Greetings. Back in the Mound City after that late-night game in Steel Town at PNC Park and ready for another nationally televised game featuring the Local Nine against the North Siders. Apparently we had a little adventure on the flight home this morning. Ace reporters Buster Olney and Jenifer Langosch were all over the landing gear issue we apparently had, while I blissfully had some Ben Folds piano filling my ears and Karen Russell's "Sleep Donation" captivating my attention. I was in the zone -- chat prep. Cannot imagine what will captivate this week's Chat to be Named Later. Could be the ESPN comments. Could be the schedule. Could be the 4-5 road trip. Could be rumors. Could be ... Well, enough with the speculation. There's plenty of that out there. Let's get to the questions and the best answers this trusty laptop can offer. Off we go.
The model is already there. See: Freese, David. A player with a rising salary and a ready replacement is moved in the month or two after the season to a wanting team for the prospects that team is willing to provide. The need for Jay through the season is likely to outweigh the return, so expect the Cardinals to check the market for jay just as they did for Schumaker a few years ago and Freese this past year.
Good question. The Cardinals sided with getting the pitchers the extra day of rest throughout the rotation. The road was a a grind, and I think you've probably heard a little bit about that. The preference was getting every starter the extra rest this time around, and it seems to make the most sense if you're going to keep one pitcher on regular rotation it would be Adam Wainwright and let the others fall around him.
Still where he's been for months. At the Cardinals' facility in Jupiter, Fla., and on a throwing program and recovering from a shoulder injury and shoulder surgery that put his return at more than a year. Not much to update on the lefty.
Lots of shuffling and reinforcements on the way. The larger concern right now that you hint at is how not only is the bullpen getting used to cover those innings, but it tends to be the same four, five guys. There isn't a long reliever to munch innings, or there isn't now. Jason Motte's return is on the horizon and so is Jaime Garcia's. Their arrival means one extra arm for the bullpen and one of the starters likely shuffling to the bullpen at some point. That will add some fresh arms to the mix. You know as well as I do that the bullpen the Cardinals have will change and refresh and retool between now and September. Always does.
I think that is more of a coincidence than a cause. McGwire left the year after that 40-homer guy Albert Pujols did. And this year, the Cardinals are operating without Carlos Beltran, who hit more homers over the past two seasons than anyone else in that jersey. At the same time you've seen a sharp decline in homers from David Freese (health) and Allen Craig, and there was the fact that last year Yadier Molina had gobs of doubles -- more than any catcher not named Pudge -- and saw a decrease in his homers, too. Those are the larger reasons behind the Cardinals drop in power, one that hasn't been made up yet by Adams joining the everyday lineup and Craig finding that same 20-homer swing. Jhonny Peralta, meanwhile, is doing his part.
They are not. I have seen it refused a few times and the hitter fumes as a pitch arrives.
It's all about the PT. The book on Bourjos is the more he plays the better he plays because he gets his swing going. He told me last night that the AB last night that produces a run isn't one "I would have taken a week ago because the timing wasn't there. I didn't have the at-bats." His swing hasn't perceptible changed, and he has been pretty steady with his opinion that his swing path and eye for the pitch was there at the end of spring training. His timing was off with the lack of at-bats for a couple weeks there.
Looking over the questions here and today's chat is sponsored by the letter "R". The favorite words that start with the letter "R" are ... Rumblings and Rumors. Buckle up.
Decode if the reason behind that command is mechanical or something that needs to be improved upon with a trip to the minors. In Miller's case the belief is that it's mechanical. Matheny direct quote was that some point in his recent starts, the righty "hits a wall" and his mechanics stray. That means he's had difficulty locating his best pitch, the fastball. Miller talked about when he starts to drift during games he cannot throw a fastball to the third-base side of the plate with any confidence. That was part of his constant shaking last night. He didn't know if he could throw the pitch Molina wanted for a strike.
