Shuffle the Cards? by Bob Ryan

Well…we have 3 months under our belt…July 4th has typically been the benchmark for the halfway point of the baseball season…so…..what DO the Cards have to do to improve and get into the playoffs?

 

The most glaring need to me is the CF. Grichuk couldn’t hit the outside slider; Wong seems angry after every out so has little stability; Piscotty is OK but he’s really not a CF. But one has to consider….To this point… in 2016, the CF’s for the Cards have hit just .208.

 

The defense in general is been very poor….both infield AND outfield. Aledmys Diaz, a wonderful surprise at the plate and while he’s improved…he has 14 errors and a fielding % of .952…that’s no surprise to any of us who watch the Cards regularly but to my surprise was the fact that Matt Carpenter has 9 errors and a weak .964 fielding %…more data to support the fact of an inadequate defense—Kolton Wong .973, Jedd Gyorko .977 and even Jhonny Peralta is struggling with a .966 fielding %. Of the 30 MLB teams, the Cards fielding % is dead-last–#30.  This doesn’t include some poor throws to cut-off men, misjudged fly balls, “tough” but possible MLB plays that were called “hits”. If this continues, Cards will continue to flounder.

 

….Now I see a couple options…first the quick, easy shuffle..

….Go with Piscotty in CF, Moss RF and Holliday in LF….this isn’t a very good defensive club but the best offensively. To ease the pain use Wong/Pham for defense in late innings, pinch running and an occasional start. This basically keeps the status quo. I don’t think the Cards will go this route….fan base is grumbling, team plays in spurts due to the downsides of the rocky play of defense and base running would be slow and poor. The upside is that the booming bats will continue to crush mediocre..and below…level MLB pitching .

 

…..a deeper shuffle consideration…..Make a trade …as they did 2 years ago to wake the club up. Attack the weakest area—CF…ANY good, young, cheap, CF is a buckled in with Elliot Ness as an untouchable on their current club so don’t give them a 2nd thought…with that in mind…. a couple of options are- a) Adam Eaton b) Jay Bruce WHY?

 

Both guys are playing for non-contenders….so available if the price is right..

Cards have plenty of extra cash to absorb extra salary

Cards can send a combo of young and/or older players…who may include—

Moss or Adams, plus a pitcher…. or two—Lyons, Tooeveeloulou, Kiekhefer … I think Moss who is at an all-time “high”in value now or Adams must be in the trade…the other one will be the Cardinal daily 1B…so I see Moss being traded due to Moss’ so-so d-play at 1B

 

Some info on those 2 targets…

Adam Eaton—age 27, plays CF/RF, signed for 6 years, making $2.7mil now, by the last year of his contract-2021-$10.5mil;   lifetime .281 hitter, stole 18 bases last year.. at least a little speed; probably easier to trade with CWS than Reds..CWS love power so Moss is more likely since the Chisox are set at 1B. He would be my primary target.

 

Jay Bruce—age-29, salary$12.5-2016, #13mil-2017,FA-2018 .249 hitter with some power but very good RF…this would dictate that Piscotty be primary CF—upgrades defense in RF and just a bit in CF,not a real long-term commitment, keeps/adds pop to lineup…Cincy would probably be inclined to get a starting pitcher, a young player (non-starter) and a starting field player

 

….Now ….maybe MO…will wait it out for another month…but it appears to me that Manifesto is at the end of his rope with this shoddy play….even his press conferences are starting to inch closer to Tony TV….yes….we can hit…but….the hitting can’t carry us in many close games against higher level pitching and teams…despite that….I think we’ll be a playoff team…trade or no trade…but if we don’t trade… in the short playoff series against quality opponents…it seems that a team’s weakness is always exposed in playoffs so that weaknesses better not be such a common part of the team performance as our poor defense is now.

 

…a minor consideration…our two young players who are really struggling…a nice PC word for “playing bad”….Grichuk & Wong won’t get us much in return at this moment so why deal them now…at their lowest point of return?

 

What else is shaking around the fireworks of July 4th ?

…tied as the leading HR hitter in MLB is Mark Trumbo with 24 round-trippers(tied with Kris Bryant)…traded this year to the welcoming dimensions of Camden yards in Baltimore… Trumbo is cashing in! Trumbo, a slugger, is on his 4th MLB team (LAA, Ariz, Sea, Balt)..his lifetime average is .253 (he’s at .280 now)…I’ve never considered him a super-star…or even a star … we’ll see if he can maintain his bat-speed as the summer months unfold.

 

…SI’s “Where are they now” article is an attempt…I suppose…to demonstrate that all stars have changed since their time in the spotlight has faded … some for the better and some not so much…Caitlyn Jenner is the 1st person reviewed (for about 8 pages)..I don’t need to describe the change here…QB Rick Mirer & Drew Bledsoe now co-own a Winery, Ken Griffey is just “living the good life” in a relaxed manner waiting for his HOF induction, Floyd Landis (former teammate of Lance Armstrong) is attempting to overcome his bitterness, Gino Marchetti ..you hv to be old to remember him…he was a star DE for the Baltimore Colts in the late 50’s is a happy, retired man and not bitter that the sack stat was around in his day when he reportedly had 43 sacks in 1 year (using old tapes for the stats), the Fridge (Wm Perry) who spends his days drinking…there were a couple others and some groups … this article demonstrates what magazines have become…no longer just giving facts or summarizing games but rather stories on personalities .. past or present…interesting..

