First Half Report Card – Thinking Outside Of The Box

I hope every one enjoyed the All Star break. We here at ATAW sure did. It’s always good to step back and gain a fresh perspective on things every once in a while. Which is what I did. So today we’ll go over how I think the Cardinals preformed so far this season, and what changes I think need to be made if they expect to make the playoffs come October.

Giving the Cardinals a grade for the first half of the season is easy. They get a big ole fat F. Every one but YADDA, Miles, DUNK, IZZZY, & Frank, have either under performed or been too hurt to give the Cardinals what they need, and what us fans expect. I give those five guys a C+. Maybe at the most a B-. I give Springer an incomplete. He’s been OK, but not great. Albert, Jimmy, Scotty, ECK, Juan, AK, and don’t forget KIPPY, the entire starting rotation and the rest of the bull pen have not lived up to the expectations every one has for a defending World Series Champion. True Jimmy&ECK, and to a extent Juan have been hurt. Carp & Marky Mark as well. But what’s up with Albert? Scotty? AK? What the hell happened to KIPPY? Wagonmaker has been noting but inconsistent. Please don’t ask me about Anthony. It’s border line criminal what the Cardinals have done to him. And the bullpen, FLO has simply lost the ability to get any one out. And he hasn’t met an inherited runner yet this season that he didn’t feel obligated to allow him to score. TJ has had his problems. And don’t forget, we lost our long inning man when Josh Hancock died. If not for IZZY, Russ & Frank, the bull pen would be as big of a problem as the starting five has been.  

So far this season the Cardinals have done nothing but struggle. And that’s not what a defending champion is supposed to do. So from the owners, to the GM, to the coaching staff, to the players. We here at ATAW give entire Cardinals organization a big fat F for their first half performance.

Now, what do they need to do to turn this train wreck of a season around and make the playoffs? Well, what I’m about to say will shock and disturb most die hard Cardinals faithful. But trust me when I say this, unless Walt listens to me, the Cardinals will miss the playoffs.

The first thing I would do if I was Walt is cut AK and KIPPY. Thanks for playing boys, but you suck. You’ve done little to help the Cardinals defend their title, and we have better players in the minors ready, willing, and most importantly able to out preform both of you. Good luck finding a new gig, you are both stand up guys, and because of that this decision is not an easy one. But the Cardinals are supposed to be winners, and they can’t win as long as you two are dragging them down. Secondly I’d trade Scotty Rolen and Juan Encarnassada. I don’t care if Rolen is a 100 time Gold Glove winning sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer. He’s lost his power stroke and has become nothing more than a slap hitting middle infielder at the plate. He’s paid to hit doubles and home runs. And he can’t do that any more. Lucky for him he can still field a mean 3rd base. And I’m sure most teams would love to have him, and Walt can make any team believe a change of scenery is all Scotty Ro needs to help him get his power back. Rolen should bring us one, probably two really good prospects in return. Juan, well Juan probably won’t bring us jack. But he sucks. He should have never been given the opportunity to wear the Birds On The Bat. I don’t care what he brings the Cards. If it’s just a PTBN, I’m for it. Ship his lazy butt out of the LOU ASAP.

Once Scotty & Juan are history, I’d call up Rick Ankeil, and JRod. Plant Rick in center, move Jimmy to left,(that’s if he ever gets healthy) and plant JRod in right. One good thing I just thought about is these moves force SO OLD Gouch to the bench where his aging butt belongs. That’s worth 10 wins right there. What about Slam Dunk? Easy, move him back to his natural position of 1st base. I can here the screams now. You are all saying,,,,,,,, *WHAT???? Albert Pujols plays 1st base!!!! He just won his first Gold Glove for Pete’s sake!!! You can’t move him now!!!!* Well, in case you forget, Albert grew up as a 3rd baseman, and a damn fine one at that. I’m more than comfortable moving him back to his natural position. Like Tony said Tuesday night, Albert’s versatile. He can play any where. I’d also recall Brandon Ryan to back up ECK at short. I’m not convinced ECK’s back will hold up for the second half. And Ryan did a great job while he was here. It’s a crime he was sent back to Memphis. Miles of course is now the every day starting 2nd baseman. I think his play this season has earned him that job.

