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UCB Roundtable Day 1: Fixing the Cardinals’ Offense…

Welcome to an annual tradition for the United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB), the post-season roundtable discussion. Each day a different Cardinal blogger posts a new question and the rest of us discuss it. Here’s the transcript from Day 1 with a question from yours’ truly.

Enjoy!

(CLICK HERE to read my take on the question at About.com.)

Good Morning!
Welcome to Day 1 of the 2015 Post-season UCB Roundtable. Alas, “Post-season” doesn’t have the same meaning as “postseason,” which is something the Cardinals didn’t get to enjoy too much this year. Some would blame the exhausted and injured pitching staff that couldn’t seem to hold the Cubs down after that glorious shutout in Game 1. Others would point to the manager who still seemingly struggles to pick up the pace in the dugout come October.
But let’s talk today about the season-long elephant in the room…the offense.
We saw the St. Louis hitters struggle in the NLDS, although they did manage to score enough to win most games. The strikeouts were up, the adjustments were few, and the results were predictable…at least, by those criticizing the Cards’ lack of runs most of the summer.
So here’s your question, oh great writers of the Cardinals blogosphere…
How, specifically, would you solve and resolve the Cardinals offensive woes for next season? By “specifically,” I mean identify the problem(s) you want to fix and tell us how you would fix it/them.
GO CARDS!!!
– Kevin Reynolds (@deckacards)
www.stlouiscardinals.about.com
www.stlcardsnstuff.com

Man, starting this one off with some fire…

Honestly, I’m going to go with two specifics here: 1 – a change at the coaching level and 2 – give me a superstar, please.
First of all, I was shocked that the entire coaching staff was retained. This offense has gotten progressively worse over the last few seasons and someone needs to be accountable for that. I like John Mabry, but I’d be willing to give someone else a try. He just didn’t seem to help the team make adjustments.
Secondly, I’ve been saying this for years – I want someone to be excited about. Jason Heyward is a solid outfielder and hitter. So is Matt Holliday. But, damn, I watch Yoenis Cespedes walk to the plate for the Mets and I’m excited. Remember how you felt when Albert walked to the plate with a runner on and down by a run? Tell me you feel that way about one guy on this roster. That’s what I want to feel again. There are moments, I’ll give you that, but I want the feeling of a star player at the plate.
So, if it were me in charge instead of me banging on a keyboard, I’d give you two specifics – go sign a free agent star-caliber player and find someone you believe can help change the culture of the young guys at he plate for hitting coach.

 

Thanks,
Bill Ivie
Founder | I-70 Baseball
Freelance Writer | i70baseball | Bleacher Report
I can’t completely disagree with Bill, though I do feel like Cespedes is going to be overpaid for the production that he’s going to bring back over the next few years.  He’s had a great run in New York (which will obviously up his price) and was doing well before he was traded, but looking at his past and I wonder if he’ll keep this going.  He well may, but he’s 30, which apparently is starting to get old though given my age I don’t quite believe that.
Bill’s not wrong, though, that having a bona fide slugger on the team would make this offense go much better.  If you could retain Heyward and then get some sort of behemoth to play first, this offense, in theory, could kick start and make up for the fact that the pitching staff is going to slip off of its super-high levels next year.
Assuming, of course, that the hitting coach isn’t a drag on whatever player you bring in, which is a reasonable point of discussion.  I do wonder if there are metrics or benchmarks that the front office is looking at when it decided to keep Mabry or whether this was the front office being loyal to Matheny by letting him keep his coaches.  Tara and I talked about this on Gateway last night and, on the one hand, there’s no superstar hitting coach that’s out there just waiting to be grabbed up, but on the other hand some accountability would be nice to see.
What Mo can’t do is expect that Heyward will be the only thing he needs to do to this offense for 2016.  You can expect some sort of return to health for Holliday, but he’s going to be declining anyway.  The same goes for Molina, whose offense took a hit last year as well.  You can’t just look at the names and say, “They’ll be fine.”  Because even healthy, those guys aren’t going to produce for you like they did five years ago.

