I am frantically trying to locate the secret that they know about Encarnacion (my brother-in-law had it somewhere from the past 2 years)...but let's review the secrets to our brain-trusts' success.
Everyone knows that they find something in pitchers that they think they can work on and bring out. The story of those successes are well-documented...and I am one of those that believes they will get at least #3 rotation results from Ponson. But how about those players at the plate and in the field that have had their secrets uncovered by the Cardinals. Sure, some of it is the great StL atmosphere and mystique...like Big Mac and Larry Walker getting inspired by the best fans in the world and playing at a different level. Let's don't kid ourselves, playing for our organization and fans makes a world of difference if you've been in Colorado recently.
Remember last year when we were worried about the downgrade from Renteria/Womack to Eck and Grudz.? Remember the talk of how Eck would hurt us with his lack of range and arm if we didn't move him to 2nd Base? I know we have gone through different hitting and fielding coaches, but WaltTonyDunc have been the constant to see things they could improve in castaways and projects to make a difference. Eck and Grudz both were asked to work on their conditioning...Grudz to stay healthy (his secret to success) and Eck to improve his range, footwork, and release. Oquendo worked with him everyday (no wonder he was known as the SECRET weapon). If the Cards had originally signed Grudz for more years we would still have him but we helped him have a good enough year to price him out of our plans (if he were 3 yrs younger...sigh). Conversely, those who wouldn't work on certain things were sent along to someone else (kerry rob, lankford, and Marquis' stubbornness has him on the trading block).
When you combine this with my earlier diary entry about competition and flexibility you have the whole picture. We have a whole group of guys competing for just a few spots and you work with them to bring out their secrets. At least a couple of them will step up and make a difference...I'm betting one of them is JuanCarn.
I haven't found the particular article yet but my bro-in-law is a big fantasy baseball guy and while researching in the last 2 years he found something about the Marlins getting JuanCarn back from the Dodgers because one of their coaches saw something he could do to fix some of his problems. If you look at his stats since coming back from the Dodgers they were getting better. The Marlins were just dumping salary and going way younger so they didn't keep him. I'll bet you anything that Walt, Tony, and/or one of the other coaches knows the secret of what he has been working on to improve himself. If they are offering him a multi-year deal I guarantee you they know something that causes them to believe he will improve his numbers. I'd be tickled if he just ends up with an above avg. glove and an OPS somewhere in the .800's. Plus, he's never hit in a line-up this good before so that should help him as well.
I know I had an entry about entering into the Manny/Orioles triangle with Marquis and Edmonds, but it sounds as if Walt is only going to concentrate on JuanCarn and Spivey for a while and see if anything else shakes out later.