Hello all! I’ve been reading this site for about 8 years now and I’ve never commented and never even created an account. After this past season though I felt I needed to. I’ve seen people calling for the heads of everyone in the organization and I’ve even seen people say that the DeWitts need to sell the team. The response to the last couple years of narrowly missing playoffs is plenty rediculous and I think they have done a great job. People claim they need to open "DeWallet" but I honestly am glad they haven’t. If you look at the people available I would not have wanted them to sign long term deals with them anyway and later in the post I advocate unloading one of the ones they did. When you sign a long term deal it is rarely for someone in their prime and you’re rarely going to get the best out of them. Almost all of the top talent was drafted and extended long term, or traded for and extended long term. Either way it’s not the owners wallet that’s impacted, it’s the farm system that has kept us in contention for the past 17 years. We should be happy that we do as well as we do without those top 5 draft picks that have netted teams guys like Harper and Bryant.
As for this past year let’s look at how we were initially set up and the results of each person.
1. Dexter Fowler- cf - Regressed defensively, couldn’t hit lead off, spent time on DL
2. Aledmys Diaz - ss - Completely imploded didn’t return to roster
3. Matt Carpenter - 1b - Can only be successful in lead off spot, spen time on DL and battled injury all year.
4. Jhonny Peralta - 3b - Completely imploded, no longer plays baseball.
5. Molina - c - Was Molina, did Molina things, no clue how long he can continue freakish production.
6. Piscotty - rf - Regressed to projected output, spent time on DL.
7. Gyorko - 2b - Regressed to previous Gyorko levels, spent enormous amount of time on DL.
8. Grichuk - Lf - Remained the Grichuk enigma, spent a lot of time in Memphis.
1. Martinez - Still missing consistency to truly become an ace.
2. Wainwright - Spent time on DL, probably will never pitch at expected levels again.
3. Lynn - Produced yet another incedible and under appreciated year.
4. Leake - Faded down the stretch, couldn’t control homeruns, trades.
5. Wacha - Actually surprised with uncharacteristic durability.
1. Oh - Proved incapable of throwing a swinging strike.
2. Rosenthal - I feel like crying about this one.
3. Siegrist - Completely imploded, released.
4. Cecil - Inconsistant to the max, never knew who was going to show up.
5. Bowman - Faded down the stretch as the only trustworthy reliever.
6. Broxton - I’m just going to leave this one here just like the Cardinals finally did.
7. Socolovich - Has a single ruff patch and basically gets released.
8. Tuivalala - Has been dominant through every level of the minors but never gets a chance to stick in the majors.
Our biggest contributors this year were undoubtably Pham, Dejong, Martinez, and Weaver all of which weren’t slated to be starters. We were plagued with inconsistency at every position and although everyone blames Matheny, I would challenge them to prove something different would have worked. You say he kept the starters in to long? Take one look at the bullpen and tell me you wouldn’t have too. Rotating lineups? We didn’t have anyone who stepped up to anchor the lineup so we never found the perfect one. All in all we were a mediocre, underperforming team without an identity that still managed to stay in contention until the last week because, after all, we have the Cardinals voodoo magic that constantly supplies us with major league talent despite always drafting low.
Now on to what I feel should happen next year. People are clamoring for us to "Spend money!"... I say don’t! (On anyone except Lynn). If you look at the free agent market the main people on the market are outfielders (we have plenty of those who are more than capable), Eric Hosmer, and starting Pitchers, of whom the only one I would sign is Lynn who has better career stats and consistency than both Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta and yet is still consisdered a middle of the rotation pitcher. So if we go position by position this is what I think should happen.
Head coach - Although I’m in the minority of thinking Matheny isn’t that bad, I do think we need a change. Matheny absolutely should get another job, he’s still very young and has a chance to become one of the greats, but just like hockey we need a new coach to reinvigorate our roster. My vote is actually on Mark McGwire. He was successful as our hitting coach, he was successful as the Dodgers hitting coach, and now as the bench coach of the Padres he has gotten nothing but praise. If he takes over not only do I think he will provide a boost to our hitting, but you also have to think of the connections he’s made as a RESPECTED coach and what he can bring to the table.
