The Tigers are kicking off a two-game series in St. Louis this week, and we figured on this rare occasion that we see a non-Pirates NL Central team we should take a moment to see what’s going on with the Cardinals.
The NL Central is in a pretty similar state of shambles that the AL Central is, and the Cards find themselves in third place behind the Reds (unlike the Tigers, though, the Cards are over that .500 mark)
We decided to ask Josey Curtis, the managing editor of Viva El Birdos what things looked like for the Cardinals this year, whether they’ll sign Molina for another year, and how that Nolan Arenado trade is looking now.
BYB: Obviously there was a lot of excitement this offseason as the Cards picked up Nolan Arenado. Do you think he’s met fan/team expectations?
VEB: I don’t think he has failed to reach our expectations, but he certainly hasn’t exceeded them. He does lead the team with 25 homers but his .810 OPS is topped by Tyler O’Neill and Paul Goldschmidt.
BYB: Which players have been the most surprising this season, for better or worse?
VEB: Adam Wainwright has been a very pleasant surprise. Pushing 40 years old, Wainwright has been the team’s best performing and most consistent starter, leading the team in innings. Most underperforming would probably be Paul DeJong. He did miss a part of the season with a broken rib, but he his hitting just .200 with 85 punchouts in 295 at-bats.
BYB: There’s talk circulating about another Molina extension, and he’s having an okay season, do you think that move will happen? Do you think it should?
VEB: I think it will happen, but it’ll be interesting to see what additional moves if any might happen after. Current backup catcher Andrew Knizner wants (and deserves) to play more than just once a week, but Molina won’t want to sit if he’s healthy. Could Knizner be a trade chip this winter, or will Molina get a few more days off?? I guess it’s a good problem to have!
BYB: Controversial topic that I’m too scared to bring up on Twitter: do you think Molina is a future Hall of Famer?
VEB: I believe Molina is a Hall of Famer. Probably not first ballot, but he will get in. Along with the many defensive accolades, Molina is reaching other milestones as well, including his 2,000th hit last fall. With the performance he’s had, paired with the fact he has done it for so long and with the same team, I feel like Molina is Cooperstown bound for sure.
BYB: Obviously the NL Central is always a tight division, but did you expect the Cards to do better this year? (who would have predicted the Reds in second place?!)
VEB: I did expect the Cardinals to do better. Who would have thought such a lackluster pitching performance overall was coming? Also, the offensive has never really ‘clicked.’ One guy gets hot, and then he fizzles out before another guy can join him... I do think a lot of us forgot how good the Brewers are too, and they are making sure we don’t forget again.
BYB: Which Tiger are you most looking forward to, or most nervous, to face this series?
VEB: Miguel Cabrera is the easy answer here, but I’m gonna go with Jonathan Schoop. Schoop would be a nice fit here in St. Louis... maybe he’ll audition this week. ;) [Editor’s note: No, you can’t have him. Ours.]
BYB: Do you think there’s still a sense of competition between these teams after the 2006 series?
VEB: I don’t think there is. If at least one of the managers was still with the club and if there were more active players, then maybe so!
Thanks so much to Josey for taking the time to chat with us. If you want to read more of her work please head over to Viva El Birdos!