Thanks for joining us this week on our weekly live chat. Sorry we had to change the schedule this week. I hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend.
In theory, the bullpen was addressed this offseason. Nobody could have predicted how badly Seung-Hwan Oh would struggle, although you might remember that I said they should sell high on Trevor Rosenthal and Kevin Siegrist in April and May. The Cardinals' season would look much better than Alex Reyes. Matheny has made a few costly moves, but every manager in baseball does over the course of a long season. I think he's been decent considering the bullpen has been a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't for much of the season.
Shoulder tendinitis is a concern. Keep in mind that Carpenter throws with his right and bats from the left side, so you can appreciate why scouts were adamant that the Cardinals didn't want his arm at third base this year. I wonder how much the move to third base irritated the injury. Now that fans know Matt Carpenter has been playing through right shoulder discomfort most of the year perhaps he deserves credit for his willingness to go out there on a daily basis. He never quit on the team.
Never say never. The Miami Herald reported yesterday that Derek Jeter told investors that he planned to trim the payroll tremendously and start a rebuild. If that's the case, you better believe the Marlins will trade a guy who will make $25 million last year. The Cardinals might have enough pieces in the farm system to persuade the Marlins to eat some of Stanton's contract to make a trade. St. Louis is a great baseball town, and you have to believe that some of the current Cardinals players and management could persuade him to waive his on-trade clause. Some insiders I respect say the Giants are the favorites to land Stanton if he's trade, but other insiders I respect say they consider the Cardinals as the favorites. Don't be surprised if it happens. I'm not saying you should expect it, but you shouldn't be stunned if it happens.
First of all, I'm going to acknowledge that I'm 100 percent certain you're not the real Jose Martinez. With all that said, I'll answer this question by saying that Jose Martinez is getting his chance to show what he can do right now while Carpenter is injured. Martinez definitely has a major league bat. Although he can play the outfield, he's more of a first baseman. If you value defense, you are less likely to play Martinez in the outfield.
If the Cardinals finish a game or two out of the playoff spot, there's plenty of blame to go around. He's not exactly managing the 2004 and 2005 Cardinals, much less the 1967 Cardinals. You cannot blame Matheny for Rosenthal's ineffectiveness early this year, Oh's struggles all year and Brett Cecil's struggles. Some of the fundamental and running blunders are on the team. Also, it's not his fault that Dexter Fowler and Matt Carpenter got off to a slow start and that Stephen Piscotty has had a subpar season all year.
At this point, the Cardinals' rotation for 2018 includes Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty. The Cardinals would be wise to re-sign Lance Lynn or another veteran who they deem is better. They need another proven starter. I fully expect Alex Reyes, who is missing this season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, to be in the rotation as soon as he gets some innings under his belt at Memphis. Also, Dakota Hudson and Sandy Alcantara will be knocking on the big league door soon if they don't start the season in the big league bullpen.
I have not heard such a bad rumor.
So you're telling me the real reason he's not going to be called up is not an acceptable answer? I hate to say it, but he's not on the 40-man roster. Those things matter, by the way.
Jose Martinez can hit, but advance defensive metrics will tell you he's below average defensively in the outfield. He's a decent first baseman, though.
I haven't heard anything. Keep in mind that the Phillies were ahead of the Cardinals in the pecking order to claim Nicasio, so we might never know. He may have been able to help, though.
As I've said often, Cardinals fans have been spoiled by Bill DeWitt Jr.'s ownership group. They have consistently won or been in contention. John Mozeliak has never had a losing record as a GM or team president in St. Louis. I bet you 80 percent of the major league franchises, if not 90, would want the Cardinals' winning record under DeWitt. Patience is required because this current lull is a natural part of playing in a league that strives for parity. When you win consistently, you pick lower in the draft. When you lose consistently, you pick higher and are allowed to spend more on drafts. That's just part of it.
I told a friend yesterday that I think the Cardinals will make the playoffs. They're that boxer that has been on wobbly legs all fight, but the Cubs and the other wild-card contenders have failed to knock them out. They'll sneak in with the second wild card and then beat the Diamondbacks to face the Dodgers in the Division Series. I wouldn't bet the mortgage on that prediction, but I feel strongly enough to make that prediction.
I would go all in to acquire Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins. I'd try to make the package good enough for the Marlins to agree to pay for $50 million of the remaining $295 million on his contract. I would re-sign Lynn or kick the tires on Yu Darvish of the Dodgers.
I would keep Pham and try to see if I could package Piscotty in a deal for a superstar bat. Most of the people who say the Cardinals should trade Pham subscribe to the theory that this is probably Pham's highest value. Those folks want to sell high on Pham. The more I watch Pham, the more I realize I would rather have him than Yelich or Ozuna of the Marlins. He's cheaper and perhaps better or an equal player to those two now.
Jedd Gyorko, who was the Cardinals' MVP in the first half of the season, has probably earned the right to start at third base. He's a plus defender at third. The Cardinals already have too many guys who look out of position defensively, so it probably wouldn't make sense to try to convert him to third base while Jedd Gyorko is still with the team.
Those are way too many moves. The Cardinals aren't going to absorb all those contracts. It would be the ultimate overreaction. I would go after Lynn or Darvish and try to acquire Stanton and perhaps a closer. Those four moves would be costly to the payroll, but it could make the Cardinals legit contenders right away.
As I wrote when I returned from spring training, the Cardinals' farm system gave me great optimism about the Cardinals' future. I didn't think the farm system was ready to make the Cardinals contenders this year, but I thought the system would help the Cardinals be contenders in 2018 and 2019 and beyond. Nobody predicted the Cubs would underachieve and fall back to the pack so badly, but they have. I bet the Cardinals will earn a wild-card spot.
I haven't heard anything else. I was told early on that the ownership group was still alive and trying to come up with a Plan B. They're still trying to make it happen. I'm sure they're working the backrooms trying to get the city to come up with the money. Remember, it's not in their best interest to concede that they'll bring an MLS franchise to St. Louis even if the city and county don't give them millions for a stadium. The MLS2STL ownership group has the money to build their own stadium, but they are like any other ownership group eager to take free money from taxpayers.
I have never heard that rumor, which would be completely wrong and stupid. Matheny doesn't push his religious beliefs on his players. Contrary to what some non-believers might want you to think, there are many devout Christians in the Cardinals' clubhouse. Heck, I would argue that it's one of the clubhouses with the most Believers.
I'm going with the Cowboys over the Patriots.