Spring Training Thoughts and A Little More.


After a slow start to Spring Training, the Cardinals have rebounded with a vengeance.  There has been lots of offense for fans to hyperventilate about.  Over the last three games, the Cardinals have scored 37 runs, pounding opposing pitchers, and sending opposing teams home in embarrassment.  We can’t expect this to last of course, but it’s fun for now.

Port St. Lucie, FL, USA; New York Mets third baseman David Wright (5) chats with St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) and third base coach Jose Oquendo (11) during the game at Tradition Field. The Cardinals defeated the Mets 12-4. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Adams has been tearing it up, but as I recall, he did the same last Spring Training.  Repeating it during the regular season is the kicker.  Jay had a couple of hits today, as did Shane Robinson, Adams, and Justin Christian.  Beltran, Freese, Molina, Wong and Descalso also contributed hits.  Hitting with men in scoring position was especially good.  

A much slimmed down Lance Lynn started today, and though he did give up a home run, he did strike out 3.  Rookie Michael Wacha really wowed em, pitching 3 innings and striking out 5.  The Mets announcers were certainly impressed.  The kid reminds a lot of Adam Wainwright, let’s hope he has some Waino like seasons ahead of him.

Some observations over this few days.  There has been talk about the Cardinals being interested in Troy Tulowitski of the Rockies.  The talk started because a Denver Post reporter wrote a story that the Cardinals were interested in Tulo over the off season, but were told he was unavailable.  How this morphed into an expectation of making a deal for Tulo, I don’t understand.  First of all, a monster contract is attached to Tulo.  This by itself is not necessarily a deal breaker, but Tulo suffered a pretty serious groin injury and there is some concern about his durability over the long haul.  A checkered injury history plus a monster contract at least raises some serious red flags for me.  And even if a deal for Tulo were possible, it would require a haul that I don’t think many Cardinals fans realize.  A trade for say, Matt Adams, straight up, is just not going to happen, unless Dan O’Dowd loses whatever marbles he possesses.  The Rockies are going to want some of our young pitching, and I am not talking B or C prospects either.  Think in terms of Rosenthal, Miller, or Wacha (assuming he has enough time in to qualify for a trade), or some combination thereof.  Realism thy name is bummer.

Speaking of Wacha, I found some of the talk of Wacha being the 5th starter this year kind of amusing.  The kid was impressive, no doubt, but he has made two, count em, two, ST appearances. His innings in the minors last season were out of the bullpen.  His professional innings as a starter are less than 10.  The kid has not yet seen a AAA ball park.  Rushing a prospect to the majors is a big no no, I don’t care how good they are in ST.  The Reds have certainly experienced the downside of rushing prospects with Mike Leake.  Yes, I know Yadier Molina said Wacha was ready to pitch in the majors now, but as much as I respect Yadi’s judgment, he just hasn’t seen enough.  And last time I checked, he didn’t make roster decisions. Any one of Kelly, Rosenthal, or Miller, all who have some big league experience, are much more likely to win that 5th spot.  Let’s all have some patience, shall we?

Moving along with the theme of pitching and prospects, I find myself becoming increasingly irritated (and I need to stop that right now I think) with the contingent of Cardinals fans who seem to think the plethora of pitching prospects gives license to kick Adam Wainwright and his potential contract to the curb.  Excitement over upcoming talent is no excuse to throw common sense out the window.  Relying exclusively on young, unproven pitching is a recipe for disaster.  No matter how good their arms are, their experience and their maturity are just as important. Many an exciting young pitcher has had his career ruined from overuse at a young age.  Gradual development over time is the key to long term success.  A veteran pitcher like Wainwright is needed to help in the development.  Wainwright has already shown the ability to positively influence a young pitcher’s development through his mentoring of Shelby Miller.  Now, in the interests of full disclosure, there is probably no bigger Adam Wainwright fan than me (except maybe Mrs. Wainwright).  So yeah, I’m biased, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.  Obviously there is a limit to how much the Cardinals can pay Wainwright.  I can be called many things (and have been), but stupid isn’t one of them.    If the demands are too high, well, they are too high, and it’s bye bye Waino.  But to suggest there shouldn’t even be a significant attempt because there are a bunch of baby pitchers waiting in the wings, frankly IS stupid.  A mixture of veterans AND young talent is the way to go, and Wainwright should be the main ingredient in that.

I think the bottom line is that we should watch as ST unfolds with a discerning, patient, and sensible eye.  Not too high or too low, but with the realization that ST after all is not a predictor of regular season success.  Leave the roster decisions to those who are paid to make them.  Yes, you can have opinions about those decisions, I certainly have mine, and are free to express those opinions.  But keep in mind that not everyone looks at things the same way (or expresses themselves the same way), and having someone challenge your opinion should not be a reason to take all your toys and stomp on home.  Diversity of opinion is a good thing, folks.   Toughen up the skin, and life will be much more pleasant, trust me. We all have the same goal, to see our team win, and if we have different ideas on how to get there, that is okay.  So when we share our ideas with each other, let’s keep that in mind.  And with that long winded Public Service Announcement, I declare this post now over.