Auditioning for the KMOX Sports Correspondent contest

kmox-sportsco-finalI once wrote a blog post about my Cardinals bucket list, and one of the items on the list is going to spring training.  Alas, our household budget doesn’t allow for such luxuries.  However, if I get lucky enough, I may get to go to spring training this year, and it would be because of the KMOX Sports Correspondent contest. The winner of this contest wins a four day trip for two to spring training with tickets to two games. It’s not all fun; there is some work involved, but since it’s Cardinals baseball, it’ll be fun work. There are more details about the contest at the link here.  You have to audition to win the contest, however, so I auditioned last night.  Here’s the tale of my audition.

Last night’s audition was at Gold’s Gym in Fenton, Missouri.  The earlier audition dates were at other Gold’s Gyms in Missouri, but I decided to go to the Gold’s Gym in Fenton because it was the closest audition location to where I live in Illinois.  My son had another activity last night and I couldn’t take him and go to the audition too (we only have one vehicle), so I asked my friend Kim to drive me to Fenton.  She agreed (thank you, Kim) and she picked me up at my house. Of course, being a girl, I had to make sure my hair and my makeup looked good for my audition video before I left the house.

Earlier in the day, I went to Mapquest and printed out the directions to the Fenton Gold’s Gym to take with us.  The trip was going well until we got to Hwy. 270. Mapquest told us to take Exit 3, which was the first exit after the Jefferson Barracks Bridge.  Kim started to exit off the highway, but I realized it was Koch Road, which would take us to the VA Hospital and not to Fenton.  So Kim hurried up and got back on Hwy. 270.  What we really wanted was the MO-30 Gravois Road exit, which also turned out  to be Exit 3.  That’s really confusing, MODOT;  you all really need to fix that.

After a couple of wrong turns in beautiful rural Fenton, we finally arrived at Gold’s Gym.  After a long, cold walk from the parking lot, we entered the building.  We saw this sign:

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So where are the auditions?  I asked the nice lady at the front desk for assistance.  It turned out it was right around the corner.  The Sports Open Line guys were broadcasting live.

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The audition tables were on the right.  Kim and I were greeted by Mike Nichol and Todd Rick of the KMOX Street Team. They asked whether both of us were auditioning.  I said that I was the only one auditioning and Kim told them she was just along for moral support.  I was given a release to sign.  Since I am a legal assistant and Kim is a former paralegal, we both reviewed the legal language in the release thoroughly. There was a paragraph with a very long run-on sentence; one of us needs to work in the legal department at KMOX to review their releases, I think.

I was given a script to read, which was the Version 8 Copy.  I read the copy and grabbed a pen so I could edit the wording. That’s one of my duties as a legal assistant, editing and proofreading pleadings and other documents.  I asked who wrote the copy.  It turned out that Tom Ackerman, the KMOX Sports Director, wrote the copy.  I told Mike and Todd that Mr. Ackerman should feel free to email his copy to me and I would be happy to edit it for him.

After I was done editing, I read it through in my head a few times to get a feel for pacing.  There were second marks (10 sec, 30 sec, etc.) on the side of the copy.  I then had to write my name on a white sheet of paper.  My audition number was on this sheet – I was the 73rd person to audition.  Not that night – 73 was the total of all the auditions at that point.  I sat at a table behind a faux old fashioned microphone. Here’s a photo of me reading the script:

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Here’s a photo of one of the Street Team guys filming my audition:

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After I was done, the Street Team guys said I did a really good job.  I then told the Street Team guys about this blog.  Hopefully, they’ll look it up.  We discussed other matters about the contest and about spring training, and then it was time to go, because another person walked up to audition.

I honestly thought that I would have to wait to audition last night, but I didn’t.  Either everyone who wanted to audition already did, or it was just too cold for people to leave their nice warm homes.   Now that the auditions are over, all of the videos will be reviewed by the folks at KMOX.  Ten finalists will be selected next week.  The videos made by the finalists will be put on the KMOX website and the public can vote on who they like the best.  If I get selected to be a finalist, I will be sure to let you know where you can view the videos and how you can vote for me, if you want.  I wouldn’t want to pressure you or anything.  🙂

After we stopped at the Phillips 66 station to fuel up the vehicle for the journey home, Kim used the voice option on Google Maps on her phone to get us back home and ironically, it took us the same way we came. Maybe Mapquest wasn’t wrong after all.

