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WHEELER: Notes From Jupiter: Venting On Cardinals Day Off

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Rafael Furcal #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into home during a game against the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium on March 14, 2012 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Rafael Furcal #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into home during a game against the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium on March 14, 2012 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

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The Cardinals are off today. No game. No practice. Therefore, I don’t have much to report in this space today. I do, however, have some thoughts I’d like to convey. They are similar to what I expressed during my “Three Strikes” segment on Sports Open Line last night with regard to the Cardinals shortstop situation and with how, in my mind, there is a connection between that and the situation the Blues are in right now.

Allow me to explain…

Here are two themes that are prominently expressed amongst St. Louis sports fans at the moment:

“The Cardinals should have done more about their shortstop situation during the offseason!”

“The Blues need to shake this team up, they need to make a trade!”

Heck, I talked about the second of those two things with Mike Claiborne on KMOX last night. His opinion is that the Blues need to make a move, mine is that they will be in the playoffs even if they are unable to make something happen. I would welcome any deal that makes any team better but that’s just common sense, not some special insight by yours truly. But I do say, in all honesty, that both teams will be just fine as they are moving forward so long as they have reasonably good health.

And, no, health is not a cop out! Again, it’s common sense. Injuries derail teams. Happens all the time. Some teams can overcome, some cannot. I happen to think both the Cardinals and the Blues can handle a fair number of injuries and still reach the postseason, they just can’t run into an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic.

Now that I’ve put that out there, allow me to pose a few questions of my own regarding each situation. Feel free to answer me directly (kjwheeler@cbs.com) and I may do a “mailbag” of sorts depending on the number of responses I receive or I may use some responses on Sports Open Line this week…

First, the Cardinals issue…

“The Cardinals should have done more about their shortstop situation during the offseason!”

Let’s establish two things before I ask my questions: 1) the Cardinals had Rafael Furcal under contract for $7 million this season and doctors said surgery was not the best option for Furcal last fall; 2) the Cardinals advanced to Game 7 of the NLCS with Pete Kozma at shortstop.

Okay, now the questions:

1) Which free agent shortstop came without any drawbacks? Could you have signed them even though they knew the plan was for Furcal to be healthy?

2) How much money would you have paid, on top of the $7 million for Furcal, for only a moderate upgrade (if that)?

3) Which shortstops were definitely available via trade?

4) What would you have been willing to give up for those who might have been available? Would Shelby Miller or Trevor Rosenthal be available? Those are the kinds of guys teams want for top tier shortstops.

5) How much salary would you be willing to take on knowing that re-signing Adam Wainwright will also be an expensive proposition? Which is more important to you, keeping your #1 starter or adding offense to a lineup that ranks as one of the best in the NL even if Pete Kozma or Ronny Cedeno are playing?

6) Don’t you think the Cardinals explored all of their options? Don’t you think they would make their team stronger now and into the future if it was possible to do so? Do you think they just weren’t trying hard enough? That they aren’t smart enough?

Now we go to the Blues…

“The Blues need to shake this team up, they need to make a trade!”

1) Okay, who are you willing to trade that has enough value to bring back the kind of return you’re looking for?

2) What are you looking to upgrade most? Defense? Scoring? Grit? Playoff experience?

3) Which players are available on the trade market RIGHT NOW that you believe would make this team markedly better?

See, that last question is the tricky part…

There are 30 teams in the NHL and as of this morning there are 26 teams within 4-points of a playoff spot. In this lockout shortened 48-game season, we’re just about at the halfway point. Coming out of a lockout, how many of those teams that are either in the playoff picture or within 4-points of being there would be willing to trade away players and irritate their fan base even further?

Making a deal this season is going to be awfully tough and it might end up being a case of too little, too late by the time enough teams are out of the playoff mix.

I’m not saying the Blues couldn’t use an upgrade (I’d like another solid defenseman with a left handed shot, personally) but I am saying that things are pretty tight in the NHL right now.

I’m not telling fans of any team that they can’t be critical of poor performance, nor am I suggesting that poor management be overlooked. What I am saying, however, is that I’d like people to be reasonable about things. Demanding a trade when circumstances, either in MLB or the NHL, aren’t really ripe for that kind of thing isn’t very productive. All it’s going to do is frustrate you. It’s like screaming at the car in front of you when you’re stuck in a traffic jam. It makes no sense and does you no good.

You have front offices with the Cardinals and the Blues who have proven to be VERY good at what they do.

When someone is good at what they do I argue that they should receive the benefit of the doubt until all results are in.

Is that an illogical stance? Am I out of my mind?

Again, feel free to e-mail me at the address listed above if you like to answer any of the questions I’ve posed here. Answers could be used in a future blog or on Sports Open Line this week…

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