For me, Daylight Saving Time in the spring is the official notification that St. Louis Cardinals baseball is almost back. We are weeks away from game #1, so let's look at a few burning questions that are circulating out of camp.
5) Should the Cardinals have made Lance Lynn another offer?
Yes. Personally, I would have liked for them to extend a 1-2 year offer to the veteran starting pitcher to help supply sure innings in their shaky rotation, but John Mozeliak never had any intention of retaining Lynn, or other high profile names like Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish. He signed a low hanging fruit in Miles Mikolas that wouldn't harm his youth movement goals and is sticking to that idea. Mozeliak knew when he sent Lynn the qualifying offer in November that it would be turned down, but if the starting pitcher had known how the market would turn out, there may have been a deal. Instead, Mo went another way and is defiant in letting the young arms develop.
The truth is this rotation is highly vulnerable and banking on a lot of "ifs" in order to be successful, so yes I would have preferred Lynn back on a modest deal. I mean, one year for $12 million? Come on.
4) Is Matt Carpenter's back a big issue and what should the Cards do about it?
Yes. He has dealt with back issues since he injured his oblique in the 2016 season, so this isn't fresh news. Here's the thing. If Carpenter's back isn't 100% by the end of March, it's a wise time to see where this Jose Martinez train goes. The journeyman broke out late last season and is stinging baseballs again this spring. He hasn't stopped hitting since last summer, so why not give him an extended shot if Carpenter's back needs the disabled list. Today, Carpenter takes the field for the first time, but there's no reason to rush a vital asset like Carpenter in March.
3) Does Paul DeJong's new contract mean the Cardinals are out of the Manny Machado sweepstakes next offseason?
No way. DeJong played third base before he transitioned to shortstop in 2016, so he can easily move over to the hot corner. DeJong's glove is a good, if not great, asset that can be used at third or second base. The AAV of his new contract of $4.3 million is more similar to a utility weapon like Jedd Gyorko than a starting shortstop, so the Cards will-and should-still be in on Machado this coming winter. If you acquire the Baltimore Orioles shortstop, DeJong moves to third and Gyorko becomes a super utility player again, which is a better reason to move Jedd than acquiring a not as good producer like Mike Moustakas this year.
2) Will the new coaches translate to more wins for the Cardinals?
Yes. While Mike Maddux, Jose Oquendo, and Willie McGee don't pick up a glove and play the field, they will make this team better in many areas that hindered them the past two years. If anyone can coax one more viable season out of Adam Wainwright and translate Mikolas' overseas success, it's Maddux. If someone can make DeJong and Wong gold glovers, it's Oquendo. If there is a way to make the outfield defense a threat to opposing baserunners, it's McGee. Having Chris Carpenter lurking around on occasion will also slap some sense-and wins-into this team's season. I truly believe these coaches are legit WAR for the Cardinals.
1) Will Mike Matheny finally learn how to manage a whole game?
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. He hasn't changed in six years, so why would he now if the team is making boatloads of money and the owners are committed? All Cardinals fans can hope is that the new coaches and players make his job easier to handle than previous seasons. Let's hope the Cardinals' WAM (wins above Matheny) stays positive this year.
Thanks for reading,