The Not-so-hot Stove

by on November 23, 2010 · 2 comments

I don’t claim to know any more or less about baseball, cars, or string theory (okay, well maybe string theory) than anybody else.  However, I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express several times, so I think that qualifies me to make some wild guesses about what is going to happen over the next few months.  The part that makes this fun for me is that I can look back in March (or later) at this post and give myself a grade on the aforementioned guesses.  As with my time in college, I’m going with the “C stands for continue” mantra.  Consider it just another mindless way to pass the time until pitchers and catchers report.  Here are some things that I think that I think, but I certainly don’t know that I know:

  1. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak will finally conclude that he can’t replace Brendan Ryan (and his UZR), even though he’d like more offense from the SS position.  Unfortunately, this will only occur after someone explains to him the importance of UZR.  Ultimately, Brendan will get a reasonable pay raise that is worthy of someone who plays Gold Glove-caliber defense at SS.
  2. The Cardinals will get desperate and contact Oscar Suarez, Dennys Reyes‘ agent, and inquire about the possibility of Reyes playing 2011 for more than they would really like to spend on a LHP who will basically give them 60-65 innings out of the bullpen.
  3. Kyle McClellan will be offered arbitration, or the Cardinals will try to buy out 2-3 of his arbitration years to provide some stability.
  4. Allen Craig and Fernando Salas will start 2011 in St. Louis.
  5. Albert Pujols will sign a megadeal contract extension before opening day.  There will be much rejoicing and a few “huzzahs”.  I’m going with 8 yrs/$200M. 
  6. I’ll convince Brad Penny to become an email subscriber to PH8 just so he can read about why I don’ t think he was the biggest bust of the last decade in St. Louis.
  7. The starting second baseman in 2011 will be…….Skip Schumaker.  I won’t even try to defend Skip’s defense at 2B, but the other options at 2B are much more expensive and aren’t necessarily “no-brainers”.  Better the error-prone 2B you know than the one you don’t.  Also, keep in mind that Skip is entering a contract year with something to prove.  That might be a good motivating factor.
  8. Greedy owners will collude work with MLB and the MLBPA to expand playoffs while trying to convince fans that it is to increase fan interest.  I will follow this development by ridiculing greedy owners, MLB, and MLBPA for being greedy jackholes.
  9. Jason LaRue will be offered a minor league coaching or player development position with Cardinals.  He’ll promptly decline in favor of appearing in a series of “The 2nd Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials.
  10. Every other team in the NL Central will have more roster churn than the Cardinals. 
  11. MVP award will be renamed “Best Player Who Happened to Play on a Team That Made the Playoffs” award.  Alternatively, it could be dubbed the “Most Outstanding Player Not Named Albert Pujols” award. 
  12. I believe Mo has been playing media games since the season ended, and we’ll finally have confirmation of that by March.  In reality, he’s pretty satisfied with the team he has, and he was only going to pursue a trade/free agent signing, if it heavily favored the Cardinals.  That’s why the “2 15-20 homer guys” thing may have been a red herring.  Maybe I’m giving Mo too much credit here, but I think he was just putting up a smoke screen to cover his tracks.  When you return the bulk of an 86-win team that suffered through a lot of injuries, you don’ t necessarily need to make substantial changes. 

Before I go, I just have a few things to say about the NL MVP vote.  I can understand the sentiment in favor of Votto for MVP, although I don’t agree with the logic that the winner should come from a playoff team.  That’s a slippery slope.  What if a strong candidate plays for a team that misses the playoffs by 2 games?  3 games?  Why should team success matter at all?  The MVP is for “Most Valuable Player“.  If you want to frame the debate based on WAR or some set of advanced statistics, then I’m all for that.  Just don’t tell me that the whole voting process should be based on those numbers.  The award isn’t for “Player With Most Outstanding Combination of WAR and Other Cool Numbers as Determined by Neat Algorithm”. 

Tidbit of the day:  2010 Intentional walks -> Pujols – 38, Votto – 8

Wanna talk string theory?  Membranes that form 12 dimensions?  Find me on Twitter.  Oh, and I also chat about baseball as well.

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Bob Netherton November 23, 2010

Great post, Dennis. Darn – you beat me to the complete and total slagging of the MVP award.

For the most part, I think you are going to look back on your predictions and give them a good grade (which is scary in a couple of them – another year of Dennys Reyes). You are right, Schumaker will be a starter, but in right field – for one of the most unusual outfield platoon situations in baseball, until either he or Jon Jay get traded. Descalso will be the starting second baseman, bringing yet another (gack) left handed bat to the lineup.

Dennis November 23, 2010

Thanks, Bob. I’d actually be fine with the MVP award, if the BBWAA would just define a standard set of criteria for voting.

As for the predictions, I’d be thrilled to be wrong about several of them (Dennys Reyes for starters). I’m a little curious about the potential for a RF platoon, though. Jay’s splits were pretty even (.308 vs lefties and .297 vs righties). I wonder about the possibility of the team starting the year with a few extra pieces and trading to fill needs as those needs develop.

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