 

————————————
Author, C70 At The Bat  Twitter: @C70

Co-Admin, CardsClubhouse
Radio Shows: Gateway To Baseball Heaven (Sundays) and UCB Radio Hour (Wednesdays, in host rotation)

I see Bill and Daniel talking about changing the hitting coach, but there is no guarantee that changing the hitting coach will change anything.  By a variety of measures, offense is down around the league, the Cardinals were behind that curve a few years ago, and now we’ve caught up. Is that the hitting coach? Is that standard regression? Is that players who aren’t as good? Is that the ballpark? Is it all four? I’m fairly certain none of us really know and because there’s no guarantee that John Mabry is the problem, the Cardinals aren’t going to make a change for the sake of a change.

This offseason there are three big things the Cardinals need to do, in my mind.

First, bring back Jason Heyward. While I think we can all agree that he’s not the centerpiece player the Cardinals need, he is an exceptionally valuable player and worth having. He would be a luxury, but given the degree of difficulty the NL Central looks to have in the coming years, it’s a luxury we need to afford.

Second, create opportunities for guys like Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty to have starring roles in the offense. As I wrote last week, it’s time to throw the kids the keys to the car. We’ve done it in the rotation (and are probably about to do it in the bullpen), time to do it in the lineup.

Third, identify and acquire a centerpiece hitter. Guys like Albert Pujols (in his Cardinals years), Andrew McCutchen, and Anthony Rizzo who do a lot of everything. I don’t see Piscotty or Grichuk being that player. Holliday never has been that player outside of Coors Field, but he was close enough for the first five years of his deal to be an effective stopgap.

The advantage for St. Louis is that we have a lot of positional flexibility so we can acquire this player at virtually any position. The difficulty, of course, is finding this player. Because what’s the common thread of those three centerpiece hitters I mentioned earlier? They’re all essentially home grown. Yes, I know Rizzo was dealt twice as a minor leaguer, but both times acquired by guys who had been involved in getting him drafted originally. If anything, that shows that those players can be acquired.

It’s coincidental to have this question today. Oscar Taveras was supposed to be this player for the Cardinals. A year after his death, we’re still trying to figure out how to replace him.

Jon Doble
Redbird Dugout

Great first question, Kevin!  The first thing I would like to address is John Mabry.  He has to go.  He should not have been given a contract for next year. It will be more expensive for the Cards to get rid of him now.  Mabry has not done his job – the offense has gotten worse, instead of staying the same or getting better. In my opinion, a hitting coach’s job is to work with the batters to correct anything going wrong with their swing and help them improve on their natural talents.  I don’t care if Mabry is Matheny’s best buddy or not, this experiment has failed and it’s time for his ship to sail.
I would like to see a new batting coach address swinging at the first pitch.  Are the batters afraid they may not get another good pitch to hit?  That’s highly unlikely to happen.  Not swinging at the first pitch allows for a longer at-bat and higher pitch counts, which drives a starting pitcher out of the game sooner.  Most times, swinging at the first pitch results in an out, whether by DP, fly out or pop out.
Swinging at a pitch in the dirt is also stupid and needs to be addressed. If a batter doesn’t swing at a pitch in the dirt, that’s called a ball. Enough of those and the batter gets a walk.

My  two cents: Keep Heyward, jettison Jay and go with Grichuk/Pham in CF.

My big move would to shop Matt Adams. I like Big City, but Piscotty can play 1B in addition to the OF spots. So shop Adams and see if you can’t get someone who provides less splits at B and use Piscotty primarily at 1B while you are shopping Adams, who in my mind he’s a platoon 1B,  When he’s playing, Piscotty can play in the OF giving somebody a rest (likely Holliday)
Other teams might be attracted by Adams power and age. Use that to find a more balanced bat for 1B or a quality reliever (after all, the less pressure on the offense, the better). If you do find a better 1B bat, then the CF platoon becomes Grichuk/Piscotty with Pham filling in elsewhere.
If I could, I’d trade Holliday too, but that ain’t happening.
As for the hitting coach thing, I remember something in Moneyball about Mabry: Mainly he wasn’t a patient hitter. I wonder if he’s taught that to his players. The ones who get on have always had those tendencies. Mabry didn’t teach them that. I think a hitting coach who taught better plate discipline would be a good idea.
– Doug V
Good morning all,

First of all, I’d like to re-state Kevin’s question: How, specifically, would you solve and resolve the Cardinals offensive woes for next season? By “specifically,” I mean identify the problem(s) you want to fix and tell us how you would fix it/them.

