Set ‘em Up and Knock ‘em Down

by on August 19, 2011 · 11 comments

Maybe the Cardinals have been going about things all wrong for the past couple of weeks.  The Redbirds did nothing on the field worth noting yesterday, and yet they picked up a half game on the Brewers in the standings.  “Huzzah” for doing nothing, I say.  If only the Cardinals could pick up a few games by doing nothing, this playoff chase might get interesting in a hurry.  As it stands, they might have to do it the hard way, but maybe it’s not all bad news.  It’s worth looking at both team’s schedules the rest of the way and considering each team’s collective records against their remaining opponents.  Why?  Because it’s Friday, and we’ve got nothing better to do, that’s why!  How bad can it be, right?

Cardinals

  • Cubs x6  (7-2)
  • Dodgers x3  (3-1)
  • Pirates x7  (4-5)
  • Brewers x6  (4-8)
  • Reds x3  (5-7)
  • Braves x3  (2-1)
  • Phillies x4  (3-2)
  • Mets x3  (1-2)
  • Astros x3  (8-4)

Brewers

  • Mets x3  (1-2)
  • Pirates x7  (8-0)
  • Cubs x6  (6-4)
  • Cardinals x6  (8-4)
  • Astros x3  (9-3)
  • Phillies x4  (2-1)
  • Rockies x2  (5-2)
  • Reds x3  (5-8)
  • Marlins x3  (4-0)

Ouch!  Nevermind.  It’s THAT bad on paper.  Thank goodness they don’t actually play the games on paper.  Obviously, the Cardinals need some help along the way, and this weekend they could use some help from the Mets.  The Mets are one of the few teams left on the schedule for the Brewers with a winning record against them, and a series win for the Mets might be just what the Cardinals need to kickstart a quiet run.  Of course, the Cardinals will have to take care of business against the Cubs, and past performance is no guarantee of future success.  Still, it’s slightly more than grasping at straws, and I’m willing to keep hoping until we run out of straws this season.  All the Cardinals need to do is set ‘em up and knock ‘em down.

TIDBITS x4: 

  1. It’s somewhat of an odd thing to label Jon Jay a 4th outfielder, because there are a lot of teams that would like to have that luxury.  Most teams don’t have a “4th outfielder” who can play CF and do so at a 2.0 UZR level, hit at the top of the lineup, and bat .292 with a .340 OBP.  Oh, and by the way that guy happens to be 26 and only costs the team $416K this season.  The team’s real 4th outfielder is Skip Schumaker who costs $2.7M this season and doesn’t have the power or value that Jay does. 
  2. While not much has been said about it yet, the team payroll has not-so-slowly grown from around $110M on opening day to around $120M committed now.  That’s a significant increase, and it may indicate that the team’s opening day payroll for 2012 will be large enough to actually accommodate raises to Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright along with a few upgrades. 
  3. As much as I like Daniel Descalso, I can see him being the odd man out at some point in the future.  He could become the super utility guy in the right environment, but he’s just too good when starting to make that role really work for him.  On the other hand, I don’t know that Matt Adams can’t play SS, so you never know what can happen a few years down the road.  The point here is that most teams have to rely on a Nick Punto-type guy to be their super sub.  If Descalso can be that guy for the Cardinals for several years, it would help the team in terms of both payroll and familiarity. 
  4. IF Albert Pujols does not stay with the Cardinals after this season, I really like the idea of moving Allen Craig to 1B for at least a season and re-allocating the money previously earmarked for Albert to upgrades at places like SS.  A rental at that position would even work as long as we’re talking about a top shelf one.  It’s not often that a team gets the opportunity to go on a real shopping spree with that kind of money (20% of payroll or more), so they might as well go big.  However, it would behoove them to commit it for just a season or so until the Westbrook and Lohse contracts come off the books in exchange for some internal solutions.  Then they could go after some even bigger upgrades about the same time that some of their more prized minor leaguers are ready for primetime.

