Woke up from my writing hibernation to see well…not much has changed for the Birds on the Bat. It is early, however, so the time for panic can’t even be discussed until all the pieces are off the board. The Cardinals have sent the big guns down to Orlando in what quite possibly could be considered the most important week in a decade.
Before we break down the three categories to watch from now until my favorite December event, the Rule 5 Draft, it would be a mistake to not give my two cents on the moves St. Louis has already made. Miles Mikolas and Luke Gregerson are not the game-changing names fans want to see across the bottom of the screen, but they are winning hurlers that make the entire staff better.
Mikolas can slot into the middle of the rotation or keep a seat warm for Alex Reyes, something that truly could make the difference down the stretch. My take on this could be a six-man rotation to help keep everyone healthy, and in that case the former Japanese starter has the leg up on just about anyone else on preparing for that.
If having multiple starting options is important, don’t underestimate a veteran presence that can throw in any situation out of a relatively young bullpen. Gregerson has done it all over a successful career and is the right piece for the price before the rest of the relievers start getting goofy amounts of money. Bringing back a guy to where it all started is a nice story, but the reality has to be in the results.
Gregerson can be the missing piece to bridge to the closer-to-be-acquired or he can be the first man out to put out the fire. He has been a durable cog that makes others better around him, and those glue guys are worth the cost and roster spot any day of the week. And now for the main event, here’s where things stand heading into Day 1.
What We Know
The two additions to the pitching staff filled needs but also completed the current available spots on the 40-man roster. Any deals made going forward to the major league squad will require a corresponding move that frees up a home for a new Redbird. This shouldn’t be a huge obstacle given the two redundant parts of the roster happen to be the biggest needs across the game today.
If you need an outfielder, just look for a member of the Cardinals’ entourage. To say the roster is stacked with options is similar to knowing where Daniel will be for a certain movie coming out this weekend. Call this one a slam-dunk, but at least two outfielders currently on the 40-man will be dealt at some point in the near future.
Given that impact bat hasn’t made its way to the Arch just yet, the other area where St. Louis can hang with any other club happens to be on the prospect side from the mound. Memphis, Springfield, and Palm Beach all were well represented on the map when it comes to finding a possible game-changer. Those same options will be even more important this week in trying to make the NL Central a real race again.
Who You Got
The Stanton Sweepstakes has finally ended, letting everyone catch their breath and wonder what’s next. Depending on who you choose to follow, the names being brought up as potential options can be categorized in one word – plentiful.
There honestly are too many names to list so really it is all about opportunity and cost that will drive this train to the station. The free agent market for bats just isn’t that strong this off-season, so that hopefully is Plan B if things don’t work in the trade game. Now the decision needs to come down to basically one question and that is where to upgrade – pick an outfielder to swap or do you fill a hole somewhere in the infield?
Where There is Smoke
Try to enjoy this week as much as possible, especially if you are like me and can turn on the MLB Network for actual reporting instead of rumors. We all know Twitter dominates things now, but the misinformation truly has made it hard to get excited unless multiple sources are in agreement. Even then the truth normally resides somewhere in the middle, so prepare to ride the highs and lows right up until the eventual shocking conclusion.
Unfortunately at this time, the only ‘news’ that can be thrown out there before publication really is that Monday typically doesn’t lead to much this early. 24 hours can make all the difference, though, so keep those phones charged and expect the jaw-dropping moves at any moment!