Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I hope you're all having a great day. Fire away.
At this point, I assume the Cardinals will not sign another starting pitcher to a major-league contract via free agency. Depending on what happens with Stanton or the market for other elite middle-of-the-order batters, I would assume that the next order of business is bullpen help. As we sit here waiting for the Stanton market to clear up, I would say that the elite hitter and two relievers for the back end of the bullpen remain the Cardinals' 1 and 1 A targets.
I'm eager to see RHP Ryan Helsley this spring. He put up good numbers at Class A Palm Beach (8-2, 2.69 ERA) and Class AA Springfield (3-1, 2.67 ERA) this year. He was the Cardinals' fifth-round pick out of Northeastern State University in 2015. He'll be 24 in July, so it will be interesting to see how quickly he advances. He's one of the guys we haven't heard as much about compared to Jack Flaherty, Sandy Alcantara, Dakota Hudson and even Jordan Hicks, another guy I'm excited to see. I want to see how RHP Junior Fernandez develops as well. He has an elite fastball, but he needs to work on his command.
You make a very good point, but the Cardinals are tired of missing the playoffs. A year ago, the Cardinals would have told you that they believed that Piscotty was one of their top three players. That's not the case anymore. They have tremendous empathy for Piscotty and offered him the franchise's full support. Nonetheless, the Cardinals need an elite middle-of-the-order batter to anchor the lineup. They realize their fans are impatient and they cannot afford to wait and see if Piscotty can bounce back. With all that said, they'll give him a chance if they acquire a corner infielder to fill that hole in the lineup.
I cannot envision a scenario in which the Cardinals acquire Longoria if Stanton lands in St. Louis. Bill DeWitt Jr. is willing to move out of his comfort zone for Stanton, but he's not just going to hand John Mozeliak an open checkbook. I could be wrong and have been wrong in the past, though.
The belief around the industry is that the Cardinals would likely trade Stephen Piscotty and/or Randal Grichuk this offseason. If they move both, there could be a backup spot for Bader to fill this upcoming season. Keep in mind that injuries occur throughout the season, so Bader will definitely get his chance in St. Louis at some point next season if, of course, he's not dealt in a trade this offseason.
Thanks. I usually answer the next question up in the queue. You could have asked a question here about MLS, for instance. Speaking of MLS, it doesn't seem likely the MLS will come to St. Louis in the foreseeable future. You see, I granted you a wish and asked a question for you.
Thanks. I will be surprised if this Stanton saga extends beyond next week's Winter Meetings. Actually, I would have bet that the Stanton affair would have been settled by now. The Cardinals have their Plan Bs and should be ready to pounce on something within the next two weeks.
According to my sources, J.D. Martinez is not a serious option for the Cardinals.
You have to believe that the Cardinals would definitely check in with the White Sox on Abreu. He would definitely fit.
If experts tell Lock that he can be a first-round pick, I would encourage him to declare for the draft, especially now that his offensive coordinator has bolted to UCF. But if he has a realistic chance to improve his draft status into a top 5 pick next year, I would tell him to take out an insurance policy against a career-ending injury and return for his senior year. With all that said, I wouldn't urge a top prospect to remain in college for his senior year if he can start getting paid millions already. If you're going to risk brain trauma you might as well get paid.
At least publicly, I haven't heard Fowler regret signing to play in St. Louis. Ultimately, though, Stanton will either decide he's willing to play in St. Louis or not. No matter what Fowler or any other star says, Stanton will not come to St. Louis if he's set to play on the West Coast.
Actually, he's in complete control. He can simply ignore the trade requests that the Marlins put in front of him until he sees one that he likes. He's signed with the Marlins and has a full no-trade clause, so he's in charge. Sooner rather than later, though, the Cardinals must determine if they need to jump on one of their Plan B options. The Stanton saga with the Cardinals will not drag on for the month, so you don't have to worry about that problem.
As I noted in the last question, Stanton does have a so-called "pocket veto" power because he's under no obligation to even consider the Marlins' trade proposals. He can wait this out as long as he's willing to risk staying in Miami.
It all depends in what context you approach this question. If you're wondering how the country sees St. Louis, the Gateway to the West is considered one of the top Baseball Towns in America. That's not to say St. Louis doesn't produce elite athletes in other sports. St. Louis also does a tremendous job producing soccer, football and basketball players. Heck, it may produce more elite soccer, football and basketball players than baseball players. I don't know, although Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer carries a rather impressive banner for the local baseball prospects. Let's agree that St. Louisans know this is a top sports city.
This saga has taken so long, Ken Burns is working on a three-part documentary on Stanton to the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers or Miami. "The fate of Cardinals Nation stands in the balance," the narrator says as he cameras pans out to an empty baseball stadium in Miami.
The Cardinals are considered multiple options to fill their bullpen needs. They'll try to find a fit in the trade and free agent market. I don't know if Hicks hit 102.6 mph at the Fall League, but I know he routinely hit 99-mph.
Wade Davis, Greg Holland and Brandon Morrow are three relievers who will draw plenty of interest in free agency.
I'm hearing the Cardinals are working hard to have Spanish broadcasts again this season, perhaps for each weekend home game. I know you could have listened to their limited Spanish broadcasts online when they offered the Spanish broadcasts.