Tomorrow is the last day of 2017! Where does the time go? (Probably the same place that missing socks from the dryer go.) One of the United Cardinals Bloggers projects every year is to post what we believe were the top 5 Cardinals stories of the year. There was a lot happening with the Cardinals this year, so it was hard to select just 5 top stories. Like the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve, I will count down from 5 to 1.
5. The Matt Adams left field experiment. Left fielders have been moved to first base before (see Albert Pujols), but I do not remember the reverse ever happening – until it did. Bloggers and Cardinals fans alike scratched their heads at Mike Matheny’s bizarre experiment. Thankfully, the Adams experiment ended and Matt was traded to the Braves. Matt was later released by the Braves and picked up by the Nationals.
4. MLB’s punishment on the Cardinals for Hackergate. MLB finally laid the smackdown on the Cardinals for Chris Correa’s hacking of the Astros’ computer system. All things considered, the punishment was pretty lenient – a $2 million fine and the loss of the Cards’ top two draft picks to the Astros. It could have been worse.
3. Bullpen meltdown. Seung Hwan Oh did not repeat his stellar 2016 season, leading to his release. Trevor Rosenthal was injured and had to have Tommy John surgery. The Cards released Trevor at the end of the season. The big signing of Brett Cecil was a bust. Juan Nicasio was picked up off of waivers from the Phillies in September, too late to qualify for the playoffs, but he pitched very well and I, along with a lot of other fans, were hoping that the Cardinals would sign him. Unfortunately, the Mariners signed Juan for a lot more money than I’d be willing to pay him.
2. The signing of Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals lost out on Giancarlo Stanton, but that didn’t stop John Mozeliak from signing Ozuna. I think the Ozuna signing was a good one. Ozuna is friends with some of the Cardinals players, so he will fit in well with the team. It touched my heart when I read that Ozuna wants to make Cardinals fans smile. Ozuna’s signing, however, led to Stephen Piscotty being traded to the A’s so he can be closer to his mother, who suffers from MLS. And what will happen to Randal Grichuk? Stay tuned for As the Outfield Turns.
1. The emergence of Tommy Pham. Tommy has been in the Cardinals system for a long time. He has battled through injury and an eye disease, but this season, Tommy upped his game and became the best player on the team. His emergence led the team to move Dexter Fowler to left field so that Tommy could play center field exclusively.
This off-season has seemed incredibly long, hasn’t it? Mo has made a few deals (Ozuna, Mikolas) and changed up the coaching staff (welcome back, Jose and Willie – we really missed you), but there are other additions that need to be made so that this club can compete in 2018. Hopefully after the first of the year, Mo will get out there and get it done. The hot stove is losing its heat – and I’m not talking about the current frigid weather in the St. Louis area.
Winter Warm-Up is in 3 weeks and I can’t wait. John Tudor, my favorite pitcher from the 1980s, will be signing autographs and I have my autograph ticket already. You can order the free autograph tickets online to get them in advance so you don’t have to wait in long lines at Winter Warm-Up. A lot of the free autograph tickets are already sold out, so don’t wait! If you’re going to be at Winter Warm-Up, follow me on Twitter (check out the Twitter feed over in the right hand column) and maybe we can meet up!
I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Have a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, and may the Cardinals finally win the World Series again in 2018! Thanks as always for reading, and see you next time!