I hope I did auditioned well enough to be one of the finalists and I hope I get enough votes to win!  If not, I’ll try again next year.   That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you soon!

Diane

A Cardinals holiday (not Holliday) calendar

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Inspired by Daniel Shoptaw’s blog post proclaiming that spring training is like Lent, I decided to make a list of Cardinals holidays.  They may not be religious or national holidays, but to the Cardinals fan, they’re worth celebrating.  I have listed these in chronological order, starting at the beginning of the year. The dates change from year to year; however, I have provided this year’s dates. 

Name of holiday:  Truck Day

Date:  A week before pitchers and catchers report – this year’s date was February 12.

Description:  This is the day when teams pack their equipment in tractor trailer trucks and head to the team’s spring training location.  Spring training starts in a week!  

 

Name of holiday:   Pitchers and Catchers Report

Date:   One week after Truck Day – this year’s date is February 19.

Description:  The day that pitchers and catchers report to spring training.  Spring training is officially underway!

 

Name of holiday:   Position Players Report

Date:   5 days after Pitchers and Catchers Report – this year’s date is February 24.

Description:  The first day that position players are to report to spring training.  A lot of the players arrived early this year.  They’re excited for the new season.

 

Name of holiday:   First Spring Training Game

Date:   Varies by year – this year’s first game is March 5

Description:  It’s been so long since the team’s last game! It’s great to see them back in uniform and on the field (that is, if the game is televised).  It’s also great to hear Mike and John on KMOX calling the game. 

 

Name of holiday:   Opening Day

Date:   Varies by year – this year’s Opening Day is April 5, which is also Easter this year.

Description:  Finally – the season has arrived! Winter is officially over!

 

Name of holiday:   Home Opening Day

Date:   Varies by year – this year’s first home game is April 13.

Description:  The Cards have opened on the road the last couple of years, so Home Opening Day is the real holiday for local Cardinals fans. 

 

Name of holiday:  All-Star Break

Date:  Varies by year – this year’s All-Star break is from July 13 – 16.

Description:  This holiday is a three day break in the middle of the season.  Those Cardinals selected to play in the All-Star Game participate in those festivities, while the rest of the team and coaching staff go home for a break.  A 162 game season is a long season.  After the break, it’s all systems go in order to get into the playoffs. 

 

Name of holiday:  Last regular home game of the season

Date:  Varies by year – this year’s date is September 27.

Description:  This day can either be happy or sad, depending on where the Cardinals are in the standings.  If they’re going to the playoffs, this is a happy day.  If the Cards are not going to the playoffs, it’s a sad day –there will be no more Cardinals games until next spring. 

 

Now some may say that the playoffs and World Series should be Cardinals holidays as well, but those aren’t guaranteed to happen on a year after year basis, so you really can’t print them on a calendar.  Those might be considered extra holidays. 

Pitchers and Catchers Report Day is tomorrow!  I’m so excited!  I hope you are too.  I can’t wait for this new season to begin.  Tomorrow night, I will be auditioning at the Gold’s Gym in Fenton, MO for the 2015 KMOX Spring Training Correspondent. More details are at the link here:  http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/kmox-sports-correspondent/.  Stop by and audition yourself or just say hi!  Or you can keep your fingers crossed for me and wish me luck. That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

UCB Roundtable Question #1

UCB_11The United Cardinal Bloggers’ project for February is the preseason roundtable.  There will be 10 questions for this month’s roundtable.  As you may recall from past roundtable posts, a blogger asks a question and the other bloggers who want to participate answer the question.  The answers will be compiled by the person who asked the question into a blog post.   Dan Buffa was originally supposed to ask the question yesterday, but he decided he just wanted to answer questions instead.  So being the nice person that I am, I offered to fill in for him.  Sometimes I don’t mind going first!