Now as to who should replace KIPPY in the rotation, well that’s easy. Carp’s almost back, so count with me here, you got Carp, LOOP, Maroth, Puppy Kicker, and Wagonmaker. That’s five starting pitchers. I don’t think any team in the bigs has used a six man rotation in years. So Carp replaces KIPPY. Not bad uh? And just in case Carps not quite ready, there’s always ATAW fave Anthony Reyes wasting away down in Memphis.

There are also other moves I would not be against the Cardinals making. Troy Percival has proved he’s back with a vengeance. I’m sure he’d bring us some fine young stud. If you are not going to use Anthony, then he must be traded for future help. Just don’t get bent over a couch like you did last time Walt. He must bring ready made big league talent, or Anthony should not be traded. You can’t afford another three stud deal, for the damage goods knows as Marky Mark Mulder. And hey, if some one wants LOOP, and is willing to give you a outfielder or two, I’m all for it. He’s nothing more than a six inning pitcher. I think he’d do pretty well in the AL.

Well those are the moves I think must happen if the Cardinals want to make the playoffs. If they don’t do them, and keep throwing out the same old&busted guys game after game, they won’t even finish in third place in the central. Will they do them? Probably not. Walt does not have the stones to make these moves. Besides from what I hear, he may already have one foot out the door.

I would like to encourage every one if you haven’t yet to check out Alyssa Milano’s blog on She’s got a great story on there about her time at the All Star game. And she has a great pic of her with Hall of Famer, the Wizard himself, Ozzie Smith. And just in case you are wondering, yes, I’d marry Alyssa right freaking now if she’d have me. She’s one in a trillion.

Well that’s all the knowledge for today. I hope you enjoy the weekend series against the fighting Phillies. It will not be easy. The Cards face a rookie tonight, Cole Hamels tomorrow, and then Eaton on Sunday. I’d like their chances to win 2 out of 3 if KIPPY wasn’t starting tonight. That Philly line up will have him out of the game before he gets six outs. It’s going to be ugly, early and often. They could easily get swept, or only pull out a win Sunday. Either way, I’ll be watching all the games I can and be back Monday to tell you all about them. Then it’s off to South Beach and the ATL for the Cardinals. UGH. This road trip’s going to kill the Cards. I’ll leave you now with that happy thought. Try and make it a great weekend.

Till next time this is Jonny Bone reminding every one, that the light at the end of the tunnel, may be you.

Always remember, keep makin it bounce.



1 Comment

  1. Heh – back it up on this “We at ATAW” line. I got a slightly different line on this one. And I wanted to post on this topic anyway since it looks like a fun one. Here are my grades for the 1st half:

    Molina: B
    Guy is injured for a decent portion so his grade is sorta incomplete. I like a B+ for what he’s shown when he has been healthy. Baserunners still fear him and he’s displaying a decent bat so far.

    Pujols: A-
    Almost a B grade though. He struggled tremendously early on but at the half he’s posted All-Star numbers. That’s enough for a decent grade. Seriously the guy is A+++ most years, he can’t be downgraded too much for what he’s done.

    Adam Kennedy: F
    The expirement failed. Cut him. Agreed.

    Eck: D-
    Should be incomplete I guess but when the guy is dumped from the top of the order and does nothing for most of the year, he gets a bad grade. Guy has zero trade value too. =-(

    Rolen: D
    I’m still not convinced just how badly he’s hurt. I think he may have just lost his batting mechanics or something. Either way, he is horrible this year. Every now and then there was a flash that he might be back and then he’d drop again. I don’t think a “change of scenery” is gonna get the Cards much for this guy. If I’m the Cards, I wait until the end of this year to trade him and pray he has a decent 2nd half so that his percieved value goes up. He’s done as far as I’m concerned so hopefully the Cards can get something for him in the winter.

    Encarnacion: C-
    Well I don’t have the blazing hatred that Jonny has for this guy but he is what I said in my last post: average MLB player. Nothing special. He’s a 4th outfielder the Cards are using as their RF starter. No trade value virutally.

