Daily Grind 11.7

Breaking down Troy Tulowitzski, the wild card, and trying to explain why the St. Louis Lams can’t win a ballgame. 

I’m taking some backlash for how I laid out the several options John Mozeliak has this offseason. Apparently, people misunderstood why I left out the two cornerstone players already locked up: Yadier Molina and Matt Holliday. Molina and Holliday will occupy their respective positions for the foreseeable future; therefore I didn’t feel it was necessary to include them in the puzzle.

Moving on…

For those thinking Troy Tulowitzski is the answer, please reconsider. First, Colorado has zero intention of trading their franchise shortstop. He’s under contract through 2021. Two-thousand-and-twenty-effing-one. He’s only played over 126 games three times during his illustrious eight-year career. In 2021, Tulo will turn 37 years old. Derek Jeter is the only player I can recall who continued his success at shortstop through his mid-thirties.

Secondly, Tulowitzski would cost the Cardinals three elite young players. I think a package of Matt Adams, Carlos Martinez and Shelby Miller would tempt Colorado Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd to pull the trigger. That’s an awful lot of talent to cough up for an injury-prone, aging middle infielder.

Quite frankly, I think Mozeliak has his work cut out to find a franchise shortstop. Most of the “elite” tier shortstops (Tulowitzski, Elvis Andrus, Starlin Castro) are under contract through 2020 — a risky length considering this organizations’ fear of paying big money to aged superstars. Just look at the Albert Pujols negotiations!

The wild card, of course, is Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy. Hardy, 31, peaked with the Orioles after Minnesota and Milwaukee gave up on the highly touted prospect. Hardy has been called “the lifeblood” of the Orioles, who insist publicly they have no interest in dealing him. The dilemma includes young phenom Manny Machado who projects as a shortstop but played third base since his call-up in 2012. Machado enters 2014 coming off reconstructive knee surgery and Baltimore has reserves about throwing their future star into the knee-grueling position (shortstop) next season.

The Cardinals would benefit more from finding a “tier 2” shortstop such as Alexei Ramirez, and acquiring an elite center fielder. Elite outfielders are everywhere…not the same can be said about the shortstop position.

Keep in mind; the Boston Red Sox won the World Series with Stephen Drew at shortstop. Drew was 6-for-54 (.111) during the postseason. In comparison, Pete Kozma was 5-for-35 (.142).

I see a glaring hole with greater value at center field than I do at shortstop.

The Lams.

Yes, the losing is well beyond “getting old”. I’m tired of it; you’re tired of it. It’s bullshit.

The Rams have legit talent on both sides of the ball — but they’re too inconsistent to instill legitimate fear. Hell, break a bathroom mirror — who gives a flying ****.

Winning teams have playmakers which opposing teams build their game plan around. When the Rams game plan for Detroit, they want to stop Calvin Johnson. When the Rams game plan for Dallas, it’s Dez Bryant. Atlanta? Julio Jones. Seattle? Russell Wilson. San Francisco? Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick.

What do all of the above have in common? They’re playmakers. Absolute freaks of nature willing to do whatever it takes to see the clock hit zero and collect the win.

Let’s turn the table…

How do opposing teams game plan the Rams?

Jared Cook can’t run block so his skillset is one-dimensional. His drops keep him from anything more than a big tight end.

Tavon Austin, projected as the next big playmaker, doesn’t understand the difference between collegiate and professional ball. In college, his job was to get open and run. In the NFL — that just doesn’t work.

Brian Quick has the size to play like Randy Moss. But Quick, a raw product from Appalachian State, apparently can’t take his skillset to the next level. Defensive game plans don’t revolve around guys who consistently drop passes and have mental relapses five times a game.

I re-watched the Rams/Seahawks Monday Night Football affair just to hear Jon Gruden’s take. Here are some quotes I found fascinating:

“some of these young receivers need to step up in critical moments. That’s why this #stlrams offense has struggled” 

“You have to make plays in the #NFL when they are there to be made … and St. Louis is way too inconsistent” 

And here is Gruden on Austin’s lack of impact:

So there you go. This roster is flooded with talent on both sides of the football. But when a defense can’t determine which bi-polar halve shows up, and an offense continuously making “correctable mistakes” in Week 9, one has to wonder if there is any glimpse of hope for such a desolate professional organization.

Finally

Richie Incognito vs. Jonathon Martin.

Until Martin himself, speaks, I have no interest in what these morons at the mothership or other news network’s have to say. I don’t care to hear about harassment in the workplace when none of these imbeciles have ever stepped foot in a professional sports locker room. 99.9% of these folks would never last a day in such environments and therefore, have no clue as to what is going on.

So anything titled, “Report:”  “Sources:” or “Breaking News:” regarding the Miami Dolphins situation is complete hogwash until the young kid, Martin, speaks.

Thank you.

Follow @NLUCAS0 and @DGrindSports on Twitters folks.

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