It’s time that the little Napoleonic portion of my brain comes out to play a bit. Why? I’ve heard enough nonsense from the talking heads on television. If there is going to be absolute nonsense, then it might as well come from me, and it might as well be at least somewhat amusing.
- The Kyle McClellan and Neftali Feliz situations are similar and can/should be discussed in a similar fashion. Nope. Aside from the fact that they are about 4 years apart, and Feliz has the potential to be an elite starter, the differences are staggering in terms of the situations. The Cardinals are almost desperate for a 5th starter, and they are in a bad position due to injury. The Rangers have the luxury of choosing between Feliz as an elite closer and Feliz as a potentially good starter, even though they have other options. When you can make someone the likes of Michael Young expendable, then you have an embarrassment of riches. Ridiculous. The mere presumption that the Cardinals are choosing between 60 innings of McClellan the reliever and 160-170 innings of McClellan the starter is a logically flawed one at best, because it disregards the quality of those innings. That’s a huge unknown. Feliz has 3 good (or better) pitches to Kyle’s two. Feliz can fall back on a serious heater when he gets in trouble. Kyle cannot. It’s apples versus oranges.
- The Cardinals look good on paper. No, they really don’t look THAT good. They do look incredibly redundant on paper. They have an incredible amount of depth at some positions. Consider that Skip Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, and Ryan Theriot can all play 2B. Once Nick Punto comes back, that makes 5 guys who could potentially play the spot. Why? They also have several guys who can play unspectacular defense in the outfield. If only someone would explain to Colby that the guys hovering around the 2B area have gloves and are often referred to as “cutoff men” for a reason. Sheesh.
- There is nothing to take away from spring training, because the games don’t count. No. The outcomes can be ignored, but the individual players can and probably should be evaluated, because that’s precisely one of the key reasons for having spring training. Fans probably shouldn’t get worried about their favorite team losing 10-2, but they should be worried about the team’s starting SS hitting under .200 after 50-60 at-bats. It all depends on context. If that SS is trying to get healthy and adjust to a new timing mechanism or batting stance, then toss the results out completely. If nothing has changed, then odds are slim that he’ll magically become a .280 guy in the space of 3-4 days. Then again, it’s worth looking at where he’s been batting in the lineup versus where he’ll bat in the regular lineup as well. It’s all about complete context.
- Without Wainwright, the Cardinals don’t have the pitching to compete in the NL Central. I’ll repeat what I’ve already written here previously. Without Wainwright, the Cardinals basically have the equivalent of the Reds’ staff, and they might even be a shade better. If Carpenter, Lohse, Garcia, Westbrook, and McClellan combine for 900+ innings this season, I give the Cardinals a reasonable shot at the division.
- Pujols to the Cubs via Forbes. According to what people have been muttering about something conjured up by the people at Forbes, Albert Pujols should be playing for the Cubs next year. Yeah, those folks at Forbes have NEVER been known to get anything wrong. We’ll just brush that little Enron thing under the rug, shall we? Yes, I read the Forbes piece, and I don’t consider it worth a link, because it is based on what the team reports.
- The Cardinals should show some interest in Carlos Silva. The team has been looking in-house for a solution since Adam Wainwright went down. Why upset the applecart now? Also, Silva has looked absolutely horrible pretty much all spring. Oh, and he’s a headcase.
- The Cardinals made bad decisions in sending certain guys back to minor league camp. You can debate this all day long, but sending down guys with options remaining and many years left to play isn’t really a bad idea at all. Besides, several guys performed well during spring training, and those performances will be remembered for a while. In addition to the expended roster later in the season, it’s worth noting that injuries happen frequently during the season, and guys get called up all the time before rosters are expanded. It’s just a fact of MLB life.
- It’s all about what the Cardinals can do this year. Yeah, that’s a great theory. It’s also about what teams like the Giants, Braves, Phillies, Brewers, Padres, Rockies, Reds, and Dodgers do as well. Some of those teams will have to suffer performance setbacks to help the Cardinals a bit. I’m not talking injuries here, either. Just a few down years from key players would help.
- Ryan Theriot is the solution at SS. I sure hope so, but I have a feeling that there are people within the organization just rooting for Tyler Greene to go on a hitting streak long enough to displace Theriot at that spot. There are just too many interviews in which people like Mo and TLR refer to Tyler’s athleticism and quickness for me to let this one pass. Even with the shakiest hands in the west, Greene might win the job outright at some point during the 2011 season.
- Lance Berkman will last the whole season in RF. I really want him to last the whole season there, because $8M is a lot of dough, but he’s got to start earning it for real in a few days. I don’t think spring training was a good indication of what he’s got left in the tank, because it seems like they were keeping the reins on him a lot. Still, he may simply not have all the power that they expect, and if they are going to settle for a doubles hitter, they might as well have a doubles hitter who can cover a bit more ground. It’s interesting that he’s going to start the season viewed as a starter who needs to be replaced for defensive purposes late in games. If the Cardinals go late into the season in the midst of a pennant race, I could see his value as a pinch hitter/double switch guy go up, because he would represent a looming threat off the bench. Consider how opposing managers would change their gameplans, if Berkman was looming on the bench come September after having 400+ at-bats under his belt during the season. Why not? TLR has done crazier things.
- The Cardinals have a single “X-factor” for 2011. Really? REALLY? Just 1? How about 8-10 of them. A career year from one player isn’t going to get the job done. They need 3-4 players to have career years, and they need outstanding contributions from another 5-6 to have a shot. This isn’t a team that can play at 75% talent capacity and make the playoffs. Try more like 85%. No, I don’t think that 84.9% will get the job done.
- The Cardinals won’t be “buyers” at the trade deadline. If ever there was a year to consider buying, this is it. Even a rental for the balance of 2011 that just costs a AA player may be enough to nudge the team forward.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. As long as the team can trot out Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, Freese, and Molina almost every day, they obviously have a chance to win with reasonable frequency. The real question is whether or not they can get closer to 95 wins than 85 wins.
TIDBIT: Interesting move by the Cubs to release Silva. He’s basically in a contract year, and he’s less stable than Zambrano right now. That should be a huge warning sign to any team potentially interested in the guy, yet somebody will probably take a chance on him. Better do a good psych evaluation first.
MORE BITS OF TID: I heard that Jim Edmonds is going to throw out the first pitch on opening day. I’m thrilled, but I hope he launches it from either CF or the bullpen just because he’s awesome enough to do it.
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