Make no mistake about it, the St. Louis Cardinals are winning the offseason. The team has improved their hitting against left-handed pitching along with the defense in center-field. Not to mention adding some pop to the bench in the form of second baseman Mark Ellis, who has no problem with playing lesser games if it means being on a contender.
This is what attracts so many baseball players to want to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals as a free agent. In addition to The Cardinal Way, it’s also knowing how baseball fans in St. Louis are when it comes to the Cards. These are fans that appreciate good baseball.
Post-Dispatch sports columnist Bernie Miklasz takes a look at the division rivals of the National League Central. Some of the movies that have not been made by the other team sin the NL Central give an advantage to the Cardinals.
With Shin-Soo Choo departing the Cincinnati Reds for the Texas Rangers, it will hurt their chance to score more runs unless rookie speedster Billy Hamilton is in the leadoff spot. Choo had the ability to reach base often enough to be driven in by both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Hamilton is a speedster so it’s a question of where he is in the lineup, which is a guarantee made by Reds GM Walt Jocketty. However, Hamilton is predicted to have a .305 OBP this year, far lower than the .423 expected by Choo.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are still looking for a left-handed hitting first baseman. The Pirates are joined in the first-base hunt by the Milwaukee Brewers. The Pirates are also playing the waiting game with veteran pitcher A.J. Burnett, who may decide to retire or sign as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.
As for the Chicago Cubs, shortstop Starlin Castro is dealing with some legal issues in his native Dominican Republic. It does offer some guidance into his performance this past season.
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