Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for this week's live chat. Fire away.
If everybody is healthy, I assume the Cardinals' rotation at the start of the season will be Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Mike Leake and Luke Weaver. I fully expect Alex Reyes to be up soon after he gets a few starts under his belt at Memphis. I also expect Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Sandy Alcantara to make important contributions in the big league rotation or bullpen.
I agree that Mike Leake should be dropped from the rotation for at least a few starts. He seems out of sorts.
This is a very good question. I actually hadn't considered this question before. Zach Duke might not be brought back. Seung Hwan Oh might also be gone.
Even though Stanton reportedly cleared waivers, he still has a no-trade clause. Moreover, the Cardinals want no part of that contract. Unless the Marlins eat part of that deal and then persuade Stanton to waive his no-trade clause to go to St. Louis, I don't see the Cardinals as players for him.
I always like to check in with John Mozeliak before I do my live chat to prepare for questions. I also checked in with Michael Girsch, and they both assured me Leake has no injury. Moreover, Mozeliak says there's no chance that Leake will miss his next start. It sounds as though Leake will make at least one more start. Weaver has earned the first shot to return to the majors if a starter is needed from the minors, but Flaherty has definitely opened some eyes.
I don't know if the Cardinals will search for that hitter in the free agent market. I assume they'll probably try to find an offensive upgrade via a trade. Keep an eye on Ozuna or Yelich of the Marlins.
Despite all the good points you've made, this Cardinals rotation has been one of the best in baseball this year. They have been above average. Can they be better? Absolutely, which is why they reportedly made a run at acquiring Sonny Gray from the A's at the trade deadline. Of all aspects of the team, the rotation has easily been the strongest group this year for the Cardinals. I also firmly believe that the rotation will be even better next year with an infusion of high-end young talent. I'm eager to see how Alex Reyes, Luke Weaver, Dakota Hudson, Jack Flaherty and Sandy Alcantara bolster the pitching staff in St. Louis next year. The future appears bright for the Cardinals.
Conceding that it is not my money, I would try to re-sign Lance Lynn. I like the fire and competitiveness that he brings to the mound every fifth day. Some would argue that he has been the team's best pitcher all year. He doesn't have Martinez's overpowering arsenal, but he has really bounced back well from Tommy John surgery. Michael Wacha has answered a lot of questions about his shoulder this year. Let's wait to see how he finishes the season before declaring that he has stamina issues. He has been a solid No. 4-5 starter this year, and he's been on a very strong run lately.
A team cannot place a player on the disabled list if he's not actually hurt. Michael Girsch and John Mozeliak both told me this morning that Leake is not hurt. I would dump him into the bullpen, but the Cardinals plan to let him make his next scheduled start. I don't think that's a good idea, but Mozeliak has way more World Series rings than I do.
The Cardinals need to add a pair of bats or at least hope that Stephen Piscotty returns to claim a spot in the middle of the order. The Cardinals must hope that they have a strong lineup with Carpenter leading off, Dexter Fowler hitting second, Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich hitting third, a strong Stephen Piscotty or Pham cleanup , Paul DeJong fifth, Molina sixth, Gyorko and Wong.
It's fair to assume that the Cardinals actually propose trades for players they want. Don't underestimate the strength of the Cardinals' scouting network. If they want Machado they should reach out to the Orioles, but I don't think the Orioles were willing to give him up.
I was a bit surprised as well although not completely blindsided based on the rhetoric last week. I assumed that it was a done deal as well once the Aldermen passed the bill. The Blues were probably not surprised considering they had spoken to Ms. Green already about this issue. Green appears to be genuine in her desire to protect the city's credit rating. She's doing her job trying to protect the taxpayers, but I also assumed it was a done deal.
If I were a GM, I would follow the Dodgers' lead and use the 10-day disabled list to my team's benefit. The fact is that at this time of year every pitcher has something that ails. The Cardinals are fortunate that their pitching staff has remained relatively healthy since Alex Reyes underwent Tommy John surgery. They would have been in trouble if they had needed a starter from Class AAA Memphis in April or early May, but they have the depth healthy and ready now. They'll be better positioned next year to give such maintenance time off if they want to call up a guy from the minors who is ready.
I would argue that there's little the Cardinals can do once the fans leave the stadium. Once they leave the stadium, the fans are on public property until they enter a building at Ballpark Village. With all that said, I wasn't surprised that a guy wearing a Berkman jersey, of all things, shouted at the protesters and did the Nazi salute. I thought that the folks who yelled the N word at the protesters were despicable. My colleague Benjamin Hochman did report the incidents, though, so you cannot say they weren't reported.
I can answer that question easily. The Cardinals do not want Stanton's contract. If you claim a player, you run the risk of being stuck with that contract if the team decides to just unload it on you. That was a risk the Cardinals weren't willing to take.
The Cardinals want no part of his contract. This is a question I asked Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. in Cooperstown, N.Y., in late July. Q: Without mentioning names, would your team be willing to absorb a $325 contract?
DeWitt: I think you have to value every contract and every player. That’s one of the things we’ve been pretty disciplined about and have been for a number of years. I think it’s part of the reason we’ve had success. I know you’re referring to Stanton, but there’s other players that have big contracts. We evaluate, ‘What can we afford?’ That’s a good question because we don’t know what could be available down the road. It’s really trying to make sure that when you take on a contract or make a trade you’re getting value not only in the short-term but in the long term. As you can see some of the long-term free agent contracts don’t really work out toward the end. Clubs wish they hadn’t done them. We can afford a payroll that is very competitive and in the top third, which is where our revenues are, and that’s the way we look at it.”
I agree with you that it's a failure. The Blues were outmaneuvered on that front. They'll get a new affiliate a year later, though.
As of this morning, the Cardinals planned to keep Leake in the rotation. His next start is scheduled for Sunday against the Pirates. You have to remember that you'd want to keep Martinez and Lynn on regular rest as much as possible. If you inserted Weaver tomorrow ahead of Wainwright, you would push Martinez back a day until Saturday instead of Friday. That makes no sense because you will also have a day off on Monday. I would call up Weaver tomorrow as an emergency long relief option in case Wainwright falters. Tomorrow would actually be the fifth day since Weaver made his last start at Memphis. Then if you only use Weaver for one or two innings you can have him ready for long relief on Saturday for Leake.