So surely this is just the match-up that ESPN envisioned for Sunday night to go up against some basketball game. Cubs and Cardinals riding high on their way to October, Wrigley as the perfect place to showcase the best in the Senior Circuit. And all kidding aside, didn’t we feel the same way? Nothing has worked out as planned, but the last couple of games at least give a glimpse of hope that the puzzle may only need a tweak or two.
St. Louis has wisely made some notable transactions this week that limit some of the options for Matheny, and that must continue over what has the makings of being a monumental stretch going forward. The Cards have to decide if they are ‘all-in’ this season which could impact the future much more than the present. I am typically against dealing prospects unless the return is crazy good, but this year may have to be the exception to the rule.
This trip up the I-55 will be very telling as Chicago also finds itself with more questions than answers, so the price of doing business this summer can not be a deterrent. Both NL Central clubs will be making many of the same calls looking for that missing piece soon so the time is right to look at just how stacked the Cardinal cupboard might be. Multiple sites offer up prospect info, but I will be utilizing MLB’s chosen home for at least today.
With the draft right around the corner, two things have become very clear to me already in 2017. The past few Junes have produced many that would be considered fast-risers and thus, the upper levels are thinning themselves out in a good way. No matter how you look at it, St. Louis won’t be left behind because both Memphis and Springfield are absolutely stacked. There has already been more turnover than in years past, and the overall strength of the system puts the Cards’ front office in an enviable position.
Not counting Alex Reyes who most likely would have seen some time for the Redbirds, five of the top prospects in the system have called Memphis home now that Jack Flaherty has been promoted. The timing makes sense as Flaherty destroyed the Texas League, and he will now be on display as one of the youngest weapons in the PCL. Along with Carson Kelly and Harrison Bader, the trio form likely targets this summer for opposing GM’s.
In the search for a big bat, tough decisions will need to be made about what is best for the Birds on the Bat going forward. Luke Weaver and Marco Gonzales also offer controllable starting pitching, and that is just from one team! Palm Beach has a couple of hurlers due for a promotion but only so many innings to go around, and it makes sense to package a few arms to make way for the next crop. The same can be said for the glut of outfielders that seem redundant to the point that at least three could be dealt as others are ready to step up to the challenge.
The NL Central race currently resembles a bunch or snails but is due for a change of pace. One team is surely about to break out, and the Cardinals are well positioned to make a run or turn it over to the kids. That would certainly be different but not necessarily wrong depending on just how expensive it will be on the trade market. All St. Louis faithful are becoming increasingly curious with every Paul DeJong and Mags Sierra that shows up ready to make a difference. I still feel an experienced power bat can get the Cards back to the postseason, but the acquisition cost must be a factor.
Enjoy the friendly confines this weekend and remember one thing – it could always be worse, just ask the Royals.