October 06, 2016

#Cardinals post-mortem — Needed: a right fielder

Time for a break from political blogging. And, it's time to start this as the Cardinals, for the first time in the Mike Matheny era of field generalship, have failed to make the postseason.

Per the header, I'm starting the post-mortem with a focus on the outfield and specifically on right field.

Matt Holliday is, of course, gone. There's too much a logjam at 1B to bring him back as a combo 1B/OF and he's probably headed to the American League to DH.

Mike Matheny, Cardinals
managerial sub-genius
The Cardinals wouldn't be in this situation had they done what I wanted a year ago and signed Denard Span.  Hey, Birds fans, league average season and veteran leadership with that contract the Giants gave him? You'd take that for sure, wouldn't you?

So what rabbits will John Mozeliak pull out of his hat? Or not?

What is NOT the solution?

First, Kolten Wong is not an outfielder. Matheny needs to stop that nonsense now.

Second, Stephen Piscotty is not a right fielder, as I see it. With Holliday gone, move him to left.

Third, Brandon Moss is not a full-time OF. If he's an OF at all, it's in left, which would leave Piscotty stuck in right if the Cards resign Moss.

Fourth, Cards fans who think either Tommy Pham or Jeremy Hazelbaker is the long-term answer? Wake up and smell the coffee. Oh, and the minors-level options below that are worse after the Charlie Tilson trade. Seriously, there's no boat-floater who started the year at Memphis. Harrison Bader or David Washington may be that person in Springfield/Memphis, but most likely not until 2018.

Fifth, free agency this year, for all OF positions, is slim. Joey Bats is the biggest name, but his decline this year likely portends more.

Matheny would be the type of person to (shudder) want Mark Trumbo — a slow lumberer who's not a great baserunner in general and who just turned in a career year. He'll probably price himself out of Mo's market, though.

I would be willing to consider Carlos Gomez if the price is right. Or Jon Jay — if the price is right. Ian Desmond intrigues somewhat, too. (That price would be no more than the 3/$33 Span is set to get the next three years.) Desmond, especially, somewhat Gomez, and lesser yet Jay, would add speed to the lineup.

A trade is certainly possible. Moving Wong back to second means a surplus of infielders, especially with the rise of Aledmys Diaz. A low-cost veteran Jhonny Peralta might draw offers back. (Oh, and while we're at it, Peralta is not a 3B.)

We haven't even talked about pitching staff, the infield — or above all, Matheny and his coaches deterioration, if that's possible, of managing the team's baserunning.

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