So here was my question:
Happy Presidents’ Day! And more importantly, it’s Roundtable Opening Day, which is a sure sign that baseball is right around the corner!  Here’s the first roundtable question for 2015:

This is a 4 part question regarding the riddle that is Jaime Garcia:

1.  Will Jaime be healthy at the start of spring training?
2.  If Jaime shows up healthy at the start of spring training, will he stay healthy during spring training?
3.  If your answer to #2 is “yes,” will Jamie make the starting rotation, and if so, at which position?
4.  If your answer to either question is “no,” what do you think the Cards will do with Jaime?  Do they release him?  If so, who gets his rotation spot?

I’m looking forward to reading your answers.  If you’re where it’s snowing, stay safe!

Diane

And here are the answers:

Mark Tomasik, www.retrosimba.com

Jaime Garcia’s track record indicates it is unlikely he has the ability to be a dependable member of the Cardinals’ staff.

I believe the Cardinals will try to showcase him during spring training, hyping every successful workout and appearance as evidence he has recovered, then trade him to a team desperate for pitching. The Cardinals will agree to pay most of his salary and will seek in a return a prospect. The Astros or Rangers could be landing spots for Jaime.
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Tom, CardinalsGM:

I look for Garcia to begin the season in the rotation or at least he stays in extended Spring Training. However, he envision him not making it through the season without significant injury.

Honestly, I believe he has little in the tank but hope to be wrong.

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Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball:

Ah, Jaime…

 Yes, he will be “healthy” when camp opens and likely throughout, giving everyone hope that he will join the rotation and be the Jaime we all know he could have been.
But the team won’t rely on that.
A healthy spring will lead to extended spring training. From there, a rehab assignment in the minors. If someone at the big club goes down, he may get a call up. Ultimately, he’ll see as much action as his arm can handle without being on the big league club to try and entice some other team to give a bag of balls and maybe a few bobble heads in exchange for his service.
I’m not sure they release him before the trade deadline. Once the deadline passes, he may find himself on the open market. I fully believe he gets traded…if he actually stays healthy.

Thanks,
Bill Ivie

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Eugene Tierney, 85% Sports:
1.  Possibly; based on the reports, Jaime is ready to pitch. We’ve seen in the past that reports on members of the Cardinals health are sometimes inaccurate. It’ll be one of those things where we’ll have to wait a week to truly see.
2.  It’s possible that he could make it through spring training healthy. He’ll be watched very closely and have limitations early on, which will allow him to last a little longer than in the season.
3.  With all of the injury issues he’s had, I see him competing for a rotation spot but ending up in extended spring training. They’ll try to trade him off, but many teams won’t be interested in an expensive question mark. They probably end up releasing him. He’s not better than what they already have and is not fun watching a guy and wondering when his arm will fall off.

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Daniel Shoptaw, Cardinals Conclave:

Tara and I talked a bit about this last night on Gateway To Baseball Heaven.

What struck me was a Tweet from Jim Hayes (I believe) about how the club has recently gone from surprised at Garcia’s progress to really believing he can contribute.  Now, that could be build up for trade talk (something that I’ll admit didn’t come to mind last night), but I think save that there’s little reason to promote a healthy Garcia.  It’s not like they don’t have many other valuable options.  It’s not that they don’t have a preferred solution in Carlos Martinez.  There’s no reason to even bring up Garcia in people’s minds.

If he is healthy and if he is still with the club at the end of the spring, he will be in the rotation.  $9.5 million reasons for that.  And having a quality lefty in the rotation would be an advantage for the Cards.  Like Bill said, though, you can’t rely on that and Martinez and Marco Gonzales will be right there ready to step in if necessary.

A trade does seem likely, though I don’t know that the Cards will want to give him away.  The Garcia situation might be the most interesting thing in camp this spring.

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Doug Vollet, Baseball Geek in Galveston:

Color me skeptical. I realize we’re on the hook for 9.5 Million, but that doesn’t mean he should be an automatic starter if he’s healthy. I’d make him a swing man this season, then if he stays healthy, move him full time into the rotation next year.

 Yes, 9.5 million is expensive for a swing man, but I believe in taking precautions. If you rush him back and he gets injured again, he’s useless. build him up this season, and if he’s still healthy at the end of it, exercise the option and put him into the rotation next year. If he’s injured by the end of the season, buy him out and say sayonara.

