Yeah, the kid got rushed into the fray this summer due to injuries to others and the lack of proven organizational depth. That was a concern coming into the last month and both he and Genesis Cabrera took some bumps.
Certainly the Cardinals want to avoid that scenario. That likely puts Hudson in position to start on three days rest, which would not be optimal. As for second guessing Mozeliak, the pitchers he had for the stretch run won at an amazing clip. And most of what was available at the trade deadline was mediocre. What he went forward almost finished the job . . . but then the 19-inning game interceded, followed by Wacha's demise. They were THIS CLOSE to skating through that last month with the rotation they had and some kids backing up in the bullpen.
Maddon wants to know his fate by Monday and he will. Perhaps Theo wants until then to avoid the awkward team flight scenario.
The flip side is this: The Cubs regulars have been awful. So maybe some Iowa Cubs can do better. The guys who get to play are making a case for themselves with management watching the team. They are trying to get a head start on spring training. That might actually make the Cubs better.
They didn't start Daniel because their rotation racked up Ws all month. Ponce de Leon did pitch three innings Tuesday and he should be ready for long relief this weekend. If the Cardinals somehow clinched early, maybe he could start Sunday in the bench-emptying game.
Sure. After missing the playoffs for three consecutive seasons, postseason is a success. That is always a success. The ultimate goal is always to win the whole thing, but the stated organizational goal is to contend for postseason play every year.
Again, the Cardinals intended to add pitching at the deadline. Management did not get to July 31 and decide that it was all set with what it had. The Cardinals encountered a weird market, with teams like the Mets deciding to play on and other teams asking high prices for warm bodies The Brewers struck gold with warm body Jordan Lyles, but he was horrendous for the Pirates and terrible against the Cardinals and nobody was begging this team to acquire him at the time. On the other hand, Aaron Sanchez went to the Astros from Toronto, appeared in four games and blew out his shoulder. That was the kind of market it was.
Jose Martinez had a big offensive game that day. So did Randy Arozarena. The Bench Mafia drove home six runs and scored the seventh with the steal of home. The problem was catching -- where playing Molina again wasn't realistic, given the incredible workload he has shouldered -- and pitching. Wieters has a tough day defensively and Cabrera and Fernandez got lit up with the Cardinals low on pitching after a 19-inning game and Wacha's demise. The bench guys had a great offensive day and gave the team a chance to win. But Wieters didn't look good behind the plate after his injury and the bullpen kids blew up.
Had Kyrou been healthy and dynamic in camp, that would have forced an interesting roster decision. So that gave Robby Fabbri a chance to make his case. As for Kostin. he flashed his offensive skills and that was a big step. But he has a ways to go. He must learn to play the other end of the ice and avoid penalties. Both he and Kyrou will play for the Blues at some point this season. The first and fourth lines seem reasonably set and two of the three spots seem filled on the second and third line. So at some point if everybody is healthy all at once, somebody could exit a trade. But how often is everybody healthy all at once?
Didn't the Bench Mafia just cost the team a game? Just kidding. No, the one outburst by Arozarena is unlikely to suddenly thrust him into the starting lineup from here on out.
The salary cap didn't rise much this season, which put stress on teams to be compliant. Odds are it will keep climbing in the future and salaries will soar too. Players must decide whether to take a longer-term deal with lower annual averages (as Faulk just did here) or to take a shorter deal and go back to the table for bigger money next time. Younger RFAs with big upsides have been cautious not to lock in too early (as Nathan MacKinnon did) and commit too far into their potential unrestricted years. That is the path to being underpaid down the road. Teams weigh the risk of offering longer term to buy into those UFA years against the reward of a lower AAV that helps them stay under the cap. Some of those shorter RFA deals include giant money in the final year, forcing a big qualifying offer. Effectively that adds another year at big dollars to the contract, allowing the player to get cake and eat it too.
If the Cardinals reach the NLDS, the season is a success. Again, they missed the playoffs the last four years. Going forward, Harrison Bader does not have a lifetime contract to play center field. Dylan Carlson, Tyler O'Neill and Arozarena could all bid for work next season and there are no rules against seeking outside help as well.
That terrible fielding in left could doom Ozuna here. I have been a big advocate for him, but he only sporadically produced runs this month and he is a big liability in the field.
Once again fans are on the Arozarena bandwagon! One big game will do that in Cardinal Nation. Bader, DeJong and Ozuna have all had a lot of empty games this month. But I would be surprised if Shildt changed his lineup for the final weekend because he has been riding the same guys all month.
I imagine you will see an update later today from the ballpark.
Clearly the Cardinals need Ozuna, DeJong and Bader to fill in the blanks and Wong to get back to active duty next week. This is not a terrible offense, but obviously it's too inconsistent to win a title.
The Brewers have won 17 of 19 games and the Rockies have been in the tank for some time now, so the Cardinals must remain in must-win mode this weekend.
You have to wonder if he's tapped out. That's has happened to one Cardinal reliever after another due to heavy usage.
With Hicks out of the picture. I'd use Carlos to close again and then put Ponce de Leon, Gomber and Reyes into competition for the No. 5 spot. I don't see the team spending a ton of money on another starting pitcher unless their medical staff cast doubt on Gomber and Reyes. The team could definitely invest more in the bullpen. Also, adding some younger depth pitching would be wise to fill the void that formed at Springfield and Memphis would be smart.