The Cubs are the big rival, of course, so I suppose that takes some edge off the Cardinals' failure. Also, the Cubs totally collapsed and management has officially given up on the season -- and that adds some context to this team's downturn. Stuff happens, even to teams with a loaded nucleus.
But Arenado is providing protection for Goldschmidt, who needs the protection more than Arenado. And Carlson has been hitting first or second because of his ability to draw some walks to set the table for those two. Lately, though, he has been showing signs of offensive wear and tear. A few good games at Wrigley followed by the All-Star Break could do him a world of good.
But . . . the Cardinals will cycle out bad contracts after the season and be set for a reboot in 2022 as a few key prospects develop and some pitchers come back from the injured list. By racking up 13 consecutive winning seasons and making seven postseason trips in 10 days, Mozeliak does have some equity built up. Still, if I'm Bill DeWitt Jr., I want to be convinced by his plan for this reboot before I decide whether to make any changes to the baseball operations. Also, I want to see if this current management team and round up some stopgap help to keep things respectable.
It's a thought. The Carlson hasn't panned out well. O'Neill has been in a power-hitting rut, but he has found ways to get on base between injuries and illness. He has made great strides with his plate discipline.
Selling hope is always the fallback when a team falls out of the playoff race. I can see both Gorman and Liberatore making their first big league appearance this season IF they can turn the corner at the Triple-A level and produce consistent results. But the Cardinals do not want to stunt their professional growth by exposing them to too much failure too soon.
Gorman got off to a 4-for-29 start at Triple-A, so it seems he will need more work against experieinced pitching before making the final jump to the big leagues.
This team can have an excellent center fielder hitting seventh or eighth because that is a premium defensive position. But if the shortstop also doesn't hit, that creates a second lineup hole in front of the pitcher. That limits the team's ability to build big innings and sustain inning-to-inning pressure.
Molina's track record for handling pitchers speaks for itself. I certainly don't blame him for this one-year downturn with a number of fill-ins on the staff. As for his role in the middle of the order, that is a function of the team's lack of batting order depth. He could still help this team next year while hitting seventh and working with Dakota Hudson, Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, et al., with a healthier staff. Of course, that means those guys will actually have to get healthy.
They could do both. Seek pitching help/seek a shortstop and try to exted Flaherty. And they need to take a long look at doing that, because the Paul DeJong downturn has become protracted. Unless he hits, say, .270 for the rest of the season the Cardinals will need to explore that shortstop market.
Do you want to give Craig Berube another reclamation project when he is trying to get the group ro regain its edge? I think not. Replacing one problem with another does not sound appealing. Taking, say, Jeff Skinner and most of his money in exchange for Tarasenko would not fix things. Taking Matt Duchene from Nashville would not guarantee success.
I agree with you. In a flat salary cap world, Tarasenko's $7.5 million cap hit combined with multiple shoulder injuries and declining production limit his value. And his $9.5 million in real salary owed is a turnoff in the NHL's post-pandemic recovery. Armstrong has managed to trade declining players for value returns in the past, but he will hard-pressed to find some GM that stupid this time around.
Before this season. I would give that nod to the Cardinals for enjoying more consistent success. But if the Giants go back to the postseason while the Cardinals fade, that tips the scale to San Francisco's way.
Eichel is the better player overall -- he has 100-point potential at center -- but that neck injury is a concern. Tkachuk needs to reel his game in, but he has plenty of time to mature. The Blues could play O'Reilly and Schenn down the middle of the first two lines and get big mileage from Tkachuk on the wing. Given the Eichel injury, I would take Tkachuk if all things were equal.
But if your job performance including more success than your immediate peers and your company was enomously profitable because of your overall track record, you might be OK.
Come on, don't rain on the parade. Enjoy the victory. There is plenty to complain about in the losses.
The Blues would not lose Tarasenko for nothing in the expansion draft. They would gain $7.5 million to spend on talent they otherwise could not fit under the salary cap. That could be a big plus.
Can the Cardinals win the division? No, because Milwaukee will keep adding players as needed and the Cardinals have pitching holes they simply cannot fill.