Not Off-Season but GM Season by Bob Ryan

Baseball General managers DO work year round…they have to adjust rosters due to in-season injuries, in-season lack of production, international drafts & contacts, keep an eye on the minor league players development, amateur drafts, sign or resign players…so there is plenty to do for them…but….this next 10 weeks is really the GM season.  This is the time when rosters can be modified…mildly or drastically….with trades and now…more often…free agent signings….for the Cardinals this is a HUGE GM season.

…The Cards have head loudly and clearly from their strong fan base that change is expected… real change…a supreme power hitter, a closer and a reshaped bullpen, a starter, and probably a 2nd power hitter of less skill….and a general reshaping of the team…..all these seem to be the goals of Cardinal nation.

…Cards management team is under real PRESSURE….the fan base is expecting a lot of them.. this High pressure expectations is the highest of any point in my memory… sure the fan base is spoiled….totally spoiled by a run of two decades of consistent post-season appearances ala Atlanta in the 90’s…none the less the bar has been raised… and the Cards image still fights the idea that percolates around the Lou that the the DeWitts are penny-pinching in the world of free-flowing cash income with 3mil @ turnstiles, ballpark village busting at the seems, part ownership in Fox-Midwest and now a huge 3 building complex…I don’t know if that’s true…but …perception does become reality in our minds.

….but at the core of this is the GianCarlo Stanton issue…..many, many Cardinal fans are expecting him to be wearing the Birds on the Bat uni next spring….his enormous contract…it raises to $25m next year, 2019& 20 -$26m,  2021&22-$29m, 2023, 24, 25-$32m, 2026-$29m, 2027& 28-$25m…he’s 29 years old next year so at his peak payment years he’ll be 34,35 and 36 years old…Albert again you say?  Further, Stanton can opt-out after 2020 and the club could buy him out after 2028 for a measly $10m….But….right now…do YOU expect the Cardinals to get him and would you say anything short of that is not enough?  I’d love to read Your thoughts…my feeling about the fan base is that they DO EXPECT to obtain him. ..and the Cards management is hearing and feeling the PRESSURE to make a “BIG MOVE”

….In this age of power HR hitters….this insatiable appetite for more HR for the Cards seems strange to me….StL was 8th in the NL in HR…most of the playoff teams were ahead of us but not by a huge amount… the Cards were 7th in the NL in runs scored.. ultimately the goal of the offense…score runs…in any shape or form…fielding wise the Cards were 8th in the NL in fielding percentage, on the mound the Cards were 6th in team ERA at 4.01….the Dodgers …far and away…have the best team ERA at 3.38…so of the 15 NL teams, we’re in the top half but not the top third across the board in hitting, fielding & pitching….from where I sit …we need improvements in ALL areas  not just in acquiring one gigantic boom-buster.

…I DO think that the Cards will modify their sites and aim for Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna of Miami..Yelich will be 26 years old in early December…he hit 18 HR in 2017.. a modest total but committed just 1 error, stole 16 bases, hit .282 in 156 games…the most games ANY Cardinal played last year was Matt Carpenter at 145 games…so he’s durable, can run, play defense and is young ….btw…Yelich earns $7m this by 2022 he’s at $15m..a million here… a million there…what the heck..

…Ozuna is listed as 27 years of age….as many of you know…I’m always very skeptical of the given ages of Latin American players….I’d do the same….I’d take a couple years off of my age when signing time approached….anyway…be it as it may….Ozuna is a step above Yelich in most areas…he’s more of a slugger/hitter…37 HR-3rd in NL &  3rd in NL in RBI with 124, his .317 average last year was 7th in the league, , was 4th in NL in Hits-191, silver slugger in 2017…he’s more durable than ANY of our current OF….159 games played-4th in league AND to me this important area..is a better defensive OF than anyone that we currently have on our roster…he was a 2017 gold glove, has played CF previously but his year was LF who was ranked #1 in NL in range factor of LF…pls don’t ask how they calculate that ??!! :).. was 2nd in the NL as a LF with 10 assists last year. In 2018, Ozuna is 2nd year arbitration eligible…so his salary of $3.5m will double or triple.  I’d favor Ozuna over Yelich…I would offer Grichuk, &/or Fowler, and 1 or 2 pitching prospects…1 very high level, the other younger & more uncertain.

…while I’m at it…this “prospects” that the Cards treasure so dearly….in my mind, this word “prospects” has its roots in the word “prospectors”…ya know those guys digging for gold…and we know how many of them actually found gold…same in baseball…how many of these “prospects” actually turn into “gold” type players…amount the same level as the gold miners found back in the day. 

….the Cards MUST sign a closer and step up the quality of the 7th/8th inning performers. The latest trend is to go short term with these bullpen arms…you never know when their arm will go “kaput”.  Look for Birds to sign an experience closer…maybe not the highest quality but still effective to a 1 or 2 year deal. Rookie Sandy Alcantara will be our 7th or 8th inning guy when the season begins and may be our closer by the end of the year. This 22 year old will be a replica of Trevor Rosenthal…his blazing fastball & slider are 1 or 2 mph faster.

