Good afternoon. I hope you're all doing well. Please fire away.
I'm not here to do the Cardinals' bidding, but I must note that very few teams have actually done a whole lot in this very slow free agent market. Despite what was said publicly at the Winter Warm-Up, I'm willing to bet some drinks in Jupiter, Fla., that the Cardinals will still add another reliever via free agency. It's probably not going to be a major name, but it will be an upgrade. At least that's what people I trust tell me. I don't know how anybody can actually downplay the addition of Marcell Ozuna to the lineup. You just added a two-time All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner who drove in more than 120 runs and hit 37 home runs last year. I don't care what team you are, that type of addition is a major upgrade.
There's plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the Cardinals' offense with the addition of Ozuna. If you look at the long-term picture, I'm not too worried about the starting rotation because I assume that Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes should be ready to carry a bigger load at some point early in the season. The bullpen doesn't have a stud closer, and that's a concern. Judging by some conversations I've had with key people who would know, I feel very certain that the Cardinals will add another reliever at some point before spring training. Moreover, don't be surprised if Reyes or Hicks make this bullpen much better during the season.
As I've noted, the Cardinals haven't actually closed the doors on making additions. Bill DeWitt stressed that he's comfortable with the roster they have in place after making their additions this winter. He has never ruled out any additions, though. Because I haven't gone out on a ledge about this enough so far, let me repeat that I expect the Cardinals to make at least one more bullpen addition. I feel confident about that prediction because of what my trusted sources tell me on background. Take that for what it's worth.
I'm afraid that I would only be guessing if I tried to answer that question. I wouldn't guess either way. Let's see how the market plays out.
There's always a chance, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that their chances of earning a spot out of spring training are extremely slim. I wouldn't count on it.
I haven't heard such rumblings. I assume that Lynn will hold out for a long-term contract. My answer might be different in three weeks, however, if Lynn is still on the market.
I would say no. There's nothing wrong with Alex Reyes' back.
Agents use every possible stat or metric to make their case. I still have the Carlos Beltran booklet Scott Boras put together for teams with projections about Beltran when he was the top player on the free agent market after the 2004 season. Trust me, there is not a tool agents won't use to make the case for a player's value.
I'm assuming if you were attorney you'd know how to spell lawsuit. Did you mean to say you will fill a suite with fans at Busch Stadium?
St. Louis has two superb franchises in the NHL and MLB. Don't forget we also have two professional soccer teams in the USL and the Ambush, who play in the Major Arena Soccer League.
I'm a quite high on the Billikens' future under Travis Ford. They have a talented young roster. I cannot wait to see how freshmen Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French develop. You have to believe the Billikens would be a much stronger team this year if they had a full roster. With passing judgment, I have to concede that the sexual assault investigation has taken its toll on the team. I commend SLU officials for taking the accusations seriously, but I don't have any information other than what has been publicly released. Regardless of what happens this season, I'll bet the Billikens will make some noise next year with the addition of Webster Groves' Carte'Are Gordon.
I feel quite confident about the Cardinals landing another reliever. I'm sure Mike Matheny would love a veteran All-Star closer. Every manager does, but history shows that a team can groom a hotshot youngster to handle that role. Did you ever hear about the time Adam Wainwright caught Carlos Beltran looking to put the Cardinals in the World Series?
Arrieta is trending in the wrong direction, in my humble opinion. He's a Scott Boras client, so you know you're not going to get a discount. He threw only 168 innings last year, which was his lowest total since 2014. His 1.218 WHIP (walks and hits per inning) was his highest since 2013. I'd rather hitch my hopes on Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty or even a one-year deal for Lance Lynn to return, but it's important to remind everybody that Miles Mikolas is the Cardinals' No. 3-4 starter.
Luke Gregerson is coming off a difficult season. He pitched in the World Baseball Classic and lost his father last offseason. You cannot underestimate the emotional toll Gregerson overcame leading up to last season. He has had a chance to rest and unwind. I covered him in 2015 with the Astros, and I have tremendous confidence that he'll have a bounce back year in 2018 because I believe in his work ethic and repertoire. I was the first reporter he talked about his father's brain cancer in spring training 2016, and I know he and his father were extremely close. I have to believe he's going to be on a mission to return to the playoffs after nurturing many of the young Astros from 2015 through 2017.
In theory, you would be correct with almost any other free agent position. But if there's one group that you'd be hesitant to declare as sure things, it's relievers. History is full of relievers who went from great to good to bad or great to bad in a short span. You pay almost all free agents in baseball more for past performance than future, but relievers are guys that will burn you. How many folks expected Seung-Hwan Oh to stumble so badly last year? How about Trevor Rosenthal in 2016 and 2017?
It should be fun to see. I love underdog stories.
They added one of the top sluggers that have been acquired this offseason after going after the NL MVP. If acquiring Ozuna after making a run at Giancarlo Stanton didn't make a statement about a willingness to spend money, I don't think Bill DeWitt can do anything to change your mind.
I wasn't with the team, so I don't know how to answer that question. I'm sure there was something in the scouting report or at practice that prompted the move. I'm just glad Yeo listened to my advice and started Carter Hutton. He and I had had a funny text exchange last week when I told him what I was writing. He told me he looked forward to reading it, and I told him I wish I knew how he meant it. We both laughed. The Blues got a much-needed positive start after their bye week. They need to build on that and somehow figure out a way to improve their dreadful power play.