No La Russa. No Pujols. No Duncan. It sure will be very strange next season to field a team without those three involved in day-to-day operations on the playing field. If you are trying to get an idea of what Derek Lilliquist brings to the table as pitching coach, look no further than Rick Hummel’s article in the Post-Dispatch which features a lot of comments from Chris Carpenter and some comments from Adam Wainright as well.
I know. It still sounds strange that Dave Duncan will not be the pitching coach for the St Louis Cardinals…for at least this season. Whether he returns for the 2013 season remains to be season. I hope he does but that’s just my personal hope.
If Lilliquist is successful with the starting rotation along with the bullpen, it could be, perhaps, the deciding role in Dave Duncan’s future decision-making on whether to retire as pitching coach or take on a different role, be it in the front office or working with the minor league system. It’s hard to speculate on his future outside of this season. It goes without saying that our thoughts and prayers are with the Duncan family.
Hummel’s article though does bring up something that has not really been mentioned in the media…at least not in articles that I have read. It’s that Dave Duncan is available “at any time during the season” for phone calls from Cardinals pitchers. That’s good. Even though he won’t be making a stop in Jupiter in February or March, it’s nice to know that the pitchers can call on him at home if something is bothering them with their mechanics.
Chris Carpenter suggests that catcher Yadier Molina is “going to have a huge presence in that clubhouse this year” and make up for the leadership that the clubhouse lossed with Albert Pujols moving to Hollywood. I can see that happening this season for sure.
As for Adam Wainwright? It appears he will be headed to Jupiter to start getting ready for the season rather than attend the festivities in Washington, DC with all that comes with winning the World Series.
Second base could potentially see a platoon of not one or two but three players this season with Skip Schumaker, Daniel Descalso, and Tyler Greene. Manager Mike Matheny gave the orders to Greene during the offseason. Despite putting up excellent numbers with Memphis, the success just has not come with St. Louis quite yet. With Greene out of options, too, the Cardinals are doing everything to keep at the major league level. Outside of second base, Greene could see time at shortstop when Rafael Furcal needs a day off.
In other news, David Freese is getting along with his newfound fame following the World Series. That said, of all the television programs that he could have made a cameo appearance on, I would not have advised him to cameo on the now-canceled ABC show, Work It. For those wondering, that episode will not see the day of light as it’s highly doubtful that ABC burns off the episodes nor schedules a DVD release.