Pitching coach - I am very happy they got rid of Lilliquist. Even though he showed the ability to fix struggling pitchers, it took him several weeks to do so. When every game matters we can’t have our pitchers stay in funks for long periods of times. I have 3 people I would consider for this position. First up is Darren Balsly the pitching coach with the Padres. If you look at his resume he is very good with young pitchers which is what we need. He was also "kept" by the rotating coaching staffs so if we can lure McGwire away with a head coach position maybe Balsly doesn’t feel as attached and McGwire can convince him to come with him. The second person is of course Bryan Eversgerd from Memphis. This is an obvious choice but he is such a huge part of our development process I would much rather keep him where he is. Last is Chris Carpenter. When Waino was breaking out he said that Carpenter had an enormous impact on his growth. Did Carpenter manage to learn some of the Duncan Magic? Who knows but I’ve never seen a pitching coach get thrown out of a game for arguing so that would be fun. On a lesser note I would take a look at Gary Tuck for the bullpen coach. He’s coached some big names in the relief department and could be a very valuable piece when it comes to our bullpen.
Hitting Coach - I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know what Mabry does or why he has a job. Solutions here are a bit more difficult. The obvious answer would be Budaska who has people raking when they come up before they crater out. I would be supportive of this move because he obviously does something right but once again how much would this hurt our pipeline? If we did bump him up I would hope we can steal someone to replace him in development process.
Bench Coach - We obviously didn’t have faith in Bell anymore as he was placed on leave. As a replacement I’m gonna go a little outside the box and in the theme of always hiring past players I want Jim Edmonds in this position. Not because of his play but if you have ever watched a game he’s announcing he has so much knowledge that I question why he’s telling the audience and not running on the field to yell it in our players faces. Not only would he help shore up our outfield defense (imagine Sierra with Edmonds brain) he knows how a game should progress and he knows when people are hot and when they’re not. He was a cerebral player and I know he would be a cerebral coach.
The rest of the coaching staff can probably stay the same, they haven’t really had enough time for me to like or dislike them.
When it comes to our line up first I would make a few trades and signings.
First off I would trade Piscotty, Grichuk, and Jake Woodford to the Padres for Brad Hand (you know STEAL ALL THE PADRES)- this would give them 4 years of an above average right fielder when healthy, which would fill a void, all the potential of a Randall Grichuk, and A first round draft pick that has a lot of potential. This would net us 2 years of Brad Hand.
Second I would trade Dexter Fowler, Austin Gomber, and possibly cash or John Brebbia to the Rockies for Greg Holland. This would give them an immediate replacement for Cargo and one for when Blackmon leaves and a pitcher I think will turn into Corey Kluber-lite but doesn’t have a place with the Cardinals. I also think that Fowler would be ok with this because he is popular there and would be a part of a competitive team. In exchange we would get one year of Greg Holland.
Third I would resign Lynn to a 5 year 85 mil deal as he’ll probably give a "hometown discount". He is by far the best pitcher on the market and for some reason is very cheap, he would take over the veteran role when Waino is gone in 2019, and he would allow us to have the flexibility we’ve always had when an injury happens.
Last I would resign Nicasio and Duke. They will be pretty cheap and obviously a good fit with us.
Now for a positional breakdown.
These are the players that I think they’re going to go with and have Reyes start in Memphis to regain his form. After next year you just plug Alex Reyes in and we have a dominant starting staff with plenty of pitchers in the wings that just aren’t ready yet.
1. Holland - would take over as the closer
2. Hand - Setup man
3. Nicasio - Fireman
4. Lyons - long relief
5. Bowman - long relief (definitely not every day)
8. Tuivalala - needs a chance to stick or he needs to go.
Past this I would have Alcantara change to relief late season, Socolovich, Gant, and Brebbia at Memphis available for injuries and we would have a big boost when Rosenthal gets back.