Daniel replied:

I could see that, but I’m not sure Garcia works well as a swing man.  It would seem (again, this is all supposition) that the best chance of keeping him healthy is keeping him on that regular work schedule of days off, days to throw, etc.  If you are warming him up at irregular times and putting him in the life of a swing man, my gut feeling is he’s more likely to get hurt that way.  I don’t know that–if not, I could see the advantage of him in that position, though we have a lot of lefties in the pen already (and a guy like Tyler Lyons who can do the swing thing as well).

Matt Whitener replied:

The rigors of being a reliever, and the unstable nature of preparing for that role physically, do not fit the goals the team seems to have laid out for Garcia. Frankly, Mozeliak does not speak of that as an option that he is interested in and Matheny does not mention him as a part of the left-handed options ini the bullpen. It is either start or sit for Garcia this year. But the team is pleasantly surprised by his progress, so it is very likely that they will give him a chance to prove what he can do in the rotation at some point in the year after off days become more scarce.

Doug replied:

Well it’s just my opinion. I tend to think outside of the box, and try to find the best fit, regardless of the players’ past. For example, Jon Jay had a good year last year, but I still think Bourjos should be starting, due to the amount of fly balls he and Heyward would suck up.

Matt replied:

Same here. I just tend to think that when its a margin between a health history (and a restrictive one at that) and performance preference, the rules and options have to be different.

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Matt Whitener, Cheap Seats Please:

1.  Will Jaime be healthy at the start of spring training?
Last month at the Winter Warm-Up Mo expressed that he did not anticipate Jaime being ready to go by opening day, but rather to be a mid-season addition in the May/June range. With that said, I believe Jaime’s health will be under evaluation at the start of the spring. I do not expect to see much off of the mound from him, and especially not in the exhibition games. Caution is by and far the top priority for the club regarding him, and I think his training will be under evaluation until after the 25-man is set.

2.  If Jaime shows up healthy at the start of spring training, will he stay healthy during spring training?
That is the biggest question mark for Jaime; remaining healthy. He has proven before he can rehab, but he has not proven that he can maintain it. With the information presented right now, I don’t think that anybody can make a truly accurate assessment of it, but the history is not on his side.

3.  If your answer to #2 is “yes,” will Jamie make the starting rotation, and if so, at which position?

I do not believe that his health will factor into the Opening Day picture, but I also do not think he will be utilized in any other capacity except for as a starter when he is deemed healthy.

4.  If your answer to either question is “no,” what do you think the Cards will do with Jaime?  Do they release him?  If so, who gets his rotation spot?

The team will not release him, if for any other reason he provides depth for the rotation. And proven depth at that. If the expectation is for him to be a bonus or surplus throughout the year, there is no need to release him because the expectation is not for 30 starts, but probably whatever they can get from him.

The rotation spot scenario out of the gate is between Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales, and I do not anticipate that changing. However, the team does intend to be careful with both of those options innings over the full course of the year and considering the fact that everyone with the exception of Lance Lynn and John Lackey are already entering the season with injury flags, having Jaime in the fold as one of the 8 or 9 options to start a game at some point in the season keeps him with value to the team.

Also, he is in the last guaranteed year of his contract, so getting some final usage out of him (considering the fact they have to pay him regardless) is the prudent way to go about it.

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Dan Buffa, Cardinals Farm:

Greetings from North Little Rock, Arkansas. Here, if it drops a half inch of ice, the whole town shuts down so here I am. All I can do now is drink coffee and talk baseball. (There’s a lot worse things we could be doing. – DMS)

1.  Will Jaime be healthy at the start of spring training?
Yes. Garcia had extensive nerve procedures done on his shoulder. There isn’t a real guarantee a pitcher comes back from that the same. However,  he has reported zero ill effects to his superiors but they and we all know what to expect when that news hits our ears. Skepticism.  Mo is probably pushing back the timetable to the media in order to paint a realistic gauge for his troublesome lefthander and also to maintain skeptical about the man’s future. My belief is that Jaime is entering spring training as healthy as possible and will be treated like a rotation spot is within his reach.

2.  If Jaime shows up healthy at the start of spring training, will he stay healthy during spring training?
Yes. At this point, 45 shoulder injuries(I kid) and counting, the Cards must keep in mind, as they do with other starters, that a certain care and protection is needed. Pop the hood, check the plugs and oil, and let them roll in April. Now, Garcia is coming back from something more serious than an offseason cleanup, so maybe he gets treated a little differently. However, in keeping with the framework of the question, if Garcia shows up healthy(yes), he leaves spring training healthy.

