For the longest time, trying to figure out the Cardinals has become one part mystery theater and two parts choose your own adventure. Yes, there have been many more ups over the last decade since my final deployment but in the past calendar year, the downs have begun to creep into the spotlight. Baseball in general goes in cycles, though, so it really should come as no surprise that St. Louis finds itself without a true identity for the first time in a very long time.
The argument made by my wife and many others that Yadier Molina remains the face of the franchise does hold some weight, but he can’t carry the load all by himself. As this is the first season without either Albert Pujols or Matt Holliday, the true leadership test has pushed to the front burner of many who follow the Cards religiously. No one discounts the on-field strengths that No. 4 brings on a daily basis, but Dexter Fowler was targeted for a reason.
In my attempts to figure out what kind of team the 2017 edition is under the Arch, one factor simply can’t be ignored. Mike Matheny bridged the gap well after TLR, maybe better than anyone could have given the circumstances. But after the rain delay last night and Fowler’s homer put St. Louis back in the lead, how is it that Tui gets the call in the 8th inning after two off days this week? We won’t even discuss Broxton’s outing or that Cecil momentarily saved the day because honestly, it just doesn’t matter at this point.
Matheny and his staff continue to take the color-by-numbers approach to the bullpen, and that will lead to only one conclusion in my opinion. But have no fear, this won’t be another doom and gloom post that matches the weather in most of Cardinal country! If you are not familiar with the acronym in the above headline, it normally stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. I am not ready to concede anything, however, and offer my own positive outlook in that St. Louis replaces the stupid. I know what you are thinking and if removing Matheny was truly the answer – that would have been done already, right?
For your Saturday offerings, I will give three views that have caught my attention and hope you chime in via the comments or any other social media avenue that is your preference. PH8 has always been one site that looks at how the Cardinals have pushed the envelope so let’s start with what everyone has to be thinking this morning – where in the world is Trevor Rosenthal?
There will be no conspiracy theories here, so I have to take this article for what it says. Or if you prefer another look, check out here before continuing. Now remember that St. Louis is about to play just about every day until the All-Star break and had two off days this week. If the team was already monitoring the workload for Rosie before this, raise your hand if that worries you as much as it does me. Having faith in the medical staff when dealing with professional athletes has never been a realistic hope anyway, especially with the wear and tear hurlers have on a regular basis.
It would benefit everyone if Mo was already taking calls looking at adding another arm or three to plug the existing holes, but how messy will the back end of pen look in a month.
On to much better topics we go, starting with how confident the organization must feel in the outfield depth now compared to even a week ago. Magneuris Sierra didn’t deserve a demotion, but he does need to be an everyday player. Sierra goes to an interesting situation already in Springfield but talent plays especially when you are the designated next man up for three positions. The 40-man roster shortage for once benefited a player that normally would not have gotten the call, and he exceeded all expectations.
Now briefly going back to the question about relievers, under no circumstance should Sierra be traded unless it is for an everyday star. Sierra is the exact type of player everyone covets and only should concern himself with getting better and making his way back up in September if not earlier.
Today marks another special date on the calendar but only because the Prospect Preacher is basically retired this season. Next month’s MLB Draft will not be a heavily covered topic here for obvious reasons, but that just means more print on the international market. So to recognize Happy Luis Robert Day – go right here for the latest. Part of me wants the Cuban sensation to take his time and let the drama build simply because it gives us more to talk about, but the other side of my brain just wants an answer.
Whether or not the Cardinals lock up the potential star, it is good to know how far the organization has grown the past decade. Adding talent to the St. Louis system any way possible has to be the goal, and money should not be the obstacle in my opinion. Robert might just be the most accomplished 19-year old the game has seen, but he is still a teenager. The room for error is great with any transaction, so I can’t wait to see how this one unfolds.
As rough a week as this has been for the Birds on the Bat, a positive ending is still very possible. The starting rotation has been nails, so let’s end there for the week. Enjoy the final couple of games before the blur begins, as the ride gets bumpy from here on out.