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Crazy Rumor Weekend

Posted on March 18, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Filed Under: Houston Astros | St. Louis Cardinals
When the games on the field aren't that interesting, it seems like the off-the-field stuff makes up for it.  The Cardinals were shut out both Saturday and Sunday, capping a week of limited offense, but were quite active in the rumor market at the same time.

The big one on Saturday was well-respected baseball reporter Peter Gammons Tweeting that the Cards were looking for pitching, specifically Bud Norris and Lucas Harrell.  This brought a collective "huh" to Cardinal Nation as it would seem the one thing the Cards needed least was more starting pitching, the baseball maxim "you can never have too much pitching" notwithstanding.

If you have listened to the latest Conversations With C70 that went up this weekend (with guest Jon Doble of Redbird Dugout), you know that one of the possible reasons, in my mind, was that the Cardinals might be close to another deal for a respectable shortstop, a long-term answer at the position that would require them to give up some of their young pitching.  They'd then make this separate deal with the Astros to replenish their stock, as it were.

Is that reasonable?  Well, obviously I think so.  I also think, though, that nothing in that realm is likely to happen.  The team is saying all the right things about Matt Adams, whom I could see going to Houston in a deal like that.  That could be a public build-up of the guy or it could be that they don't plan on moving him.  We'll have to see, but I'd figure the chances of any trade deal happening are less than 25%.

The other rumor came down on Sunday and it might be even worse than the first.  Apparently the Cardinals, who are still looking for a shortstop (that part is believable) are interested in Yuniesky Betancourt.  Say what?

What I know about Betancourt is from Royals fans who bewailed him being on their team.  When he signed with the Phillies this offseason, their fanbase was so against the deal that a Philly blog actually had to write a post entitled "Defending Yuniesky Betancourt: He's Not The Anti-Christ."  So he's got that going for him, but not a whole lot else. 

Reading the quote from the article, it really just sounds more like a reporter wanting to talk about Betancourt doing well at the World Baseball Classic and speculating that the Cards might look at him (because Rafael Furcal went down and they aren't paying attention to the rest of the squad) than anything the Cardinals might have said or done.  All in all, I don't think we have anything to worry about because John Mozeliak is smarter than that.  Right?  Right?

All of this helped to distract Cardinal fans from the fact that the club has been shut out in four of their last six games with a number of troubling signs.  Tara and I, talking on last night's Gateway To Baseball Heaven, gave all the general caveats (it's spring training, people like Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran are out with the Puerto Rico team--and congrats to them for knocking out Japan last night and ensuring a new WBC champion--you've had Matt Holliday on the bench with the flu and David Freese out with a couple of different nagging things) but it's getting to the point where it's time to see results.

At least Mike Matheny isn't giving all of those platitudes.  Matheny wants to win at any time and feels the team is talented enough to at least score even with players out.  We'd like to hope that they are getting this out of their systems now, but it's definitely something worth monitoring in the next couple of weeks.

What's also worth keeping an eye on is the pitching staff, as they likely only have a couple of starts left.  Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia have looked pretty sharp this spring and most people are fine with the winner of the Joe Kelly/Shelby Miller battle.  Jake Westbrook has struggled a little bit, but not to a terribly worrying level.

That leaves Lance Lynn, who gave up five runs in less than four innings yesterday and now has a spring ERA over 7.00.  The most common explanation now seems to be him adjusting to the fact that he's 30 pounds lighter than he was last year.  That's a logical problem to have, but it still doesn't make people feel much better when he's still not adjusted and the season is getting ready to start.

Lynn has increased his stamina as Derrick Goold reports in the linked article, but until he can start making his pitches, that won't mean a lot.  He was in shape enough to throw 84 pitches yesterday but he was still out before the end of the fourth.  We see enough of that with Bad Jaime, we don't need another one in the rotation.

If Lynn can make these adjustments and get used to carrying less weight, he could be a significant force in the rotation.  If not, his early spring comments about having earned a job last year may come back to haunt him a little bit.  With two starts left before the season begins, there's still time for a breakthrough.

Rick Hummel talked to Mozeliak this weekend and broke down the team with the general manager.  There are a lot of interesting comments, but I think I was most encouraged by his comments about Adams, who Mo said he was more "bullish" on than he was at the beginning of spring.  From all indications, Adams is going to make this team, but what that means in terms of roster construction is still murky.

Before the Cards take on the Mets today, take some time to listen to the latest I70 Radio show.  Bill got a chance to talk to a couple of players and Kayla, one of the Fox Sports Midwest girls, about Spring Training for the Troops, a project Fox Sports undertook this offseason.  Definitely worth your time to check that out.

Cards and Mets will be on Fox Sports Midwest and today, so hopefully you'll be where you can watch a little bit of the action!

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Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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