Sorry for the late start to this week's chat. I drove down to Mizzou for the basketball team's availability. Fire away.,
Giancarlo Stanton is a definite target. You can assume that the Cardinals will target him. Heck, they'll inquire about all three of the Marlins' starting outfielders. Donaldson is also an option. I would bet that the Cardinals are more likely to find their bat on the trade market than on the free agent market.
I wouldn't expect any "big" trades right away. Keep in mind, however, that the general manager meetings and even the winter meetings are each a week later than usual this year. I would expect the hot stove market to truly heat up around Thanksgiving.
I expect the Cardinals will upgrade the bullpen and add a significant bat. They will definitely be players for Wade Davis and Greg Holland and for one of the big bats. If I were the team president and didn't have to worry about the payroll, I would acquire Giancarlo Stanton and sign Wade Davis.
If I were to put odds on it, I would say that either Stanton, Donaldson, Yelich or Ozuna should be considered the top candidate to land in St. Louis.
Piscotty and Grichuk have to be considered the Cardinals players most likely to be traded among the established players. I don't anticipate the Cardinals to go after a first baseman and an outfielder. It will be one or the other, in my opinion. It would not surprise me at all if both are traded this winter.
They won't have a self-imposed trade deadline, but you shouldn't be surprised if they thin some of the outfield depth via trades before setting the roster ahead of Rule 5 draft eligibility.
I wouldn't expect a Stanton deal done in the near future.
As you note, it's not easy to work these deals out, especially if you consider that the Marlins will have to agree to pick up some of Stanton's salary to complete any deal for the slugger. Jason Heyward is an example that finishing second isn't always a bad thing in free agency.
Kelly doesn't hit enough to merit starts at first, third or left field. It would make more sense to give a day or two a week at first base for Yadier Molina. Keep in mind that Kelly might be good trade bait this winter.
Those tickets aren't for sale yet, but you definitely might want to start budgeting for them. This team is legit, and they'll likely get even better as the season continues and some of the injured stars return.
If the MLS2STL folks still want public funding for a downtown stadium, you probably should give up any hope of landing an MLS expansion.
The Blues' hot start gives me tremendous optimism about this year's team. You have to consider the Blues serious Stanley Cup contenders as Jaden Schwartz joins Vladimir Tarasenko as elite superstars.
Free agents can sign contracts already.
There's a lot of excitement surrounding the Mizzou basketbal team. I'm actually conducting this chat from Mizzou Arena because I drove here for the men's basketball team's availability. The Tigers embrace the high expectations. A trip to the second round of the NCAA Tournament should be among the team's expectations.
From what I'm hearing, they're not likely to get more than one impact bat. They're going after one true impact bat. Keep in mind that the Cardinals aren't going to suddenly sacrifice much of their future on the trade market this winter. They'll make a run at acquiring a bat that opponents fear and also upgrade the bullpen. They have a healthy farm system with several good outfield pieces already knocking on the door at Class AAA and Class AA, so they'll thin some of that depth to acquire that impact bat. But they're not going to blow through their farm system's depth in one winter. Moreover, they don't need two bats. The Cardinals would be serious NL Central contenders with a quality bullpen with Davis and Alcantara, a lineup of Carpenter, Wong, Fowler, Stanton, Pham, DeJong, Molina and Gyorko, and a rotation with Martinez, Reyes, Wacha, Weaver and Wainwright, Flaherty and Hudson. I hope that shows that they don't need two bats.
I don't, but you are right. He's an older guy. I can't imagine he would a second line guy.
All I can tell you is that the Cardinals were actually among the teams who were the most effective in their use of the shift last year. I don't have the stats at my disposal, but I broke it down last month and found that the Cardinals were among the top three teams, perhaps even top two, at runs saved per shift.
I would bet the under on Lynn at $75 million. I would bet the over on Martinez and $110 million. If the Cardinals are under .500 at the All-Star break with Giancarlo Stanton, Ozuna or Yelich in the outfield, I wouldn't be surprised if there is a managerial change in St. Louis. I expect Piscotty to bounce back, but I predict that he'll bounce back with another team.
Bader is still young enough that you'd want him to get consistent at-bats in the minors, but he's a quality defensive outfielder who could help give Fowler a breather once a week to help keep Fowler fresh in hopes that he can remain healthy. With that said, Grichuk provides more pop and probably is a better fourth outfielder option at this time if your starting outfield is Pham, Fowler and Stanton.