Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training this week. The key question on everybody’s mind is what sort of condition Adam Wainwright is in. How healthy is he going to be this season? Will there be a pitch count for every game that he pitches? Will he be the Cy Young caliber pitcher that we know him as? I don’t know the answers. Outside of the possibility of having a pitch count, I don’t think anyone claims to know the answers at the moment.
There’s no questions that Wainwright will be motivated for spring training. He’s coming off of Tommy John surgery so there’s going to be some pressure to perform well.
But it’s spring training and the Cardinals have a fresh start for a new season. Will we see 12 in 12? To put it simply, I don’t know. While the Cardinals lose the offense production of Albert Pujols, they gain whatever production comes with the signing of Carlos Beltran. Will Beltran have a decent season? Probably. I expect him to put up solid numbers in production this season, even if it is a season that sees him platooning in center field or wherever St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sees him fit to play when he fiils in the line-up card.
Other news and notes:
The Springfield News-Leader has an article relating to Dan Kantrovitz, who was hired as the Cardinals scouting director during the offseason. Kantrovitz is taking over for Jeff Luhnow this season. Luhnow, if you recall, departed to take the position of GM for the Houston Astros. It’s too early to tell how successful Kantrovitz will be but I wish him nothing but the best of success.
In the Post-Dispatch, Joe Strauss has 11 questions that must be answered by the Cardinals this spring. I am with Strauss on many of these questions. One of the most important, though, is whether Lance Berkman stays the course with his production numbers. Strauss notes that the Big Puma “raised his overall average from .282 to .301 last September but experienced a late power fade that left him with one home run and six extra-base hits in his last 28 regular-season games.”
Another question for this season will be as to whether or not the Cardinals are able to re-sign Yadier Molina to a contract extension or a new one altogether. Molina would prefer that something to be done, one way or the other, by Opening Day. If not, who knows? Would he prefer to be catching for another club come 2013? It’s an excellent question. He’s a catcher and he’s in his prime right now. Unlike other positions, catchers don’t really have a lengthy lifespan behind the plate. It’s something that the Twins are having to deal with regards to their own catcher, Joe Mauer. Mauer made his debut at first base last season.