Greetings, chatters. Hope you all are prepared for the Pat Maroon reunion. Should be a fun, fulfilling, bittersweet night at Scottrade Center. Lots to discuss today, as always. Baseball hacking. College hoops. Mizzou football's upcoming game against Tennessee and offseason outlook. Wherever you want to go, we will go.
No. And everyone at Mizzou has made the transition from confused, to frustrated, to downright pissed. Can I say that in the chat? Hope so. AD Jim Sterk has leaned on the SEC and the NCAA to get an answer. It would be absurd to think it would bleed into next season. Mizzou expected to know as soon as late September. Some believe the decision has been decided but its the vetting of the decision through countless lawyers that takes so long. I don't know for sure. But there's no way it should not be released this season. None. There is also no way Missouri will drop the appeal. The school has spent pretty penny on legal fees fighting this thing. It's not going to punt now. And, remember, it's not just the postseason ban that is being appealed. There are recruiting restrictions that are being pushed back against as well. And another thing. If Mizzou wins its appeal, it gets its cut of the postseason $. That's not going to be given up on either.
Some of this is on baseball, right? When your sport embraces the whole "unwritten rules" acceptance of what is "wrong" and "right" there is always going to be gray area. But using tech to steal signs and relay it to hitters in real time during that same game is over the line. It doesn't pass the smell test. It does not pass the rules. Remember in 2017, when the Red Sox got caught with the Apple Watch in the dugout. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear then that using tech for this kind of stuff was outside of the rules. He has since made it even more clear. So, anything the Astros can be proven of doing after that must be punished. Hard. And yeah, the Astros' smugness is going to lead to a lot of people talking, I imagine. Many inside the game are eager to see the Astros fall. They've become the Patriots of baseball.
Pretty terrible look for the league. The heavy-handed punishment proved that. The most shocking aspect was the pretending that this was some sort of never-before-seen level of violence. Players swinging helmets at one another is a regular enough occurrence that there is a rule against it in the NFL rulebook. Our country is in love with the cousin of a gladiator sport, and yet we want to clutch pearls when we are reminded of that. Rudolph should have been punished along with everyone else. The league's favoritism of quarterbacks is blatant, and it ticks off the rest of the players.
There's just no need to rush ahead to a multi-year extension with a soon to be 38-year-old catcher who is not yet eligible to leave via free agency. It's unnecessary. And avoiding unnecessary contract extensions with plus-30 players should be pretty easy to justify and explain to those player. During this contract, Molina has waffled when it comes to his desires about what he wants to do after it ends. He initially said he would retire. Now he says he wants to play. The Cardinals should simply point to that and say, hey, let's decide when you get through 2020. Let's revisit this then, and if you still feel the same way, we will knock out a one-year deal, and keep doing that approach in the future. If Molina objects to that, then things get harder. But the free-agent market tells us things are not kind to 38-year-old catchers, even great ones. I don't think the Cardinals need to do this. They should push back against the assumption they have to.
That's the tune the Cardinals are singing at the moment. They seem to view Fowler and Bader as starters and want to keep one spot open for the prospect parade. That has the chance to be a pretty lackluster outfield offensively unless the young guys do big damage at the plate. Bader's progression is going to be a big story as well. There could be two open spots if he doesn't. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm not betting on the Cardinals adding an outfielder this offseason.
Until we hear differently, yes. The young outfielders, it would seem, are going to have one spot to compete for at the moment: left field. But depending on how Bader and Fowler play, and how well the young outfielders play, that could expand. You always need more than three outfielders. As for Edman, he's the starter at third base if Matt Carpenter doesn't bounce back. But even if Matt Carpenter does get that chance, and it sounds like he will, the Cardinals like the idea of playing Edman a starter's type amount, but doing it by bouncing him around the infield and outfield. When the Cardinals make the Zobrist-type comparison, that's what they mean. So, Edman could have as many at-bast as anybody, but by playing all different positions throughout the season. Nothing wrong with that. He's the one who should be playing different positions, not the less versatile Carpenter -- if Carpenter's bat can justify his place on the field, that is. Don't worry about Edman's position as much as you worry about his at-bats. It's one thing to talk about a Zobrist-type assignment. It's another to commit to it -- and sit down others regularly to make it happen.
