United Cardinals Bloggers 2017 Roundtable Day 1

Now that the Cardinals’ season is over, it’s time for the fall version of the United Cardinals Bloggers Roundtable.  The bloggers who are interested in participating in the roundtable pose a question to the other bloggers who are participating, and they then respond.  After all of the answers are obtained, we are to take our question and the responses and put them in a blog post.  There were supposed to be two bloggers ahead of me, but neither one of them posted their questions, so I got to be the first blogger to post a question.  In a way, that was good, because I was worried that someone would take my question and I would have to think of another one!

So here is the question I asked:

Good morning and happy Friday! This Friday is even happier due to the fact that the Cubs will not be going to the World Series this year (thank you, Dodgers!).  Welcome to the 2017 UCB Roundtable! Without further ado, here is my roundtable question.

The subject of our discussion today is Lance Lynn.  I have a 3 part question.

1.  Will the Cardinals make a qualifying offer to Lance?  If not, why?

2.  Will Lance accept the qualifying offer, if one is made?  If not, why?  If your answer to question number 1 is no, you can skip this question.

3.  If Lance doesn’t resign with the Cardinals, who fills his spot in the rotation?  Will it be someone from the minor leagues, a trade, or a free agent signing? If you have thoughts about who the Cards should select, please share.

Thanks as always for your input! I’m looking forward to your responses.

The first response was from Mark Tomasek, who writes the excellent historical Retrosimba blog.  Here is his response:

Diane:

Yes, I believe Cardinals will make a qualifying offer to Lance Lynn in order to receive a compensatory draft pick.

The Cardinals and Lynn seem ready for a divorce, so I believe the Cardinals will make the offer with no expectation Lynn will accept. He will receive some eye-popping offers from other teams.

My guess is the Cardinals will try to replace Lynn’s rotation spot from within the organization – Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes are the obvious options – and will acquire a veteran, low-cost starting pitcher (like they did in past years with Kyle Lohse, Joel Pineiro, etc.) as a safety valve.

Right now, it seems a Cardinals rotation would be Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright. Alex Reyes likely would begin the season in a bullpen role.

Cardinals will need to pick up a veteran starting pitcher (or two) to hedge against the inevitable injuries and setbacks to one or more of the projected starting five, but I don’t get the sense it will be a star pitcher.

The next response was from Allen Medlock of the Redbird Daily:

Good morning, everyone.   Excited to talk some Cardinal baseball. I believe the Cardinals will extend them qualifying offer.

That allows the organization to receive compensation in the case that Lynn will move on and the small chance of a fairly reasonable one year contract if Lynn were to accept. The free agent starting pitching market will be interesting this off-season. I expect teams to completely overspend on Lynn and Arrieta.

Carlos Martinez, Micheal Wacha, Adam Wainwright, and Luke Weaver are the rotation definite’s as things stand right now. The fifth spot may be fluid for most of the season with the expectation that Alex Reyes has taken control of the spot by June. I think they like the idea of Reyes being a bullpen weapon but have heard that they were so impressed with him during this season of rehab that he may actually take starter innings during Spring.

If they miss out on the level of offensive player that we expect them to pursue, it wouldn’t surprise me top see hem kick the tires on front-line starters via trade.

The next response was from Adam Butler, also from the Redbird Daily:

Hello, I believe the Cardinals will definitely make a qualifying offer to Lance Lynn. Worst case scenario is that he accepts it and they have their mid rotation innings eating stopgap for next season. It would push the need in their rotation back a season and give some young guys an opportunity to step up.

With that being said, I don’t see any way he accepts the qualifying offer. Even if the market collapses on him I would imagine he can get at least 3 years with an AAV similar to the $17.4 million qualifying offer.

The best guess at the current rotation would be

Carlos Martinez
Michael Wacha
Luke Weaver
Adam Wainwright
Jack Flaherty

I don’t know about you but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. They can go one of two ways here. Either add a #2 starting pitcher and push Flaherty out or sign a swing man type of pitcher to hopefully bridge the gap until Alex Reyes is ready (Trevor Cahill is the guy that keeps coming to my mind). I expect this to hinge on a couple of things.

