The St. Louis Cardinals were expecting to return their coaching staff intact. This is no longer going to happen as assistant hitting coach Bengie Molina has been hired away by the Texas Rangers to serve as their first-base coach and catching coordinator.
There’s a number of ways that the vacancy will be field. The club can choose name a replacement at the position such as a David Eckstein or Jim Edmonds. I’m not sure how much Edmonds would help against left-handed pitching as the slugger hit .252 against southpaws.
Should they decide against the assistant hitting instructor, they could use the vacancy to help with pitching by hiring an extra pitching coach as Jenifer Langosch notes. Maybe Chris Carpenter? His presence around the clubhouse and dugout was particularly helpful this past season with the number of rookies that pitched this season. The Philadelphia Phillies do have an interest in Cardinals bullpen coach Blaise Ilsley but they have yet to hire a pitching coach yet.
While the Cardinals are shopping for a shortstop—Troy Tulowitzki, Jurickson Profar, Elvis Andrus, Erick Aybar, et al—they are also interested in Oakland’s Jed Lowrie, who can give them length in their batting order. The Athletics could trade Lowrie and send Addison Russell to the majors this season. Russell has drawn comps to Barry Larkin, and one NL scout says “he has uncanny skills to drive the ball and drive it hard in and out of the park in the alleys.”
Speaking of Gammons and the Cardinals, he has a report on Cardinals in the Arizona Fall League.
Speaking of the Arizona Fall League, the Cardinals continue to strike, with two more very good outfield prospects. Florida State’s James Ramsey has had a big fall, and right fielder Stephen Piscotty has as well. Piscotty has a .402 on base and .902 OPS and both are projected as everyday major leaguers. “College players without big profiles who can play,” says one scout.
Piscotty will certainly be a name to watch.