While the Chicago Cubs face the Los Angeles Dodgers revenge music via the walkoff home run variety, let's answer a few St. Louis Cardinals questions.
From the moment the regular season ends until the playoffs officially end, Cardinals nation stews like no other, waiting for even the tiniest morsel of hot stove news. Like a BBQ addict waiting outside the backdoor for the burnt tips the cook throws away.
I put out the mailbox this past week, and I received a few requests from the fans. As I lovingly sip coffee at midnight, let's dig in.
From Michael Graham: As you noted in your piece about Stanton (by the way I agree that we need to go after him), Wainwright is on the decline. Lance Lynn will probably be gone. What move, or moves, do you see the Cards making to improve the rotation? Is Rosenthal still our closer? Acasio (spelling?) looked great as the closer towards the end.
Ready for a take that may burn your skin clean off? The Cardinals have a bigger need in the rotation than the bullpen. You are losing a 200 inning horse in Lynn and have no idea what an aging rapidly Wainwright can give you, so what do you have. Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, and Wainwright. What? The only guaranteed guy in that group is Martinez. Wacha was impressive, but can his shoulder hold up again? Weaver looked electric over the last month, but can he do it over an entire season? Wainwright's ERA climbed another run and he didn't finish the season, so how will 2018 be different? The Cards need outside help and if it means Yu Darvish or even Jake Arrieta, they need to pull the trigger.
Rosenthal is more than likely out until 2019, so you sign Juan Nicasio to come back and close games. Tyler Lyons can pitch late innings. if Mike Matheny doesn't burn Matt Bowman's arm to a crisp before June, the kid is valuable. Can Sam Tuivailala finally get consistent innings? Sandy Alcantara can throw. All this yaking for a true closer and I'm telling you something far more simpler: if the Cards don't get a starter, how many save chances will be there?
From Elizabeth Graham: I am with you all the way about Matheny. I am so disgusted, I do not plan to attend Opening Week in 2018. My husband and I have traveled for 20 years from Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Mississippi to go the first week’s games. After the disgusting season ended, I told him I did not want to waste the money next year. Just so you know, I have been a die-hard Cardinals fan for 55 years. I watch or listen to EVERY game. Do something DeWitt! Hire John Farrell for heaven’s sake!
Elizabeth is fed up, and I don't blame her one bit. The Cardinals hike up seating prices every year and pull more cash out of Ballpark Village than most ballclubs, so it's time to be smart and spend. But what if Matheny keeps dropping grenades? DeWitt Jr. and John Mozeliak need to cut the small talk and go big this offseason. I've said it. The bartender said it. 45 other sportswriters backed it up. Go big or tell us you're rebuilding.
From Dave Paxton: I love your articles on the Cardinals. Do you think Oquendo would take the job if Matheny would happen to get fire. Keep up the good work.
I do believe Jose Oquendo would take the job if Matheny was fired and the Cardinals offered it to him. "The Secret Weapon" has made his desire to manage not so secret over the past ten years, and he spent 2017 working with young ballplayers in Jupiter. He's crafting future Redbirds on the farm and keeping his eye on the ball. If Matheny does find his way out of Busch, Oquendo deserves to be offered the job first. Sorry, John Farrell.
In case you skimmed: The Cards need pitching, Matheny isn't good at managing, and the front office could go in house on the next manager hire.
What else is happening?
~Joe Maddon paid the best tribute to Matheny on Sunday night by saving his closer, Wade Davis, for a possible save, which allowed John Lackey to serve up a three home run to Justin Turner for a 2-0 Dodgers lead in the N.L.C.S. I love it when things don't come together for the North Siders. What excuse will Maddon make this time? "He watched Unforgiven on Sunday and had a gut feeling for 200", Alex.
~Speaking Turner, there were more than a few Cardinals fans who didn't want the team to sign him last winter. Now what are they saying? It doesn't matter, because it's too late. Turner had another great season in Los Angeles, and I refuse to believe he was always headed back there. If the Cardinals offer him more money, he would have come to St. Louis. He can play some defense at third, fancies himself a .880 OPS, and would have retired Jhonny Peralta even earlier. Instead, he's winning playoff games for the Dodgers. Cards fans drooled all over it Sunday night.
~Randal Grichuk has played his last game in Cardinal red. It is my belief that the Cardinals need to unclog the outfield and the Rosenburg, Texas native is the most likely. The team would still have some control and the man could rake if he gets 500 at bats. The Cardinals haven't made one ounce of effort to sign Grichuk long term, and he's starting to edge towards his late 20's, so make a choice. Get something while the juice is still dripping. He is what he is: a power hitter with a ton of holes in his swing and tons of strikeouts. It's a long bomb or a stiff breeze. Stephen Piscotty has a team friendly contract, but Grichuk is more expendable. Bye, Randal. Thanks for the fireworks.
~If the Cardinals sign J.D. Martinez to a long term deal, I will happily stuff my Giancarlo Stanton banners away for a few more years-or until Dexter Fowler is traded. Martinez can rake and would only cost the Birds money. I do believe Stanton and Martiinez are on an entirely different category of elite lineup talent, though.
While the fact that baseball is out of our lives for a few months is initially saddening, I am ready to decompress and await the Cardinals next move. The Cubs aren't as far ahead as they were after the 2016 season, so a couple additions and calculated asset management could place the division flag right back in Busch next fall. The Cardinals suits just need to do what is necessary. It sounds easy, but is quite the opposite.
It's a good thing that Urban Chestnut Brewing created a delicious beer like Stammtisch, the German styled Pilsner meant to take your mind off all bow tie troubles. Find a pint, kick up your feet, and ease your mind. This offseason is going to be a crowd pleaser or another depressing stroll down the plank.
If you have a burning question that needs answering, drop me a few lines at firstname.lastname@example.org. I won't bite, but I will drink your milkshake (movie reference!).
Thanks for reading.