Saturday, December 1, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals Season 21 Outlook

Season 20
Won/Loss (place in division) & Playoffs: 90-72 (2nd and wild card), lost in Round 2 to Braves
Offense: 662 (12th)
Pitching:  3.41 (3rd)

Major Changes
FA Departures:
  SP Andre Monahan, RP Dante Little, C Carlton Reitz, SP/LR Calvin Langston
FA Signees:  OF Harvey Mercedes, C Derrick Redding, SP Vince Borbon, RP Tyrone Kelly
Gone via trade:  SP Matthew Casey, 1B Elijah Perkins
Acquired via trade:  SP Harold Bynum
Rule V:  SS Tony Calderon (#23)
Promoted:  OF Greg Bird (Sea 15 #23 overall), LR Sean Yarnall (Sea 14 #49 overall)

Season 21 OutlookThe Cardinals' trade of Matthew Casey puzzles me a bit.  90-win team moves an ace (for prospects only) who would probably sign a favorable contract with them at age 34.  With the Houston and Florida prospect juggernauts still building, NOW looks like the time to play for in the NL South.  But certainly, the team's long-term prospects are improved by the trade.

Without Casey, the rotation is Cambridge, Infante, Lima, Bynum and Borbon. Not bad...but seems more like a 3.80 ERA rotation than a 3.41 (entire staff ERA last year).

The bullpen replaces Little with Tyrone Kelly, a decent enough swap.  Curt Allen had a dynamite rookie year - a repeat is unlikely.  Matt Reagan, Chien-Ming Lui and Dave Seay are all very good - one or all 3 may replace Little as the team's main closer.

St. Louis was the worst on-base team in Major Leagues last year (.303), and they don't make up for it with power (167 HR's).  LF Dioner Pettit was the team's best hitter last season at .283/21/81.  3B Thomas Pizarro is a decent infield bat - usually good for 20 HR's and 80 RBI - and a good defender.  2B Tom Kennedy (37/5), Pettit (33/3) and CF Mo Lindsey (21/4) are good base-stealers.

So we have a bad offense, a less-potent rotation and a good bullpen.  Anything's possible, but going into the season I'd bet against the Cards winning 90 again.

No comments: