It’s probably not common, but I’m more concerned about the Cardinals this off-season than I was last year.
Looking at the team now, I feel comfortable with just three places, Nolan Arenado in third; Paul Goldschmidt at first; And Tommy is addicting, wherever the Cardinals decide to play him.
Like all Cardinals fans, I fell in love with Brendan Donovan last year. A man can play any position. caressing his butt He will do whatever it takes to win. And I like to put the ball in play mode on the scoreboard.
My only question is, can he do it again? I think he probably can, so there is a certain comfort level with the Edman-Donovan middle combination. Defensively, the duo will be dynamic.
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Of course, most Hot Stove regulars insist that the Cardinals must dish out a big name (read: power hitting).
The Cardinals front office has publicly announced that it will increase salaries this year. However, I’m not sure Shortstop is where the money should be spent. A Trea Turner touchdown, for example, would move Donovan to the bench where he could play the supersub again.
This, of course, would make Paul de Jong expendable. Which should make a good portion of Cardinals fans rejoice. Yes, DeJong had a horrific attack last year, but the level of vitriol aimed at him was disproportionate. DeJong wasn’t the reason the Cardinals tipped off mid-season.
I have serious concerns about the stadium.
The trio of Tyler O’Neal, Dylan Carlson and Lars Nutbarr has the potential to be the best defensive backfield in the game. However, O’Neal and Carlson were injury prone. Despite the rippling muscles, O’Neal should be considered almost fragile.
In addition, all three veined offensively.
O’Neal can hold a team for a month when he gets a tear, but he hits a lot. Carlson continues to struggle from the left side of the plate. And Nutbar, well, he never played a full season. If the Cardinals sign a shortstop, Donovan will see time on the field, but this will weaken the defense.
If I were to dive into the free agent market, it would be a catcher or a pitcher.
Andrew Kneisner has done a good job during his tenure, but the Cardinals could face a lot of indignity by signing former Cub Wilson Contreras. Personally, a free agent’s biggest buzz will come in the catching position.
Promotion also scares me. The starting Cardinals I feel most comfortable with are Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikulas, and Jordan Montgomery. Warning here, Wainwright is in the twilight of his career.
Jack Flaherty? It is fragile and ineffective. He has all the talents in the world, but he remains questionable to me. If Flaherty comes into his own, his postseason prospects look much better.
Andre Ballant is a wild card on the shooting squad. The Cardinals seem intent on using him out of the arena, but I think he’s interesting as a rookie. He has good speed and breaking ball a plus. And in sporadic starts, he showed enough grounding proficiency to get deeper into the game.
This may be the year to invest in a free launch agent.
The bullpen back end appears to be in good hands with Ryan Helsley and Giovanny Gallegos. The rest of the bullpen is always a crapshoot. Jordan Hicks has the world’s talent, but he could be Alex Reyes 2.0, always injured, never steadfast.
Finally in DH, it’s probably up to Nolan Gorman against the right, Arenado or Goldschmidt when the left one is on the hill.
LES WINKELER is the former sports editor for The Southern Illinoisan newspaper. Contact him at [email protected] on Twitter @LesWinkeler.