Good morning. I hope you're all well. Fire away.
At this point, the Cardinals' starting rotation entering spring training would be Carlos Martinez, Micheal Wacha, Luke Weaver and Adam Wainwright. I would assume that Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes would contend for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Sandy Alcantara. Considering Reyes is coming off Tommy John surgery, Flaherty has struggled in the majors and Alcantara is still a bit raw, the Cardinals' front office would be wise to add a veteran starter this offseason. They would be wise to go after Darvish or even Arrieta if they cannot or will not re-sign Lance Lynn. You can never have enough pitching, and the Cardinals would need another front-line starter if they expect to contend with the Cubs and Brewers next season. They need at least one other established veteran to buy them time until Reyes, Flaherty, Alcantara and Hudson are ready.
Odom signed a five-year deal, and Mizzou doesn't seem to have the deep booster pockets to just eat the rest of his contract. I would assume he's safe beyond this year, but he is still behind Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, Tennessee's Butch Jones and Arkansas' Bret Bielema on the list of SEC coaches on the hottest seats. If Odom were in his third season instead of his second, he would probably be closer to the top of those lists. With all that said, his athletics director didn't hire him, so he has to know he's not safe for long.
The Cardinals need to acquire an established closer. Sandy Alcantara and Alex Reyes have the potential to be dominant closers if they can harness their 100-mph fastballs, but they're young and, in Reyes' case, coming off Tommy John. I don't know that you'd want to put that type of workload on a young guy coming off Tommy John. Most fan bases think their manager overuses or mishandles the bullpen. Astros manager A.J. Hinch, the 2015 AL Manager of the Year runner-up, joked that he became a much smarter manager in Houston with a much stronger bullpen than the weak one he was ridiculed for using in Arizona. I strongly believe that Matheny's dilemma with the bullpen was a no-win situation this year. He was dammed if he did, damned if he didn't from the start with Brett Cecil getting off to a poor start and Oh and Rosenthal getting off to slow starts.
I wouldn't rule out the possibility of the Cardinals making some coaching changes this year. Every aspect of the team will be evaluated, including the coaching staff.
I agree 100 percent that it would be a huge risk to go into the season with two rookies in the starting rotation, but Weaver won't exactly be a true rookie. He has shown that he can pitch at this level and succeed. There's no denying that Jack Flaherty can still benefit from some seasoning at Class AA. Remember that he won't turn 22 until Oct. 15 and he still has only 85 1/3 innings at Class AAA under his belt. I would assume that the Cardinals need to kick the tires on multiple free agent pitchers, including their own, Lance Lynn.
Considering the Cardinals cannot sign an international free agent for more than $300,000 during this signing international signing period, Ohtani is not a realistic option for the Cardinals. The Cardinals blew past their international signing pool in the last signing period, and now they're limited to $300,000 or less.
At this point, the Cardinals must keep all the options on the table available. They won't have much payroll relief this offseason other than what they got by trading Leake. Lynn is making only $7.5 million. Oh is making only $2.75 million and Duke is earning only $5.5 million. Rosenthal, who earned $6.4 million this year, will likely be non-tendered or given a discounted multi-year deal. As you can see by that breakdown, the Cardinals don't get rid of enough payroll to take on more than one or two major contracts if they add to the payroll. Therefore, John Mozeliak would be wise to pursue all options if he wants to clear payroll space to acquire a guy like Giancarlo Stanton. You never know if Fowler would like to play elsewhere, so a smart president of baseball ops like Mozeliak will surely be wise to at least ask.
For the most part, free agents will take the best contract offered. St. Louis is a great baseball town, so that's a positive when recruiting players. Dexter Fowler is a pro. He'll ultimately do what is best for the team. If the Cardinals are better off playing him in left field, I'm sure he'll do it. Of the players on the roster, Magneuris Sierra might be the only one who is clearly better defensively at this point at center than Fowler, but Sierra still needs a year or year and a half in the minors to develop as a consistent major-league hitter. It would be a gamble to just assume that Harrison Bader can duplicate what Fowler gives you at center. Tommy Pham could play center, but I don't know that we have enough of a sample size to say that he's a better center fielder than Fowler.
Thank you. Bill DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak promised to deliver a competitive team, and in many ways that's what they delivered. I wonder if internally they assumed the Cubs would be much better and thus assumed it didn't make much sense to throw too much money trying to catch the Cubs this season. As I wrote in March, the future is bright for the Cardinals in 2018 and 2019. We have seen some of those young players step up. There is plenty of pitching and outfield depth, but now they need to get a proven middle-of-the-order bat to anchor the lineup. I don't think it would be fair to lay on the blame on Mike Matheny on this year's problems. They all share some of the blame.