 
The first thing I see here is that in my opinion it is a multi-layered question, with answers that breakout almost like tree branches. Mainly due to the fact that there is a clear issue, but with no one way to fix it.
The complication with the Cardinals when it comes to additions is that they have a landlocked lineup for the most part. The decision to pursue re-signing Heyward is a no-brainer, but is just a part of the offensive picture. Heyward’s main value to the roster is being a buoy, not a true catalyst in the offense. Offensively, he is more of the same: a hitter that performs well as a part of the ensemble, but not a lead that is going regularly play amazing solo’s and change the course of the song/game on his own.
But also, from a realistic standpoint, there are not a lot of vacancies for additions to be made either. I’d like to simply state it up front: Matt Holliday is going to play (and start) for the St. Louis Cardinals next year. Make peace with it. Due to the three-headed fact that he’s a familiar property, makes a ton of committed coin and carries more value than he is given credit for. Now that value should no longer be deployed from the third spot in the lineup, but he does have strong worth out of the five spot, for example.
Moving backwards from that point, there are a ton of locked positions for 2016 already. Joining Holliday are Grichuk, Carpenter, Peralta, Wong and Molina whom have their spots locked up already. At-bats will be found for Piscotty, whether it is at first base or as a replacement in right field if Heyward departs.
This team has never completely healed from the implosion of Allen Craig. It also lost the virtual certain run producing impact of the development of Oscar Tavares simultaneously. That is a huge loss from the heart of the lineup that is beyond the quick fix of any hitting coach, general manager or skipper. That’s simply a piece of the puzzle that has to take its time to sort out, and considering what is readily available right now, does not forecast to be able to be able to be fixed by plugging in one guy.
The expectation is that there should be seismic shift in the lineup somewhere, but superstars simply don’t grow on trees. And the risk of inking one to the wrong contract that creates another back end boulder situation like Holliday has now carries substantial risk as well. The first base market is slim and really the only way to create that big impact buzz is to make a run at a corner outfield type that simply wouldn’t be better than Heyward as a player, although he may hit a few more home runs.
I get the feeling that the development of Piscotty and Grichuk is going to be the difference in the actual substance of the lineup getting better for 2016. And while there could be a fall back addition to the lineup in the way that Carlos Beltran was when Pujols left if Heyward doesn’t resign, that’s the less desirable option.
The plain truth in reality is that if Mozeliak is going to improve this lineup, it is going to have to happen via another crafty trade that adds something at first base, and slightly (temporarily) limits the playing time of Piscotty. But I don’t see there being a huge influx in star power coming to town, simply because its just hard to find in the places that the Cardinals need it currently.
Long story short, if I’m pulling the trigger, I do everything I can to ink Heyward to a 5-year deal. That makes the team’s overall potential better, which is still the primary goal. Then I approach the trade market to find a right-handed first base bat that has the upside of being able to swing out of the cleanup spot. I have no issue with paying Matt Adams slightly over $700k to be an occasional starter and even a platoon option. Another Lance Berkman style pickup is exactly what’s needed right now.
But I don’t see that direction changing superstar element being obtainable, so I’m looking at sustaining, developing and tweaking as being my primary goal.
– Matt Whitener

As most people have touched on, the first thing I would do is replace Mabry. It’s hard to tell how much of an effect that a hitting coach has, but when Mattingly was let go, so was Mark McGwire. I wish the Cardinals tried to get him back and fire Mabry.

The other thing that is needed is just to have a healthy, strong lineup. Matheny still has trouble making out good lineup cards, but if the Cardinals can have all their guys healthy, I think the lineup will be fine. Of course, I want to have Jason Heyward back, putting him with a healthy Grichuk, Holliday, Molina, and Piscotty at first in an optimized lineup is all I think this team needs.

-Ben Chambers
The View From Here

QuestionHow, specifically, would you solve and resolve the Cardinals offensive woes for next season? By “specifically,” I mean identify the problem(s) you want to fix and tell us how you would fix it/them.