#1. What they’re able to do with the lineup. Like Allen said, if they whiff on bringing in a true middle of the order hitter I believe they might see the rotation as a way to make up for that.

#2. What the market is like for starting pitchers. I’m sure we’ll start hearing the word “opportunistic” a whole lot as the offseason rolls on when the front office is asked about the rotation. If somebody falls into their range, they’ll be ready to pounce. Unfortunately, with the way free agency has gone in the recent past, I don’t expect a pitcher to fall into their lap.

As far as getting a high end pitcher, if we look at the available free agents it’s currently Yu Darvish or bust for me. If Masahiro Tanaka were to opt out of his contract with he could be another option as well. Those are the only two available that I would really want them to give any significant amount of money to.

The trade market for starting pitching is a whole other can of worms. I think that’s where they’d be more likely to get a high end starter if it happens. The possibilities there are almost endless though.

In the end, I expect them to sign or trade for some sort of stopgap starter. Someone to help cover some innings and give the rotation some reliability because right now I don’t feel comfortable relying on any of those guys beyond Carlos Martinez.

The next response was from Daniel Shoptaw, the head of the UCB.  You can read Daniel’s blog posts at The Cards Conclave.
Well, I’m late to the party and I figure everyone’s answered this better than me, but I’ll go ahead and go for completeness sake if nothing else!

Extending the qualifying offer to Lance Lynn is really a no-brainer.  The Cardinals would love to have Lance Lynn for another year.  If he’d do a two-year deal, they’d probably consider that as well.  Unfortunately, the market is likely to go 4-5 years for Mr. Lynn and that’s just not in the Cardinals’ plans.  So extend the QO because it’s a win-win situation.

2) As others have said, there seems no chance that Lynn would take the offer, though.  It was just two years ago that the first qualifying offers were taken and it’s still a rare thing to see a player give up the chance at free agency, especially if they are coming off a solid year.  Players tend to crave stability and long-term deals, not one-year deals requiring another good season before getting back in the FA pool.  As Adam said, he can get similar money (at worst) and more guaranteed years from someone this winter.

3) Without Lance Lynn, you have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, and a big question mark.  And that’s if you don’t think the Cards will move Wacha to the bullpen, which would seem like a reasonable thing to entertain even though the club probably won’t do it.  John Mozeliak told us that Alex Reyes would have started the 2017 season in the bullpen and it would seem unlikely that would not be the case after a year missed with Tommy John surgery (assuming he’s even ready to go by Opening Day, which is always a question), but you wonder if the thinness of the rotation might force their hand.  Jack Flaherty has proven that he needs more time in Memphis, in my opinion, and there’s nobody else ready to step in and take that fifth starter spot.

The club will probably go out and get a veteran “innings eater” that can go in the fifth spot to begin the year and move to the bullpen once Reyes looks ready, probably the All-Star Break.  It would be nice to see them go after a more established starter, someone that fits more to the front of the rotation, given all the question marks, but the front office seems focused on getting an impact bat (which is reasonable) and a high value closer (which is less so).

The final response was from Josh Gilliam of Pitchers Hit 8th:

Lynn will get a QO and promptly decline it in hopes that everyone ignored how quickly starting pitchers were yanked this month.

The last question is really the most important of the Winter in my opinion as other moves will dictate the answer. Cards have starting pitching depth today but have already stated will be looking for innings. Factor in Waino and Wacha for different reasons as well as no 180+ from Leake.

If one or two young starters are traded, the free agents from top to bottom will all be eyed under the Arch. It actually would not surprise me at all to see one FA signing as well as a controllable starter brought into the mix.

I have linked to the blogs of each person who responded to my question, so check out their blogs.  You might find a new favorite blog!  What are your thoughts about the Lance Lynn situation?  Post them in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

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The Cards-Cubs rivalry exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Museum – very interesting!

Our family has wanted to visit the Cubs vs. Cardinals – The Rivalry exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum all season but we finally found the time this weekend.  We had planned our trip for yesterday, but a lady we went to church with passed away last week and her funeral was yesterday.  The irony of visiting this exhibit on the last day of the Cardinals’ 2017 season with the Cubs going on to the playoffs and the Cardinals going home was not lost on me.

