Good afternoon. I hope you're all having a blessed day. Please fire away.
Before we get started, let me please point out that I will not acknowledge any questions that take shots at any of my colleagues. Out of habit I tend to hit the next question in the queue and I almost got suckered into clicking one that included an insulting comment. I don't find those questions credible or funny. Thanks for understanding.
They're trying to see if Fowler leading off and Carpenter batting third fits. Carpenter and Fowler both have had success leading off, and Fowler is clearly a bit faster. Either way, you have two solid on-base guys among the top three hitters to set the proverbial table for Marcell Ozuna.
One of the biggest cliches about spring training is that you should not put too much stock into spring training stats. I've covered baseball long enough to know that you shouldn't put too much stock in what you see in spring training and what you see in September from September call-ups. When the bell rings, Ozuna will be more than ready. Trust me.
I fully expect that there will be a serious threat of a work stoppage when this collective bargaining agreement is over. The players must figure out a way to make sure that MLB doesn't accept tanking as an acceptable strategy in baseball. The Marlins aren't even trying. There's nothing new about the owners wanting to keep salaries down, but this year was different because about a third of them weren't willing to invest enough to compete. We'll see what happens next year, though, when teams are competing for much bigger superstars. This market wasn't exactly filled with the biggest names in baseball. Next year's market will have some legit superstars.
Yes, Wainwright is having a very good outing. Wainwright has actually had a very strong spring training camp. I can still hear him loudly proclaiming "News alert. I was injured last year," or something to that affect after a Grapefruit League outing. He's motivated to prove all the critics wrong. As I've said often in this chat, don't bet against Wainwright. I think he'll be fine this year. I don't know if I would have lined up as the staff's No. 2 starter, but I think it's appropriate for him to receive the honor of starting the Cardinals' home opener.
I've been pretty adamant in my belief that the Cardinals will be a playoff team this year. The lineup is stacked, and I don't think fans realize or appreciate just how much of a difference maker Alex Reyes will be. How many teams can say they have a potential ace waiting to contribute in May? John Mozeliak and I were actually talking about Reyes today and how he's quietly gone under the radar. When Adam Wainwright tells you that Reyes could be an ace by the end of the season, as he told me recently, well who the heck am I to argue with a three-time All-Star who isn't prone to outrageous comments? The outfield is loaded at the big league level and throughout the upper levels of the farm system. Long story short, the Cardinals will push the Cubs for the NL Central pennant this year.
I agree with your assessment, but let's wait until he proves it in the majors before we start plotting a veteran star to displace in the outfield. With all that said, it will be interesting to see if the Cardinals will be able and willing to win what should be a good bidding war for Marcell Ozuna after the 2019 season.,
I bet the Cardinals' offense will continue to ascend this spring. It has to be because some of the starters still haven't hit at the level one would expect.
I wouldn't say collusion. I agree that it was a combination of an unimpressive free agent class and the fact that a third of the teams in baseball are not willing to compete.
I don't know what to think of that. He'll be fine, though.
A week ago, I would have said Bader. I'd say they're about even right now. Considering that Fowler and Ozuna can both move over to center in a pinch if Pham takes a day off, I would say that Bader's defensive prowess isn't as big of an advantage over Munoz, who can also play in the infield and throughout the outfield. If I had to guess right now, I'd say Munoz had moved into the lead at this point. There are still two weeks to go, though.
Yes, Adolis has a chance, but it's slim because of roster-management considerations. There's no need to put him on the roster yet if Munoz or Bader or even Mercado, who is also on the roster, can fill the backup outfielder's role.
I would assume Leone, Norris and Tuivailala will keep getting those situations heading into the season to figure out which one fits in the closer's role if it doesn't go to Gregerson. John Mozeliak told me that fully expects Gregerson to be ready for the season. Mozeliak based his confidence on a conversation he had with Gregerson about five minutes before we spoke this morning.
Matt Carpenter is a professional hitter. He can climb off the deer blind in the middle of the winter and hit a double the other way immediately. By the way, is hunting season in the winter around these parts?
I don't understand this question. Mozeliak is Matheny's boss. If you're asking if I consider them my colleagues or employers, I would say neither. I would say that we have a respectful working relationship. They have a job to do and I have a job to do. Our interests are in conflict at all, but I can promise you that I have a very good working relationship with both of those men.
Kelly has proven to be a major leaguer already. I haven't asked about this issue, but I can promise you that they're not going to demote him to Memphis and replace him with Knizner this spring because of their batting averages or plate appearances. Knizner is considered a very good prospect, but he still has work to do defensively to be ready for the big leagues. Kelly, however, is ready to play behind the plate in the majors. Cardinals fans have been spoiled by future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina, but keep in mind that Kelly's main responsibility would be to back up Molina and serve as a defensive catcher who has gained the pitching staff's trust.