Bobo's here and we've got some ballplayers. Let's go!
I believe he's been OK. The Blues won't decide what to do with Pietrangelo based on this bubble hockey. Management will take a much longer view. Alex had an outstanding regular season. He was one of the top 10 defensemen in the NHL this season, if not the in the Top 5. He is still in his athletic prime and he probably has another four years of high-end play left. The back half of any long-term deal he would get here or elsewhere will be a bit dicey. GM Doug Armsrtrong had a contract range in mind before the pandemic and he probably has a lesser number in mind now due to the unexpected flat salary cap. So we'll see where the market goes for him.
Sure, that's the path I would take. And I would have played him in the third period of Game 5 to get him ready for this. Jake Allen gave the team a lift, but Binnington was the lead man all season and it's time to see if he can bounce back one more time.
Jake certainly underscored his value during the bubble hockey. But the Blues will need to pick a goaltender and then sign that guy to a contract beyond next season. They could wait until the middle of next to season to do that, hedging their bet. Ideally for Doug Armstrong, Binnington would step back in, play well and cement his standing as the No 1 goaltender worthy of a long-term commitment. If that doesn't happen, then, yes, is complicates the offseason while Armstrong deals with the flat cap. That would not be the desired scenario.
He really knows how to pitch and there is a lot to be said for that in this era of hard throwers. But . . . he is one more arm/shoulder injury away from the end. He is just going start to start, competing his guts out, setting a good example. He is adding to his legacy as one of the franchise's all-time best hurlers.
The Cardinals have identified and developed lots of hitting. The organization's ability to hang on to the correct hitters has been quesitonable, as Luke Voit's power surge with the New York Yankees hs underscored. Stephen Piscotty and Tommy Pham are two more examples. As least Oscar Mercado cooled off so John Mozeliak doesn't hear about his as much.
Mike Van Ryn is coaching the defensemen. Larry Robinson has been more of a consultant. While the defensive corps has had some lapses, the group is well-schooled in its system and everybody knows where they are supposed to be. They just need to pick up their play. They must eliminate mistakes in the middle of the ice in the face of Vancouver's terrific counter-attack. And they need to battle harder around the net to protect against second- and third-chance goals.
Since they are in the bubble, it doesn't really matter. The home-loss splits really don't indicate anything of significance.
Pitching injuries will always occur, so a team never has enough pitching. Trading away pitching is always a bad idea and selling low on pitching is absolutely a terrible idea. Martinez is second only to Jack Flaherty in terms of pure stuff and he is certainly not killing the payroll at his number.
Actually, I look at it the other way. Thanks to the DH, the Cardinals were able to keep Adam Wainwright in the game for seven innings Thursday. That not only helped them win the game, it saved a couple of bullpen innings for the weekend. Maybe some fans are thrilled by the Parade of 1,000 Relievers, but I am not in that club. I would rather see managers handle their pitchers based on how they are pitching, not when they are up next in the batting order.
Before the pandemic, fans could look at that potential payroll space and get excited about possible additions. But given the economic losses of this season and the potential for a slow recovery for baseball, most teams, the Cardinals included, will face some serious retrenchment. So the hopes for 2022 and beyond very much depend on player development. It looks like the young pitching will be very good, but we have no idea about the hitting. And with the lack of minor league play, that will remain a mystery for at least another year.
Somebody will give Pietarngelo a long-term deal. I suppose it's possible he could take a shorter deal to stay here, but he's been pretty clear about wanting term on his next contract so his familuy doesn't have to move around North America. As for the Blues needing speed, they have added that with Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou. The Blues have been caught flat-footed several times after making a big mistake in the middle of the ice, but they can skate with the Canucks or anybody else in the league.
The Steen-Sunqvist-Barbashev trio in top form could skate boys, skate. The Blues have missed that element in the bubble hockey, although Jacob De La Rose has not been bad.
I imagine he will return to his previous job of helping oversee the Springfield camp. The Cardinals will keep pulling guys from that group all season.
Duncan Keith is a good example. He is still a good player, but he's not the guy he was. Brent Burns is another example. Even if a player avoids major injury, the mileage does take a toll on the legs. This game has never been faster. Defensemen have never been more active offensively, pinching in at every opportunity. In the old days of the neutral zone trap, a D-man could play forever. It's really hard to do that now with teams looing to apply pressure and sustain offensive zone time. And let's not forget that Alex jumped into the NHL at an early age and he has played a LOT of hockey.
In 2021 the Cardinals won't have to pitch a bunch of guys who don't belong in the majors -- which they must do now because of their unique situation. So that is Step One toward finishing above .500. We also have no idea of who Tyler O'Neill, Dyland Carlson and Lane Thomas are. Not only are we looking at small sample sizes, we are also looking at some hitters trying to get their timing back after either a long layoff or time spend facing lesser pitching in the Springfield camp. Obviously the team needs the young guys to hit better. Maybe we'll have a better idea about them by the end of September.
They will be fine, in part because they will spread their losses out over their next several payrolls.
They are trying to prevent injury. Flaherty is still early in his career. He is still building his body as a pitcher. The 17-day shutdown set him back to square one with his arm strength. Wainwright has given them some innings, but everybody else is being eased toward higher pitch counts.
I don't believe so. I believe he is smart enough to avoid that risk, especially at his age after all that he has already accomplished. There is nothing left on his to-do list. And even if he wanted to play, would a team pass him in his physical and take on the medical risk? I doubt it.