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Staring out the window and waiting for Spring

The offseason isn’t quite here yet, but it is a good time to plan ahead, right?

St Louis Cardinals Second Baseman Rogers Hornsby

The Major League Baseball postseason is in full swing (heh... baseball pun). The Wild Card Series have all wrapped up in two games with the Texas Rangers and the Minnesota Twins advancing in the American League and the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Philadelphia Phillies advancing the National League. I will be honest — I do not always watch a lot of postseason games that do not feature the St. Louis Cardinals and I did not plan on doing that this season, but the teams in the playoffs this year intrigue me. I might have to catch (heh another pun) a few games. Luckily, Blake has advised me on which teams to root for.

The rest of the offseason I will spend staring out the window and waiting for Spring. Along with a few other things. I want to play more Legend of Zelda games now that I am obsessed. I have a promise to myself that once I finish tiling my shower I can buy the Breath of the Wild DLC. I have been working on tiling that shower since April. I have like thirty tiles left to go — I even have them all cut already. It would take me maybe two more hours to finish it, plus another hour or so to grout. But I keep stalling (heh — shower pun). First of all, even if it is just two hours of work, it is hard work. If you tile for a living, you have my full respect. Even the promise of getting Link the Mastercycle is not enough to encourage me to finish this project. But I will. I always do.

The other issue I am having is my good old dog — longtime listeners to the Viva El Birdos podcast might had grown to love and hate him (he, being the good boy he is, had to be next to me during recording and would sometimes breathe into the microphone. And no, to finally address some comments from six years ago — I am not going to put my dog in another room. First of all, he would cry and make more noise anyway and second of all, just no.) — well he is not doing so well right now. He has suffered some sort of spine injury that has left him unable to walk. I am hoping with some rest and a little at home rehab he can at least get back some state of mobility, but... I just do not know. He has been a working dog all his life — even if that work mostly included chasing training dummies into the lake and being rewarded handsomely with cheese — and he is not content to just lie around all day. He just... doesn’t deserve this, you know? But life is often not fair, so we make do.

Besides that, I will be anxiously awaiting the Cardinals offseason moves. They will have one of the bigger budget surpluses that I can remember — I believe we keep estimating around these parts a surplus of about $50 million to work with — and they have some of the most obvious needs to fill. This is not the first time anyone has written this and it won’t be the last, but they need a top of the rotation starter. Miles Mikolas is a fine starter, but he does not seem to be the pitcher a team can put up against another team’s number one time and time again. There are a few free agent options in this very postseason. The biggest one is Aaron Nola of the Phillies. Nola in his age thirty season had a bit of down year by his standards with 4.04 FIP, a 5.7% walk rate, and more homers given up than any other season of his career, but he was a legitimate Cy Young candidate in 2022, finishing fourth in the voting, and if homers are an issue, perhaps the confines of Busch Stadium provide a little help in that regard.

Another option pitching in the playoffs right now is Twins pitcher Sonny Gray. Gray has had a terrific season — the best of his career so far at age 33. His strikeout rate is lower than it has been in past seasons, but he has balanced that by just never giving up home runs. He has a home runs per nine innings of 0.39, which amounts to eight homers surrendered in the 184 regular season innings he has pitched.

Interestingly, at least to me, another option in the playoffs is none other than Jordan Montgomery, currently with the Rangers. He of course pitched 121 innings with the Cardinals as their best pitcher before being traded at the deadline. He is in the midst of the best season of his career with a 3.20 ERA and 3.56 FIP on the season as whole. Since being traded his numbers are actually even lower — his walk rate fell to 4.9% while the rest of his stats stayed about the same, which has allowed him to lower his ERA 3.42 with the Cardinals to 2.79 in nearly 68 innings with Texas.

Of course, there are even more options if we look outside the playoffs. San Diego Padres Blake Snell is a big free agent name this offseason, Lucas Giolito of the Cleveland Guardians might make a good number 2 or 3 pitcher. Looking even further outside of the league to the Japanese Western League there is Yoshinobu Yamamoto. His eligibility isn’t official yet and he would require a posting fee, which might not be a route the Cardinals decide to go, but he is certainly an interesting option to think about as we stare out the window.

Luckily we have a few more months to really consider all these options. There are just so many to unpack and the Cardinals are in a position to really contend on all of them if they wanted to. It is going to be a busy winter. I’m nervous. I’m excited. I have another excuse to put off finishing tiling. I can’t wait.

But first... more baseball must be played!