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VEB Podcast: Drew Silva Previews the NL Contenders

Drew Silva stops by the podcast to talk contenders in this NL Preview.

MLB: Wild Card-Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Saturday, Viva El Birdos!

The VEB Podcast was back together on Thursday night to bring you a preview of the National League and a run down of the contenders in each division.

We were joined by Drew Silva, former of NBC Sports and now all over the place. Drew has called St. Louis home since his high school days and credits Viva El Birdos as one of his inspirations for pursuing a career in baseball journalism. On the pod we spend a little time reminiscing about the site. It’s worth listening to if you are a VEB old-schooler.

I’ve gotta agree with Drew there. I’ve got a few years on him, but I remember discovering Viva El Birdos before it was with SB Nation, along with Future Redbirds, back when I was in college. Back then I always thought it would be fun to write for a site like this. It took me nearly 20 years to get around to doing it, but here we are!

From there the podcast jumps into the NL Central. We all seem to agree that the Brewers have the potential to push the Cardinals in the division, especially with their pitching. One or two injuries, though, could derail them completely. The Cubs spent some money and made some moves that could pay off. Or could fall flat. We all agreed that they could push .500 but likely aren’t a legitimate challenger to the Cardinals’ division hopes.

Of course, we spent a lot of time breaking down the Cardinals’ roster, their holes and strong points. As a site outsider, Drew had series questions about the pitching staff and would have liked to have seen DeWitt and Mozeliak push payroll a little more to secure the starting rotation. I agree, but Gabe has been consistent in pushing back a little on the pitching depth. They don’t have stars ready to replace a starter if they go down, but the Cardinals do have 3-4 arms that could come in and provide solid innings for them through the trade deadline.

We all praised the NL East and speculated on how the Braves were able to convince so many young stars to sign team-friendly deals. It’s a model the Cardinals have abandoned but one that seems to really be working for the best team in the NL East. The Mets also look good, despite the loss of Edwin Diaz at the World Baseball Classic. We all seemed to agree that the Phillies were still the third best team in that division but could make another noisy postseason run with their high-end hitters and pitchers.

We dug even further into the NL West, breaking down the always Dodgers Dodgers, who intentionally cut payroll and might still have enough depth to push the top-heavy Padres. Then we scoff at the Giants. And Drew showed off his knowledge of the game by rattling off all the young ascending players to know on the D-Back, most of whom I have never heard of. Still, they’re a team to watch going forward,

I won’t spoil it here in the article, but we all ranked our top 5-6 NL teams. I’ll just say that a few of us are more optimistic than others. And all of the site writers were more optimistic than Drew. Still, we agree that the Cardinals are a good team with strong odds to take the Central and potentially make some waves in the postseason.

We end the podcast by talking about Jordan Walker and trying to set expectations for him. It’s getting increasingly difficult to reign in the excitement about him. I think most of us believe he’ll find his way onto the opening day roster, with Gabe being the lone dissenter.

As always, you can listen or watch the podcast right here on this post.

Here’s the audio version:

And if you prefer to watch us look at our computer/phone screens, here’s the YouTube version:

Next up on the pod, I’m hoping to gather the entire writing team for a Cardinals’ season preview just ahead of Opening Day! Look for that in a few weeks. Baseball is nearly here, folks! Have a great weekend.