I started writing this last week and then ran out of time. I meant to resume at some point but after a long weekend of booze and base/foot ball I’m pretty sure all my thoughts were on lost brain cells. So here I am starting from scratch and wasting what was for sure a masterpiece. I’d like to take a break from division/pennant/world series talk and look into the future. What will the 2014 Cardinals look like? And I’ll also give the NL MVP voting a minute. In fact let’s start with that.
The great thing about having an MVP discussion is everyone is right. Unless you’re way off base there is no wrong answer. In fact there’s really no set criteria to base the vote on which makes it real interesting. I honestly don’t care much about individual awards but I’ve found myself in a couple MVP discussions recently and decided to put my thoughts on digital paper. My candidates are in no particular order, Paul Goldschmidt, Joey Votto, Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Carlos Gomez, Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Andrew McCutcheon. I’m certainly not going to break down everyone’s case but my focus is how much does a player influence outcome? For the sake of Kershaw and Wainwright I like to break it down on a week by week basis. This helps me simplify things.
Now again, I’m not here to say there’s a right answer but to merely point out possibilities and basically say, don’t get too worked up about the outcome of a vote. Some people say a pitcher shouldn’t be eligible for the award due to the fact they only contribute once every fifth day. Sure, but look at it from a weekly standpoint. Waino, for instance, has started 32 games this season and pitched a total of 229 innings. That’s an average of slightly over 7 innings per game or 21 outs he heavily influenced that week. And of course sometimes it falls where a pitcher will pitch twice in one week. Now I’ll give the position player the benefit and say they get 28 AB’s per week. A really good player will average 8-9 ish hits over that span. To not drag it out or hurt my brain getting technical if you add up the position players influence with hits and defensive plays that given week and compare it to the pitchers, in this case Waino and Kershaw’s innings and outs influenced it’s a little closer than some care to admit. Just a thought.
To close the subject I’m not going to choose a winner because all the guys listed here are deserving. Be it for on field stuff or even intangible things that are brought up like pitching staff management, working pitch counts, defensive greatness and saving bullpens with consistent long outings. For the record McCutcheon will probably win because he’s a damn good player and the Pirates story will push him over. And that’s fine.
Alright, the 2014 Cardinals! What will they look like on Opening Day? Nothing’s certain but here’s some thoughts. First, let’s tackle the free agents Carlos Beltran and Edward Mujica. Odds are neither will be back unless they accept the qualifying offer they’ll receive. Beltran almost certainly gets the offer not 100% on Eddy. Let’s assume Mujica is just gone and I don’t feel like talking bullpen stuff anyway. Now Beltran’s offer will more than likely be in the range of 14 mil for 1 year. I think the Cardinals are in position to be just fine whether he takes it or not but while Carlos thinks about it I want to address other needs. Fact is the Cardinals don’t have a ton of needs aside from maybe generating some more homeruns and trying to get a shortstop.
Short has been a real pain in the butt for the Cards to get a handle on. They really don’t have much in the organization so they would almost certainly need to go outside. They could market a young arm or two to drum up a trade or look towards the free agent market. The market is fairly weak but there is an intriguing name out there in Jhonny Peralta who of course was involved in the Biogenesis stuff. The Tigers have already moved on in the form of Jose Iglesias who will be their shortstop going forward. I can only speak for myself but I don’t have a problem with Peralta joining the club coming off the suspension. I understand some will. Peralta would maintain the defensive level that Kozma attained this season while almost certainly blowing his offensive contribution out of the water. I wouldn’t think Peralta would be overly expensive but the Cardinals have the bandwidth to overpay some with the reward being hanging on to all their young arms.
Now let’s assume Beltran leaves for the AL to help extend his career. With the Oscar Taveras set back this means he probably won’t be able to fill an outfield slot immediately and when he does it’s more than likely going to be in one of the corner spots due to the ankle problems. Lots of folks believe Craig will make the move to right field making room for Adams at 1st. This makes sense but both have seen the inside of the trainer’s room more than they’d like recently.
Lastly before I close is David Freese. He’s an interesting case because due to his struggles this season he’s become expendable in some people’s eyes which is understandable. Remember he’s only in his 1st year of arbitration and has 3 left. It’s hard to say what will happen but if the move is made where Kolten Wong is the 2nd baseman and Matt Carpenter is moved to 3rd I’d be all for Freese coming off the bench or at least giving him the option of a utility role. Who knows how Wong’s going to hit even with regular playing time and Freese would be a good option against lefty’s.
Alright I’ve gotta run. I’ll talk about this stuff in the coming weeks and most likely expand on the subject in more detail next week. Cards are in Milwaukee this weekend. Shelby Miller vs. Johnny Hellweg tonight. Later.