I don't think there is some big message or lesson or take to be attached to this one, no matter how hard the talking heads try. The kid got hurt in the first half of a lopsided game. He wasn't going to play the second half. You do have to play your starters some to keep them sharp, and to keep the style points up for the College Football Playoff discussion. Tua is a coveted NFL draft prospect because he played well at Alabama. Very few players, if any, are prepared to go from high school to the NFL. Guys already sit out non-playoff bowl games to spare themselves for NFL draft, and I get that to some degree, but no, I don't think you will see guys start sitting out regular-season games. Especially not at elite programs that are playing for something.
You think? That doesn't make him right for what he did, but his claim is viewed a bit differently by the general public these days. At least it should be.
I don't think the Cardinals are interested in adding a shortstop. They are all-in on DeJong. Blackmon would be nice, and he's always been appealing to the Cardinals, but that kind of move would be a shift away from the Cardinals plan of trusting the young outfielders this upcoming season. And perhaps that plan does change. Things evolve over the course of an offseason. Happens all the time. The Rockies want pitching and a catcher. The Cardinals can offer both. If Yadier Molina is going to keep playing, the Cardinals could shop Andrew Knizner. The big question, though, is if the Rockies are interested in trading their best players? Recent comments from their front office have suggested they are interested in competing, not pressing refresh. Trading Blackmon, a four-time All-Star under contract through at least 2021, when his player option arrives, would feel like pressing refresh. He's also owed $21.5 million in each of the next two seasons, and the Cardinals have said they are not interested in a big uptick in payroll, so somebody would have to go. You mentioned Fowler, but he has the no-trade clause and you would probably need to trade him at a loss, and that counts against the payroll in ownership's eyes.
The Cardinals have been pretty steadfast about their commitment to Matt Carpenter. That was what the outlier line was about. I don't expect him to be moved, and I expect him to get a shot to start at third during spring training.
The Cards seem to view Edman as their everyday third baseman if Carpenter does not hit. If Carpenter does hit, then Edman is the bounce-around guy who gets starter-type reps in the infield/outfield. That's the plan, for now. Do I love it? No. I've made the case before that the Cardinals could really use Mike Moustakas now. He's left-handed. He hits offspeed stuff. His defense at third is OK and he has proven he can play some second base, which could come in handy if Kolten Wong gets hurt, as that happens from time to time. Moustakas should not be wildly expensive, at least compared to Rendon and probably Josh Donaldson. That way, if Carpenter does bounce back, the Cardinals have a great problem on their hands. Frazier is right-handed. He's been barely above league average at the plate the last four seasons or so. He just feels like another body.
Anyone who says they have a good feel for what is going on in Armstrong's brain is guessing. He's made it clear he believes this is a championship window, and his moves reflect that. That said, I think the Blues want to and need to get a better grip on what some of these young guys already in the system can offer before they go and seek big moves from outside, especially due to the cap mess that could create if and when Tarasenko returns for the postseason. As for Marchand, he would be beloved by any team that considers him one of its own, and hated by every team that does not.
I like the player and the fit, but I'm not sure why the Red Sox would be interested in dealing him? The new front office there has been asked to provide sustained success that lives beneath the luxury tax. Benintendi is the kind of player who helps you get there. He's 24 and not a free agent until 2023. If the Red Sox trade Betts or Jackie Bradley Jr., more will be expected from Benintendi.
If I was a betting man, I would wager that multiple Blues will wake up tomorrow with some black and blue, and maroon, bruises left behind from their old buddy. I am glad to hear the Blues are going big with the welcome-back ceremony for Big Rig. He deserves it. Fans deserve it. Hopefully TV will show it for you down there in Florida, Barry.