Good morning folks. As Thanksgiving nears, I find myself hearing some Cards related questions and ramblings. I posted a small Q&A with John Mozeliak yesterday, but now I want to tackle some popular hot takes here myself. Present a rumor or statement and respond to it. It’s late November. It’s cold out. Everything outside is starting to freeze up. Everything inside baseball is turning warmer, with the Hot Stove cranking up and writers searching for stories. Here are 5 things on the Cards. Rumors. Ramblings. Ideas. Statements.
1.) Do the Cards need a righthanded bat off the bench?
Well, what is Randal Grichuk going to be with the season opening up? Sure, he strikes out a lot and may not crank 15 HR off the bench, but he is a nice addition to a bench that featured early last year the lethal weapon off the bench that resembled Shane Robinson. Grichuk can give the Cards a good supply of power late in games, and eventually, he may be joined by Xavier Scruggs and Stephen Piscotty. Sure, you could spring for Michael Morse, but could Grichuk do what he can for far less pay, less liability and also provide better defense. I am starting to wonder if Grickuk can play first base. Sure, I haven’t been the kid’s biggest fan. If I hear one more person compare him to Mike Trout, I may get hot but I get it. Mike Matheny loves him almost as much as Daniel Descalso and he can play defense and has pop. He’s also cost controlled and cheap. I vote Grichuk for the power bench bat.
2.) Is Matt Adams a 150 game first baseman?
Yes. For a variety of reasons. First, Adams has shown the ability to spray the ball all over the field. He has a decent power stroke and can hit a few bombs, possibly 20 if he stays healthy. Third, his defense at first is impressive. For a pitching staff featuring some ground ball technicians, that is required. He is still a young player and is coming into his second full season on the team. He doesn’t hit lefties well, but he showed improvement towards the end of the season and also drew more walks in September and October. Scruggs may make an appearance on the roster and there are rumblings of other incoming talents, but to me Adams is the first baseman. He has his cold streaks just like any other player on the team but he has shown improvement in enough areas to run with the job. His defense gives him the edge over a possible replacement.
3.) Am I glad Carlos Martinez is going to compete for a roster spot over Shelby Miller?
Yes. Looking at the stats is an injustice to Martinez. He hasn’t gotten the chance to fully showcase his skills over a season in the rotation. He has always been a stop gap starter or spot guy. His stuff can be electrifying and you don’t harness that inside 1-2 innings. You let it roam free, like a wild horse on a farm. Miller put together a fine rookie season and finessed a new pitch into his arsenal in September, but overall, he was inconsistent and never showed me the kind of pitcher who could be an ace any time soon. He was expendable and looked like a juicy piece of strip steak to another team. Martinez and others like Marco Gonzales and Tyler Lyons represent lesser appealing at the moment but potentially valuable assets. As Frank Cusamano said quite well…frankly after the trade….
The trade is about supply and demand. The #stlcardinals have a nice supply of pitching. They have a demand for offense. @KSDKSports
— Frank Cusumano (@Frank_Cusumano) November 17, 2014
Carlos Martinez gets a shot after he won a 2014 “competition” with Joe Kelly. Let the young man rumble.
4.) How do I feel about Mike Matheny going into his fourth season as a manager?
Okay, I guess. We all know he can lead. He is a military general when it comes to respect, stature and leadership. One would almost say a Mike Matheny presence in Ferguson tonight may calm some heads. He’s that kind of guy. He talks like Clint Eastwood and walks like John Wayne. However, his in game management needs to improve in 2015. He needs to recognize things faster and adjust accordingly. His win-loss record and playoff reach is impressive to the naked eye, but a closer inspection shows a man desperately going against normal managerial projection and against what any level headed person would call smart judgement inside a game. He can’t wear out Trevor Rosenthal‘s arm in 2015. He has to play to his strengths more. He has to resist his player urges and start to think more like a manager. I like the guy, but every time I want to step completely over to the line and support him, he makes a foolhardy move. Case in point. Finally inserting Michael Wacha into a playoff game…..during the most crucial moment of the series. That one still hasn’t left my head. That or leaving in Randy Choate to choke away Game 4. Those things have to stop in 2015, whether they are different players or not. The situational tactics must improve in 2015.
5.) Is there reason to worry about Adam Wainwright moving forward?
Sure, any pitcher who has thrown over 529 innings in the past two seasons needs to be worried about. I worry about the ace every time he goes into his windup. Wainwright has been an absolute horse since his return from Tommy John Surgery and has pitched through a few minor injuries and produced a record of 39-18 and an ERA of 2.55 over the past two regular seasons. There is a reason for concern as he settles into his 9th season of action. The 2015 health of Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia combined with Waino’s wear and tear do make one question how much depth the Cardinals actually have in the rotation. However, unless a catastrophic collapse occurs, the 2015 arsenal is loaded with many types of potential dominance. Once again, Adam Wainwright will be at the front of that pitching assault.
There’s your take 5, folks. I hope I shed a few watts of light on certain issues that are drumming up for the Birds as the winter takes a full scale effect.
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