Spring training has arrived, with the start of pitchers and catchers reporting.
A few initial thoughts:
The sight of seeing Adam Wainwright continue where he left off at the end of last season, makes me smile. He may be getting older, but he says the year off left him feeling refreshed and that his arm feels great. I hope this is all true, and we can get a full season out of Waino, who is the backbone of the rotation when healthy.
Seeing Mike Leake in uniform makes me curious. What will we get from him? He wasn’t our primary target in the off-season, but has been a solid pitcher during his career. Will he match the injured Lance Lynn‘s production? And how about down the road? Will he perform well for the life of the contract?
Then of course, there’s Yadier Molina, and his new backup, Brayan Pena.
GM John Mozeliak smartly signed Pena to be our backup, a clear upgrade over Tony Cruz. Plus Pena can handle opening day duties (and beyond) if Yadi needs more time to recuperate.
Pena has said that he’s here to help Yadi, and seemingly knows and is ok with the fact that he’s here to be a backup.
In this day and age, that’s refreshing. So many players are selfish about playing time, as they know it affects their future salaries. Seems we got ourselves a good team player in Mr. Pena, and that alone counts for something.
As for Yadi himself, he seems eager to start on opening day, but the team is being cautious, and rightly so. I applaud Yadi’s enthusiasm, but I agree with the team on this one. After two off-season thumb surgeries, Yadi needs to be careful if he wants his career to last a while longer. That means being cautious in his recovery, and also being willing to admit when he needs day off. From what I’ve seen, the man is the ultimate competitor, wanting to be out there every day. That’s admirable, but he’s already starting to breakdown, and if he wants that to stop, Yadi needs to let Pena start a few games throughout the season so he can stay rested and healthy.
We’ll see how it goes.
As always, thanks for reading.