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Bird Watching

Bird Watching: Things are coming into focus…

I can’t believe Opening Day is a week from tomorrow. Usually, by this time in Spring Training, I’m absolutely bouncing off the walls in anticipation of the start of baseball season. I think with the World Series Championship in 2011 and my recent week-long trip to Florida, my anticipation is a bit more manageable. I’m pumped…don’t get me wrong…but the Florida trip makes it feel as if I jumped forward in time ten days…and the Championship adds that “we’re the Champs” factor that helps me relax a bit. No matter what happens over the next six months…we’re the Champs. And nothing can change that…

With that being said, there’s still a ton to talk about as we face the end of Cardinals’ camp. So let’s get into it…

The case for Roy Oswalt is growing. I’ve gone back and forth on this here at Cards ‘N Stuff. At times, I watch anxiously…silently begging for Oswalt to sign. A week later I’m preaching patience and a “wait and see” attitude. At the present moment, I think I’m in the “sign Oswalt” camp…but not quite yet. Carpenter’s injury raises a yellow flag. If the Cardinals believe him to be out beyond May, then they should go sign Oswalt right now; however, if they believe he will be back and strong by the end of May, then the signing doesn’t make any sense. Carpenter will be back in about the same amount of time it would take Oswalt to get ready to pitch. It just wouldn’t make sense to sign him in that situation…unless he’s signed as insurance.

Think about this…if Adam Wainwright is expected to hit a wall in July or August in his first year back from Tommy John Surgery, would it make sense for the Cardinals to sign Oswalt in May, have him prepare to appear post-All-Star break, and let Waino skip…oh…say a month or so of starts if needed? I know that sounds nuts, and it is certainly unorthodox, but with Wainwright fresh off surgery and Carp questionable at best, wouldn’t it make sense to sign Oswalt with an established plan of pitching him in the rotation in July-August timeframe? Or at least as a back-up plan?

Alex Cora and Sanchez will not make the Opening Day roster. I know this isn’t a surprise to many…well, maybe the Sanchez move…but it’s somewhat of a surprise to me. The club has routinely preached “start every day” for Matt Carpenter, but when given the chance to make that happen and retain a veteran SS back-up/utility infielder, they cut the vet and cleared the way for part-time bench duty for Carpenter. At the same time, the organization’s best “swing and miss” prospect has been set for AAA to work on developing more consistent and polished mechanics. I can’t say I disagree with either move…it’s just a bit surprising to me. Of course, assigning Sanchez to AAA makes it more likely that McClellan is not traded – something I didn’t see happening unless Oswalt is signed anyway. Perhaps the club is setting up a workable ‘pen with the option of trading K-Mac within a couple months, signing Oswalt, and promoting Sanchez. Guess we’ll see.

Early morning baseball is almost here. My calendar notice is already set for tomorrow afternoon. When it pops up, I’ll know it’s time to set the alarm for 4:30 in the morning. Nuts, I know…but the last time MLB opened their season in Japan, I enjoyed the spectacle. There’s just something about 40,000 Japanese baseball fans making odd cheering noises in the wee hours of the morning that seems exciting. Maybe it’s just me…I don’t know…but I’m looking forward to the unofficial/official start of the baseball season in the land of the rising sun. That said, they better never make the Cardinals do that crap.

I don’t know if I’m buying the Jake Westbrook resurgance. I was one of the first fans to claim Kyle Lohse would have a bounce-back season in 2011. Many didn’t believe me, but it only made sense to me. But this season, everyone seems ready to annoint Westbrook 2012 the Lohse 2011 award. I don’t know that I buy it. I’m open to it…really, I am…but the lost weight, the adjusted delivery, etc…it just seems like too many “moving parts” for me to buy into. The guy’s motion still makes it seem like he couldn’t bend over and touch his toes if his cleats were on fire. We’ll see…but at this point, I just don’t feel comfortable with Jake Westbrook in key game situations.

Wrap-Up!

That’ll do it for this week. I’m still a bit sluggish from my trip, so I apologize if today’s post wasn’t “stellar”…just doesn’t feel like I brought my A-game today. Ah well…good enough for government work, right?

Keep an eye out for the UCB’s March Predictions Project this week. You can read the division predictions by using the links provided HERE. Until next week…

GO CARDS!!!

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