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Thoughts After the Non-Tender Deadline

Posted by JE Powell

It looks like the Cardinals have re-signed Skip Schumaker to a two year deal, according to B.J. Rains (of Fox Sports Midwest) via twitter. The Cardinals also non-tendered Ryan Theriot, which means that Ryan Theriot is now a free agent. The Cardinals also tendered contracts to Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan. According to Rains, in a brief article, tendering a contract to Motte was a formality and the Cardinals hope to work out a full contract to avoid going to arbitration in February. The monetary details of the deal with Schumaker are unknown at the time of this writing. Read More…

Welcome Back Offense, We Missed You!

  • Posted by JE Powell

The Cardinals are now ten games into the season and sit at 4-6 record. The Cards could be 7-3, if not for three blown saves by Ryan Franklin, but that is what it is and nothing can be done about it now. I want to give Franklin a couple of more chances and see if he can turn things around. If he blows a couple of more saves, then I think John Mozeliak and Tony La Russa might need to find a closer outside of the organization. Majority owner Bill DeWitt Jr. has said the Cards have room to add payroll this season, should the right situation arise.

This, however, is about offense and how the Cardinals found it. In the last two games the Cardinals have scored 14 runs, the same amount they scored in their first five games. The return of Matt Holliday from an appendectomy has helped. The Cards are 2-1 with him in the lineup and 1-5 without him. Holliday makes this team better. 

Here are some of the positives of the last few games:

  • The Cardinals have won two games in a row
  • Matt Holliday returned to the lineup
  • Lance Berkman had a two homerun night on April 11th
  • Jaime Garcia and Kyle McClellan have been pitching extrememly well
  • Ryan Theriot’s bat is starting to come alive
  • Albert Pujols will not be batting .150-ish much longer
  • The season is ten games old and there are still 152 games to play
  • The Cardianls (while it’s a very small sample size) seem like their offense has started to come around
  • With Colby Rasmus’ high OBP and Matt Holliday’s return, when Pujols starts hitting and Berkman ups his batting average, this Cardinals team should score some runs
  • Outside of one start by Jake Westbrook, the Cards starting rotations hasn’t allow all that many runs and  has kept the team in games while the offense struggled. If the Cards can continue to have good seasons by their starting pitchers and the offense continues to perk up, this team has the potential to be very good

So, while two games does not a season make, I think that Cardinals fans certainly have reason to get excited about the Cardinals recent offensive output. If Theriot continues to improve his batting (it at .240+ now, up from around .150) and gets on base, then he is followed by Rasmus, Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, Freese, Schumaker, and Molina which is a very potent lineup when, please excuse the cliche, the hitters are all clicking on the same cylinders. If this offense can become what it seems it can be, then this summer the Cardinals are going to be a very fun team to watch.

It’s Just Spring Training

Posted by JE Powell

“It’s only Spring Training” is something that’s become a mantra of sorts for me. As of today, Sunday March 27, the Cardinals are 14-14-1 and recently gave up three runs to the Marlins in the bottom of the 9th inning to lose the game. But, should Cardinals fans be worried? NO! After all, it’s only Spring Training. However, there are some things that Cardinals fans should keep an eye on this season.

  1. Can Jaime Garcia have a repeat of last season? So far in Spring Training, Garcia has a 1-3 record, a 7.94 ERA, and as give up 37 hits and 24 runs versus only 6 strikeouts. He’s been pitching erratically, but hopefully he can figure it out pretty quickly.
  2. Is Albert Pujols really healthy? The last couple of seasons, Pujols has been battling nagging elbow injuries, but it seems that he’s feeling no pain and he’s itching to produce. Since Pujols was the MVP in 2009 and should have been 2010 and was dealing with said elbow problems, then if he is healthy this year the National League better look out.
  3. Will Chris Carpenter be the Ace the Cardinals need? There’s no reason to think that he won’t, except for the fact that he’s had a rough spring. He’s dealt with a hamstring injury and has 5.19 ERA with only 6 K’s in 17.1 IP so far this spring. At this point there’s really nothing to be worried about, except, perhaps, health issues. But, like I have said, it’s only Spring Training.
  4. Should Kyle McClellan be the fifth starter? I would have to say, right now, that yes he should. He’s 4-0 with a 0.78 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 23 IP. He is not likely to keep that pace up for 30+ regular season games, but he is giving Cardinals fans hope for a replacement for Adam Wainwright. Another question concerning McClellan is whether or not he can handle 30+ games of pitching as a starter since he had been in the bullpen for the last several years. But that is a question that only time can answer.
  5. Can David Freese stay healthy? Last season he played in only 70 games, missing the rest of the season with an ankle injury and a broken toe. However, he appears to be healthy this year and La Russa is planning on having Freese play 6 out of 7 games (about 140 games over the season) as opposed to the 2 out of 3 (108 games) that La Russa originally planned.
  6. Will Lance Berkman rebound from a poor 2010? Again, only time will tell, but were I a betting man I would put my money on Berkman being productive. He’s slimmed down and is further removed from his knee surgery that slowed him down last year.
  7. Does Spring Training have any bearing on the Regular Season? I really don’t think so. In 2006 the Cards finished spring training with a 15-14 record, but then went on to win the World Series. It will take more than 83 wins to make the playoffs this year, but it can be done.

Those are just a few of the questions that face the Cardinals this year and most of them will be answered by the end of the season. Spring Training, in my opinion, is a good way for teams to evaluate the talent of young players trying to make the team and to judge players that are trying to make a comeback from surgery. There are split squad games and many starts from players that might not even make the team. So, just take Spring Training with a grain of salt and remember, It’s Just Spring Training!