Bobo's here and we have some ballplayers. Let's go!
The roster is not frozen for the 2021 season. As we saw with the Nolan Arenado trade, the Cardinals are always looking to make upgrades as needed. That explains the 13 consecutive winning seasons and the seven trips to postseaon play in the last 10 years.
The Blues are missing about half of their best players due to injuries. Instead of putting three scoring lines on the ice, they are putting just two. Also, their power play has ranked near the bottom of the NHL all season. Also, they just played two defensive-minded teams. For those reasons goals have become hard to come by.
I'd say Arenado is the team's best player -- based on his fielding at a premium position plus hitting potential -- so he would edge out Goldschmidt as the toughest to replace.
I don't believe the loss of Parayko would doom the team. That would make the path tougher, for sure, but let's see how well Niko Mikkola plays. There appears to be a big upside there. Vince Dunn certainly has room to improve. Marco Scandella settling back in should help as well. He was missed.
I believe 13 pitchers is plenty, but let's see what sort of shape the group is on coming out of spring training. Will the Cardinals have at least four starters who can consistently pitch six-plus innnings? That will determine how many long relievers the team will need.
I believe the players association could change its mind on that as that group and the owners consider roster size and other COVID-19-related issues on the fly. But I certaintly don't expect a reversal of course now that spring training is underway and NL teams prepared to play without the DH.
As I noted earlier, putting even a bit of red into that Jack-in-The-Box employee sweater was controversial at the time. Going heavy with the red with the reverse sweater . .. god awful. It's an atrocity.
Gunnarsson's demise frees up another $1.75 million in cap space. So I believe that resolves the issue. But I would defer to Jim and Tom on this issue. Another big issue for this team is whether Tyler Bozak will end up on LTIR. His return is looking more iffy all the time.
Well, he did that last year. Matt Carpenter saw his useage decline down the stretch and he is ticketed for a part-time role this season. Of course, last season he had a tough time finding nine good hitters (with the DH) for any given game. Players of all contract sizes were struggling at once.
If the team doesnt extend Jaden Schwartz -- whose injury history has to give the team pause -- then I could see having Sundqvist on the protection list as Schwartz explores free agency.
Let's see if he holds up this spring before declaring that he is ready to shoulder a starting workload. This will be his umpteenth opportunity to prove that he can handle such a role. We all know his lengthy and varied injury history. And even if he has a great spring, his fate will be tied to how more accomplished pitchers are faring.
Justin Williams could beat out Austin Dean, if the team carries that many outfielders. Dean has more power, Williams hits from the left side.
Major baseball has been multi-cultural for a long time. The Cardinals have had a lot of success with Latin American players as well as the few they have brought in from the Far East. I don't see a problem here or in the overall industry. But I imagine some level prejudice exists in every corner of society. That has always been part of the human existence, so there's no reason to believe it will ever vanish entirely.
If the team is way out of the playoff chase because the injuries keep coming, sure, Armstrong could write off this abbreviated and make moves to retool. He's done it before. But let's give it a few weeks before deciding this season is lost.
If Wainwright is able to consistently work six-plus innings, let him go. I imagine there will be stretches where some starters are not working deep into games. Save the middle-relief innings for that. Piggback starts make sense for the minors, but I believe it creates unnecessary problems at the MLB level.
It's not just O'Neill. What about Carlson and DeJong? If they all could deliver .750 OPS or better, then the lineup would have some depth. That's not a high bar at all, but only Goldschmidt, Brad Miller and Edman cleared .750 last season. Sad, but true.