…we start the real GM season with MO & his sidekick feeling real pressure to “make the move”..it should be fun to see it all play out…What would YOUR approach be…tell me now….not after the trades.

NCAA football…

…I must start with Mizzou…I didn’t think that I’d ever say this in 2017 but it sure looks like the Tigers will be bowl bound….Vandy & Arkansas are clearly two beatable teams…the strong run game has permitted Drew Lock to get time and throw his long-range missiles that are spot-on for quick scoring TD’s….once the Tigers get ahead in the game…they seem to relax….and the run game keeps the opposition from running the ball as often (seemingly a weakness on defense) because they feel like they must score quicker and more often….now….it seems like Drew Lock is getting evaluated for his NFL possibilities…so this could be his final year.. I still think that if you make him throw on the move, knock him down a few times that he’s a different QB…but let’s enjoy the sweetness of victory…bravo to the Tigers

…another terrific weekend of games for the top-ranked teams….

Alabama showed their pedigree against a strong Mississippi State team…the Bulldogs tooks a 24-17 lead early in the 4th quarter on a FG. Bama tied it with 9:29 left on a 14 yd run & PAT. . after an exchange of possessions, Alabama missed a 41 yd FG attempt that hit the upright with just over 2:00 left in the game. Miss State went 3 and out as they tried running plays on all 3 downs. The Crimson Tide took possession with 1:09 left….then the Tide’s top level coaching staff showed its stuff….like the pros, Alabama had run multiple formations earlier in the game with pre-determined calls but the OFF coordinator noted how Miss State was defending each formation sooo….when the last minute arrived, the O-coordiator used this knowledge to attack their weaknesses against these formations…Bama ran 3 sweeps to the wide side of the field with the same formation and a fresh, seasoned running back, then 2 slant passes againt blitzing LB (when they blitz their coverage area–short Middle, is wide open and finally an audible pass play called at the LOS by QB Jalen Hurts found the mark and a touchdown….Miss State had one more possession…after a 1st down and time almost expired, the ball was thrown a loooonnngg, way into the end zone in the midst of about 10 players (5 from each team)….an Alabama defender fearful of a Hail Mary TD, tackled the receiver…yea it was pass interference but in college that’s only a 15 yard penalty…the next hail may attempt was thrown too deep…went out of the end zone….game over.

…all that being said…my Bob Rankings for the final 4 at this moment are..with plenty of provisions.

  • Alabama 2) winner the Miami-Clemson ACC championship game  will be in final four… Miami (9-0) or Clemson…who has 4 wins over teams currently ranked #10-20 (who cares what they were ranked back 6-7-8 weeks ago) 3)Oklahoma      4)  if Wisconsin stays unbeaten…it’s tough to include them since  the Badgers played a non-descript non-conference schedule and the Big 10…like the SEC…is down…the ACC is not down…but Wisconsin has Michigan, Minnesota and the Big 10 championship game coming up…so if they win those 3 games…they have to go in.  Pac 12 conference looks like it’ll be on the outside looking in…If Wisconsin loses, AND the Miami/ Clemson game is very close…maybe both of those teams. WHAT does YOUR final 4 look like?

I remember years ago…many,many years ago at a district basketball seeding meeting, Jim Gant, a very successful basketball coach at Central High School said,’ Don’t ask me who I lost to….that doesn’t take any skill to lose…ask me who I beat”. Just because you lose to a good team doesn’t make YOU good…He’s right.

High School Football

….two teams familiar with Class 6 finals will meet next weekend for the 2017 title. Blue Springs vs CBC at Springfield,  MO 7:00pm next Saturday. CBC beat a fired up Eureka team 42-7 in the semis. CBC scored late in the 1st quarter and led 14-0 at half.  After scoring on the 2nd of 3 Brett Gabbert TD passes in the 3rd qtr at the 10:48 mark, the very next play from scrimmage was a Pick-6 for the Cadets when Larry Williams snatched a pass and scampered 25 yards to turn the tide in this game between these two very  strong teams.  CBC(12-1) won it 42-7 as they potent offense has been held under 40 points twice all season. Gabbert, younger bro of Blaine Gabbert, has passed for 2712 yards while Bryan Bradford has rushed for 1382 yards to provide the blend that Coach Scott Pingel desires. Pingel will be taking his 3rd team to the Championship game in his tenure which began in 2008 @ CBC.  The Cadets lone loss was to CBC-Memphis 36-27. Eureka completes their season at 12-1 as they enjoyed the tremendous season of Sr. Hassan Haskins. Haskins rushed for 2197 yards and scored 34 TD’s as Eureka kept  their customary power run style of game in high gear throughout the season. Eureka won the Suburban West-American conference title this year. The Wildcats have an outstanding record of 77-16 since 2010.

