There seems to be a lot of confusion about this. There are a lot of ways to be average. A team that hits a ton but can't field or pitch can be average. A team that does everything in an average fashion can be average. A team that can pitch and defend but can't score can be average. The Cardinals are the last example. They don't need a great offense to be really good. They do need a better than average offense to be really good. They have a worse than average offense. An underwhelming offense. An Achilles' heel of an offense. If the other components of this team were average, with this offense, the Cardinals would be a losing team, by a lot.
Hey, stop giving away my secrets.
I don't think any hitter in the Cardinals lineup is getting a free pass. Every one of them is under scrutiny, feeling the pressure of the underperforming whole. There are some differences between your Wong-Bader comparison I would point out though. One is the defense. Bader's has been down this season. He's made some uncharacteristic mistakes that have chipped a way a bit at the assumption he's a always an elite center fielder. Wong's defense remains elite, one of the best in the game at his position, and there is little wavering there these days. Wong has not been the world's best leadoff hitter, but he is the main cog in the Cardinals having the National League's highest on-base percentage (.346) from the second-base position in the National League this season. Since the start of the 2019 season, Wong's .356 OBP ranks fourth-best among all qualifying MLB second baseman. He's figured out who he is. He's a guy who gets on base, and needs teammates to drive him him. That last part has been the problem more than Wong getting on base. Meanwhile Bader was the starting center fielder for a team that now ranks in the National League's bottom-five in terms of average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage by a center fielder. We still don't know what kind of hitter he is, and his position has once again become a bit of a revolving door. That's the difference. The Cardinals are not guaranteed to pick up Wong's option. Nothing is guaranteed now, especially with this financial climate. But a team that cites defense as one of its strengths should think twice, I think, about parting ways with an elite up-the-middle defender who has figured out his role defensively.
I did a version of it a while back. Earlier this season The hard part is figuring out certain positions. Yeah, you get Greg Garcia and Luke Voit and Marcell Ozuna. The outfield is loaded. But who plays second base? Third? Shortstop? Greg Garcia, Aledmys Diaz and Jedd Gyorko leaves a lot to be desired. The rotation would be good. The outfield would be good.
I've heard worse ideas. He sounds like a hitting coach in the booth. I imagine some of the players could benefit from having him around more than he already is.
Certainly not saying that. But it has to be either the talent or the instruction or both. And it's usually almost always both. But one (the instruction) tends to be easier (and cheaper) to change than the talent.
The job exists for a reason. The Cardinals cited Albert as a big reason the offense would improve this season. It's fair to expect results, or an explanation that too much was asked of the coach given the players he had to work with. Something's gotta give.
Well said. On a team that lacks desirable trade pieces in terms of position players, Wong would be appealing to other teams.
The fit is there, and clear. The price? History says it's out of the realm the Cardinals play in.
If the Blues are willing to give the captain $8 million per year for 8 years, and he walks, Armstrong should catch zero grief about the departure, and probably be commended that he didn't go above and beyond.
Becoming a worse team over the next three seasons is not in Armstrong's plans. He thinks the championship window is open, and he wants to keep it that way for the time being. If Pietrangelo and the Blues can't figure out a solution, I bet Army pivots and spends on scoring. He will push the cap. He always does.
I think he just meant the 16-team format.
A great question. They're not answering at this time. All talk of the future is met with the COVID stiff-arm.
It is, historically, one of the worst outfield in terms of hitting that the Cardinals have had in modern history. That's no exaggeration.
Cardinal Nation wants no part of a tank job. It would melt.
It's easier to hit when there are good hitters around you. No doubt or debate there. But that can't be the only thing in play. The Cardinals certainly could have done a better job of loading threats around Ozuna, and taking pressure off him in that capacity, but they also failed to unlock his best offense for more than a few streaks here and there. There's a growing history of Cardinals call-ups who seem to plateau offensively after a hot steak post-promotion. There's a growing history of additions who don't hit like they did before after they arrive. There are reasons to question the development and instruction of hitters at the major league level of the organization.
As long as he can stay healthy, his stuff is dangerously good. I'm not sure he will break out of the reliever role, but he could be a really nice high-leverage arm, especially when paired with Jordan Hicks. If Carlos Martinez is going to remain a Cardinal, I think it's time for him to move back to the bullpen sooner rather than later. Those three could be a tour de force.
He's one of many impressive arms. The depth and quality of the pitching, especially the bullpen, has saved this team's bacon plenty of times, and will continue to as long as the Cardinals have games to play. Cabrera, like Alex Reyes and to some degree Carlos Martinez now, are in that group that you can make a case for either way. There's nothing wrong with letting them all work toward starting then scaling them back for bullpen roles as spring trainings weed out who's in and out of the rotation.
Time to go, folks. See you next week.