Greetings, chatters! Hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful fall weather -- at least enough to put up with the leaf raking. The captain has gone to Vegas. Mizzou got a big win followed by a Commodore-COVID rescheduling. We're waiting, waiting, waiting to see if the Cardinals are going to do some sort of postseason q&A but no word on that yet. Let's roll.
I wouldn't assume what the Cardinals say about these things is exactly what they think about them. If they are not doing a hard audit of the projections and projectors who helped inform some of these decisions, they're doing it wrong. What made them not see the Matt Carpenter cliff coming? What made them think Luke Voit and Randy Arozarena could not do what they're doing now? What made them prioritize Tyler O'Neill over others? What made Marcell Ozuna a great hitter in Miami and Atlanta but never here? All legitimate questions that the organization has to dig into -- even if Voit and Arozorena don't keep doing this, and even if Matthew Liberatore turns into a stud starter down the line. But, I would not expect members of the organization to flog themselves publicly, as much as fans hope to see it. Bill DeWitt Jr. is the only person who decides president of baseball operations John Mozeliak's career fate with the Cardinals, and there's never been any real sign he's not happy with Mozeliak's leadership. It wouldn't and shouldn't be surprising if some front-office changes under Mozeliak occur. No word on any of that yet as the Cardinals have not done any sort of end-of-season reflections yet publicly.
Odom never called plays for the offense. He was and is a defensive mind who left that to his coordinators, the last of which was Derek Dooley, who had never called plays for an offense before he started calling plays for Mizzou. That was a bad sign at the time of the hire, and I pointed it out, getting ripped for it in the process. Dooley did OK with Lock as his QB but things quickly fell apart after that. So, in this case, I think Odom's problem was not being able to hire the right offensive coordinator as a defense-minded head coach. Some of that was his fault. Some of it wasn't. Coaches are smart enough to know which jobs might not be around for long, and Odom had trouble at times recruiting to his staff because he lacked the security and had a hot-seat status. If Odom had won more games, beaten a ranked opponent sooner, won more recruiting battles, maybe he would have had more security sooner and been able to recruit coaches/coordinators better? Who knows. I do know he had Dave Christensen ready to help him run offense from the time he got the job, and never returned the call. I think that was a mistake. Odom was in the tough spot of having what was supposed to be his dream job but in a tough time. The fallout from the player protest was real. Gary Pinkel, as great as he was in his prime, had let standards slip more than people realized before Odom got the job. There was a reason Odom was the obvious hire at the time; the job was not all that appealing. He didn't quite do enough early enough to break through. That's what made Mizzou's win on Saturday so significant. Odom didn't upset a ranked opponent until year three, and had lost games that his team should have won along that journey. Drinkwitz upset a ranked opponent in his third game of a chaotic year. A big win early on in a coach's tenure can go a long way. Odom didn't get one soon enough. Great guy. I liked him a lot, and still do. And he knows defense. That's clear at Arkansas once again. I think he will be better off the next time he gets a head job, and I think he will before too long.
We don't know right now if there will be fans allowed in 2021. And if they are, the numbers could still be quite limited due to COVID restrictions. But if things are "back to normal" just for the sake of this argument, I think the Cardinals would be wise to find ways to get a new face or two in this lineup if they want to encourage fans to venture out of their house and head to the ballpark. Cardinals fans can and should and do appreciate great pitching and great defense, but they have watched a below-league-average lineup long enough.
He would be a great fit, yes. He would add power to the outfield and the leadoff spot, two areas that were below-average for the Cardinals this season. He is not just a slugger, but a strong hitter who had a career-low strikeout rate this season. He would make the lineup better, and his numbers in 2019 and 20 eliminated questions about if he was too reliant on whatever the trash-can-bangers were doing to steal signs in 2017. He's going to get paid, but not on a contract that demands 10 years like some in-their-prime players, because he's 31 and not 27 like Machado and Harper as free agents. I've been reminded by fans and colleagues in the media that its outlandish to expect the Cardinals to hand out this kind of contract considering the current payroll and the pandemic crunch. Maybe. But I think it's outlandish to expect fans to feel good about this offense if there are not some real improvements.
