It’s truly a terrible situation that doesn’t have something good come out of it.
Not that this isn’t a terrible situation, with illness and death involved. Plus we talked yesterday about a lot of the costs involved, both financial and personal. No one is saying this is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. However, you have to look for whatever silver linings you can to keep your spirits up. So let’s see what we can come up with.
First off, a delay into May might mean that Miles Mikolas and Andrew Miller might be ready to go when the games start to matter. Miller had a good bullpen session right before the shutdown and it could be his issue was just a momentary blip. As for Mikolas, the Cards had looked to mid-April or so for his return (at the earliest) I believe, so best case the rotation we thought the Cards would have before spring training might actually be the one they start a delayed season with.
Of course, that would mean Kwang-Hyun Kim would get bumped out of that rotation spot he’s been penciled into and adding Miller back into the bullpen mix might have some repercussions for Austin Gomber and Genesis Cabrera. Which is another not-good thing, but we’re looking at the silver linings here. I’ll leave the idea that Brett Cecil could be healthy soon after–Mike Shildt said “multiple weeks”–to your personal opinion and optimism.
A delay also helps alleviate some of my concerns with Carlos Martinez. Martinez has looked outstanding in the spring and I’m sure that he’d transition back into the starting rotation quite well, but I’ve been hesitant to trust that fully due to the innings increase he is going to have. Last year he pitched right around 40 innings. A full year in the rotation would have likely seen him with 180 or so. Now, with perhaps a month fewer of games, that inning total isn’t going to be as high. Even if they do a lot of double-headers to make up games, that won’t increase the times that he can actually pitch.
Plus, if he’s able to continue his rehab at the same pace, this could mean less of the season without Jordan Hicks and that makes the bullpen that much better.
It’s also possible that a delay might push the Cardinals to start Dylan Carlson. It doesn’t change the makeup of the roster, true, and that’s always been one of the things that has been a hurdle to the Official Prospect of the Blog. But if you are only playing 100-125 games, you can’t afford to not come out of the gate strong, can you? You can’t let Dexter Fowler see if he can “work things out”. You can’t let Matt Carpenter or anyone else get “off to a slow start” without being more proactive.
To go along with that, if the Cardinals could have an opening month like they did last April, they are in real good shape. (They would still have to avoid a May like 2019, of course….) After April 30, they were 19-10 and had a three game lead over the rest of the division. You get that many wins with 40 less games? You can’t print playoff tickets, of course, but you can feel comfortable for a while.
If MLB winds up just picking up the season whenever they can, the Cardinals would miss seeing the Dodgers entirely (assuming at least three weeks out). They could miss one entire West Coast trip to LA and Colorado. If they start May 1, they’d miss a trip to San Diego as well. It seems unlikely that MLB wouldn’t want to make up some of those games but if they aren’t able to, missing trips out West is not a bad thing.
On the personal side, I got the Baseball Prospectus annual when it came out in February and I’m just anal-retentive enough to go through it in order. So with the delay, I might be able to get to the Cardinals before the games count for the first time in forever. (Right now, I’m finishing up the Angels.) Also it will allow me to see Star Wars for the 705th time, probably.
Are there other silver linings to this delay in baseball? If so, put them in the comments!