Preseason ponderings and burning questions for the regular season

The last game of the preseason is tonight. The reason I called it a preseason game is because last night’s and tonight’s game are not in Florida, so they can’t be spring training games. You can watch tonight’s game for free on MLB.TV – just go to mlb.com, select the Cardinals-Blue Jays game in the scoreboard section and click on the TV icon. The game starts at 6:07 PM CST, so hopefully you’re not reading this too late to watch it.

It was a little disconcerting following last night’s game on Gameday only.  The game wasn’t broadcast on KMOX or on FOX Sports or any other cable network. It felt like the 1960’s and 1970’s when very few games were televised and you could only follow the game on KMOX. But the regular season starts in only 2 days and I’ll be able to watch and/or listen to all the baseball I want! Are you excited? I am. Here’s some of my thoughts on spring training and the season to come.

Spring training notes:

Amazingly, the Cardinals escaped spring training without a major injury, such as a pitcher needing Tommy John surgery. However, Adam Wainwright and Luke Gregerson suffered hamstring strains. Both Adam and Luke injured their hamstrings in a sprint drill. Why the heck are pitchers doing sprint drills? Pitchers do not do that much running, unless they manage to get on base. A pitcher would not need to sprint to cover first base. Gregerson also suffered an oblique injury earlier in spring training. Both Adam and Luke are on the disabled list to start the season. At least those are minor injuries.

Carson Kelly, Yadi’s backup last year, was sent down to Memphis. Yadi’s stamina has improved with age to the point that he hardly ever takes a day off. Carson’s offense has suffered as a result of not getting enough playing time, and that carried over to spring training. Carson needs to be playing every day in order to improve, and not ride the bench while Yadi plays. Be patient, young padawan; your time will come. Francisco Pena, the son of former Cardinals catcher Tony Pena, will be the backup catcher.

Jack Flaherty was lights out in spring training. He is definitely one of the starters in the rotation of the future. The future is now, however, as Jack will be taking Wainwright’s place in the rotation until Waino’s hamstring heals.

Yairo Munoz, one of the prospects obtained in the Stephen Piscotty trade, was very good in spring training. His great offense helped him make the team as an infield backup. It was reported that his mother cried when he told her the news. I would have cried too if one of my kids had played baseball and I was told that he/she had been added to the major league squad.

Burning questions:

Since no closer has been chosen, will the 9th inning be closer by committee? Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons appear to be the top candidates for the closer position.

Carlos Martinez has shown flashes of greatness. Will he get it together and be the dominant pitcher we know he can be? Although some fans like Carlos’ funky hair colors, I think it’s a distraction. Save the funky colors for the off-season, Carlos.

Will Mike Matheny micromanage the team and keep Mike Maddux, Willie McGee and Jose Oquendo from doing their jobs effectively?

Will Tommy Pham have another season like he did last season? Or will his vision problems give him more trouble?

Will Jose Martinez get enough playing time? If Pham gets hurt, Fowler could be moved back to center field and Jose could play right field.

Will Michael Wacha’s shoulder stay healed? He has pitched very well in spring training. Here’s hoping he’s regained his 2013 form and will be the dominant pitcher he was then.

I have a great deal for you.  Is T-Mobile your cell phone provider? If not, you should hurry up and switch to T-Mobile – they are offering a great perk:  a free season of MLB.TV,  through their T-Mobile Tuesdays app. That means you can watch all out-of- market baseball games on your cellphone, tablet, etc. All you need is an MLB.com account. This deal is only good through April 7. I discovered this great perk in the app last Tuesday and it made me really glad that I had switched to T-Mobile from AT&T.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

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Yadi’s contract extension – my thoughts

MEMORANDUM

TO:                  John Mozeliak and William DeWitt, III

DATE:            March 21, 2017

FROM:            Women Who Love Cardinals Baseball

RE:                  Yadier Molina’s contract extension

============================================================================

Gentlemen:

As you know, Yadier Molina’s contract is up for extension at the end of the season.  It is my understanding that negotiations have begun.  Could we get this deal done soonest, preferably before the season starts?  Yadi deserves to play without having to worry about his contract all season.  The fans deserve not to have to worry when they go to a game whether this is the last season they will see Yadi in a Cardinals uniform.  Sure, Yadi has an option for 2018, but why make him wait that long? To make a great Opening Night even better, you could announce that Yadi’s contract extension has been taken care of.