I haven't heard a good explanation for why Marvin Miller isn't in the Hall as a "builder" -- and why he wasn't there years before his death. That's a historic whiff by baseball. Flood has a case for his role in baseball, and he certainly has a claim to a spot in the Cardinals Hall of Fame when it comes to his performance here in St. Louis. His overall career does not grade well when it comes to Baseball-Reference.com and Bill James' series of Hall of Fame predictors, and the players he lines up with range from Johnny Damon to Lou Pinella. Not sure there are a lot of players that Flood measures against, even including his Gold Glove Awards, that put him in Cooperstown on his playing career, and that would be the way for him to at least get his name in the conversation with the veteran's committee. Look, it's not Cooperstown, but I know of at least two votes Flood got for the Cardinals Hall of Fame class of 2014, and there's going to be a good push for him to get in when the vote comes up again in 2015. Yes, his role in baseball history will be part of that campaign, but he also has the numbers to back up inclusion locally.
Yes. For the reason you stated and for the fact that -- crazy as this sounds -- when a player is struggling there aren't many teams racing to take on the contract, at least not at the return value the Cardinals are going to want for a player they did commit $31 million to just 14 months ago.
Oh, sure. This has been done. It's actually something that a few years ago I drew up a chart or some sort of illustration I think for Bird Land. It's a lot like what you would expect: the middle of the order gets more at-bats with runners in scoring position because the top of the order is on base. Follow the OBP, my man. Frank Thomas batting third is going to get a lot more chances with runners on base than Pete Kozma batting eighth because that's how the lineup works. The distribution is like a curve, with sharp incline after the leadoff hitter, a hump over the Nos 3 and 4 spots in the order and then a tail off toward the end as the OBPs get lower.
That's the date we discussed on the recent episode of BPIB as a likely arrival date for Oscar Taveras. The DH will be in play for seven consecutive games, all of them on the road against AL teams. (Thanks, Capt. Obvious.) An extra hitter in the lineup? More at-bats to be had? If Taveras is on the same offensive surge then that he has been now it would be quite a contortion of logic for the Cardinals to explain why he's not the extra hitter when they have room and playing time to give.
They do, yes. There is one ready to throw BP at home. I've asked around about this and players aren't so sold on the idea that it preps them any better to face a lefty than a righty BP. The type of lefty has been as much a factor in their struggles as the handedness of the pitcher.
In the minors, there is a seven-day DL, not just a 15-day DL. In the majors, you're right, the shorter DL is only for concussions. Not so in the minors. Diaz was advertised as missing at least a couple weeks with shoulder soreness.
Wrote a whole story about that for the season preview. When available they take athleticism and power -- and they'll turn it into a pitcher with development. It's worked well. Other teams aim to copy that approach this summer.
There was a lot more to the Tulowitzki stuff because those were reports. The Cardinals and Rockies did talk -- several times over the course of that whole drama. There was talk before the Cardinals made the move on Jhonny Peralta. And those talks were reported, with attribution and with accountability. Rumors mostly lack both of those things.
I dunno about that. Maybe there's something the "underdog" thing, but the Cardinals really haven't been that since winning 83 games and taking the World Series in 2006. Maybe they try to adopt that posture at some points, but nobody is buying it. The Cardinals won 97 games last season and had one of the best run differentials in the league. They weren't underdogs to anybody until the World Series, and at best that was a draw.
I'll be honest. There are a lot of good teams in this division and in the National League. Games are getting tighter. Offense is getting scarcer. And that does put the spotlight on fundamental flaws -- and games are decided by mistakes when the games are closer and the offense is lesser. That gives off the impression that a team isn't playing well -- which, granted, the Cardinals have't been consistently -- when the other side of the it is that both teams are just playing at the same level. The start of this season reminds of constant staring contests. They're grinds. And nobody remembers how long they last, they just remember the guy who blinked.
Who wouldn't be? And not at the price the Marlins are going to command.
I wrote that a few months back, and with a few days to go ... not good.
That's a very interesting way to look at it. Probably not a coincidence. And definitely not a true reflection of how they've pitched. It has to do with workload -- both the amount of innings they've thrown and how that puts them in position to give up runs and also the wear that comes with that workload and how unsustainable it is. Matheny mentioned it last night. "We've ridden these young guys hard," he said. Time to diversify. Motte is on the way.