Cards down to Florida by Bob Ryan

The Cards will move down to Florida to begin prep for the 2017 season. As they unload their truck loads of equipment…they’ll also be unloading other things….like plenty of questions…That’ll be a time to begin sorting out some answers to these questions..some heavy …some light…as all teams do in spring training…I’m sure you could make a list like this for every team…probably longer…

….will the Cards play Grichuk & Wong as they do Piscotty….a 6-day/week regular..for the entire season or will Grichuk & Wong ‘s leash be shorter…as it has been the last 2 years? Piscotty led the team in games played in 2016.

…Are the fans expecting too much of Dexter Fowler? Is he really the “one” to light up the Cards? The fans ..at least some…seem to be ignoring his  lifetime BA of .268 and his average over each of the past 4 seasons (in reverse order): .276, .250, .276, .263. His stolen bases of 13, 20 11, 19 over last 4 years are solid …so will the fans be happy with a .275, 15 SB guy? Defensively he CAN cover ground and make plays…however, his arm isn’t anything special.   Fowler turns 31 in March.

….So the starting rotation of Wainwright, Martinez, Reyes, Leake, Lynn has each one carrying some type of question mark…Martinez seems to have the fewest questions and is the best at this time and the most dependable performer….we hear that Rosenthal will be given “starter –like” innings in Florida…how does he fit in?; Wacha really isn’t a bullpen type…he can’t warm up, sit down, warm up…and do it again the next day, where will he be? Luke Weaver appears to be a “long man” and spot starter…neither  of the 2 lefties—Marco Gonzalez & Tyler Lyons seem to be close to the front burner any longer as a rotation starter…Lyons was an effective  bullpen man last year but his arm didn’t react well to all the use required of bullpen man….Marco Gonzalez seem to be getting pushed out of the picture by his injuries,  ineffectiveness, lack of a real “fast” ball and younger pitchers “on the way up”

….Will Yadier repeat…or even come close… to the remarkable 2016 year and to his use? After 2 years of decline at the plate of .282, .270, Yadi hit .307 last year…on the appearance side…Yadi played in 147 games last year….the most of ANY time in his career(2nd most on the entire 2016 Cardinal team)…will he pay the price this year for last year’s huge number of performances?

….how many times will Al say,“Johnny  is _ years of age” this year? I just wanna know how old he is 

….Is anyone else doubting the Jeff Gyorko will hit 30 HR again….after all he only had 49 in his first three years combined? I’d try getting ahead with a breaking ball and then expand the strike zone!!

….3B duo of Will Peralta/Jeff Gyorko &1B Matt Adams platoon with Carp bouncing back & forth from 3b to 1b?…That’s assuming their neither one…or all 3…aren’t disposed of prior to… or in early season.

….a year ago….none of us ever thought that Aledmys Diaz would be a on the team…much less a starter…but he came on like gang-busters…. his OPS last year of .879 was 2nd on the Cards last year!

I do think that he’s a good hitter and a very good asset for the Cards but….it does happen….more than one might think… that 2nd year players don’t perform as well as they did in the rookie season

…can Fred-Bird reach the 2nd tier of seats as he flings up his shirts with his special sling-shot?

….one concern to me that may be a surprise to some of you….I’m a bit concerned about our closer, Seung-hwan Oh ( I dubbed him Sing-when OH last year). Yes…he did have a terrific season…1.92, 55 hits,103 K’s,  in 79 inn with  19 saves….but I just felt that he wasn’t as effective in Sept…maybe he wore down, maybe the league “knew” him better, whatever….as I checked out his  Sept stats—10 2/3 inn, 11 hits, 4 runs, 2 HR (he gave up 3 HR in the other 5 months),3.37 ERA, 1-1 with 5 saves…I believe my concern is real….no team can be a real contender that has real issues with their closer.

…Jose Oquendo isn’t coming back to direct and develop the defense this year….or probably any year…so hopefully, his absence won’t be the excuse again for the poor defensive play. I think that the Cards also missed his judgments in the 3B coaching box last year.

… will Jim Hayes break the “40” mark this year with his softball-throwing interviews during/after games?

 

Baseball HOF thoughts, numbers, names…

With induction of Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez and Tim Raines…2 of the 3, I watched frequently throughout their career…it led me to a few thoughts….