It would be heartbreaking for Yadi to be seen in any other uniform but a Cardinals uniform (especially a Cubs uniform). Yadi is one of the few players in recent years to still be with the team that drafted him.  Please let Yadi retire a Cardinal and don’t let him walk.

I shouldn’t have to remind you about Yadi’s importance and contributions to the team, but I will.  Yadi has many deserved accolades – eight consecutive Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, one Silver Slugger and he is also a 7 time All-Star.  He played in 83 consecutive playoff games. Yadi has also broken the Cardinals’ all-time games caught record.  He is the best defensive catcher in the game.  His passion for the game, as seen recently in the World Baseball Classic, is contagious.  His pitch calling is second to none, and his batting average has improved over the years as well.

Yadi is not asking for much time wise, only 3 more years.  He’s not asking for 10 years, like Albert did.  He will be 37 years old at the end of this contract extension. Like a fine wine, Yadi is only getting better as he gets older.  Should Yadi need a day or two of rest (or God forbid, he gets injured again), Eric Fryer is a more than competent backup catcher.

Carson Kelly, Yadi’s successor, is probably anxious for Yadi to retire.  But the young grasshopper must wait patiently. Yadi’s shoes will be hard to fill, so Carson needs to learn all he can so that he can be ready when the time comes for him to step into Yadi’s position.

Mo and Mr. DeWitt, as a Cardinals blogger and a lifelong Cardinals fan, I implore you:  make Yadi a Cardinal for life.  Then 5 years after Yadi retires, he will be voted into both the Cardinals Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame, for Yadi is one of the best catchers in modern times and he deserves to join the immortals.  When Yadi is inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame,  being the emotional woman I am, I will cry buckets, just like I did when Ted Simmons was inducted.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Diane Schultz

The Cardinals’ top 5 prospects

Top 5The United Cardinals Bloggers’ project for September is to write about who we think are the Cards’ top 5 prospects. Three of these prospects are already in the show, and two of those three are due to injuries to players on the parent club.

  1. Alex Reyes – Reyes is a great pitching talent. He has a 100 MPH fastball and great location. If Jaime Garcia gets released like he should be, Reyes will be a great addition to the rotation. But Alex needs to stay away from the reefer, mon.
  2. Carson Kelly – Kelly is being touted as Yadier Molina’s successor. He has been brought up to the majors this season to be the third string catcher for the occasional start when Yadi needs a rest, like for yesterday’s game.  The hope is the more Carson sees at the major league level, the more impetus it gives him to keep working hard so that he can come up to the show and stay there.
  3. Luke Weaver – Weaver has been a great fill in pitcher, but I think he needs another year in the minors before he’s brought up to the majors on a permanent basis. He has good pitches, but he needs some confidence building. He has appeared nervous on the mound. He didn’t look so good in his start against Colorado yesterday.
  4. Magneuris Sierra – Magneuris is speedy on the base paths and on the field.  he doesn’t have home run power, but should have good run production.  He still needs a couple of years in the minors for some seasoning.  He will be a good centerfielder a couple of years down the line.
  5. Harrison Bader – Harrison zoomed through the minor league system, and is now in Memphis. Harrison can play all three outfield positions; however, he is an average hitter. Harrison will compete with Magneuris for the centerfield position in a couple of years.

This sure has been a crazy season for the Cards. We are now in the last 2 weeks of the regular season and if things keep going well, the Cards should earn one of the wild card play-in slots.  The Cards won 4 games in a row, but given the way this season has gone, I don’t know whether to start getting excited or not.  Just when I think the Cards are on a roll, a bad game happens and they break my heart all over again.  In addition, every time the Cards play a game that would put them 10 games over .500, they lose, like yesterday.  It’s like they just can’t get over that hump. The emotions of Cards fans are like this song by the Foundations from 1968:

Why do you build me up (build me up), buttercup baby, just to let me down (let me down),

And mess me around and then worse of all (worse of all),

You never call, baby, like you say you will (say you will),

But I love you still.

I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darling, you know that I have from the start,

So build me up, buttercup, don’t break my heart.

Here’s the video for your viewing and listening pleasure – you can thank me or curse me for the earworm later:

Sorry I haven’t written much later.  I haven’t had a lot to say in long form.  I’ve been doing a lot of talking on Twitter lately, so follow me on there if you miss what I have to say.  If things pick up, I’ll hopefully be posting more.  Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane