Every year, those United Cardinals Bloggers who would like to participate have the opportunity to ask questions of Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak. I posed three questions to Mo, but unfortunately, one question and half of another question (If Jose Oquendo retires, who will be the new third base coach?; and Rick Ankiel and Trevor Rosenthal are attempting comebacks – are the Cardinals interested?) became moot before Mo answered all of our questions.
So here is my question that Mo did answer:
Q: How does the organization view Tyler O’Neill going into the 2019 season?
A: I get this question a lot, in terms of Tyler and what he needs to do or what he needs to work on. Tyler doesn’t have a lot left to prove at Triple A. When you put up the type of offensive numbers he’s put up the last couple of years, it’s pretty obvious he knows what that league is about. I think the big question for him is will he be able to improve his contact rate? Lower his strikeout rate? And if he does that, will he still be able to maintain his power? If he does, he has a chance to be an elite hitter in this game. When he gets into camp that will be something we’ll revisit with him.
In other news, Mo and Girsch have given Cardinals fans two major early Christmas presents. On December 5, the Cardinals traded Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver, minor league infielder Andy Young and a draft pick to the Diamondbacks for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. The Cards have needed a first rate first baseman for a long time. Jose Martinez has a great bat but poor defense. Matt Carpenter was good at first base, but first base is not his natural position. The Cards didn’t give up much for Goldy – Carson didn’t have a chance in St. Louis since Yadier Molina refuses to grow old and retire already, and Luke Weaver didn’t pitch well at all the second part of the season. However, Goldy becomes a free agent at the end of the 2019 season. The Cards will have to convince Goldy to want to stay. The fans will welcome him – Goldy’s Winter Warm-Up autograph tickets sold out the first day they went on sale, even at the price of $100.00 each. (Harrison Bader’s WWU autograph tickets sold out the first day they went on sale also, and I did not get one. 😦 Dear Santa, please bring me a Harrison Bader WWU autograph ticket for Christmas. I’ve been a very good girl this year.)
The other major early Christmas present came this week with the signing of free agent left handed pitcher Andrew Miller to a two year contract with a vesting option for year three. Miller was limited to 34 innings in 37 appearances last year because of injuries, but in 2017, Miller was an All-Star for the Indians. Miller has advised that his health issues (knee, hamstring and shoulder) have been resolved. If Miller can regain the form that helped him earn the AL Championship Series MVP in 2016, he will be a great help to the Cardinals bullpen.
Will Cardinals fans get the biggest Christmas present of \all – Bryce Harper? As of this writing, Bryce has not yet signed with any team. The Cardinals can afford Bryce’s asking price. But then there is the problem of what to do with Dexter Fowler. I was sorry to hear that Dexter suffered from depression last season. His situation with Mike Matheny probably didn’t help with that at all. If the Cards don’t sign Bryce, I’m hopeful that 2019 will be better for Dexter, with a new manager and a new hitting coach to help him.
As Christmas is 2 days away, and 2018 is almost over, I would to take this opportunity to thank my loyal readers and and subscribers for reading and following this blog. Please accept my best wishes for a blessed, happy Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019! And may the Cardinals win their 12th World Series title in 2019!