3.  If your answer to #2 is “yes,” will Jamie make the starting rotation, and if so, at which position?
This is a sad but true topic. If he makes it through spring training ready to go, why would he start in extended spring training?

If he is not deemed hurt yet needs a few extra starts to ensure the shoulder is ready, he takes a short trip to Memphis.  If Jaime is healthy, he is in the rotation. I’ve been an advocate for Carlos Martinez since Thanksgiving, but the fact is Garcia is making 9.5 million this season and has proven in the past to be quite an asset when healthy. To borrow a terribly overused cliche, he could be the poor man’s Cole Hamels. The Cards would be stupid to not use him if he is ready to go because:

a. Let him pitch, and see what he can do. How long can he stay healthy?
b. Let him drive up his trade value so other teams will be reaching for his services come July because the Cards, media and fans know there is no future for him in The Lou.
c. Jaime in the bullpen isn’t something I want to see unless Derek Liliquist invented a mood detector device for certain “mentally fragile” players.

If healthy, Jaime needs to pitch on the St. Louis Cardinals in the rotation in the 5th spot. Plain and simple.

4.  If your answer to either question is “no,” what do you think the Cards will do with Jaime?  Do they release him?  If so, who gets his rotation spot?
While neither of my answers were no, I will play the devil’s advocate hypothetical game and answer this.

If Jaime doesn’t leave spring training healthy, they will not release him. They simply can’t afford to, with the fragility of the staff. Waino and Wacha have warning labels on their arms and Lackey’s arm is stout yet old so he deserves an eye. Jaime won’t be released. The Cards must keep him in extended spring to get healthy or send him to Memphis to regroup. They can’t cut the chord in March. If he can’t start the season in the rotation, Carlos Martinez takes that spot.

I agree with Daniel Shoptaw. Jaime is going to be the most interesting player in camp this spring.

Thanks for asking,

Dan Buffa

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Ben Chambers, The View From Here:

I think Jaime will be healthy, although I think once the team heads north, he’ll be kept at extended spring, sent to a rehab assignment, or both. The main reason that I think there’s no way that he makes the starting day rotation is all the talk about Carlos Martinez. They have been saying all winter that Martinez is pretty much the guy. If he takes the last spot, then there’s no room for Garcia.

That said, once he proves he’s healthy, you have to either trade him or give him a spot in the rotation. He’s not going to do well in a swing role and that may be harder on him. You can’t keep him in AAA because when he is healthy and right, he’s pretty good. There is a chance that someone goes down with an injury and that prompts him to move into the rotation, like when Kelly got hurt early last year.

I still think that the most likely option is that he gets traded early, or at least by July.

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Tara Wellman, Bird Tales

This is the kind of question that will likely see very similar answers, meaning we’ll all seem brilliant or foolish by the end of Jaime Garcia’s 2015 season (whenever that may be…)! But, let me grab my Mozeliak-inspired GM specs and scarf (hey, it’s cold and I don’t look good in a bowtie.) and give it a go.

1.  Will Jaime be healthy at the start of spring training?
Here’s the thing with that — everyone is “healthy” when camp starts. Everyone “feels good” and is “ready to go.” The organizational outlook is eternally optimistic this time of year, as proven by the recent uptick in positivity concerning Jaime Garcia’s preparedness. But, let’s be real — he has a track record that doesn’t lend itself to an easy buy-in on what he’ll bring to the table.  Now, I’m not questioning the reliability of reports that say he is, in fact, healthy. I fully believe that he feels as strong as he thinks he should at the moment. But, I also remember how great Chris Carpenter felt the spring after his own bout with similar nerve issues, and how strong Garcia felt between surgeries in the past. Until Jaime ramps up his baseball activity levels enough to really test the multitude of recurring arm issues, the definition of “healthy” is relative.