…in Class 5, Ft Zumwalt North (12-0) reached the semifinals with an impressive 42-7 win over the Lebanon Yellowjackets. Head Coach Joe Bacon led the Panthers to the championship game last year before falling to the Vianney Golden Griffins.  Vianney lost to Pattonville on Saturday…next week’s opponent for Ft Z N. The Panthers expected a much tighter game from Lebanon but…it played out this way…after receiving the KO, FZN drove 84 yards in 11 plays . Mareon Lowery powered over on a short plunge for the TD.  Lebanon, running the triple option…a rare occurrence in this era of passing….had been led by 2000 yard rusher, John Berry. On the 3rd play from scrimmage, Berry was crunched by a heavy hit from the FZN defense and suffered a separated shoulder…out for the game. It was all Panthers from that point on. 

It’s an exciting time of the year…thanks for reading an hoping to read your thoughts on the GM season!

 

Comments

  1. The chase for Stanton is “Pujols 2.0”. Pass on him and go after Ozuno or Yelich. How bout JD. Martinez? Stanton is from the west coast and probably wants to return to home turf. Sorry, but paying that kind of money will result in higher ticket/concession pricing. The deal with Fox Sports Midwest is lucrative , but they surely aren’t going to empty the bank on free agents… as Dewitt Jr often says, “ we want to have a little dry powder”….. translation…. spend wisely!

    Mizzou: Great recovery! Running game surge allows Lock to be more effective at QB
    Tough to make coaching change based on the last month. This story will resonate with potential recruits!

    Let’s get one of the aforementioned guys, get a solid starter and REAL “lights out” closer.

    • @ Joe Parisi –
      This is entirely OT, but I noted your name. Are you any relation to the late Joe (Junior) Parisi Jr., CBC ’40? He was KIA by a sniper on Okinawa. He and my uncle, Maurice Schario, were THE best friends thoughout GS and CBC. He spoke of Junior until the day he died. Mrs. Parisi and my grandmother were tight until each of them passed in the ’60s.
      Contact me through Bob Ryan.

  2. Interesting read this week. Thanks for the time you put in on these. Mizzou’s Head football coach isn’t looking too bad now. Barry is a good one and I hope he continues to make waves.

    Thanks

  3. Another interesting blog, Bob. I just don’t see the Cardinals forking out mega bucks for Stanton, or any other player at that price. I feel they want Yelich and will trade a couple of pitching prospects. His salary is much more in line with the Cardinals history of deal making. Mizzou seems to have a much better idea on how to control the game and keep their defense off the field by running the ball. And their offensive line is really taking control and opening holes. After the first 6 games I never thought they would have a chance at 7 and 5.

  4. Hi Bob,

    I am not one of those die hard fans that think the Cards should sign Ginacarlo Stanton. Sure it would be great to have him wearing the birds on the bat, but like Pujols, I am not willing to give up that much money. One of the reasons the Cards continued their success after Pujols, was the extra money they had to spend on other needs of the ball club. I know its not glamorous to build around pitching, speed and defense, but it is a formula for success, and you don’t need a bopper like Stanton to win. Heck, the cards had 8 guys who homered in double figure this last season and the team was just average. They played much better down the stretch when they decided to play the kids that came up from the farm. Yes, they need the other pieces that you mentioned in your blog, including pitching, so just make up with Lance Lynn, bury the hatchet, and give him the money that you will have to spend on the free agent market.

    Just a note on Mizzou football. Congratulations Barry Odom. I had him buried after the first 4 games, did not think he could recruit or win in the SEC, and just look what he has done to turn things around. He has a long way to go, but at least he can see the future and try to build on it. Way to go Barry and sorry that I gave up on you and the Tigers.

  5. Hey Bob! I’m just talking about Mizzou football! After watching the season up to this point, of course, there are a couple of games we shoulda won but that’s the past! But I can’t say as season ticket holder, I want Barry Odom up to this point to come back, just because I still don’t feel week to week that anyone has that feeling we are going to win the upcoming game! By that I mean that even though we are the point spread favorite that I can say for sure they are going to win these last 2 games! I’ve been to both stadiums and I know Arkansas is coming loaded for bear and Vandy really doesn’t care that much about football but their still at home! I didn’t see the attendance for last week’s game but I’m sure it was in the 40’s! As an athletic director I need more butts than that in the stadium! We are losing recruits left and right, along with all the recruits in the St. Louis area! What’s that say for his recruiting! Well that’s my 2 cents! I do hope they go to a bowl for the kids sake!!!

  6. Jim Pleimann says:

    As a diehard Cardinal fan, I see the need for a closer another starter and a big RBI bat. Stanton? I can’t see that happening. Too many reports out there saying he doesn’t want to come here. I think the risk would be fun, but would there be a reward? Has he ever played a full season? I too would take a bite on Ozuna. But with all that said, it isn’t my money. The cardinals will make moves, and I bet they surprise us with one or two. (The Tampa closer Colome) intrigues me) I am feeling some kind of big blockbuster – but not Stanton.
    I am shell shocked Mizzou turned things around. (if you call beating sub-.500 teams turning it around) Good for them. I hope they finish with two wins (but I am still pretty skeptical that will happen). That’s my two cents worth….. oh oh, the Blues have lost two in a row, I guess they are starting to come back to the pack eh? Has to be the coaches fault…… just kiddin

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