The season starts in four days. Guess it’s time to start actually writing posts again.
I’ll have to admit, I’ve not been that tuned into spring. I’ve gotten the gist of it, between Twitter reports, stories, and doing a little poking around for (or usually on) the podcast, but I don’t know that I’ve watched a total of nine innings this spring and usually have had it on while trying to do something else. March is usually a busy time and, of course, the mainly daytime games are hard to follow when you are up to your knees in tax returns.
However, as long-time readers of this space know, I have never let a lack of information or knowledge stop me from writing about the team! If we’re going to try to do Heroes and Goats for the 15th (oh, my, the FIFTEENTH?) season, we’ve got to start getting used to the early wakeup times and get back pounding the keyboard.
The biggest news of the weekend was the signing (or at least the agreement) of Harrison Bader to a two-year deal that buys out the rest of his arbitration years. There’s really nothing controversial about this. The idea that the team was going to take him and Tyler O’Neill to arbitration over what basically amounted to pocket change (especially for the organization) was always questionable in its wisdom. The Cardinals get that cost certainty that they love so much, Bader doesn’t have to worry about dealing with arbitration hearings and knows what he’ll be getting paid over the next couple of years, and the contract doesn’t extend into his free agency years so if last year was more mirage than adjustment, the Cards aren’t on the hook for anything more than they would have been anyway.
I guess if the Cardinals were so inclined–and I do not believe they are nor that this played any role in things–the locking down of Bader does make him slightly more valuable as a trade chip as teams wouldn’t have to worry about an increase due to arbitration and his contract could be properly valued. However, I can’t imagine a situation where the Cards would deal him this year and even if they wanted to deal him next year during the season, the prices would already be known.
There were also reports that the club was looking to sign O’Neill to an extension and that O’Neill didn’t mind letting that run into the season. If there was any player I would believe could tune out the contract issues, it’d be O’Neill. He’ll turn that over to his agent–though with his multi-faceted personality and strengths, I could completely see him hitting a home run to win a game, showering and changing, then meeting John Mozeliak in his office to exchange numbers–and I imagine something will get done soon, though I don’t know about this week.
The roster is starting to look set, with a couple of extra pitchers going north for April meaning that there will be some decisions that don’t have to be made until May. With Brendan Donovan still possibly in the mix, I proposed something on the latest Meet Me At Musial that I kinda like, though I don’t know how it works with routines and the like. Say Donovan makes the club as a bench bat/utility infielder. Let him hang with the club for 2-3 weeks, some part of time, while Nolan Gorman and Juan Yepez get going in Memphis. Then, swap Donovan and Gorman, for example. Let Gorman get some of that big league experience while Donovan gets the at bats he needs. After another 2-3 weeks, swap Gorman and Yepez for the same reason. In that way all these guys get some regular at bats but also get some experience in the big leagues.
Now, it could be that you bring up Yepez (or any of the others) and they catch fire to the point that they have to be in the starting lineup and can’t be sent down, but if that happens, well, it’s a good problem to have.
Adam Wainwright will be the Opening Day starter. In other news, water is wet. However, there are strong odds that this is the last time he’ll take the ball to start a season. Not impossible, of course, but even if he does come back you would like to think Jack Flaherty could rebound from his injury and have the kind of season that puts him as your #1. I still think Waino walks away this season to focus on charity work and the like but it wouldn’t be completely a shock if we’re in the same spot next season.
A couple of more games then things start for real Thursday afternoon. Here we go again!