Nothing major, but I can share a few developments. The deposition list was approved. The request to make those who will be deposed travel to St. Louis for in-person depositions was not. That's a COVID-related issue. NFL owners can apparently travel to watch their teams play, but not travel to STL for a deposition. But, the good news is all of this can be done virtually. I know there is speculation swirling about a settlement, but I've heard nothing on that from anyone I trust completely regarding news about the case. Somehow a $200 million number was floating around, but I think that would be comically low for Team STL to not continue to march this thing toward court.
I agree that doing nothing about the offense this offseason will and should be hard for fans to tolerate. But the problem isn't that the Cardinals sat on their hands. Sitting on their hands would have meant Randy Arozarena and Luke Voit are still in the Cardinals organization. And for those who are quick to excuse Voit from this conversation, ask yourself this. Considering how Voit transformed his frame and drastically improved his first base play this season, is it that crazy to imagine him becoming a serviceable corner outfielder? Before you dismiss it, remember that the Cardinals tried Jose Martinez at first base and Matt Adams at corner outfielder. End rant. Anyway, it's not sitting on the hands that have put the Cardinals in this jam. It's a series of decisions that have not worked. There's a difference.
As someone who wanted Pietrangelo back and hoped something could be worked out to keep him here, I've got no problem with the way Doug Armstrong handled this situation. I'm surprised Pietrangelo did not take eight years at eight million dollars per year -- especially after the Blues made it clear they would drop their rule and add a signing bonus and a partial no-movement clause. The Blues did stretch. Pietrangelo didn't take their best offer at the time it was given, and Armstrong is not the type to wait around. Krug might not have been there for the taking if he did. I wish Pietrangelo the best, and I will always wonder how this would have played out if it would have been a negotiation between Pietrangelo and Armstrong instead of Pietrangelo, Pietrangelo's agents and Armstrong. But, I've got no criticism of Armstrong here. I think he did try, and was willing to clear out the space for Pietrangelo if Pietrangelo took the Blues' best offer, which was more overall money than he got in Las Vegas because of the extra year the Blues were allowed to offer according to the CBA. I guess the full no-movement clause was that important to Pietrangelo, but moving to get it just doesn't make that much sense to me. I think Krug was a great option to pivot to for the Blues.
No need to decide it now. Let everyone one who wants to start show up and prove it. Sort out the bullpen assignments from there. Seems like a pretty good way to handle it. Gomber deserves a real crack at the rotation. So does Reyes.
No need to start that first sentence with an "I think." The only person that kept Pietrangelo from remaining with the Blues was Pietrangelo. Period. That's not a knock on him for taking a deal he liked better with Las Vegas. He earned that right as a free-agent who has had a heck of a career and played really well in his contract season. But any notion that the Blues "forced" him out by extending Faulk or other players is just not accurate. If that was the case he would not have had an eight-year $64 million contract with signing bonuses and partial no-movement clause presented to him before he decided to keep his options open.
The Cardinals front office declined opportunities during the season to weigh in on its analysis of how things were going under Albert, and declined, saying those kind of conversations would happen after the season. So, we wait.
Who doesn't love Lindor? The hang-up would be the fact he can be a free agent in 2022, which leads us back to that old conversation about the Cardinals' hesitancy to trade too much for a player they could quickly lose. The plan worked with Goldschmidt though, didn't it? I don't necessarily agree with the claim Paul DeJong "should" be at third. He's gotten better at shortstop every year he's played there, and this claim that he has to be moved always lacks statistical evidence -- because there really isn't any. He's become a very defensive piece of a very strong defensive infield.
Good player. Not sure how he helps a lineup that badly needs power. He's a career .444 slugger. The Royals traditionally have asked for crazy high returns in potential trade discussions about him. I don't think he's the answer.
That would be disappointing to hear if that's the line from the front office. As for Ozuna, I don't expect a reunion. I think that ship sailed. Springe would make a ton of sense if the Cards don't shy away from the dollars. With respect to Carpenter, betting on him to live up to his contract in any way at this point seems like a reach. Last season was his career-worst season for the second season in a row. The strength and power seem to be gone. I'm not sure how it would realistically be expected to return for a full season after it wasn't there for 60 games.
There's something to be said for being a buyer when everyone is selling. Do I expect the Cardinals to be trend-setters here? No. I think we are going to hear a lot about COVID-complications on spending and payroll, from most if not all teams. And don't forget there's a bigger fight being had here -- the ones between owners and the players' union with that CBA looming after the 2021 season, whatever that 2021 season looks like. Lately, it seems owners are more interested in a unified front against players than they are when it comes to beating one another.