Greetings from sunny Jupiter, Fla., and Day 5 of Cardinals spring training. Today is "report day" for the position players, though the reality is many of them have already reported and the full squad is ready for its first official workout on Tuesday. Tony La Russa made an appearance today as an invited guest to see what the team is doing with its catchers to prepare for the new collision rules. Interesting stuff and throughout the chat here I'll share some multi-media features from on the back field. If it's Monday, it's Chatday. Time for CTBNL -- Chat To Be Named Later. Off we go.
Could still be a struggle. Cardinals have Oscar Taveras as the most likely power option off the bench. The other spots will be manned by Ellis, Cruz, Jay/Bourjos, and Descalso. When you think about the options in-house the Cardinals would have to look into the minors for the true righthanded power options. Stephen Piscotty is more of a high-average hitter but has the gap power that might work, and then there's Xavier Scruggs. He's got righthanded pop. He needs to cut down on the strikeouts, of course, but the power potential is there.
The Cardinals, in the past, have not let salary concerns be a leading factor. With Oscar you could ee how it would be a tiebreaker, and already Mozeliak has said that the team will choose development over sitting on the big-league bench for Taveras. The exact opposite was the approach a year ago with Matt Adams. The salary release would be late May -- teams trying to avoid Super-2 usually go with the date, or early June. Taveras could hit his way onto the team as the aforementioned bench option who is playing regularly with Craig at first base. It's really a case of how much everyday play do they want to give Matt Adams, and how much does Taveras show this spring as being ready and able to be more productive than that.
False. And really ... Baby Pedro? Shouldn't you be a starter to carry that nickname? I don't remember the hand-wringing over whether Pedro Martinez was going to start or not. He won Cy Youngs. Tsunami works better. It is, after all, etched into your arm.
Two episodes in. No time for binge-watching here. Kevin Spacey kills in the role.
Well, the Cardinals turn to Tony Cruz or go shopping. The talent is a few levels down when it comes to the prospects in the minors. Casey Rasmus has a good reputation as a receiver and defensive option. He did well in Class AA last year. The motivation behind moving Carson Kelly behind the plate has to do with creating a succession plan for Molina, sure. Kelly has the potential offensively. He has the strong arm. If the Cardinals can shape him into a catcher then it's easy to see how his offense would be a boost for the bench and his work at catcher be a possible apprentice for Molina a couple years from now and then a replacement after that. Those are all big IFs. They are capital I-F ifs.
None. Siegrist said he took a break today from throwing because of soreness under his arm, near his lat. He called it precautionary.
Well, not until April at the earliest if I understand your question. But they do see him getting into some Grapefruit League games before the team leaves Florida. He has a few more times doing these light tosses off the mound -- he did throw from the rubber for the first time Sunday -- and then they'll increase his intensity for those throws. He won't face hitters in a BP session until at least another week or two.
No. He's pretty good at catcher.
I appreciate the compliment. Thanks. More of a Mike & Ike guy.
It is fair. But is that on him or the Dodgers?
The No. 1 motivation for acquiring Bourjos was the feeling coming out of evaluations of the 2013 season that the Cardinals needed to add speed and defense. That was the theme, as DeWitt told me this past weekend. Bourjos is both. He is one of the fastest runners in the game, and he will -- if he gets playing time -- vie for a Gold Glove in center field. He doesn't just catch fly balls. He steals hits. The Cardinals wanted an impact glove and they felt there was the chance to add one from a team that wanted a third baseman. It doesn't matter who is in LF or RF -- it could by Jay in RF and Taveras in LF -- Bourjos is good enough out there to immediately turn the Cardinals outfield defense from below average last year to an asset this year, if he wins the job.
TBD. Right now on the depth chart he's set to be a starter in Class AAA and the first-man up for a spot start because he'll be ready and on regular rotation with ample stamina, strength.
Can you trade a hometown boy and World Series MVP two years after his homer? Cardinals can do anything they want with their pitchers. This is a team that is moving an MVP caliber 2B to third base this season and a team that spent $53 million to get a new shortstop and may send their starter at the position from the LAST TWO NLCS back to the minors. Baseball moves on. And the Cardinals will continue to protect Wacha through this season. The restrictor plates will be off for Shelby Miller most likely, but Wacha is still new to this pro baseball thing and they'll monitor his innings closely. He threw more than prescribed last season.
OBP is life. Bourjos would have to really change his approach and upgrade that .308 lifetime OBP to move Carpenter out of the leadoff spot. When it comes to leadoff give me the guy who is going to get on baseball four times out of every 10 plate appearances over the guy who gets on base three times. That's 10 more times every 100 plate appearances. Maybe I'm old fashioned.
This tag at the plate approach is going to be up there. A lot teams are going to be struggling with this same question, and the Cardinals are asking their catchers to do something different. They are rewiring their instincts. You will see that line again in the paper tomorrow. Fair warning.
Seems like a good time to load a video of what I'm talking about. Hold please.
Too early to start judging velocity on any pitchers, or even stuff really. They're still building strength and mechanics with work in these bullpen sessions. They aren't facing hitters, and they aren't throwing at their full speed and full feel for their pitches. Health is key here. And so far Garcia has shown health during his sessions and recovery after them, which is just as important.
Agree. It makes sure that all free agents are not created equal. Consider a year ago when Kyle Lohse didn't have an open market and Zack Greinke did -- all because he played on a team that fell out of the hunt and traded him. That wasn't a choice he made. That wasn't a situation he had a role in. And yet he was more of a free agent than Lohse. That isn't the open market players want.
Sure. There were a lot of doubles there that could become homers for him.
He had a serious shoulder injury, and he's not even at a point in his rehab where he's on the radar for a role. He's going to miss a lot of time.
Yes, and he's going to go through scout school here, too.
They have avoided each other like the positive ends of two magnets.