I just received this press release from the Cardinals, who have called up Aledmys Diaz and Josh Lucas. "The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have recalled infielder Aledmys Diaz and right-handed pitcher Josh Lucas from Memphis (AAA). Both players will join the Cardinals in Cincinnati for tonight’s game against the Reds, upping the team’s active roster to 36 players.
Diaz, 27, began the year with St. Louis, batting .260 with 7 home runs and 20 RBI in 71 games before being optioned to Memphis following the game on June 27. Diaz, who still leads the Cardinals with his 19 infield hits, had 23 extra base hits among his 71 safeties at the Major League level.
In 46 games at triple-A, Diaz batted .253 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI as the Memphis club posted a franchise record 91 wins and won the Pacific Coast League Championship Series. Diaz played 28 games at shortstop, nine at third base and six at second base for the Redbirds.
Lucas, 26, who made his Major League debut with 2.0 innings of relief at Pittsburgh on August 19, is being recalled for a second time this season. The Cardinals 21st round draft pick in 2010 finished the season with 17 saves for Memphis (3rd in the PCL), and provided the rescue in the Redbirds pennant-clinching win on Sunday at El Paso, Texas. Lucas fanned 68 batters in his 60.0 innings of work for the triple-A Redbirds and walked only 12. Diaz wears uniform no. 36 and Lucas wear no. 77."
I don't need to defend Los Angeles, and neither does Los Angeles. Los Angeles is the second largest city in the country. The Los Angeles County and Orange County areas have the Dodgers, Angels, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Ducks, USC, UCLA, Hollywood, beaches and great museums and other entertainment opportunities. Los Angeles was winning long before the Rams and Chargers came to town. They have two MLS franchises, the Galaxy and the LAFC that debuts in 2018. St. Louis has a USL team. Don't buy into the L.A. vs. St. Louis rhetoric. St. Louis' anger should be focused on the NFL and Stan Kroenke. They're the husband that cheated on St. Louis. L.A. was just the beautiful new wife that took their money but won't return the love until they prove to be true winners. In L.A., teams have to earn the fans' money. Remember, L.A. once said goodbye to the Raiders, and Orange County once said bye to the Rams. The NFL needs L.A. more than L.A. needs the NFL, as I've said for 22 years. St. Louis is a wonderful town that doesn't need to the NFL. I love St. Louis and accepted the job here after the Rams decided to bolt because I believe in this town as a great sports town. I hope you believe in St. Louis too and tell Kroenke and the NFL you've moved on.
I would hate to see the Cardinals trade Alex Reyes. I think he's going to be a special front-line starter who will lead this team for years.
Never say never until the math says you're eliminated. The Cardinals are keeping hope alive. The Rockies have an easy schedule the rest of the way, but don't give up hope just yet.
I sense your frustration. DeWitt does plan to have a payroll in the top third of the majors. It fell into the second third this year, but they're not exactly pinching pennies over there. They need wiser investments. They cannot afford to miss as badly as they did on Mike Leake. They need to hope that Brett Cecil has a better season next year. They need to fix the roster this offseason, and they know that.
You have to feel sorry for Patrick Wisdom, who definitely made a strong case for earning a promotion to the majors in a year that almost the entire 40-man roster is up in September. Unfortunately, you cannot bring up everybody. Diaz was an All-Star rookie last year. He has some value. If you hope to trade Diaz this offseason, you would hurt his trade value and your bargaining leverage if you let the entire baseball world know you didn't think he deserved a September call up. Unfortunately for Wisdom, the Cardinals think there are better options already in the majors.
If you had a poll in the clubhouse or among fans, I bet you that Tommy Pham would win the Heart and Hustle award. That's the award that Jeff Gyorko was given.
I don't know that I'd be willing to take on that contract if I'm the Cardinals. Jeff Samardzija appears to be trending in the wrong direction. He'll be 33 in January. I'd pass on that one.
The Cardinals cannot miss on their contracts again. Leake turned out to be a horrible signing. There's more than enough time for the Piscotty and Cecil deals to work out, but there's no doubt that Piscotty has struggled this season. The Cecil deal looks bad at this point. Despite a slow start and injuries, Fowler has lived up to the contract overall when healthy in his first year here.