Yadi will eventually start slowing down and we need to start playing Carson Kelly at least every 5th game but over all this is our best position.
There are a couple options here. First if Matt Carpenter plays anywhere on the field it has to be here. His defense is poor anywhere else and it takes away from his overall play. Second we can sign Eric Hosmer to a 4 year 120 mil deal. If we do this Matt Carpenter becomes expendable. This is a hard decision for me because I love Carp and he obviously fills a hole at the top of the order but Hosmer has a higher upside as a middle of the order bat. I’m going to go with Carpenter here because there’s just no one out there that’s better at the top of the order.
I would stick with Wong here. He proved this year that he can hit when he’s not going for homeruns (way to catch that one Mabry) and he has an elite glove. On top of that he finds a lot of success in the 8 spot which is statistically one of the hardest positions to hit from.
This is going to be a hard pill to swallow but I think we should stand pat. We can trade for Donaldson but they will undoubtably get a package like Flaherty, Gyorko, and Arozarena. This would make signing Lynn even more important and I think I could probably live with it if they actually did but I would position them not to. Instead resign Diaz and hope he or Gyorko plays like 2016 which would not be a huge difference from Josh Donaldson. The reason why I say this is because I think the biggest fit to our club is Manny Machado. He’s young, he’s feared, and he’s a stub. We absolutely should go all in on Machado when he’s a free agent. I think it would be entirely possible to sign him to an 8 year 240-260 mil deal. This would afford him one more "big contract" before retirement and put him on a young competitive team that, if successful, will build a statue of him as the best cardinals third baseman of all time (yes over joe torre).
We can stick with Dejong here but I worry about the sophomore slump. If he doesn’t regress than we have a great shortstop for the foreseeable future or at least until Delvin Perez matures into the player we want. If not than I feel like it would be an option to trade pitching and a position player to the Angels for Andrelton Simmons. They are badly in need of pitching and their minor league depth is abysmal so I think a trade would be fairly easy to pull off.
Now as you know I’ve traded away most of our outfielders. This is where I would take a big chance but I believe I’ve done my homework and I would field a surprisingly good outfield. In left I would go with Harrison Bader. Not only is he solid defensively and rake offensively (when playing regularly) but he provides and energy and hustle that just isn’t there in our current lineup.
Here I’m going with Magneuris Sierra. He’s the best defensive player we have and even though his line drives haven’t come in the majors, his speed is game changing. Having him on the basepaths and in the field can change a game, just look at how the Royals won the World Series and you’ll kind of see what I’m going for.
I think it’s finally time to give Tyler O’Niell a chance. The guy just hits bombs and we don’t need to spend 35 mil annually on him. On top of that if you haven’t seen Terry Fuller, you should look him up. He’s very young and hasn’t been playing baseball very long but we got him because nobody thought he would turn down a full ride to play football from Alabama. He’s admited he’s having problems with change ups because he’s never really seen them but if he matures into what his periferals say he can be than we will have our own Stanton without the big contract.
Now you might be surprised I left Pham out of the starters but you have to remember his past. Despite finally getting his eyes fixed he is still injury prone and unless someone offers something phenomenal for him, I don’t thing we’ll get a return worth the loss of him. Because he can play every outfield position I would manage to get him plenty of playing time through a type of platoon system where he rotates out with each of the rookies. Doing this would also help him avoid day games where he doesn’t perform as well.
Next would be Jose Martinez who can threaten for a starting outfield position but I imagine will mainly pinch hit and fill in for Carpenter.
Last is Gyorko or Diaz whoever doesn’t win the 3b job.
I left Greg Garcia off this because unfortunately his ceiling is low and as long as Diaz doesn’t fall flat on his face again, I think we just have better on the roster.
The team I’m trying to go for with this is one that has an impeccable defense, high OBP in the first two spots, high OPS in the 3-5 spots, and pure speed in the 6-8 spots.
I feel that if we do these things not only can we be successful next year, but we would be phenomenal team for a long time coming. I know this was a long post and if you read it all thank you! Please let me know what you think and GO CARDS!