That's what this season is all about, folks. The only truly new player is Contreras and some minor pieces on the edges. Guys bouncing back, staying healthy, learning from the past and breaking through is the biggest make-or-break factor for this season. It's the year of the double (or triple) down.
I tend to agree with you. If he feels like he's a lock for a first-round pick, he should go. That's the unwritten rule. But second-round picks in the NBA draft are shaky ground and don't always give a secure shot at making the team. Throw in what players can make in name, image and likeness deals, and it's a harder decision. Especially players as important to a team and likeable to fans as Kobe. It reminds me of the Kofi situation at Illinois. Illini fans found the dough to keep the big man on campus. I think Mizzou fans can and should do the same. Pay the man!
He's expected to be in the Memphis rotation
My biggest take on John Smoltz at the moment is wondering why someone who doesn't seem entirely bored by the World Baseball Classic didn't get the assignment. The games are good and the crowds are electric. He sounds half-asleep and disinterested. Bummer. Automated zones are coming eventually. Smoltz's opinions won't stop Manfred's march. I was anti-automation for a long time but have grown tired of umpires not policing their worst offenders. They have lost the benefit of the doubt, at least here, because of that.
I think we have such a unique view of it in St. Louis. It feels bigger here than it is elsewhere. I will say the TV production is very good and makes the games feel big, which is important. I don't know what the long-term plan is. I'm not sure the league itself does. Dwayne Johnson has so many different projects going at once I can't imagine co-owning a non-NFL football league forever is his plan. I wonder what the end game is. I think most do.
Mostly wrecked, but my winner (UCLA) and two of my other Final Four teams (Miami and Kansas State) are still alive -- for now.
I think they are doing a better job lately of matching their actions with their words when it comes to ensuring guys get some legitimate chances to show what they can do before they are counted out or shipped off to another team. To be fair to ex-Cards manager Mike Shildt and the front office members who misread Arozarena's potential, the arrival of the designated hitter makes it a lot easier to cycle opportunities around. And the Cardinals seem dedicated to using the position for that purpose, to some degree. Considering how many players they usually have bumping against the top of the Class-AAA ceiling, it makes a lot of sense.
Stay healthy. Not get hurt sliding headfirst, something the team is begging him to stop doing. Nothing is determined yet. The Cardinals are working through multiple editions of an opening-day roster. One with him on, one with him not on. One with Burleson on, one with Burleson not on. One with Yepez on, one with Yepez not on. But again, I'm not sure how you call this the spring of competition, and not take the top prospect who was told to come to camp and win a job, and then he came to camp and averaged .340 with a .604 slugging percentage. The Cardinals are not a team that holds young players who are ready back for service-time reasons, and those potential reasons are now shot anyway due to the new system put in place by the new CBA. They could actually be rewarded for promoting Walker, if he plays really well.
Man, hard to have fair expectations for an OC with those question marks you mention, and I agree with the question marks. It's a critical season for Drinkwitz and his program's ability to produce a good offense -- not great, just good -- and it's going to rely on a first-year SEC coordinator and the winner of a wide-open QB competition. There's a lot to like in Moore's last stop as Fresno State OC, though. His offense was second in FBS in completion percentage (71) and led the Mountain West in scoring and total offense. The offense ranked high in yards per play and had multiple receivers who shared targets and touchdowns, meaning the threats were spread around. I think Mizzou's biggest under-discussed weakness last season was its offensive line. The guys who returned have to get better, and the center from Buffalo, Bence Polgar, who was not eligible needs to make a difference.
Cardinals players are all for it -- it's why so many participated in it. Cardinals coaches and front office members are publicly supporting the WBC but crossing their fingers and holding their breath everybody gets home safe and sound.
How this season plays out will certainly shape that conversation. Don't forget Donovan and Edman can both play anywhere. And the outfield is not exactly cemented around here, remember.
Chris May gave Travis Ford a vote of confidence on the STL radio airwaves before the A-10 tournament started, saying he's looking forward to Ford being SLU's coach for seasons to come. May's been around a long time. I don't think he makes a public comment like that unless the administration, athletics department and boosters are in agreement, more or less.
If he has the kind of season he could have, I think you want him up higher, but I hear your point. I like his speed on the bases, too. There's a good debate to be had there.
Cardinals news: Matthew Liberatore and Dakota Hudson have been optioned to Memphis. No surprises there, if you've been following along with the coverage
Liberatore had the best start in a long time his last time out. The message to him when he was optioned today had to have been, keep doing that and there is a good chance he sees St. Louis at some point this season.