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View Full Version : Pujols gone.. La Russa gone.. But will the Cardinals still be a contender?



RedsFan_26
12-08-2011, 01:37 PM
I say Pujols leaving is a huge hit to the cardinals offense/defense.. But look at it this way.. Berkman moves to 1st base, and Craig goes to Right field, who is primed for a breakout year with full playing time, their lineup will be..

Schumaker 2b
Jay Cf
Holiday Lf
Berkman 1st
Freese 3b
Craig Rf
Molina C
(insert signed shortstop here) SS
P

They have Wainwright, Carpenter coming back with Garcia..
Don't get me wrong i hate the cardinals, but it looks like we still have some worries with this team..

What are your thoughts?

The DARK
12-08-2011, 02:22 PM
As of right now, I believe we're on about the same level as they are. Their rotation is gonna be a clear strength, with Wainwright coming back from Tommy John, Carpenter still looking unfortunately fresh, and Garcia looking like a perennially solid player. Lohse and Westbrook may see their production drop off from last season, but that shouldn't be too much of a problem for them with Shelby Miller in AAA ready to take over if things start to get dicey. They have the clear advantage here over our ramshackle rotation as of right now.

Their lineup has a lot of decent, homegrown depth in guys like Craig, Greene, and Descalso, and some good heavy hitters in Holiday, Berkman, and Freese. However, I'd say that they're very prone to a drop-off here without Pujols. There's no guarantee that Berkman can replicate the season he had, Freese is injury-prone, and everyone else beyond Holliday is either average at the position or young and unproven with fairly low upside. Without Pujols patrolling the infield, they're little more than average defensively as well beyond Molina. I think we'll be much better here this year, with a lot of young, high-upside guys due for a rebound and rookie upgrades filling in most of the gaps.

There's no telling what the management change will lead to. Different teams respond in different ways, and from the sentiment in St. Louis, it's hard to tell if the change will be a positive one or negative one.

I think we're both about 85-79 teams this year, but that could be good enough to win the division this time around. The Cubs are still searching for an identity and are losing their top producer from last season, the Astros are in pure rebuilding mode and preparing to leave the central, the Pirates don't have enough working pieces around McCutchen yet, and the Brewers will likely struggle on offense without an adequate cleanup hitter. If we make a splash and trade for an upper-level pitcher, I think we'll be one of the favorites in the division.

texasdave
12-08-2011, 03:12 PM
There is no way in Hades that losing Pujols does not hurt that club. You simply cannot replace that type of production. That is the same as if the Reds lost Votto. Alonso is not replacing Votto. Craig is not replacing Pujols.

LegallyMinded
12-08-2011, 06:14 PM
Fangraphs has a good article on this issue here (http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/what-do-the-cards-do-now/). Basically, the author agrees that the Cards are still pretty competitive, although how competitive might come down to how they address their hole at SS. The writer throws out Asdrubral Cabrera (via trade) and Jimmy Rollins (via free agent) as potential solutions, and either one of those would be worrisome from the Reds' perspective. Rollins/Berkman/Craig, for instance, might come close to Furcal/Craig/Pujols, especially with the defensive bump from Berkman moving to 1B rather than playing the outfield.

RedsFan_26
12-08-2011, 06:23 PM
Don't forget they still have Holliday..

Krawhitham
12-08-2011, 06:57 PM
No guarantee Wainwright will pitch like before, some tommy john pitchers are never good again

redsfanmia
12-08-2011, 07:52 PM
No guarantee Wainwright will pitch like before, some tommy john pitchers are never good again

and some are better

DannyB
12-08-2011, 07:54 PM
Whats stopping them from signing Prince?

Tadasimha
12-08-2011, 11:04 PM
No guarantee Wainwright will pitch like before, some tommy john pitchers are never good again


and some are better

It sometimes takes a full season before a guy gets back to where he was.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Cards pitching takes a step back next season. Carpenter pitched a ton of innings and threw a ton of pitches. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if that starts to catch up with him the second half of 2012. The book is out on Garcia now and Wainwright will take some time to get back to his full ability.

Offensively it comes down to injuries: Freese has missed lots of games due to injuries, Holiday is showing signs of getting dinged more regularly and Berkman isn't getting any younger either. Can Jay avoid injuries, can Craig maintain the performance over a full season?

LegallyMinded
12-09-2011, 09:35 AM
Whats stopping them from signing Prince?

Hopefully, the Rangers, Marlins or Mariners. Granted, the Marlins claim they're not interested in Prince, but with 250 million dollars apparently burning a hole in their pocket, I imagine they would at least inquire on him.

In any event, the Cards also have Berkman to consider. First base is his best position, so signing Prince and shifting Berkman back to the outfield would be slightly counterproductive.

dMaus14
12-09-2011, 10:13 AM
Yea adding Prince Fielder to the middle of that lineup and moving Berkman back to the OF where he played last year and a couple years in Houston when Bagwell was there is counterproductive! Come on seriously!

LegallyMinded
12-09-2011, 11:01 AM
Yea adding Prince Fielder to the middle of that lineup and moving Berkman back to the OF where he played last year and a couple years in Houston when Bagwell was there is counterproductive! Come on seriously!

Berkman has a career UZR/150 of -3.5 in the outfield, and in particular has a career UZR/150 of -12.3 in RF. At first base, he has a career UZR/150 of 2.3, and the disparity between that mark and his poor outfield numbers is only going to get worse, given his age.

So, yes, moving Berkman from first to the outfield would in fact slightly counteract the increased production from bringing Prince in. That is, it would be "slightly counterproductive."