I don’t mean to disappoint the Mabry critics, but I don’t put too much weight into the hitting coach category. I don’t put much stock there. Unlike the pitching coach, the hitting coach effect doesn’t show up on the field as often as fans would like. When they get to the big leagues, their approach is pretty much locked in. There may be a few notable exceptions, but when I look at John Mabry, I don’t think about a savior. Did Big Mac do a better job than Mabry? Sure, but how can we actually quantify the worth of a hitting coach? And is it accurate? Nobody wanted to give Mabry credit for 2013 due to the high RISP average but they pounded him for the next two seasons. I don’t. I actually think Mabry or whoever is down there should just get out of the way. These are big boys. Once they make it through three farm systems, a hitting coach just doesn’t have much to teach. It may be the unpopular take, but it’s mine.
 
Resolving this offense isn’t like sending your car to the shop for an oil change and tire alignment. The contract status of players and the fact that all the positions are full if Mr. Jason Heyward returns throws a wrench into any plans John Mozeliak would like to make. As I wrote for STLSM this morning, Mo will have to get creative in order to shake this ship. Here are a few truths.
 
*Matt Holliday will play and it won’t be first base. Sorry folks, the 1B idea is unfortunately fiction. Holliday is here for at least another season and will play. He also deserves the spot. While he isn’t a power threat anymore, Holliday is an OBP machine and can deliver. I’ll take a slice of the 2014 season with an extra order of doubles, something that was missing from 2015. 
 
*Stephen Piscotty will play and isn’t going anywhere. If JH returns, he plays first base. Sorry Matt Adams revival lovers.
 
*Randal Grichuk is an everyday player when healthy. He is the only Cardinal capable of hitting 30 HR and does a number of things well. 
 
So, unless Mo wants to trade Kolten Wong or re-sign Jaime Garcia and package him into a deal with Adams, I don’t see a major change. Like the coaching staff, the offense may look the same. That doesn’t mean Mo can’t find some middle infield depth or catching help.
 
I don’t particularly want Brandon Moss back. I’d take Adams at 650-700K instead. Tommy Pham will fight Jon Jay for starts in the 4th OF spot. 
 
Mozeliak needs to find a player who can backup Jhonny Peralta and Wong so the two starters don’t get driven into a brick wall with playing time. Peralta’s 2014-15 durability caught up with him in the second half and Wong’s power and OBP disappeared. They need help. While I won’t sit here and dream about Brian Dozier of Minnesota, I do think someone like Ben Zobrist could help. If KC doesn’t retain him, the Cards could look to him. He can play so many spots and help a team in a number of ways. There will be injuries and there will need to be help. You will a flexible guy to help and Zobrist, will expensive, can help and give you some pop as well. 
 
This could be a year Aledmys Diaz and Mike Ohlman play big roles. Mo could try to sign Mike Wieters to back up Yadier Molina and maybe play some first even though that’s unlikely. 
 
With the flexibility restricted due to contracts like Holliday and Peralta, Mo will have have to be incredibly crafty to make a big impact signing like Yoenis Cespedes. 
 
The payroll may be going up but Cespedes could command similar money as Heyward, so how do you sign both? Now, if Yoenis wants to accept that 2015 salary of 3.73 million, I’ll go pick him up at the airport. You can only have one and I’ll take Heyward even though Cespedes is a KO artist. I’d wait until next offseason to make your big financial push. Holliday’s option may not get picked up, and that gives you options. 
 
The 2016 offseason should see the end of Pete Kozma and Peter Bourjos along with the see ya nod to Mark Reynolds. Moss isn’t an exciting option esp if Adams returns. Piscotty and Grichuk become full time players(each could easily give you 20-25 HR) and there has to be better middle infield depth. 
 
-Dan Buffa/@buffa82
KSDK Sports/STL Sports Minute
I’ll get with you that it’s unlikely, Dan, but Matt Carpenter’s 28 home runs and the zero he hit in May would like to have a word with you about Grichuk being the only Cardinal capable of hitting 30 home runs.
Jon Doble
Redbird Dugout

Jon,

I had Carp in mind when I wrote that. He can surprise me again. I just won’t expect it. I’d love for the guy to move down in the order, #3 perhaps, and do what he did. I just won’t expect it.
– Dan Buffa

Kevin:

To fix the Cardinals’ problems on offense:

_ Acquire a first baseman who is a proven run producer and can play every day.

