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Five Questions Going into Spring Training

by Aaron Mullins

Pitchers and Catchers are set to report tomorrow February 12th, but if you’ve noticed, most of the team has already arrived. This should be a good sign, however this team still faces plenty of questions going into Spring Training. Let’s dive in.

1. What Ozuna are we going to get?

KMOXSports on Twitter

Marcell Ozuna throwing with Jose Oquendo critiquing #STLCards https://t.co/4S1SiNLgvo

Marcell Ozuna has been doing his rehab this off-season, which is good. But if you take a look at the video above from KMOX Sports, he still seems to be short-arming his throws. Which Ozuna are we going to get during the season? The 2017 All Star or the 2018 disappointment? I don’t want to talk too much trash on Ozuna, who still had a fine 2018 season that showed a lot of promise, but it was certainly not what we thought we would be getting as fans. The end of 2018 showed what Marcell was able to do with a healthy shoulder, but it might take more than a cortisone shot to make the 2019 season.

2. What will be the role for Alex Reyes?

This considers both the Spring and the rest of the year, but where will Alex Reyes spend his time? You can make the argument for both a position in the bullpen and the rotation, but it’s no clear bet where he will be. The front office seems to view him long term as a starter, but would they be open to having him potentially close games if the rotation is giving them good outings? Many questions surround the young fire-baller and what he could bring to the Cardinals in 2019.

3. How long is the Cecil leash?

If you poll the average Cardinal fan, you would be hard pressed to find many who want to keep Cecil around. I will forever defend his 2017 season with St. Louis, but 2018 was a completely different story. He was ineffective against both righties and lefties and frankly looked awful. With two more years left on his contract, what will it take for the Cardinals to release the 32 year old? They have plenty of depth at the position, so unless Cecil is lights out this Spring, I can’t see the Cardinals sticking with him much longer.

4. Who will be this years Jordan Hicks?

Hicks came out of nowhere to show the world his 105 MPH sinker last season, moving from A ball to the Major Leagues.  Is there another arm in the midst that could make a similar jump to the Majors? I’d make my bet on Genesis Cabrera making the jump solely on the fact that he is a lefty. The Cardinals haven’t had much luck with lefties recently, but did add Andrew Miller. Still, Cabrera might be a better option over guys like Cecil, Webb, Shreve, or even Gomber.

5. Are the Cardinals really done? Could they be a mystery team?

I’ll give you two more questions for the price of one. Are the Cardinals really done this off-season? My heart says no, but my head says yes. I truly think that if there was another piece out there that they were interested in, they would have signed already. With that being said, another move is still possible however unlikely. Mark Saxon did a chat on The Athletic where I asked him “Which notable free agent… do you think the Cardinals would most likely be a “mystery team” on?” He responded back with “Craig Kimbrel, but I don’t have that from any Cardinals sources.”  I am in the same mindset here.

I don’t think they have ever been in on Machado or Harper (which still irks me). The Cardinals don’t “need” another starter so that strikes out Keuchel.  But Kimbrel does intrigue me because he is easily the best reliever of the past 5-7 years. Adding him would certainly help bolster the bullpen even further. Going into Spring Training, I don’t expect much more activity from the Cards.

What are your thoughts? Send me a tweet @AaronArchCity

Thanks for reading

Aaron M.

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