The 2016 season is finally complete and many Cardinals fans, myself included, breathed a sigh of relief. As I admitted to my wife almost a week ago, I was okay with the Cardinals missing the playoffs this season because I was tired of hoping. Tired of hoping that this team would find the next gear. Tired of hoping that they would click. Tired of hoping that things would finally fall their way. Tired of hoping they’d flip the switch.
As I tweeted Sunday morning, “Good news: The Cardinals acquired a left handed pitcher from the White Sox. Bad news: It wasn’t Chris Sale.” But it really wasn’t bad news at all. The Cardinals acquired left-handed reliever Zach Duke in exchange for minor league outfielder Charlie Tilson.
Duke, 33, has a 2.63 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in an America League leading 53 relief appearances this season. He has a 159 ERA+ which would slot him in third in the Cardinals’ bullpen behind Seung-hwan Oh (240 ERA+) and Kevin Siegrist (165 ERA+).
The MLB All Star Game will be played tomorrow night and, for the first time since the 2007 season and just the fifth time in the last 20 seasons, the Cardinals will not have a player starting the All Star Game.
Matt Carpenter had been the team’s chosen representative before he was injured last week and replaced by Aledmys Diaz. Diaz though is very worthy successor, batting .315 with 13 HR this year and, with a 141 OPS+, is the Cardinals’ second best hitter behind Carpenter.
I had a piece outlined for today that was going to argue that optioning Kolten Wong to Memphis was not only the best decision for the Cardinals to make to create room for Jhonny Peralta‘s return, but the only one that really made sense. The two other obvious possibilities for the Cardinals were Greg Garcia and Jeremy Hazelbaker. But then Mo had to go and ruin it as the team announced that Wong was headed for Memphis with Peralta expected to be recalled tomorrow.
First impressions are everything these days. If you can perform well enough (or bad enough) just long enough for people to think they have you figured out, that impression will stick like glue. The best current example of that is Aledmys Diaz.
Diaz started strong in April, leading the Majors in batting average and slugging. He somehow still failed to win either NL Player of the Month or NL Rookie of the Month. But after a month of complaints about where Diaz bats in the lineup, Mike Matheny finally made the decision to promote Diaz from his regular eighth spot in the lineup to second, arguably the most important position in the lineup.