Once again, it’s time for “What Were They Thinking?!” – that wild and zany post where anything goes! (as long as it’s about last night’s UCB Radio Hour). Yesterday was the fourth Wednesday of the month, and that means Jon Doble (@JonDoble) and myself were your humble (*snicker*) hosts…so that means you get little to nothing today from the blog. Hey! You try expanding on your own expansions, huh?!
If you haven’t listened to last night’s amazing, stupendous, and all things awesome UCB Radio Hour yet…CLICK HERE…you know, just to make sure your friends (who have likely already listened) don’t call you a loser…or a Reds fan.
Now, let’s get into it…
First and foremost, let it be known that Jon was the host that suggested potentially trading Matt Adams or Allen Craig to the Rays for starting pitching. As much as I hate to throw my co-host under the bus…it does make for good blog fodder. The topic came out of a conversation about Lance Lynn and his potential level of effectiveness come August or September. Should the Cardinals take a wait and see approach with Lynn while praying for a smooth rehab by Chris Carpenter? Or should the Redbirds’ front office be preemptive and attempt to make a move sooner rather than later to save Lynn’s arm for the ‘pen and avoid an awkward moment when Carp’s shoulder issue pops up again? While we didn’t come to a consensus, Jon did make an attempt to think outside the box and throw Adams and/or Craig on the trading block. Let me say this…all things considered (and by all things, I mean the possible inability of Beltran to play a full season, Berkman’s – if we signed him – career threatening knee surgery, and a recent World Series win in their fan’s hip pockets), I believe the Cardinals will gladly sit on their collective trading hands and make a go of it with the in-house starting pitching options rather than move Adams or Craig. Matt Adams and Allen Craig are likely key – nay, necessary – pieces to a contending future for the St. Louis Cardinals. There’s no way they’re letting either of those fella’s go. NOTE: It should be known that Jon was not advocating a trade of either player…he was only saying there could be a scenario where the Cardinals and the Rays could match up well to satisfy both team’s needs.
Walk with me here…what if the Cardinals were to sign Roy Oswalt, and he turned out to be effective and healthy enough for a three-month run? Lance Lynn could return to the ‘pen and potentially stabilize a faltering cadre of pitchers. Oswalt’s presence in the rotation likely fends off a sharp decline for Lynn when fatigue and innings load catches up with him in July and gives us – along with a resurgent Waino – two top-tier pitchers before we even consider counting on Carpenter. Suddenly, the offensive injuries and bumps and bruises become much less urgent and the Cardinals have no need to seek outside positional help. Signing a starting pitcher like Oswalt and moving Lynn back to the ‘pen solves three or four issues facing the Redbirds: 1) Preemptively addresses a potential issue in the starting rotation come August. 2) Returns some muscle and stability to the bullpen late in games. 3) Potentially improves a run differential that makes offensive injuries seem a bit less significant. 4) Allows the Cardinals to stand pat with second base, first base, etc. Face it…if Carp starts his rehab and has to abort his throwing program again…the Cardinals are in trouble. Lynn may prove me wrong and remain stunningly effective through September, but I doubt it. The Cardinals need to get ahead of this thing before they find themselves trapped under it.
Other than that…a few quick notes: The Cardinals showed real creativity in bringing up Steven Hill from AAA when their corner infield resources were all but depleted; Albert Pujols is going to finish the season with power, but even during his worst slump at the beginning of 2011, he was still hitting home runs – that doesn’t mean his average will be there (.213 for $240 million?! I’m fairly sure I could hit .213 for half that money…Gimme’ a call, Arte!); With the exception of Yadier Molina, the Cardinals’ core is changing…by 2015/2016, we could see a core player group of Holliday, Yadi, Craig, Adams, and perhaps Ryan Jackson and Oscar Taveras; With the MLB draft coming up and the Cardinals holding so many early picks, it’s going to be interesting to see how this class of 2012 fares after the departure of Cardinals Draft Guru Jeff Luhnow, now the Houston Astros GM – remember, he took a few of his guys with him when he left.
That’ll do it for today…the Cardinals just dropped their first game in disappointing fashion against the Phillies, and Westbrook’s uninspiring start and 6 runs allowed can’t be overlooked. Doesn’t that lend credence to my “sign Oswalt” concept? Sign Roy-O, watch Adam recover, and see Carpenter return…and suddenly your rotation looks like Oswalt, Waino, Carp, Lohse, and Garcia with Westbrook the secret assassin sent in from the ‘pen in long relief or spot start duty. Ah well…it likely won’t happen. If Oswalt is smart, he’ll jump all over the Rangers’ offer…assuming there is one…even assuming he’ll regret facing AL hitters the rest of the season. That team, my friends, is heading places. Of course, one has to wonder what happens to Roy-O when Feliz comes back….