Happy Saturday, Viva El Birdos!
Pitchers and catchers have reported to Jupiter, FL, with a few excused absences. Most of the hitters have reported as well. The whole Cardinals’ squad will begin workouts by February 20th.
Twitter is suddenly filled with the sound of snapping leather and cracking bats.
It’s spring. Baseball — or at least some non-competitive form of it — is here. I love it.
We, the writers here at Viva El Birdos, thought it would be a good time for a chat. So, we got together via Zoom to do a little Spring Training preview podcast for your viewing and watching pleasure.
In the podcast we cover the breaking news on the day we recorded: Tim McCarver’s passing and Ryan Helsley losing his arbitration case. We also compare Helsley’s situation to Corbin Burnes, who also lost his case against the Brewers and had some pretty direct words about the organization and their approach to the hearing. Not good for them. Hopefully, things were a bit more amicable between the Cardinals and their elite closer.
Narrator: “They weren’t.”
#STLCards All-Star closer Ryan Helsley on losing his arbitration case: “You think you do some things good and then they find ways to tell you that you’re not good. It’s definitely tough to go in there and swallow (that) and take that on the chin, if you will.”— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) February 17, 2023
After that, we jump into some roster projections. Despite making only one major and a handful of minor moves this offseason, the Cards’ roster is stacked with depth. Some prominent names from last year’s divisional-winning pitching staff might find themselves on the outside looking in when the club breaks camp in late March. Some of that might even be by design, as key arms like Andre Pallante, Zack Thompson, and Dakota Hudson might be better served by staying in the Memphis rotation to work out innings in preparation for starts later this season and in 2024.
The offensive side is a little more cut and dried, despite the front office’s insistence that few roles are set. It took us a while to do the math, but there is space for the expected 8 starters plus Andrew Knizner, Juan Yepez, Paul DeJong, Alec Burleson, and Nolan Gorman. Jordan Walker has a chance to push his way in from the outside, but almost all of us agree it might be better for him and the club to get more time in Memphis.
Obviously, injury changes that equation. But we don’t talk about Spring Training injuries, no, no, no. The group agreed that there is some small risk of injury with so many Cardinals regulars participating in the competitive World Baseball Classic. Particularly to the older starters - Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas. But the risk is not much greater than simply playing in Grapefruit League games. We expect WBC coaches to carefully manage workloads.
Lastly, we all hit our breakout candidates or spring surprises for 2023. You’ll have to listen or watch to get that info out of us.
As always, you don’t even have to leave the site to listen or watch the podcast. Audio-only version of the podcast is available just below. And so is the embedded YouTube link.
Here’s the audio:
And here’s the video:
Have a wonderful weekend, VEB! And, as always, thanks for reading and listening!