ONE LAST BIT OF TID:  It’s usually inevitable that when rosters expand some teams benefit more than others.  As good as they’ve been playing, it’s hard to imagine that the Brewers will benefit all that much, but I can imagine there being some impact for the teams involved in the wild card race (Cardinals, Braves, Giants).  When you consider all the times during the past several weeks that the Cardinals have needed an extra position player or a solid pinch hitter and didn’t have one, it seems like they will benefit greatly from an expanded bench.

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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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{ 11 comments }

StLHugo August 19, 2011

So who do we envision being brought up with expanded rosters?

Greene, Kozma, Cruz, Carp are the most likely

Dickson, Cleto, and Brown are less likely

Dennis August 19, 2011

I just started looking at the roster to see who would make the most sense. Mostly familiar faces, although I imagine a few things depend on guys coming back healthy from the DL. I’d love to see Chambers have a shot this year, but logically he may be held back for 2012.

StLHugo August 19, 2011

Yeah I would hope that Sanchez or Lynn can come off the DL and give them a boost in the pen, and if the season were lost I could see Chambers being called up but for just a ride the bench kind of thing I beleive we will see more of Brown with the already crowded outfield.

Dennis August 19, 2011

The Sanchez thing is a big concern. I’m pretty sure his injury dates back well past 60 days, and there hasn’t been any updates about him. Considering how much he meant to the bullpen, it seems like they could really use him. As for Brown, he might be a nice extra piece to have available, especially for certain matchup situations.

Chambers is a different story, because I doubt that they are in a hurry for him to accrue time this year.

Otter August 19, 2011

Having a guy stationed as a super-utility player (especially one who hits and fields like Disco) is pretty much TLR’s wet dream, no? Besides, I don’t think he’d be wasted, because the way TLR manages and juggles rosters he’d be almost guaranteed to see the field once a game from mid-July on.

IF, God forbid, Pujols chases the money instead of honoring his StL home, I’d honestly rather see every cent of it pushed right into the minor leagues and farm talent. I know it probably won’t happen, but I would sacrifice a sure postseason run in 2012 for a solid team and AAA talent that can step in in a pinch.

Dennis August 19, 2011

Otter, I pretty much agree with you on Disco as a super-util guy, but he doesn’t seem old enough for TLR. ;) Seriously, as much as Descalso would get to play under TLR, I still think they wouldn’t get the most out of Dirty Dan under those circumstances.

In reality, it would be difficult to spend $20M+ saved on Pujols on something like middle infield upgrades without it being a waste. There simply aren’t many free agents coming available that warrant that kind of money, and it would be silly to commit that money long term, especially when more money is coming off the books after 2012. Personally, I really like the idea of spinning some more back into the minors and using guys like Craig, Descalso, and Jay until help arrives from the minors to fill some gaps. All that homegrown talent could really pay off by 2013, and the payroll could be quite reasonable, so they could go after a big gun to fill whatever final need they have at that time.

Having the patience to wait on guys like Adams, Martinez, and Miller could be the difference between a 2 year glimpse of the playoffs and a sustained run. I’m all for waiting.

Batting Tips August 19, 2011

It will be really hard seeing Pujols in another Uni….at the same time, it would be interesting to see him play under different mgmt.

I know they had their differences.

Dennis August 19, 2011

I agree that either scenario would represent quite a change. I just think that over the long term Pujols needs St. Louis more than the Cardinals need him.

Batting Tips August 19, 2011

Why is that? What could the cardinals give him that he couldn’t get from another team that could provide him with protection in the line-up.

What else could he want?

Dennis August 19, 2011

The Cardinals and St. Louis can give him a baseball career and life outside the game without the level of media scrutiny he appears to dislike. St. Louis is the only place that offers him the same status he has enjoyed, and it is easily the most forgiving place he can play the rest of his career (see also Jeter, Derek – New York).

Batting Tips August 19, 2011

They are forgiving. I’ll give you that!

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