Spring Training, Day 10: This seems familiar
This one was like riding a bike. Hopped in my car this morning, drove down Military Trail to the ballpark, parked outside the Cardinals complex, reported to the media room… Even had my old seat in the main press box. A few of the names have changed, of course, but this was nice.
One of the main topics in this morning’s conversation with Mike Matheny was Matt Adams. I’m intrigued by Adams, who I think could contribute right now in the right circumstance. I’m also intrigued because of the possibility that he’s at least partly in competition with Oscar Taveras for a roster spot. I’m not saying they couldn’t both be on. I’m not saying either one of them is necessarily on. But there are limited spots, and both guys are in the competition.
In short, the case that’s made for Taveras (aside from, he’s great, he needs to be there, end of story) is that somebody needs to be available so they can give Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday days off. I think Adams can essentially fill that role, playing first base with Allen Craig going to the outfield on those days.
And while I definitely understand the groundswell for Taveras, I think there’s a real case for Adams. Matheny laid out part of it today — Adams is at a point where he really doesn’t NEED those everyday reps like Taveras does. He’s older, he’s less raw, he’s pretty close to being the player he’s going to be. If Adams gets one or two starts a week, it likely won’t stunt his development. Taveras really needs to be playing every day.
Also, while it’s frustrating to think about business at this time of year when it’s much more fun to talk baseball, there’s a very real business component with Taveras. You’d really rather make sure you have team control for his age-27 season than have all of his age-21 season.
Finally, one other factor: Adams’ future as an everyday player almost certainly is not in St. Louis. My guess is there’s a lot to be said for trading him, getting value for a valuable asset and perhaps upgrading the club at another area of need. If you’re going to do that, perhaps you want to get him big league at-bats to show what he can do.
I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, and it’s possible that Taveras could go Pujols and be so spectacular they just can’t keep him off. It’s possible they’re both on. It’s possible they’re both at Memphis. I just think it’s not as simple as “Taveras ON” vs “Taveras OFF,” and one reason for that is Adams.
Today’s game in a nutshell: The Cardinals hit five home runs, including big, impressive shots from Adams, Taveras, and Matt Holliday, as they cruised to a 7-2 win. Jake Westbrook was solid, though he got only one groundball out in three innings.
Quote of the day: “If you can hit, you can hit.” — Matheny on Adams and the likelihood that he would be asked to pinch-hit if he’s on the roster
Player of the day: Taveras, who also doubled to go along with his homer. Kid can rake.
Miles driven: 6 today, 1037 for the trip
Miles run: 3 today, 19 1/2 on the trpi
Starbucks visits: 1 today, 10 for the trip
Up next: Yet another day on Planet Jupiter, this time covering for my friend and teammate Bryan Hoch as the Yankees come to town. I’ll actually be on Yanks duty each of the next two days, as they play the Cardinals Thursday and the Marlins on Friday.
And, finally, the playlist:
Today is the 15th anniversary of “The Big Lebowski,” the movie from which this blog takes its name. So here are five songs from my all-time favorite comedy.
Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, “Just Dropped In”
Bob Dylan, “The Man in Me”
Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Lookin’ Out My Back Door”
Gipsy Kings, “Hotel California”
Townes Van Zandt, “Dead Flowers”