Happy Saturday, Cardinals fans!
It’s a Super Podcast Weekend here at Viva El Birdos! We have a ton of content for you to enjoy, all in the listening/watching variety.
Last night, Friday, I joined Daniel Shoptaw (@C70 on Twitter) on his long-running “Meet Me At Musial” podcast. Normally Allen Medlock (@amedlock1 on Twitter) is his co-host, but Allen is the head baseball coach at Nathan Hale HS in Tulsa, OK. Go Rangers!
Allen’s a little busy this time of year with early season practices, so, Daniel’s brought me as a sit-in the last few years and it’s always a lot of fun.
Often these podcasts end up being verbal versions of the writing that you’ve already read around here but that wasn’t necessarily the case this time. We covered A LOT of ground.
We probably spent the most time on Jordan Walker and his chances at making the club. I argued that we might all want Walker to make the team but we don’t want Walker to make the team. By that I mean the only way he can find his way onto the active roster out of Spring Training is if someone the club is counting on producing suffers an injury or is ineffective. Walker needs to play every day. Even if he hits, he’s not going to displace Alec Burleson or Juan Yepez and their likely DH platoon. If he makes the club, it will come at the expense of Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, or Lars Nootbaar. Or, worse, because Paul Goldschmidt or Nolan Arenado suffer an injury.
The Cardinals need all of those players healthy and producing. As much as I want to see Walker and as excited as I am for his future, it’s probably better for the ballclub if he’s blocked to open the season.
After that we shifted to Paul DeJong where I tried to offer my extremely tempered expectations. Gone are the days where the club is relying on DeJong to hold down a starting spot and provide potentially All-Star caliber production. At this point a successful season for him would be adequately filling the backup short stop position.
Could he do that? Yes, I think so. If he climbs back up into the mid 80’s in wRC+ and continues to provide his normal “good not great” defense, then that’s about what you would expect from your backup middle infielder.
The challenge for DeJong is whether he can maintain any offensive consistency while getting sporadic playing time behind iron-man Tommy Edman. DeJong doesn’t even benefit from a platoon alignment since he has reverse splits throughout his career. It’s not ideal for DeJong to resurrect his career. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid backup player who can occasionally knock one out of the park.
From there we turned to roster depth and some predictions on offense and the pitching staff. The pitching staff is particularly complicated with veteran-y “starters” like Jake Westbrook, Dakota Hudson, and even Drew VerHagen to find roles for, young “starters” like Zack Thompson and Andre Pallante who could be in high leverage bullpen roles or the rotation in Memphis, and a slew of young, talented throwers with options. I’ll try to write a roster projection article soon to lay it all out.
Then Daniel and talk Scott Rolen, third base and the Hall of Fame, and a little about our expectations for Chip Caray and the Bally situation.
As I said, we covered a lot of ground! But that should give you plenty to listen to you for your weekend travels. And the content isn’t particularly time-sensitive, so it’s going to be good listening for you in the office next week. Drown out your boring coworkers with… well, with your favorite boring Cardinals writer!
You can find Meet Me At Musial on your favorite podcast app.
Or you can listen right here in the article and give our SB Nation overlords the clicks they so desperately covet. (And in case you’re reading this, thank you SB Nation for continuing to provide a place for us to do this!)
Here’s the podcast link:
With @amedlock1 still doing high school sports things, @JPHill_Cards joins @C70 for a look at the roster. Who might start the year in Memphis? Can we buy into any of the "best shape of their life" narratives? All this and much more! https://t.co/6Key4zAc9Y— Meet Me At Musial (@MeetMeAtMusial) February 4, 2023
And here is the embedded podcast to listen right here on the site:
Tomorrow we’ll be back with another podcast article. Gordon Graceffo joins me, Blake Newberry, and Kyle Reis from Birds on the Black! Yes, we let Kyle join us for a prospect interview because why the heck not! It goes about how you would expect! It’s funny and fun and very interesting; Kyle does a great job of pulling stories out of Gordon, Blake asks some great questions, and I try (and fail) to keep up. It should be great. We’ll have that in both audio and video form Sunday morning in Blake’s normal posting spot.
Thanks as always for listening and reading!