It’s that time again. Hosting an edition of the United Cardinal Bloggers postseason roundtable has become an annual tradition as bloggers debate free agency, trade moves, etc. Anything goes, whether it’s talking about the past season that had come to an end or the upcoming season.
If you are interested in the other questions that have been asked, take a look over at the UCB Postseason Roundtable calendar. It’s one of many projects that the UCB do throughout the season.
Today’s question: For several years in the last decade, we had the MV3 of Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen, none of which are with the team now. Who do you see as the MV3 at the moment?
My own thoughts: I have to go with Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, and Jaime Garcia because when they start a game for the Cardinals, St. Louis almost always wins–or the bullpen blows it in the late innings of a game. From an offensive standpoint, I’d go with Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman, and David Freese.
Tom Knuppel: Holliday, Berkman and Molina
Kevin Reynolds: I think, in a way, this question could be answered several ways…who are the most marketable? who are the core players? who are the 3 most important offensive centerpieces? etc.
However, one problem persists for all of those angles…only Holliday projects as stable enough (contract, health, repeat performance, etc.) to be counted on beyond 2012. It bothers me to say a player is an MV3 member if it’s likely he won’t be with the team longer than a year. But…if I were to try to answer the quesiton from multiple angles:
Most Marketable MV3: Holliday, Waino, and Carp (Why spend marketing dollars on a player who isn’t signed beyond 2012 or may not project at more than 120 games? Sure, you can count on Freese’s marketability after his media blitz, but do you invest in a guy that may play 2/3’s of a season every year?)
Core Player MV3: Holliday, Waino, and David Freese (Bernie raised very real questions surrounding Molina’s tenure here…can he transition from being anchored to the team by TLR and AP5 to being an anchor for others?)
Offensive MV3: Holliday, Berkman, and Freese (I know Yadi had a big year last year, but his value to this team is going to be behind the plate as we shift more to defense/pitching without TLR and AP5 here…and he likely peaked in 2011 offensively)
Ultimate MV3 for Me: I have to go with Holliday, Waino, and David Freese. Holliday is the obvious choice…and David Freese could become a Kevin Youkilis-type player in STL if he can show consistent health from year to year…but the surprise is likely Waino…a pitcher. Below are my reasons for Waino and Freese:
1. This team is changing. We are no longer the offense-first NL-built-like-an-AL team (TLR model)…we must and will focus more on defense and pitching under Mo-Mat (Mozeliak and Matheny). Look for an increase in team OBP under Mo-Mat as well…among other changes…all of which further emphasizes the importance of a Cy Young caliber ace on the staff who projects as the long-term face of the franchise.
2. Freese’s marketability speaks for itself (MVPx2 in postseason, hometown boy, savior of the season, etc.)…but the kid is a good ballplayer as well. His approach at the plate, poise, and RBI ability is going to be HUGE in the coming years. And…I for one believe his most significant injuries are behind him.
3. When it comes down to it, Holliday, Waino, and Freese is the perfect blend of offense, defense, value, longevity/core potential, and marketability.
Really, though…with the departure of TLR and AP5…and the likely team perspective shift to constructing a lineup…isn’t it time we retire the MV3 model and title? What could we call the next core group of players?
I gotta’ say, when I thought of Holliday, Waino, and Freese after writing that…and our regional audience (myself included ;), I thought of calling them…The Good ‘ol Boys!
*sigh*…i just can’t stop…how about…”The Good ‘ol Boys of St. louis County!”…(think Dukes of Hazard)
Daniel Shoptaw: Carpenter, Wainwright and Garcia. Or perhaps Motte, depending on how you want to look at things. The Cards seem to be shifting to a pitching-first mentality (with enough offense to keep from being San Francisco) and I think you’ll see those guys carrying the load for a while.
Bill Ivie: I have to go with Wainwright and Freese for 2/3 of this one. They are young, most likely with the franchise for a long time, and have proven they deserve to be in this discussion.
As for a third, that’s a tough one. I want to say Molina, but is he signing an extension and ensuring that he would be a Cardinal for a long time? Do you tap Carp on the shoulder for that veteran presence? (I’m a wrestling geek, I’m thinking Four-Horseman style, if you follow my train of thought.) Holliday is the obvious choice based on his contract and performance, but I would love to see someone surprise me.
For now, Matt Holliday, David Freese and Adam Wainwright. But I have a feeling the farm system is going to change that in the next two years… *paging Shelby Miller, Shelby Miller to the big stage, please*
Kevin Reynolds: Another vote for The Good ‘ol Boys!!! Atta’ guy, Bill
Mark Tomasik: The MV3 has switched from position players to pitching. I believe the MV3 now are: Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia.
Christine Coleman: I agree with the comments that the “most valuable” focus has shifted to pitching. The new MV3: Carpenter, Wainwright and Garcia.
Malcolm Pierce: Holliday, Berkman, Beltran… I hope.
But in all seriousness, I agree with those who say that the Cardinals focus has turned to pitching. Carpenter, Wainwright, and Garcia are the backbone of this team now. I don’t know how much Carp has left in the tank or how well Wainwright will bounce back from surgery but all eyes will be on them. If they can shut down the opposition, there’s enough in the lineup to bring home the wins. And just like the trio of Pujols, Edmonds, and Rolen the others will have to pick up the pace if one of them is struggling or hurt.
Feel free to plug Shelby Miller in there next year.
J.E. Powell: MV3, especially in 2004, were capable of 30-40 home runs and 110+ RBI. Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds finished 3, 4, and 5 in MVP voting that year. If were are talking about three guys capable of putting up those kinds of numbers with a legitimate chance of being name the MVP. then I would say that there is not an MV3 on the current roster.
Now, I am purposely discounting pitchers because it’s so hard for a pitcher to win the MVP. It’s only been done a few times. Having said that, I would say that there are three players with the potential to be MVP’s one day. Adam Wainwright (if he can come back from the surgery with no lingering effects) is a Cy Young candidate, David Freese and Matt Holliday (if they can stay healthy all year) could be top 10 MVP vote getters.