….one of the most underrated “types” of HOF’ers are lead-off men….Tim Raines was terrific—avg .294 for 23 years, stole 808 bases while being thrown out 146x = being safe 85% in stolen base attempts, scored over  1500 runs, over 2600 hits, 1 NL batting title, 1 All-Star MVP..he’s long over-due…but the voters seem to have etched in their mind…the type of player who is big, burly, pop-eye  type arms, that seem to rock side-side as he’s running around the bases—plenty of HR but maybe or maybe not good range, sharp fielding… HR # seem to count FAR more than being an all-around type player…. but…..while we’re at HOF discussions…I think the Cards have 2 likely HOF candidates that played as teammates in the early 2000’s …

 

Highest on my list by comparison to other players at his position is Scott Rolen…check out some of these numbers coming at ya…

17 years, 316 HR , 1287 RBI, lifetime OPS .855..now comes the all-around part, .284 average…8 Gold Gloves (only Brooks Robinson-16) & Mike Schmidt (10) have more; 93 Sac Flies (do the Cards have 10 in a year anymore?) 7 All-Star Games; in 5 of his years, his club played post-season; according to experts ..that leaves me out….he is the 8th best all-time 3B

 

The other player…flashier, more pizz-azz, more of a fan favorite…especially of the ladies…was Jim Edmonds….Jimmy is listed as the 12th best all-time CF…the only players ahead of him who AREN’T in the HOF are Andruw  Jones, Kenny Lofton, and the ageless Carlos Beltran (he should be a shoo-in)…some of Jimmy’s stats…17 years, hit .276, 393 HR, 1199 RBI, OPS  .846, 8 gold Gloves, 4 All-star games…earned $86mil in his career….so why is he messing around doing games on TV?…anyway… He is a rare CF—one who hits for power…most other solid CF are banjo-type hitters(see Tim Raines).

 

Both players are very close statistically…both were leaders for the Cards in the 2000’s…both got much national exposure in post-season games….both have a chance at HOF membership…time will tell.

 

…Judge Judy..or Judge Bob where are you?   The Cardinals need a final judgment on their “hacking” case…it’ll probably be draft pick(s) and/or money..I don’t see the head of John Mozeliak being delivered on a platter to  the Commissioner…it should be done by Feb 15th ..what are we waiting for?  We already know “who done it”..btw…don’t just remove the picks from the Cards…give those picks to Houston.

 

Some crazy bouncing NFL football  thoughts…..

…I know some of you …probably many of you in the Lou… have written off the NFL…but the playoff games were actually enjoyable for me to watch…some passing thoughts….no one runs the ball anymore…so they have to be passing thoughts…

…since the year 2001…the AFC’s QB in the Super Bowl has been just one of these 3 guys…it’s been Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Ben Rothelsberger in every Super Bowl except for two..2002 and 2012

…I kept rubbing my eyes…was this the same Jared Cook who never seemed to be any part of the Rams game plan?…this guy running crossing patterns that utilized his height, catching a pass falling out of bounds but still keeping his tip-toes inbounds…was it experience, better coaching, a QB who could find him when he was open, maturity, a real NFL passing game, being around a better team that had changed him?…..maybe all of the above

…typical …straddling both sides of the fence….the owners heard it all ….when Stan moved the R _ _ _ it was clear that he wanted 2 teams in his palace and he’d pay whatever it took to get it done ….

Now ..as San Diego agrees to move…the owners are wringing their hands about having 2 teams move into the same market simultaneously… covering their own rear ends depending on which way the “success” meter moves!

….Tom Brady may be the surgeon of QB’s with standing tall stature, he’s precise, cool, and survey’s the field with a wide lens, whips out laser like darts that are landing as if guided by a NASA engineer but Aaron Rogers…despite wearing me out through his commercials…is THE most entertaining QB for me to watch…by far….he plays like he’s on the playground….it goes like this…I’m looking for Jared….oh heck…he’s guarded…let me look to the other way..one… two…nope..nothing there….can I run?…oh wait…Johnny’s open deep…launch occurs from ground level….and bingo…it lands right into the hands of a Packer receiver 20+ yards down the field…Green Bay has another reception….and he’s playing against the most aggressive, fastest, well trained defenses that the NFL can provide and he’s having fun..and some am I as I  watch him.

…in the Green Bay-Dallas game….the officials seemed to call the obvious penalties …at least for the most part…as a result…the game had some continuity…other NFL games that I peeked at this year…I’m like many of you….my NFL viewing dropped significantly in 2016….most games moved along like a Conestoga Wagon with a lame horse,  in a heavy rainstorm, loaded down with family of 6 or 7J

…San Diego’s new coach, Anthony Lynn, leaves a lasting 1st impression in his 1st press conference when he “freezes” and forgets the new location of the Chargers and calls them the San Diego Chargers… will this  be the lasting moment of his coaching career?  ..btw..talk about being a step-child..Chargers left San Diego..so San Diego doesn’t want them and went to LA..but LA doesn’t want them either?  A team with no fan base  is like a plane with no airport to land…it’ll crash.

…more on Super Bowl teams next week…

 

 Have a pre-super week

 

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