posted on October 26, 2012 00:00
When I wrote my column last Friday morning, I couldn’t have been more happier. The Cardinals were up three games to one over the Giants in the NLCS. I didn’t think the boys from the Frisco bay had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning three consecutive games after the onslaught of runs the Cardinals plated in game four.
Then Barry effing Zito happened. By the way, if you are looking for a good costume idea for Halloween next week, may I suggest dressing up as Tim McCarver? It’s a cheap costume. All you need is a Giants hat, a Barry Zito shirt, and a mannequin head shoved up your ass. In all seriousness, my hat’s off to the Giants. Like the Cardinals last year, the Giants have gotten hot at the right time and their starting pitching has been phenomenal. Apparently whatever the Cardinals had the last three games of the NLCS, they gave to the Tigers because they aren't hitting either. San Francisco's hitting is even more phenomenal. Timely hits, excellent execution, and total patience at the plate. The Giants are those bottom of the lineup jackasses in your softball league who refuse to hit the ball becauase they can't hit worth a damn. But guess what? Those jackasses end up scoring runs and so do the Giants.
With that being said, here is a small laundry list of moves I would like to see the Cardinals make this winter that in my opinion, would make them serious contenders again in 2013. Here they are in no particular order but I will number them anyways:
1. Get a shortstop. Look, I know Rafael Furcal is under contract for one more season, but can he really be expected to hold up next year? The Cardinals need to cover their backside and make a deal for a youngster who can hold down the number 6 defensive position on the scorecard. John Mozeliak should call up Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and inquire about the availability of Elvis Andrus. With the highly touted 19 year old Jurickson Profar expected to take over at short, the Rangers might be willing to listen to offers for the 24 year old Andrus. The Cardinals have a surplus of young arms and the back end of the Rangers starting rotation was abysmal. As much as I love Lance Lynn, I would package him and another young arm if it meant getting a talent such as Andrus. Add to the fact that Andrus is under contract through 2014.
2. Quit the 24 year game of grabass at second base. From about 1981 to the beginning of 1988, the Cardinals had stability at second base from a guy with one of the best perms of all time in Tommy Herr. Since #28 was traded to Minnesota for Tom Brunansky, second base has been a revolving door. Whether it be Oquendo, Alicea, Geronimo Pena, Grudzielanek, Vina, DeShields, Womack, the Cardinals love them and kick them to the curb quickly. The Cardinals need to give serious consideration to prized prospect Kolten Wong in Spring Training next year. Granted, he will have to work on his fielding since he made 17 errors at second this past season in Double A Springfield. I think it is possible Wong could be a Carlos Baerga clone (Cleveland Indians days mind you) when it is all said and done. If the 22 year old Wong isn’t ready next year, then give the nod to Matt Carpenter. The guy plays hard and he should be in the lineup everyday. Just get some stability at the position.
3. Trade Jaime Garcia. Hey, I know there won’t be a lot of takers out there for a 26 year old pitcher who urinates his pants over trivial things such as late room service and late taxi cabs. Whatever you can get John Mozeliak, take it. I don’t care if it’s all six seasons of Mama’s Family on VHS, take it. I wouldn’t want a guy on my team who has twice gone on the mound, pitched poorly, only to say afterwards that he was having some type of arm issue going into the game and he never felt right. The Cardinals have enough young arms right now that that losing Garcia wouldn’t be felt. I would be completely comfortable next season with a rotation of Wainwright, Carpenter, Westbrook, Miller, and Kelly/and or Rosenthal.
4. Shore up the bench by bringing up the young guys. Until he got injured, first baseman Matt Adams was on his way to another monster season at Triple A Memphis. I liked what I saw from him at times when he got promoted to the Cardinals, but he definitely needs to learn how to hit major league breaking balls. He would be a nice bat to come off the bench to spell Allen Craig when he needs a breather. Another guy the Cardinals need to look at is Oscar Taveras. The 20 year old absolutely raked at Double A Springfield this year with a .321 average, 23 homeruns, and 94 RBIs. The Cardinals could platoon him in right and center to spell Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay respectively. When Beltran’s contract expires after next season, the Cardinals could move Taveras from his natural position of center field to right and let Jay continue to man center. The Cardinals certainly could have used more power off the bench this past season and Adams and Taveras would provide just that for 2013.
That is my grocery list John Mozeliak. It doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money and I actually think it’s doable in regards to Andrus. As far as the other proposals I have mentioned, it’s time to start taking more chances with the young kids like you did in the postseason. I thought Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, and especially Trevor Rosenthal did a tremendous job for being put under extreme pressure. They will only get better with more experience. I think Wong, Adams, and Taveras could be the new injection of youth the Cardinals need next year. And if you actually can get someone to trade you all six seasons of Mama’s Family on VHS for Garcia, call me. I’d like to watch it.
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