_ Move Matt Carpenter into the No. 3 spot in the lineup.

_ Re-focus on fundamentals, especially moving runners from second to third with none out and advancing runners from third with less than two out.

Mark Tomasik
www.retrosimba.com

Hi everyone!
Obviously, by seeing this thread, we all have some complaints about the offense. I could nitpick for hours about the daily lineup, rather it be about how it’s arranged or match-ups between hitters and opposing pitchers.  Most of us have dissed John Mabry, and I am not going to lie and say I’m different. I have mixed emotions toward him and what he does. Yes, he’s the team’s hitting coach. Yes, a part of his job is assisting players and their efforts to perfect their swings. Here’s where my emotions mix. These are MLB players that he is working with. These guys are currently playing at baseball’s highest level. Shouldn’t they, as paid professional athletes, have some sort of idea as to how they can improve? Whether that be by talking to fellow batters or watching film depends on the player’s preference. Seriously. I don’t care if the God of hitting coaches is employed on a staff. He simply cannot know each and every player and their various ways of doing things better than the player does.. So, to sum that up, I’m not too worried about getting rid of Mabry at this point.
 The offensive part of the Cardinals that is in need of the most maintenance in my opinion is the bench. The regular eight starters must have done something right, or the team wouldn’t have gotten where it did. The bench, on the other hand, didn’t do much worth mentioning. There are reasons behind the pure madness that was the Cardinal bench in 2015. The guys who were expected to make up the bench were forced to start daily because of injury. When Matt Adams went down, Mark Reynolds, who was brought on to the team so he could platoon with Adams, had to start daily. I didn’t think overexposure was anything to worry about when this first happened, but I was wrong. Randal Grichuk was more than likely going to serve as a bench player coming into 2015 because Mike Matheny favored Jon Jay at the time. Nonetheless, Jay and Grichuk were both hurt for sizable chunks of the year and plans had to change. (Mike Matheny may still favor Jon Jay. I wouldn’t bet against it. Haha!) The way that the bench can be “fixed” seems very simple to me. If everyone is healthy, then boom! The bench is fixed! If Jason Heyward is signed by St. Louis, which I wholeheartedly hope happens, then he, Grichuk, and Matt Holliday will take over the outfield duties. First base goes to Stephen Piscotty as of now. Things going like mentioned would imply that Matt Adams, Tommy Pham, Jon Jay, Greg Garcia, and Peter Bourjos (if he returns) will be the bench. Backup catcher Tony Cruz will be there, too. I’ll admit, I could brainstorm up a dreamier bench. But it’s leaps and bounds better than what it has been.
If there is one life lesson I have learned since I began watching baseball, it’s to never be greedy. Take what you have and make the best of it. That’s what the I think the Cardinals need to do.
Josey Curtis

The Cardinals bad offense can be blamed a lot by injuries.  A full year of a healthy Matt Holliday, Matt Adams, Randal Grichuk, Piscotty and Tommy Pham will help.  With the Cards primary need being offense they can stand to lose a bit of defense by taking starts away and or trading centerfielders Jay and Bourjos.  Ideally the Cardinals will not resign Mark Reynolds who played as well as we could have expected and other teams have already shown interest in Brandon Moss.  They combined for 514 ABs with an over 30% K rate and 17 HRs which is comparable to Ryan Howard in 2015.

In terms of additions to the offense for 2016 the cardinals need to be focused on signing Jason Hayward first.  He is a franchise changing player that deserves a franchise changing deal.  In terms of smaller acquisitions the Cards should focus on a right handed hitter with power potential.  I would target Danny Valencia, who is capable of playing 3rd, 1st and corner outfield and sports a career .862 OPS against lefties.  He is currently part of the Athletics bench.  They should also focus on a legit backup for Peralta, that can keep him fresh and play other positions in the infield.  Asdrubal Cabrera signed a 1 year deal with the Rays last year $7.5 million.  While he should get a pay bump; this is a player and deal the Cards should try to execute this offseason to turn their bench into a strength.