This was not our first trip to the ALPM, but we hadn’t been to the museum in several years.  We went to the desk to purchase our tickets and paid the extra $3/ticket so we could visit the “Lincoln: From History to Hollywood” exhibit with props, costumes, and sets from the Steven Spielberg Lincoln movie.

The Cubs-Cards exhibit room was the second room on the left as we entered the museum.  There were two boxes on either side of the doorway to the room, one for Cardinals fans and one for Cubs fans.  You were to put money in the boxes to vote for your favorite team.  The money will go to the museum to continue its preservation work.  Here’s a photo of the Cards version of Abe, which appeared to have more money in the box that the Cubs’ box:  

We got to the museum around 9:30 AM, so we were the only ones in the exhibit.  There was a docent sitting by the door and we chatted for a moment.  I told her about this blog and that I was visiting today for the express purpose for writing about the exhibit.  I gave her one of my cards with the URL of this blog on it.  We then started looking at all of the exhibits.

The first thing you was as you walked into the exhibit is shown above. All around the room was a timeline from when each team was founded to the present day.  There were various trivia tidbits about both teams on the timeline, marked by a green home plate.  Did you know the Cubs once tried to use live bear cubs as a mascot?  It didn’t work out very well.

I will post photos and descriptions of some of the exhibits.  (If I posted photos and descriptions, you wouldn’t have to go see it in person!) The above photo is an interesting exhibit. in 1908, Mordecai Brown (a/k/a “Three Fingers”) had a watch fob made of his World Series and LCS pendants.

This is Grover Cleveland Alexander’s 1926 World Series ring, on loan from the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum.

There were 4 small trivia screens located throughout the exhibit where you could test your knowledge of Cardinals and/or Cubs trivia.  I am proud to report that I only got one Cardinals trivia question wrong.

This is a lovely quilt with the names of the players of the 1928 Cardinals embroidered on it.  That’s my hubby on the right.

There was an exhibit of the women who once were in the front office of the Cardinals and the Cubs.   The Cardinals’ representative on this exhibit was Helene Robison Britton, who I covered in a blog post here.

Here is the ball from Stan Musial’s 3000th hit, on loan from the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum.

Here is Marty Marion’s 1948 National League Most Valuable Player plaque.

And here is Bob Gibson’s 1968 Cy Young Award.

Cardinals fans who were alive in the 1970s should remember this well:  it’s the stolen base from when Lou Brock broke the stolen base record in 1974.

There was an exhibit where you could write your favorite baseball memories on a Post-It note and stick it on the exhibit.

Here is an exhibit about Cardinals broadcasters.

No Cards-Cubs exhibit would be complete without an exhibit on the home run chase that took place in 1998.

Here’s Yadier Molina’s catcher’s mask from 2006.

How many of these players/coaches do you remember from the 2011 World Series Champions?  How many are still with the team?

This was the last exhibit you saw before you exited the exhibit room.  We’re awfully glad you’re a Cardinal too, Mr. Schoendiest.

I wrote a blog post about the history of the Cards-Cubs rivalry and you can read it here.  We were eating lunch at the Subway inside the museum and the docent from the exhibit approached us.  She asked how we liked the exhibit and we told her we enjoyed it very much.  She encouraged me to put the business card with this blog’s URL on the baseball memories board, so I did that before we left.  If you’re here because you saw that card, welcome to the blog. I’m glad you’re here!

This wonderful exhibit (which ends on December 31, 2017), however, is not the only reason you should visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.  This museum is well worth the price of admission.  There are detailed exhibits and artifacts about Lincoln’s life and his time in the Oval Office.  The wax figures are extremely lifelike.  There are two great movies to watch as well.  There is a Subway restaurant inside the museum, so you won’t even have to leave to eat lunch, although, with the wristbands, you can and come back later.

You could even make a weekend of visiting the many Lincoln exhibits in around Springfield.  For more details on all of the Lincoln exhibits, visit the Springfield tourism website.  Fron St. Louis, cross into Illinois on the Poplar Street Bridge or the Martin Luther King, Jr. Bridge and take Highway 55 north towards Chicago. You will exit Hwy. 55 at Sixth Street.  Just follow the signs to the Museum.  There is a pay parking garage cattycorner from the museum.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane