I've got some teaching-related deadlines to just barely make this morning, so expect an afternoon thread somewhat less apologetic than this one. in the meantime, Cardinals news and notes now that postseason elimination has blown their nitpicking exemption—
The Dyar Miller thing is pretty weird, but the simplest explanation seems easy enough to accept: Mike Matheny wants his own set of coachin' buddies, but Derek Lilliquist, Mark McGwire, and Jose Oquendo aren't going anywhere. I've had a soft spot for Miller ever since he was the four-seamer-friendly good guy in the Anthony Reyes saga, and I feel bad for him having been blindsided by the news:
Pen coach Dyar Miller on dismissal: "I was surprised, shocked. It's kind of hurtful to be honest." Gave 20 years to Cardinals.— Joe Strauss (@JoeStrauss) October 26, 2012
It seems like baseball coaches advance and are fired in this opaque way more often than not; Miller ended up in this job in part because Marty Mason suddenly lost favor after an even longer organizational tenure. I can quibble with the idea that he gave 20 years to the Cardinals—I hope they paid him—but as with Mason, I'm surprised about this move and its timing; here's hoping Miller is reassigned or lands somewhere else where top pitching prospects are being pulled apart for reasons of organizational politics.
I mentioned this on SB Nation St. Louis: Matt Carpenter taking grounders at second feels like a panic move, but that's fine, because the Cardinals should probably be panicking about Daniel Descalso remaining atop their depth chart at second base. If Descalso comes into the season as the backup—the competent second baseman behind a maybe-done Kelly Johnson or the maybe-not-a-middle-infielder Matt Carpenter—he's being used correctly.
But right now the Cardinals have little to even hope to throw in front of him; Kolten Wong's got 16 hits in 10 Arizona Fall League games, but it'd be nice to see him and Greg Garcia find a reason to spend a half-season in AAA. Right now, the top possible reason on the list is experimenting with Matt Carpenter.