Bernie Bits: The Great Jose Oquendo Will Continue To Make the Cardinals A Better Team

Bernie Bits:

Losing Jose Oquendo as a full-time coach isn’t good for the Cardinals. His gift of teaching and instruction and the example he set with his work ethic were valuable. That said, Oquendo’s work in 2018 will have a lasting impact. He was able to coach the other coaches, especially Oliver Marmol, about how to handle a difficult and demanding job. It isn’t easy to stay on top of players, to push them to get better as fielders and runners. Communication skills are mandatory.  Earning the players’ trust is essential. Marmol and the other Cards’ coaches learned a lot in ’18 from watching Oquendo work. The master imparted his lessons, and that’s an important contribution. Oquendo’s decision to return to a full-time coaching occupation in Florida — working with young minor-leaguers in the Cardinals’ system — is a plus. There is no one better at teaching the game, and some of the best and brightest baby Birds will receive extensive attention. And that’s vital; you want these kids to know how to play the game and be fundamentally polished by the time they reach St. Louis. And Oquendo is only a text message away if one of the big-league Cardinals need his advice. Oquendo continues to benefit the Cardinals with his presence. He has a long reach. And he’s never out of touch.

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Free Carson Kelly.

If Marcell Ozuna doesn’t have the strength of mind to understand why it’s so critical for him to show up for the 2019 season at maximum shape, and with a shoulder that’s 100 percent healthy and powerful … then I don’t know what to say. It’s incomprehensible to me that Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has to call Ozuna out, and put him on notice, and implore him to get physically enhanced for 2019 when Ozuna can become a free agent after the season and should be motivated to the max to have a huge year to increase his value on the open market…

Free Carson Kelly.

Rick Ankiel, lefty reliever, St. Louis Cardinals, 2019. Why not? Makes sense. Ankiel is at peace. He’s at a different time in his life. He’s finally been able to strike out the psychological demons. And if Ankiel’s comeback doesn’t work out, he’ll feel great knowing that he gave it a final try — and that his life outside of baseball with his wife and sons is so happy, there will be no regrets…The Cardinals did the right thing in promoting Marmol to bench coach; he’s highly intelligent, connects with players, and has excellent long-term potential to manage in the majors — possibly with the Cardinals down the road…

It’s good to see Ron “Pop” Warner get a chance to coach third base; he’s done quality work for the Cardinals in the minor leagues, raising the young players and prepping them for the majors. But more than that, Pop is a savvy baseball man. … Lesson from the NLCS and ALCS: Cardinals’ pitchers are behind the times, and because of that the team is at a disadvantage; the Cardinals need more strikeout guys. Absolutely.

If the Cardinals have such big plans for Dexter Fowler, and if Jose Martinez is still a “fit” for the team in the outfield, and if Tyler O’Neill is in the team’s plans, and if the Cardinals are eyeing a left-handed hitter to play right field — well, please explain how all of this will work. Do the Cardinals plan to radicalize baseball as we know it by deploying four or five outfielders at once? Of course not. But it seems a bit crowded out there, and somebody’s gotta go. Surely, Mozeliak and GM Michael Girsch will be making moves to thin the overcrowding and reduce the redundancy.

The Houston Astros? Cheating? No way!  (Sarcasm alert.)

Chris Correa, then the Cardinals’ scouting director, has always insisted that he hacked into the Houston database to collect evidence against the Astros; Correa strongly believes that former Cardinals’ employees, including Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow, purloined the Cardinals’ proprietary information on their way out of St.  Louis. Correa, sentenced to 46 months in federal prison,  was recently released to a halfway house. MLB ordered the Cardinals to surrender two draft choices and $2 million to the Astros as restitution.

Correa later issued this statement after sentencing:

In 2015, I admitted to unauthorized computer access and volunteered to meet with the commissioner to answer any questions and share my concerns about intellectual property theft. In May, I offered to fly to New York. In June, I suggested a meeting during his visit to Busch Stadium.

The commissioner was unresponsive.

I am unimpressed with Major League Baseball’s commitment to fair and just action in this matter. The Cardinals were not the organization that benefited from unauthorized access.

On December 21, 2011, a Houston Astros employee accessed propriety data on a St. Louis Cardinals server. Later I would learn – through unlawful matters – that Cardinals data were used extensively from 2012 through 2014. Houston Astros employees used the data to replicate and evaluate key algorithms and decision tools related to amateur and professional player evaluation. Many individuals throughout the Houston organization, including the General Manager and the Assistant General Manager, were included in e-mail discussions about these matters.

I accept responsibility for my wrongful actions and am paying my debt to society. The Cardinals organization must pay a heavy price as well.

But punishment does not function as a deterrent when sanctions are applied arbitrarily.

I will have no further comment on this matter while I am incarcerated.

What Correa did was wrong … absolutely.

But you’d think that the commissioner’s office would want to take a serious look into the Astros’ alleged shadiness.

Thanks for reading …

–Bernie

More: Mozeliak Likes Cards’ Youth, but Admits It Needs Winter Reinforcement