Thursday February 23 2012-Jupiter Florida- Incoming St Louis Cardinal Mike Matheny wants more stolen bases from the defending World Series Champions. Last season, the Cardinals were awful on the bags both in volume, swiping only 57, and efficiency getting caught 39 times.
With Albert Pujols gone to Los Angeles the Cards can push the action without worrying about taking that big bat out of Albert's hands. The club will need to replace some of his production through the traditional National League means of stolen bases, hit-and-run-,advancing runners through any means necessary, but obviously it cant all be accounted for.
The Cards may have already found some help in this area as OF Carlos Beltran is fantastic on the bases, leading all current major leaguers with an 86% success rate (293 of 334 lifetime). Although there is a run replacement issue, Matheny won't force players without the means to overreach. "If you have some speed, show it. That's going to be the philosophy. Show it, learn to use it, develop it, take advantage of some of the special instructors we have around here."
Those special instructors? Only four Hall of Fame players Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Ozzie Smith, and a Hall of Fame Manager, Whitey Herzog, as well as Cardinal legend Willie McGee. No other club can bring in instruction like that.
McGee, new to camp this year, spent 13 years in the Birds-on-the-Bat and received 4 All-Star selections, was the 1985 NL MVP, won three Rawlings Gold Gloves and 2 batting championships as well as being a two-time National League Champion with the Birds.
This is the smartest of all possible moves for any manager in St. Louis, much less an inexperienced one replacing a sure Hall of Famer in Tony La Russa. Take advantage of the tremendous resources while tipping a cap to the most popular manager in Cardinal history, Whitey Herzog.
Herzog, who famously helmed the Runnin' Redbirds of the 80's, advocated using the assets available whether it be power or speed ,which is all he had, captured the hearts and minds of St Louis fans with an exciting brand of action based offense. Many fans had trouble embracing a more stagnant style, no matter the reason. Whitey is scheduled to appear this year after a 23-day Intensive Care hospital stay following a fall at home that resulted in bleeding on the brain.
Monumental Question OF the Day: What is the Over/Under line for the Texas Rangers acceptable expected return on invest with Yu Darvish? 14 or higher?