July 13th 2019 was the annual bloggers day at Busch Stadium. Bloggers were treated to a game between the Cardinals and Diamondbacks from the legends club. We were also treated to a Q and A visit from John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt III.
1st after a general discussion about the progress of Ball Park Village and it's current progress. John Mozelaik made this statement. "The fan base wants to return to get back to winning ways and to do that, I really feel like it's got to come from within. You look at all of our offensive players and with the exception of one, we have unperformed. It does beg the question what, if you make changes would it be any coaches, what's going on there?" He cited that "clearly the players know that it falls on them. Speaking to them over the break, They get it, they own it, they know there is more in the tank and they need to start performing."
The message here is the front office is aware of the sub par performance and expects more from the players.
When asked about the July 31 trade deadline he had this to say;
"It is a true deadline, now how other teams or actors are going to play in that, that is something we just don't know." Then stating " I would like to tell you everything is sunshine and roses and four leaf clovers, but the reality is that we have to play better. We get that and I don't think there is one single move that we can do at the trading deadline that might necessarily might change our trajectory."
As far as contact with other teams. Mozeliak indicated that he had only received calls "on the periphery, not revealing the true identity of what they want or what they are trying to accomplish."
So to me that indicates they could be looking at multiple acquisitions, single acquisition with a series of other moves or even standing pat and wait for roster expansion.
So now as we sit with 4 days left before the trading deadline The question is will the Cardinals do anything.
In terms of moves from within Mozeliak did have this to say;
"Look at what's going on in our minor league system, a lot of positives but you don't just want to start making changes just to make changes. You want to have an overall strategy that makes sense." ....."you don't want to put them into an environment that is not going to allow them to grow or more important play. Coming up and just sitting is not really growing their careers. All of that is factored in."
Given the current glut of outfield talent with not only Carlson and Arozarena but Lane Thomas, Jhon Torres, Justin Williams. Then look at the contracts of Fowler and Martinez you have a potential Free Agent in Ozuna (currently on the IL) Then you have Tyler O'Neill and Harrison Bader. You also have Edman, Rovelo and Knziner on the major league roster as well Then there is the players coming off IL Carpenter, Ozuna, Molina. Carpenter's return is in question right now as his initial 3 day rehab start has not gone well. There still is no time table for the return of Ozuna or Molina as well but they are being re-evaluated on July 26th
If we go the trade route who is available and what would we have to give up?
If we go the minor league route who do we bring up and who do we send down?
Let's take them in reverse order
In terms of bringing any help from the farm specifically Carlson and Arozarena Mozeliak said this;
"There are two outfielders that the prospect people are high on and that is Arozarena and Dylan Carlson. Now the good news is these guys can play Center, Right or Left. So that gives you flexibility, but it is going to be our responsibility to see how that playing time is given out. again it comes back to who is performing right now. With our outfield that is under performing in that group we talked about (he was referring to an earlier question about the OF with O.Neill, Bader, Fowler and Martinez) other than Fowler from an offensive standpoint, just trying, I think what Shildt is trying to do is play the hot hand. He trying to get some momentum going. He just hasn't found that right combination, but long term trying to find at bats for these younger players is ultimately what we are trying to do."
To me this would indicate any move in the outfield will more than likely come from within with what we have available. It could also indicate that we have pieces to trade.
As fro the infield we have already brought up Edman, Ravelo and Sosa. plus we have Munoz as well. Add to that Jedd Gyorko is scheduled to be back possibly in a couple of weeks. Then there is the possible return of Matt Carpenter. A possible trade option for 3B help could be Witt Merrifield who would also be a very good lead off hitter but the reported asking price of 4 players with at least 2 being MLB ready pitchers is very steep.
In terms of pitching Overall our pitching staff is relatively young with only 3 pitchers over 30 (Wainwright 38, Miller 34 and Mikolas 31)
The current rotation of Wainwright, Mikolas, Hudson, Flaherty and PoncedeLeon only two are sporting ERAs under 4 PoncedeLeon and Hudson.
Responding to an inquiry about Carlos Martinez ultimately going back to the rotation and was that plan altered by the Hicks injury? Mozeliak had this to say. "It did, I was someone very focused on getting him back to the rotation. I just think our rotation has been ok not great. I think he is the type of talent that can be a true number one. So we were trying to get multiple innings as we were leading up to the All-Star break and thinking once we got on the other side piggyback him a couple of times then turn it over to him. Then when Hicks went down The confidence in having someone out else close diminished, so we were left with here we are. I still would not rule it out if things don't dramatically change. I would like to get enough in so next year having him pitch 180-200(innings) would not be something that would be off the table."
Currently, with Martinez as the closer The only way to stretch him out would be to replace him as closer. Internally that would mean Miller, Brebbia possibly Gallegos or Gant.
Externally the list is somewhat thin earlier in July that the Giants might be willing to deal Will Smith now that they are definitely in Wild Card, that would have turned them into buyers not sellers. Although Sam Dyson might be a possible option but I doubt it. Other more doable options could be Shane Greene of Detroit, Kirby Yates, of San Diego or Alex Colome of the Chicago White Sox.
When posed with the question of would the Cardinals would be in the market for a closer, Mozeliak's response was classic "Do you really think I should be in the bullpen market, with my success, I don't think so, that is self-deprecating. That is a tough strategy, I really think though when you are looking at just sort of maximizing the player that you think is best as a starter think about it that way." So I think unless we get just a knock your socks of deal the closer role will be addressed internally.
When asked if PoncedeLeon had created a confidence of starting beyond this year Mozeliak's response was short and to the point. "he has for me yeah, I think he is very impressive so I think he should get another start."
As of late Goldschmidt and DeJong have been on a power surge the last week (collectively 10HRs, 24 RBIs). Solid hitting by Wong, Munoz and Martinez all hitting over .300 the last week (Wong and Munoz have been hitting over .300 for the last 30 days) There have been other contributors as well. Wieters has been a great fill in and provided offense .265/.351/.592 5HRs (the last 30 days) Edman timely power hitting 3 HRs 12 RBIs (last 30 days) The BIG question here, Is this recent offense sustainable until Ozuna, Carpenter and Molina get back or do we make moves now and deal with the fallout when players come off injury list.
So what I think is that they are listening to offers and are waiting for the one that just clicks. I still think there will be a significant move made by either trade or a shuffling of what we already have.
Thanks for reading as always would love to hear from you.
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