~Ben

This is basically the exact same conversation we all were having during the trade deadline. The Cardinals need help on offense, yes, who do you replace? Who is even available on the FA/Trade market? Could the Cardinals afford, be it with money or prospects, to add another major piece, on top of signing Heyward (please sign Heyward)? It’s easy to say the Cardinals should add in impact bat, but who? Where?

I think it’s best to start by looking at the current players on the roster. Which players most negatively impacted the offense?

Let’s start with Kolten Wong. Over 613, PA Wong put up a .262/.321/.386 line good for a wRC+ of 96. I’m a big Kolten Wong fan, but those numbers aren’t great. Could be worse, of course, but not great.

Over 530 PA, Yadier Molina contributed a .270/.310/.350 line with a wRC+ of 80. We’re starting to see a problem here.

Combined, Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos had 465 PA, and had a wRC+ of 80 and 70, respectively. Not a full season of PA’s, but when they played, they were pretty much terrible.

We have four players who had significant playing time in 2015 (still combining JJ and PB). Each of them, across the entire season, were below average. So, what do we do?

I think the first solution is to drop Jay and Bourjos from the roster. Roll with an outfield of Holliday, Grichuk, Heyward (please), Piscotty, and Pham. Even if Holliday is in real decline, that just means Piscotty or Pham get more PA.

Next, drop Yadi in the lineup and bring up Mike Ohlman. You know how for the past five years everyone has said, “Man, Yadi could hit .000 and he would still be one of the best players on the team?” Well, now it’s time to put that to the test. Maybe I’m overreacting, but he did not look good at the plate this year. Molina should hit in the 8th spot while still getting the bulk of the starts, with Ohlman hopefully providing some pop when he starts.

Kolten Wong is the hardest one to deal with. Despite his problems at the plate, he still put up 2.3 WAR. His combination of speed, often fantastic defense, and power make him able to contribute in several ways, but 2015 wasn’t the total breakout we were all hoping for. I think the Cardinals should find a legitimate middle infielder, be it a touted prospect from another team or one of the FA everyone else has mentioned. The Cardinals need another option behind Wong and Peralta, should either of them fall off the cliff.

Unless Mozeliak can somehow swing a crazy deal for someone like Joey Votto, I just don’t think there are many big moves the Cardinals can make this offseason to help the offense(besides signing Jason Heyward.) If Mozeliak can sign Heyward, cut Jay and Bourjos, convince Matheny should  drop Molina in the lineup, call up Mike Ohlman, and sign someone to backup Wong and Peralta I’ll be happy.

P.S. I left first base out of this because we all know already how bad it was last year. I’m just putting Piscotty there if Adams can’t come back healthy in the Spring.

~Nate

I know the Mabry situation is a hot topic and it is an easy crutch to put this offense on. Yes, the offense struggled at times and there were some sluggish performances in the second half. However, I don’t necessarily think that this was a Mabry problem as much of a problem with being in the division they were in. The team saw seven to eight game leads which are normally quite comfortable leads shrink many times this season. So, Matheny was at times forced to play guys like Carpenter, Peralta and Wong a bit too much. I look at the individual performances and the way things developed towards the end and think that all of this Mabryism stuff that we were told early last season, is overrated. Carpenter finished with 28 HR, Wong had a strong first half in the power department, Peralta had 18, Piscotty had 7 in a limited number of at bats, Pham had 5 in limited at bats, Grichuk had 17 in just over 320 AB. These are all better numbers than we had last season, when Peralta was the leader in the HR category.
Looking at the season as a whole, the team finished just 20 doubles shy of leading the league in doubles. I have to think that if we had a whole season of Grichuk/Piscotty those numbers would have been up. Next season will be Wong’s third full season and he admitted to a bit of wall at some point in the season as it got in the later months. This team is not going to lead the league in homers, the stadium simply does not allow it to. You cannot blame the organization for building around contact and line drive profiles, as Busch Stadium has proved to be in the bottom 5 in HR hitting year after year. However, the future looks bright. Piscotty figures to be a pretty good player regardless of what position he is at. A better situation on the bench in terms of a backup MI not named Pete Kozma or Mark Ellis.
Like Matt said, premier players don’t grow on trees and the Cardinals are trying to develop that player in the minors, Magneuris Sierra could be that guy. However, time will tell on that front. A year ago everyone wanted this team to be more aggressive and that they did at times this season. They attacked the first pitch so much this season, that the broadcast guys had to find statistics to back it up. Aside from bringing Heyward back, there’s not much to be done to this offseason besides promoting a Greg Garcia/Aledmys Diaz to help take the toll off of Wong/Peralta/Marp. Not saying Adams is Moustakas or that the players are carbon copies, I talked a couple months back about how Adams very well could be the next Mike Moustakas (promised minor league prospect to break out).
Steven McNeil
YouthWorkerWell.com – Creator, Editor, Administrator
RedbirdRants.com – Co-Editor

