We all know baseball is a superstitious sport, but right now I'm trying to figure out where exactly I stepped on the toes of the baseball Gods and put the 2009 season to such an ugly grave.
It's October 13th, and following the Cardinals quick exit, each and every single team I had hoped would make it to the LCS, is now at home watching the show play out, like myself, or already out teeing up the first round of offseason golf.
The Red Sox were swept in devastating fashion by the Angels from somewhere in California, the evil empire that goes by the name of the Yankees swept the Twins right out of the picture, and even the upstart Rockies fell to the Phillies, who no longer have anything to do with cigars.
So while the rest of the baseball world continues on, and the Angels prepare to do battle with the Yankees, as the Dodgers prepare to take on the Phillies, I'm sitting here with a big bucket of "I could care less". I'm still finding myself searching through the past. Granted I can look all I want, even if I found what I was looking for, it certainly wouldn't change the fact that the Cardinals forgot how to play the game.
As we look forward to 2010, there's a stiff wind of change blowing through Cardinal Nation, some predict it will be a fierce change, others say it won't be too much different the next time around. I'll be mulling things over quite a bit in this blog, hoping with the rest of my Cardinals brethren that 2010 will bring home a championship. But there's so many questions that won't be answered for several months, and the most important "Will the Cardinals win it all in 2010" not being answered for more than a year from now. So let's take a look:
Question #1: Who will be managing the Cardinals in 2010?
There's been several who I have already noticed would be completely fine with 2009 marking the end of the Tony La Russa era. To me, that is one of those "Are you serious?" type scenarios. Would you really be okay with the greatest manager of our time walking after being swept out of the playoffs? Does he not deserve to leave on top?
There is no way we can let Tony go at this point in time. If he wants to come back on a chariot pulled by 6 white horses, or just on the Budweiser chariot, I say start arranging it to happen.
Question #2: What to do of the Dave Duncan situation?
We all know that Dave was pretty upset when Chris Duncan was traded to the Red Sox and he has that right. He also has the right to go somewhere else now that the season is over, if that is his desire. However I believe that Dave Duncan will re-evaluate things with Mo, and granted there will be shouting, tempers flaring, etc. I still believe that this bridge is not burned, and Mo would be an idiot to turn away the greatest pitching coach that I've personally ever seen at work. Joel Pineiro, the 2008 Todd Wellemeyer, Jeff Suppan, Braden Looper, the list goes on a good 20 years into the past. Make nice with each other, and let's continue on in Cardinals Nation. We all know it's a business, and Chris is a pawn in that business. He's totally free to bring back in if that's what it takes, but we need Dave Duncan in our dugout.
Question #3: Will Matt Holliday stay, or will he go?
I thought the last question was a brain stormer, but this one is right up there. Holliday turned down I believe it was 5 years and 86 million to stay with the Rockies. It's to my best knowledge that this was mainly a personal choice on Holliday's part, more along the lines of "I don't want to live here" as opposed to "That's not enough money". Here's the dilemma: Matt now has to decide if he's too much of a goat to return here, or does he have a second chance with the fans of St. Louis. We know that we'd welcome him back in a heart beat, but what goes on inside the mind of a ball player can be quickly turned every which way until there's no bit of truth left. As evidenced by the experiences of Khalil Greene, your mind is your worst enemy.
With all that I say I have no honest clue as to if Holliday will be back or not, but my gut instinct says no. Money and hopes of a fresh start will deter Matt Holliday to play somewhere other than St. Louis.
Question #4: What about John Smoltz and Mark DeRosa?
To answer the latter first, DeRosa is a shaky situation. He didn't perform well down the stretch, and his stay in St. Louis was marred by injuries. That said, he's a gamer, and as long as there's a place for him to play every day, and 2-4 million dollars for him to pay the year's bills with, he will be back. I can only ballpark his salary because a million things could happen between now and then health wise and with the pending surgery.
John Smoltz is John Smoltz, 43 years old or not, he showed more than enough to prove to me he's got the ability to perform here. One year and 2 million dollars for a future Hall of Famer, and our #4 starter? Sign him. We all know he'll go into the Hall as an Atlanta Brave, but let him make some memories as a St. Louis Cardinal.
Question #5: Who is the Cardinals #5 starter in 2010?
I hope everyone is on the same page with me by now and they realize that Joel Pineiro will not be back. See Braden Looper and Jeff Suppan if you need to ask why.
The #5 starter will be a competition between Blake Hawksworth, Jaime Garcia, and whoever else the Cardinals can bring in before spring training to compete. I don't have an answer as to who will win, and I hate predicting stuff, but without the prediction, it's no fun. I say Jaime will win a competition between those two, just because he's left handed, and we desperately need a left handed starter.
There's several more burning questions for the 2010 season, but right now my mind is fried. Maybe I'll start coming back with this every week if it works out well, maybe not. Until the next time though, have fun fielding these questions, and I'll gladly reply to any rebuttals. Because honestly, what else am I going to do? Watch the Rams and Chiefs compete for most inept team in the Show-Me State? Hah.