I don't want to speculate. We always come back to the coronavirus in these cases. Whatever the case, the Cardinals have been hit hard by these absences. It didn't take long for their bullpen options to diminish appreciably. Imagine this team with a healthy Hicks, a healthy Reyes, a healthy Brebbia and Gallegos doing his thing.
Bill DeWitt Jr. is not a fan of looking out for outside leadership. He likes to groom executives within the organziation. Mozeliak was able to reel in Jeff Luhnow, ease the rift between the old-school (Jocketty) and new school (Luhnow) camps and keep the machinery running consistently well. And within the industry the Cardinals are widely viewed as a model franchise, especially given its success in a mid-sized market.
That might be true. Also, pitchers tend to be ahead of hitters early on. But the addition of Kim does look promising. The rotation will be an upper-tier group if it stats healthy. But the bullpen seems more questionable by the day.
Pitching durability will be an issue across the game. Lots of hitters will need more time to settle in, too, since many of them lacked access to high-quality pitching to face during the shutdown. Players normally hard for much of the winter, then spend more than a month putting on the final touches in spring training. Players are entering this season with varying degrees of readiness.
Who could forget the St. Louis Perfectos.
I'd bet on the NHL getting it done in Canada. Hockey players are a pretty determined bunch. The NBA is surrounding by the raging pandemic in Florida and it will take just a few superstars getting sick to ruin the whole deal.
The pandemic sure changed the equation. Not only will the salary cap be flat next season, it will stay at or close to that level for a while. So Doug Armstrong would have to clear out multiple players to get Pietrangelo. Had he predicted the pandemic, he would have kept more cap space free. Now several teams are facing a severe cap crunch and trading away contracts will be very difficult. The Blues do have some options on defense and they will have other guys to pay in the years to come, including Parayko.
With the 30-man roster to start, I see the Cardinals having three active catchers to start. When the team gets down to 26 players, that will be a different story -- especially with the DH lessening the use of pinch-hitters. The Cardinals can roll with a shorter bench and more pitchers.
This is a legit concern. The Blues have had their issues staying healthy in the St. Louis area, which was doing OK until recently. In places like Dallas, Arizona and South Florida, keeping players virus-free won't be easy. And if one team gets 10 or 11 guys sick, as we saw in the MLS, then what?
Justin Turner turns 36 this year. I'm not turning out a prime-age player who fills a key role -- again, assuming Wong can hit leadoff -- for a guy near the end.
I've hung out with the Dirt Cheap Chicken at radio remotes. Great guy (girl?). That mascot is on the party scene quite a bit. so I could see it ending up in self-quarantine. Has anybody checked in to see how the Billiken is feeling?
Yes, these chats can generate ideas. They also hit on some obvious topics like televising Cardinals intrasquad games. The Cardinals complied and streamed the games off of the team website. I'd like to credit the chat for that, but I'm sure the team was getting inquiries through other avenues.
There are a host of factors that will make upsets likely. Short preparation time coming back from the shutdown, players out with illness, odd start times, odd playing enviroment . . . this will be a truly strange event. So strange results could occur.
I can't imagine the Braves wanting Matt Carpenter with still more money owed him in 2021. And then there is the question of whether the Cardinals would want to turn around and pay J.D. Martinez $39 million for two more years at the end of his career.