2.  If Jaime shows up healthy at the start of spring training, will he stay healthy during spring training?
How the Cardinals attempt to bring Garcia along this spring will impact the answer to this question. Based on Jaime’s history, they will likely try to move him along slowly in order to get a clearer picture of how the nerve issue (among other things) will react to normal training. An easier pace and lessened strain should get him through the spring. If they push it, though, to see how “healthy” he really is, there’s a good chance he ends up missing a spring start or two, and possibly even shutting it down all together, a la Carpenter. My best guess, though? Yes. He makes it through Spring Training, much to the chagrin of Carlos Martinez.

3.  If your answer to #2 is “yes,” will Jamie make the starting rotation, and if so, at which position?
The truth of the matter is, everything hinges on how quickly he can be game-ready without pushing so hard that he breaks again. (And that is my fundamental problem with Garcia … but that’s a conversation for another day!) Just because he makes it through spring training without a relapse doesn’t mean he’ll have shaken off all the rust. It’s been a long time since he pitched in a big league game. There’s a chance he has to be so careful in how he trains that he won’t be ready when the Birds break camp. Then, there’s Martinez. Without a doubt, he’s been groomed as the guy to beat for anyone dreaming of joining Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and John Lackey in the rotation. In fact, Martinez and Garcia haven’t been spoken of in the same breath all winter. If Jaime is still rusty (or simply a couple weeks behind the others) and Martinez is ready to rock and roll, I’d prefer to see Carlos get the 5th spot. I don’t think Mo wants to let Garcia go, but I also don’t believe he’s anxious to jump back on that horse without full confidence that his $9.5 million man is up for the challenge. So, while a 100% Garcia is undoubtedly an asset to the Cardinals’ 2015 rotation, I am not yet convinced that a 100% Garcia is a realistic option right out of Jupiter.

4.  If your answer to either question is “no,” what do you think the Cards will do with Jaime?  Do they release him?  If so, who gets his rotation spot?
This is the (nine) million dollar question, isn’t it? What do you do with an injury-prone, potential superstar if you don’t have confidence in his ability to contribute for more than a handful of starts? He’s not a AAA guy. He’s not a bullpen guy. He needs a perfectly bubble-wrapped scenario in order to succeed. Martinez, again, is the guy who will get the spot. Marco Gonzales provides a solid backup option as a #5 guy, and there are others in Memphis who could fill in here and there. If he’s healthy enough to draw interest from potential suitors, I’d say it’s worth hearing them out. But, with 2-3 current starters facing their own sets of question marks, it would be hard to let him go in case he became a necessary asset. So, what do they do?

*takes off GM dress-up clothes*

Sorry, Mo. This one’s all yours.
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Daniel Solzman, RedbirdRants.com

1.  Will Jaime be healthy at the start of spring training?

I would like to think that Jaime Garcia will be healthy at the start of spring training.  But to be honest, after what happened with Rafael Furcal during the 2012-13 offseason, you can understand my pessimism on the matter.

2.  If Jaime shows up healthy at the start of spring training, will he stay healthy during spring training?
We can only hope that he stays healthy.

3.  If your answer to #2 is “yes,” will Jamie make the starting rotation, and if so, at which position?
This is the hard part.  The way things look now, there are four locks for the rotation: Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, and Michael Wacha–that is assuming Wacha is completely healthy entering this year.  The final spot, in my mind, is between Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales.  I’m not fully convinced on Carlos as a starter quite yet.  Yes, he has a high
ceiling but his Minor League numbers just haven’t translated at the Major League level.  Will Yadier Molina’s locker being next to his during Spring Training lead to a change in this?  I hope so.

The Cardinals are paying Garcia nearly $10 million this season.  He may be a long reliever out of the bullpen but I just don’t envision him making another start for St. Louis unless it’s a spot start.

4.  If your answer to either question is “no,” what do you think the Cards will do with Jaime?  Do they release him?  If so, who gets his rotation spot?

(Daniel didn’t give me an answer to #4, although I suspect the answer is contained in his answer to #3).

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Thanks to my fellow United Cardinals Bloggers for answering my question!  You can go to their blogs by clicking the links after their names. Who knows – you might find some more Cardinals blogs to enjoy!  If you want to see the other roundtable questions after those posts are completed, bookmark United Cardinal Bloggers.

Only 2 days until pitchers and catchers report, which means baseball is right around the corner!  I do feel sorry for those poor folks on the East Coast.  I’m sure they were ready for baseball three weeks ago.

That’s all for now!  Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Diane