Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is having as good of a week as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, or at least a better week than Team USA basketball coach Gregg Popovich. Who will get traded first, or not at all: Mad Max Scherzer or Sad Vladimir Tarasenko? And how is it possible, as Stu Durando noted this morning on the old Twitter machine, that the biggest news of the Olympics -- Simone Biles withdrawing from the team competition -- while we were fast asleep?! Let's roll.
Fair points. The SEC is making a deal motivated by the bottom line, the moolah, the dinero. And sure, there could be unintended consequences down the road because of it, as that Texas-sized ego begins to grow. What could save things is the way the SEC has done business for a long time. When it comes time to split the pie, everyone gets an equal split of what the league brings in. The Vanderbilts and the Bamas are all equal when it comes time to split the conference revenue. Texas and Oklahoma don't get to change that math, but they can join it if they like the terms. It sounds like they do. If it so happens that UT (not Tennessee) and OU get or at some point want special treatment, then all bets will be off, and the long-term members of the SEC will be steamed. Your warning is heard here. Good point.
The Brewers are better in areas that get overlooked. Depth. Flexibility. The built their bench up this offseason in preparation for injuries that could come in the first full season back from last year's 60-game sprint. And they made aggressive moves to help the team along the way. If the Cardinals were serious about helping their bench -- they stopped far short -- and prioritized adding pitching help like the Brewers did in going out and getting Willy Adames for a shortstop problem that had developed, then I think the Cardinals would be a lot closer. Don't overlook that the Brewers also have 12 more quality starts provided by their starters than the Cardinals. That helps keep workload off a really good bullpen.
Sprinkle in some, "We're not going to make a trade just to make a trade," and I think you are thinking along the right lines. Maybe a little more, "Would you have given up Nolan Gorman for a rental?" And so on. If the Cardinals do make moves, I think they will be now-and-later stuff. But like you, I'm not betting on a lot at this point. The Cardinals are not being mentioned in much of the national trade chatter. They are usually off the radar a bit more than some teams, but if they were heavy in on something big there might be some smoke signals by now. We'll see.
That's a rough read on Liberatore, I think. Last time out in Memphis he turned in six scoreless innings with more strikeouts (nine) than hits allowed. Sure, he's had some clunky starts, too. But he's figuring it out. He's 21 years old learning what it takes to pitch deep at Class AAA. He will be in the mix for a spot next season, if he doesn't debut this one. That said, yes, I think the Cardinals should attempt to sign Jack Flaherty to a long-term deal if he's open to it. They can't force it on him and he knows his value better than others, and has made a point to position himself on the front lines of the conversation about younger players making more sooner, a fine argument in my eyes. I can't imagine Jack signs an extension before he sees what the next CBA looks like. It should mean more leverage, power and money for younger guys -- if the players' union operates with common sense.
Oh heck yeah. I've been on the Scherzer bus for a long time. I will admit Derrick Goold was the one who started the bus. I was first man on after that. Potential problem is, Max very much controls where he goes through the no-trade. If he wants to go to a team that has a chance of winning a championship right now, he can muscle his way to one of those teams. The Cardinals admit they made a mistake not signing Max the first time around. That doesn't mean he's determined to make the what-if come true years later. What would you prefer if you were him? Probably a shot at helping a team win in 2021, right? But if he can he had, heck yes. And have the extension ready when he arrives. Wainwright and Scherzer with a healthy Flaherty and Hudson would be an impressive nucleus for a rotation in 2022.
I've been hearing this a lot, but I'd actually draw a different line. I thought the Cardinals had decent pitching depth entering the season. I think the problem was they did not react once bad things started happening. The Miles Mikolas injury at spring was a big deal treated like it wasn't. Kim's back tightened up and the front office shrugged. There were free-agent options still available who could have been added with time to get up to speed and the Cards showed no interest. That set the stage, but the curtain dropped when Flaherty got hurt and still the Cardinals did not react. Everyone keeps pointing to what the Cardinals did not do before the season started, but I'd point toward what they did not do during the season, starting at spring training. The Brewers are leading the division because they made a bold move for Adames during the season. Every team that has won the World Series recently has made an aggressive move or more to help their team during the season. The Cardinals have convinced themselves these types of moves are too costly, too hard, or too impossible to make, and it's hurting them annually.
I've got a very hard time believing Doug Armstrong is going to let a soured former star and his bad vibes get a chance to infect this season. He's back on top in terms of the trade leverage, but most seem to think he's going to deal Tarasenko somehow, someway. If you think Tarasenko and the Blues can iron out their differences at this point in time for him to be a plus player for the upcoming season, I'd respectfully disagree. That's not who he is, and now he and Army are in a true standoff. Someone's gotta go, and it wont be Army.
Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. would have to decide Mozeliak is no longer the right hand to guide baseball operations. That's it. That's all. Same as it's ever been. He's the only boss Mozeliak answers to, and has been for some time.
Umps get graded and their assignments are affected by those grades. Unfortunately there is also a glaring lack of accountability for the umpires, and a fierce union that works to keep mistakes form being explained. It's a hard job, and I think most fans get that, but some explanation and accountability would be nice. The players and managers have to talk after they screw up. Just one thing to add on Shildt getting tossed after getting mad the umps said he waited too long to request a review: This should not be how it works. The tech exists. Get it right. Don't make it a manager-based challenge. Put an umpire at the stadium with an ability to signal the New York crew to get something figured out. That helps take away some of the element of "protecting" the umpires by not overturning their calls.
I think a move that adds some starting pitching certainty now and for 2022 would be a wise move, and it would indicate the team is no longer going to let what has to be its biggest strength be the element of the team that is keeping it tethered to .500.
Yep, and that window has closed. What comes out of it is, at least for now, TBD. There are a couple of hearings schedule for August that should shed more light on things. We'll be there.
I'm afraid your prospect pitch for Turner is likely too low. I think it would take multiple, elite prospects. You don't get Turner and keep your Gormans and your Liberatores. Turner's not a free agent until 2023 so there is some control there that will be pricy. The Nationals, per the Washington Post, are fielding offers on Turner because they have been unable to lock him up with an extension. They know what he's worth.
Again, I'd actually put more angst on the fact the team has spent what is going on six years deciding they should not attempt to significantly improve the team as the season progresses. It's impossible to know entering spring training what's going to go right and what is not. It's not impossible to monitor needs and address them as the season goes along. Championship teams do that. The Cardinals like to present themselves as one, but for five going on maybe six years they have simply opted out of a pretty important aspect of high-level play -- roster improvement between the start of spring training and the offseason. I think more focus should be on this than offseason moves. Just my two cents.
Max is celebrating his 37th birthday today. His biggest-money years are behind him. Cards have money coming off the books in other areas. If he wanted to finish in STL, the Cards would have more than enough to make it happen.
He's said he's open to whatever the team needs. "Fluid" is the word being used a lot.