Mid-season musings

It’s Thursday evening and we’re usually watching a Cards game.  However, since this is the All-Star break, there is no baseball tonight. There will be baseball again tomorrow night but until then, I’ll just put my thoughts down here and see if you agree with me or not.

At mid-season, the Cards are tied for second place with the Cubs in the NL Central with a 43-45 record.  It could be worse – the Cards could be in last place. The Cincinnati Reds are presently in last place.  The Brewers are in first place – who’d a thunk it? The NL Central is a weak division this year. Given the quality of the Cards’ play this year, it’s amazing the Cards are tied for second place.  Like last season, the Cards have been consistently inconsistent.

Some of the players we saw at the beginning of the season have departed or have been shuttled off to Memphis.  Jhonny Peralta and Jonathon Broxton were designated for assignment. Matt Adams was traded to Atlanta, where he has been hitting well. Aledmys Diaz was sent down to Memphis, and Randal Grichuk has been sent down to Memphis and brought back up.  Luke Voit and Paul DeJong have been brought up from Memphis and played well.  Tommy Pham was called up from Memphis when Dexter Fowler was injured and has played and hit very well.

There have been changes at the managerial level as well, as outlined here. And John Mozeliak has been bumped up to a new position created for him, that of President of Baseball Operations.   Mo’s assistant GM, Michael Girsch, was promoted to general manager.

The second half of the season starts tomorrow.  The trade deadline is fast approaching.  The Cubs made a major move today – they traded 3 prospects for White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana.  Will the Cards be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?

There are traffic jams in the outfield and in the infield.  There are four outfielders but only 3 positions.  Tommy Pham came up from Memphis and made a big splash playing center field filling in for Dexter Fowler in his two stints on the disabled list.  Tommy grew so comfortable in center field that he has stated publicly he wants to play there all the time.  However, Dexter is not going away anytime soon.  Tommy, if you had played better in that position last season, the sight problems notwithstanding, perhaps the team wouldn’t have had to sign Dexter.  I felt so bad for Jose Martinez.  He toiled in the minor leagues for years to get the chance to play in the major leagues only to be sent back down.  So do any of the outfielders go away by the trade deadline? I think the best thing that could happen is that Pham gets moved to left field and Dexter stays in center.  Grichuk should ride the bench in case of injury or if a pinch hitter is needed.  Grichuk’s bat has been streaky, but we knew that.

The infield also has a traffic jam.  Aledmys Diaz was sent down to Memphis.  Paul DeJong was brought up and has played well.  Second base has been sort of a revolving door.  Matt Carpenter was assigned to first base, which left no place for Matt Adams. Kolten Wong has been on the disabled list. Greg Garcia and Matt Carpenter have tried playing second base but neither of them has done well at the position.  Kolten has been activated so he will be back at second base tomorrow night.  Kolten’s bat has been on fire in rehab.  Luke Voit is doing a great job playing first.  He is also batting quite well.  Carpenter is the odd man out.

The closer role has also been a revolving door.  Seung-Hwan Oh started the season as the closer, but he has proven to be human.  Trevor Rosenthal has had his ups and downs as well And the bullpen has been streaky.

Everyone is saying that the Cardinals need a big bat in the middle of the lineup.  I have another suggestion.  Perhaps the Cardinals need a new hitting coach. Matt Holliday has been working with Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ big home run hitter.  Matt would be a great hitting coach for the Cards.

So should the Cards be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?  There are so many variables in play that I hate to make even an educated guess.  All I know is that I’m glad that I don’t have to make that decision.

The All-Star Game was a lot of fun (even though the National League lost), but I’m missing Cardinals baseball and I can’t wait until 6:15 PM CST when the Cardinals play again.  Here’s hoping that the Cardinals are more consistent in the second half of the season and make the playoffs.  There’s still time for it to happen. Thanks as always for reading – see you next time!

Diane

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