Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is having a great week. If you were one of the attendees at the Jason Motte Foundation's annual cornhole challenge last night, thanks for being there. We had a good time at the brewery. Also some sad news to report. For those of you who head down to spring training and frequent Crux Coffee near Roger Dean Stadium, I'm sad to share that Dan Rudden, the owner, passed away. His wife, Victoria, is going to keep the shop going. If you're down that way and like coffee, give them some business. They're good people. OK, let's roll.
You all know where I stand on this one. I didn't write for yesterday's paper but I've made it clear here that I'm not sure the Cardinals' best move is to simply cut bait on DeJong. They could upgrade middle infield for offense and keep him around to be a contributing player and lower-order hitter. He's not a cleanup hitter, clearly. But good teams have players down in the lineup and sometimes on the bench who can do damage, and DeJong can when he's right. The answer doesn't have to be either cleanup hitter and every day starter at shortstop or traded. Maybe he could thrive in a scaled back role. The either-or thinking is the kind of thing that gets the Cardinals overexposed starters (like Tommy Edman this season) and a completely lacking bench.
Ah, The Chat has turned on Bader once more. He was "fixed" just a little bit ago and we were fielding questions about the remarkable comeback he's made. I suggested waiting until the at-bats added up. Now they are adding up, and it's a familiar spot he's in. We are left wondering a) how good his defense has to be to cover up some of his offensive flaws, and more importantly b) how much offense the corner outfielders have to provide to make up for a defense-first center fielder. Nootbaar is making a solid case to have a shot to be this team's fourth outfielder but I think Bader needs to play the rest of the way to get as much of a sample size on the books for this season as he can. If it ends the way it's going now, I don't think the Cardinals can assume they have their starting outfield locked in for 2022. If the Cards were legitimate wild-card contenders, you go with the hot hand. They're not. Not really. And they've already signaled they are worrying about 2022 and beyond at least as much as they're worrying about 2021.
Anything that's used in the minors seems to be a trial for the majors, and pitch clock are used there. In the Olympics I think they used them when runners were not on base. I don't hate the idea. I get just as frustrated by hitters taking a century to get situated in the box and by umpires granting times to hitters once a pitcher is in motion toward the plate. Speeding up hitters and stopping umpires from granting time once a pitcher is set would be a good way to go too.
He's been flirting more and more with taking a more nuanced approach to which side he swings from depending on not just a pitcher's handedness but his splits against that pitcher and how he's feeling that day. I like that. It should be an informed decision, not a blanket one. Telling him to only hit one way would be the opposite of that, and it would give opposing teams the benefit of knowing what is coming instead of having to wonder. If a guy can hit both ways, you don't declare he's not going to anymore. You don't give up a threat even if it's jut the idea of one.
Budaska was not picking up what Jeff Albert was putting down, and did not start picking it up after he was told he needed to or risk losing his job. So, he lost it. Judging by the performance of the offense under Albert, one could argue maybe he was right to resist. But that won't bring him back. The Cardinals have hinted that Albert could be changing gears after this season. I don't think it's going to be a firing but I would not be surprised if he swaps the dugout for an office and does more big-picture offense instruction. If he's still in the dugout I imagine he will be joined by someone with some real-world MLB experience in hitting. Ryan Ludwick's time around the team and praise received from players has been a likely sign.
Yes, they are aware of where they stand and what it means. For sure.
Let's not ignore what we know, right? The Cardinals were kicking around the idea of a Trevor Story trade before the trade deadline. Often in the past they have revisited the idea of adding a player they are interested in at a time or cost that was more convenient. Story could fit that mold, and he probably won't be at the top of the robust shortstop market. The Cardinals have not had great success when it comes to convincing the top free agent in a class to pick their offer over others in a wide open free-agent market, for various reasons, one of which tends to be their reluctance for the length of deals (10+ years) and accompanying financial commitments that win those races. So, my guess would be Story. For now.
Maybe I'm misreading it but I think the Cardinals want Bader to play and make up for the time he missed. If he can't stop his current slide then it could and should impact some thinking/planning for 2022. Bader only has 228 at-bats this season due to the injuries that slowed his start. Cards need to know if that hot, delayed start was just a mirage, or what.
Nootbaar has done some good things but I don't see him forcing one of the starting three to the bench when the outfield is healthy. Cards do need to find him some spots when that happens, though. No debate there.
I think Seager will cost more on free-agent market than Story. Better hitter over course of his career and he's younger by close to two years. And don't forget who reps Seager. Boras.
Same here. I can't imagine Army is going to enter a season with Tarasenko's cloud hanging over games that count. And he better be careful letting it loom over camp. I don't think Tarasenko is capable of burying his bitterness at this point, and I don't think Craig Berube is the kind of coach who is going to be great in handling a player he knows does not want to play for him. This has the makings of a disaster, and I think Army has to know that and act accordingly. If the Blues are going to be able to be at full capacity, they should want to enter the season with an excitement, not a sense of drama.
When the outcome of this season is determined, I'd imagine. As many opportunities as the Cardinals gave away this homestand they are still just 4.5 games back from the second wild card.