins so I think he can be counted on, to some degree anyway. He was a top three starter before and I don't see why he couldn't be again. Nobody much talks about it but Hudson's absence, next to that of Flaherty, is the most important one on the team.
I like Mikolas' chances. Nothing wrong with having six starters. Or having eight or nine, which the Cardinals could have used this year. Oviedo still is a viable candidate to start next year but Thompson isn't likely to be ready yet by the start of the season. Helsley belongs in the bullpen. Woodford is better employed as a swing man, with emphasis on picking up innings in relief.
I don't see Carpenter getting any steady playing time, especially when Bader returns at the beginning of July and Carlson moves to right field. The ship, unfortunately for Carpenter, has sailed, and he will have to learn how to be the best pinch hitter he can be. He was out early taking balls at second base and third base yesterday just in case. . . but it's hard to play him regularly. His OBP has been better, certainly, and he has made better contact. But he's still in the .170s with occasional home-run power. He can't be blamed for the recent woes, though, as is fashionable, because he hasn't been playing.
Sosa strikes me as a good extra infielder. The Cardinals would prefer to have the DeJong of the past at shortstop with the potential to hit 25 home runs and bat .260 instead of .160.
He should be, because the Cardinals got nothing but cash for him. At least they got viable players for Arozarena and Voit. Garcia could have been claimed by anybody on waivers, though, so everyone had his shot.
If the Cardinals fall double-figures behind by the All-Star break, they almost certainly will be sellers. They will try to find a home for Martinez. DeJong, despite his failings this year, is worth more than a Class AAA pitcher, though. I would say you're right about the coaches but Mo has fired coaches during the season before. But firing them now would mean he is firing the systems/processes associated with hitting and pitching. Ultimately, he would have to go outside the organization and start over rather than promote somebody from within. That sort of thing generally is done after the season. I think Shildt is a good manager and that Stubby would be a good one, also. Shildt doesn't have enough good players right now.
No take-backs although to get to 90, the Cardinals would have to go 53-31 and I have a very hard time envisioning that.
Mo didn't sit back when the Cardinals spent (ultimately) on Arenado. The Cardinals, however, didn't bring in enough veteran depth for their roster. As long as Arizona (22-57) and Baltimore (24-54) are playing, the Cardinals aren't even close to the worst team in ball but they aren't very good. You can't just spend money now. There is nobody of consequence you can buy. You have to trade. Or wait until the off-season.
Walker, to do that in the pitcher-friendly parks of the Florida State League, has been very impressive. Next stop: Peoria. Maybe even Springfield by the end of the year. And he will not be traded.
Interesting concept but Reyes has done so much for the team this year he doesn't deserve to be an "opener." When he starts, next year, I guess, or maybe later this year, he is in there for five or six innings, at least. Your point about Carlos is valid. He never seems quite ready as a starter in the first inning but he turned into a pretty good closer, knowing he had to pitch only one inning. But not as good as Reyes.