In a recent chat between the two, manager Mike Shildt encouraged Bader to reflect on where he was one year ago, to compare that scrambling hitter to this more confident one. “It’s 180 degrees,” Shildt said.
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COMMENT: The Cardinals have a right fielder they're expecting a career resurgence from, and the same goes for the fifth starter. Their center fielder has never shown an ability to hit consistently, and their left fielder is not 100 percent. Add Wacha’s fragility and Martinez’s injuries, and this team is relying on a lot of “best case scenarios” to break this playoff drought.
COMMENT: Do you think Cardinals management hears us as fans? They love having knowledgeable, dedicated fans, but that comes with a caveat. We know how much money this team has, but when year after year we hear "if this player bounces back" or "if this player is healthy," then we get jaded. Is that something they take into consideration?
POINT: Really liked the Drew Robinson trade. If Bader and Wong start most of the year, Robinson could be used all over, including pinch-runner. He's real fast.
The Cardinals need more star power in their lineup. And yes, Harrison Bader has big-star potential. Especially here. His brand of ball is blue collar and steel-toed. It’s the reason he and beloved Cardinals outfielder turned coach Willie McGee have formed a special bond.