 

…have u thought about David Ortiz? This 40 year old is hitting .3389 19 HR, 66 RBI…it seems to me that he’s been around since Ted Williams played….well…not quite that long…but he did just pass up Williams with his 522nd HR…I think he’ll be a HOF

 

…I liked the Ft Bragg game….this is helping to reconnect Americans to soldiers….through the 40’s-70’s..most Americans knew personally someone who was IN the military or who had served personally. This personal attachment made our respect grow for the service. In recent years most of our American soldiers come from just 5 states…we don’t know any…or at least…not many.. soldiers personally…so the “military” becomes detached from us as a result. We’re not touched by the separation, constant stress, injuries, PTSM or their deaths in the same way. Fox Sports did a brilliant job a couple weeks ago during a Cardinal game along the same lines as a unit overseas was featured with their StL families in the stands . Danny Mc did an exceptional job that night.

 

…the Cards pitching staff is #6 in NL team ERA with a 3.92. The three division leaders (Cubs, Wash, SF)and the two wild cards teams are the teams ahead of us in this category….guess, its not too surprising the 5 playoff teams at this moment as having the best pitching stats…is it?

 

….nice knowing ya David Backus….I totally understand each side…Backus wanted to “cash in” for the final time in his career so he wouldn’t budge off his 5 year stance…meanwhile, the Blues were willing to go 4 years but felt that the 5th year was going to be a likely “buy out”… the Blues reasoned that it made little sense to throw around an extra $5mil when they’re trying to stretch out each & every dollar…..that’s professional sports….generally…it does come down to money…and …if ya think about it…if YOU were that player and TEAM …wouldn’t you do it exactly the same way?

…the Adam Duvall trade (Duvall from SF to Cincy for Mike Leake in June of 2015) has turned out to be a good one for the Reds….Duvall basically replaces Todd Frazier as a HR hitter… but he’s much cheaper (he’s playing at the minimum)..he’s bombed 22 dingers while @ .254. Meanwhile Leake jumped the SF ship in January to sign with the Cardinals.

…on the local front….Nerinx grad, Colleen Quigley qualified on Monday for the finals of the USA Olympic team in the women’s 3000 steeplechase. I believe the finals to determine the USA Olympic members in this event are Thursday…tune in & cheer her on! Colleen’s Dad is a long time Math teacher @ CBC… a wonderful colleague of mine. He currently is coaching the Nerinx track team…when not cheering for her and his son (who also runs at the National & International level) Best of luck to Colleen!

…the wild card race in the NL is dull compared to the AL…in the NL it’s the Dodgers & Mets with the Cards just 1 game behind and Miami 1.5 games behind. Pitt has fallen 3.5 games behind the wild-card teams…then it goes to 6 games out of wild card..fat chance…meanwhile in the AL, the division leaders are Baltimore, Cleveland and Texas …boy …I wonder what the odds were on that trifecta at the stat of the season…anyway.. KC & Boston are current wild card teams. Houston, Detroit and Toronto are all just ½ game out of wild card. Seattle is 1.5 games behind WC teams and even the CWS are only 2.5 games out of WC position. That’s 10 of the 15 AL teams thinking of post-season on July 4th ..that’s the goal of the Wild Card

…I was happy that Steve Ott moved on….his rabble-rousing, fast-trash talking type play rarely seemed to stir up the Blues because he often ended up sitting in the penalty box

…update on a significant MLB milestone…Ichiro needs just 11 more hits to reach 3000…I don’t buy the idea that he’s tied Pete Rose for overall hits (combining his Japanese & MLB #)….with all due respect… hits in the Japanese league aren’t the same as hits in the MLB….we didn’t count Pete Rose’s minor league hits …did we? I really think that this is a subtle MLB way of trying to reduce Pete Rose’s accomplishments due to his gambling addiction…anyway Ichiro’s stats are impressive…he won 10 straight gold gloves 2001-2010; has won 2 AL batting titles; in 2001 was the AL Rookie of the Year AND the AL MVP; career .314 batting average

…saw that Lucas Harrell won a game for Atlanta on Sunday…I remember Harrell from my first years of announcing for Prepcasts…He pitched and played SS to lead Ozark HS in the 2003 baseball championships…I didn’t have ANY idea that he’d ever become a MLB player…but it’s always cool to that this 31 year old is still “getting a taste” of the MLB. He’s in the “bigs” for part of his 6th season and has over 400 IP in the MLB….Continued Good Luck to him!

…the top two hitters at this moment in the NL are both from the Washington Nationals… I couldn’t have named the #2 hitter…I knew that Daniel Murphy is continuing his World Series swing with a .346 average to lead the NL but Wilson Ramos..the catcher, #2 at .336…cut it out!!.. this really throws a wrench in the NL All-Star catcher category… Buster Posey and Ramos clearly have better batting stats…which has always been the criteria….Dal Maxvill wasn’t ever an all-star but it wasn’t due to his fielding….Where does this put Yadi?…

…in the MLB, 6 of the top 12 batters who have drawn the most walks are 1B…kinda of a useless stat but it suppose it shows that that position is STILL a power hitting position so they draw the most walks.. they are Goldschmidt, Maurer, Belt, Rizzo, Davis (Balt), Santana

…btw…through July 4th, Adam Wainwright has thrown the most pitches in 2016 for the Cards—1593 pitches that’s #38 in the MLB in that category. Chris Sale, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Verlander, Johnny Cueto and Max Scherzer (in that order) have thrown the most pitches thus far in 2016. Let’s hope his arm can “make it” through the entire season.

 

 

 

 

 

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