Love the start of roundtable season, and I can’t wait to see what the
great minds in this group come up with the next couple weeks! As for
Kevin’s fireworks out of the gate, I’m going to be the odd-man out I
feel.

How, specifically, would you solve and resolve the Cardinals offensive
woes for next season? By “specifically,” I mean identify the
problem(s) you want to fix and tell us how you would fix it/them.

To me the offense has to get more balanced, and the best way to do
that is to add a couple of switch-hitters to the mix. The first will
be more costly even though he is older, but has there ever been a
better fit for Mike Matheny’s troop than Ben Zobrist. You literally
could play the guy all over the place and keep everyone fresh at the
same time. Want to put Stephen Piscotty in the OF, check. Spell Kolten
Wong against that Kershaw guy, double-check. Time for Jhonny Peralta
or Matt Carpenter to enjoy a day in the sun, yes please! Would he cost
more $$ to sign as a ‘part-time’ regular and even (gasp) a possible
overpay — make it happen as soon as Jason Heyward makes a decision or
even before.

The other part of the equation to me gets tricky, because it directly
involves the one part of the roster more cluttered than possibly any
other. I’m all for resigning J-Hey if the money makes sense or even
starts to get a bit crazy as long as it doesn’t drag into late
December. And the reason for that simply is other needs must be
addressed, most importantly how you can get Carpenter down to third in
the lineup. Wong hasn’t proved to be able to handle the top spot, and
I’m against throwing Piscotty into the lead-off role his sophomore
season. Heyward maybe could go back there if needed, but I personally
like the thought of a switch-hitter up there with Heyward patrolling
RF on a full-time basis.

I have given quite a bit of thought about what to do in St. Louis when
it comes to center field, and the answer honestly came from a very
surprising source. My brother brought up the fact that he didn’t see
the Cubs making a play to bring back Dexter Fowler, and that kind of
surprised me until I looked at the numbers. Fowler does quite well in
center field, he actually gets on base at a nice clip, shows some
power as well as speed but most importantly won’t break the piggy-bank
that is set aside for #22.

Yes, I can already hear your questions as you read this. Wait, if the
Cards are stacked in the outfield, why would they sign not one, but
two additions? Um, where does Randal Grichuk play in this scenario of
yours? Both answers come in the form of a trade, simply because I feel
the Cards will add another power source from the right side of the
plate. Grichuk has been a nice story but time to deal him before the
rest of the game realizes he can’t stay healthy enough to contribute
all summer. Look for St. Louis to use last year’s Korean experiment to
pay off this Winter when they land Byung-ho Park to apprentice at
first base and hit some huge bombs along the way.

Even with all of these fireworks, deals for Zobrist, Park, and Fowler
pale in comparison to jumping full length into the starting pitching
pool, something a trade of Grichuk could answer in maybe a post coming
up in the very near future!

  • Josh Gilliam
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Discussion

2 thoughts on “UCB Roundtable Day 1: Fixing the Cardinals’ Offense…

  1. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative
    and interesting, and I want to let you know, you’ve struck the nail to the head.

    Posted by Www.realhacks24.com | November 24, 2015, 4:42 pm

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  1. Pingback: UCB Roundtable- Day 2 | The Redbird Retreat - October 28, 2015

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