    Edmonds: F
    Old. Hurt. No Trade Value. =-(

    Chris Duncan: A+
    Besides Pujols, best player on the team. Huge trade value. Had a good 1st half. He’s young. Unfortunately, he’s Dave Duncan’s son, so I seriously doubt they trade him anywere.

    Chris Carpenter: Incomplete (D for the few he did play)
    Nothing hurt this team more. The D grade is unfair since he was probably pitching hurt. Hopefully he does his CY young thing when he gets back. Keep him healthy for next year Cards.

    Adam Wainwright: C+
    He flirted with B range but he’s been sooo inconsistent. I still think the kid has a nice future w/the Cards as a #2-4 starter. Decent trade value

    Anthony Reyes: D
    Can’t give the kid an F or even a D-. LaRussa has killed this guy this year. He’s had no run support either. Okay trade value. Probably would be a decent addition to a bigger trade. Pray he can either please LaDunca or that he can ignore them and be awesome w/out them.

    Brandon Looper: B+
    I give him a bit higher grade than he might deserve for two reasons. 1. No one expected him to do what he’s done. 2. He started hot but has now cooled down. This guy should have trade written all over him. He’s one of those guys that has a decent year this year but he’ll do nothing the rest of his career. Cards are getting his career year right now. Dump him for prospects while you still can.

    Kip Wells: F
    see Adam Kennedy but use the word “suck” a whole lot. Use “dump” too.

    Wellmeyer: C-
    Who? That’s what we’ll be saying next year. A barely servicable starter thus far. I keep waiting or the wheels ot fall off his mediocre ride here.

    Brad Thompson: C+
    Better than I thought he’d be as a starter. Still he belongs in the pen. He’s been just good enough to keep Cards in games. He’s not a MLB starter though.

    Mike Maroth: C-
    Okay okay. Three games is a very small sample size. This one should be incomplete.

    Izzy: A
    He’s back. Trade him

    Ryan Franklin: A-
    Didn’t expect what he’s done. Not sure I would have given him the deal the cards did.

    Randy Flores: D+
    Don’t know what happend to this guy either.

    Rest of the bullpen: C+
    C range because it’s been the most steady of the team but nothing spectacular except Franklin and Izzy and now Pervical. By the way, trade pervical.

    Cards Bench: D+
    Spezio is okay I guess. SO seems barely passable at the plate but his defense is the worst I’ve seen of him. Miles has been good – he is mostly where the D+ comes from. It’d be an F otherwise. Ludwick? Ryan? Schumaker? These guys should barely be at AAA. Ryan is barely decent. Ludwick sucks except for an occasional homer. Schumaker is just plain horrible. I still replay that diving miss in the outfield in my head.

    Dave Duncan: D
    No voodoo magic for Wells (his pet project – woops), reyes, AW (consistency). He DID somehow make Wellmeyer passable (amazing), Looper good, and Brad Thompson decent however. I stuggled at how low of a D to give him. He could just as easily be a D- or a F just for Anthony and Wells alone. Three of his projects paid off though – especially Looper.

    Tony LaRussa: F–
    He’s been nothing short of the worst Cardinal’s manager I’ve ever seen in my short life. From drunk driving, to mishandling the Josh Hancock situation (threatening people how didn’t comment on it the way he wanted), to screwing up Reyes, to thinking he can make bullpen players into starters, for keeping Chris Duncan out of the lineup, to hating on the media ALL YEAR LONG, to benching Albert at the ALLSTAR game, to boneheaded ingame decisions, to a weak 1st half record. And I just hit the high points. Tony has been absolutely horrible this year. I attribute at least 20 losses to him alone. AT LEAST. The only thing that doesn’t have me calling for his head is last year’s WS ring. He gets a pass for this year. BuT he better be ready to roll next year.

    Walt Jocketty: D+
    I have a feeling his hands were tied by ownership. I give him the + for that. He’s been lucky in some places: Franklin, Izzy turned out okay, Looper, Percival. But his failures are even bigger: Adam Kennedy, Wells, resiging Edmonds, SO, etc.

    Team Average Grade: D
    And that puts them right about where they should be 3rd place in the worst division in baseball.

    Nice post Jonny

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