I don't want to be one of those guys who does a diary all the time--and this is my first. However I had some downtime at work and had some Cardinal related thoughts going through my mind and wanted to share them.
Basically, I'm excited/interested/intrigued by the Cardinal outfield situation in 2008. I realize that as I type on January 11 of the new year there are MANY, MANY things that still can happen. That being said, I actually think the production from the Redbird OF will be pretty good this season--if not in an unorthodox way.
I know we all have our complaints about Tony LaRussa. Perfect he ain't. However, one thing I've grown to like about him is how he uses his bench and puts players in situations to succeed. Now it may be just me, but I am not obsessed with the "play guys every day" theory that some fans are (i.e. Duncan vs. lefties, etc.). I want the best lineup on the field for that day. It's an individual matchup game and this is one area where I feel Tony does a nice job.
That being said, IF Tony works it right---like he often does, I see positive production from the OF. I think if we look at it as a whole and not on an individual basis we might be surprised. For example, I want good RF production--if it takes two or three guys to get us there--fine. It doesn't matter--it's all the same in the end. One thing I also like is that none of the current crop is destined for greatness (save God Rasmus God) they are all under 30 and bring different things. We have:
Duncan, LH, 26, career .884 OPS in 660 career ABs
Ludwick, RH, 29, .818 OPS last year, 300 ABs
The Ricker, LH, 28, .863 OPS in 175 AB's in 2007
Skippy, LH, 27, good last year, .731 career OPS
Phelps, RH, 29, .820 career OPS in 1300 ABs
Mather, RH, 25, emerging late, .769 career OPS in minors
Barton, RH, 25, speed, .893 career OPS in minors
Haerther, LH, 24, .837 career OPS in minors
Colby---we all know his story
Now, the #'s were more for my sake as I'm sure everyone knows them. I also only see five of those guys on the roster and it was a stretch to include Phelps. However, I like the RH/LH mix---I like the power potential (Ludwick, Duncan, Ricker, Mather, etc.). Barton is an interesting option and I actually am intrigued by Haerther as a hitter--he's still young enough.
Anyway, assuming Colby ISN'T one of the five (and this may not be true), I still can live with a group of Duncan, Barton, Ankiel, Ludwick, and Phelps/Haerther/Skip. In the end I think the overall production from the group will be quite positive.
Sorry to ramble--I just kind of see the OF as ONE actual area to look forward to in what may be a pretty down year. Thanks.