Here is a recap of fan's questions this weekend and Ray's answers during the Q&A session.
FAN: "What was it like watching the Cardinals play in spring training?"
Ray: "It was great. I got to watch some of the games from the dugout. The only problem I had was, trying to get Tony La Russa to sit down so I could watch the game. He was always in the way."
FAN: "Who do you think the Cardinals are going to play at second base?"
Ray: "It's still Spivey's job to lose, but he's doing a pretty good job of doing just that. I would think by the All Star break, if the Cardinals haven't made a move/trade, that Aaron Miles will be the everyday second baseman."
FAN: "The Cardinals paid a lot of money for Braden Looper, he doesn't seem to be doing very well in spring training. Is he going to be ok?"
Ray: "He's ok, in that he is healthy and that is a good sign. I would think by the time the season starts, Braden Looper will be pitching effectively. His best chance for success, is to pitch for Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan. I agree the Cardinals probably paid too much for him, but I seem to think that about most contracts."
FAN: "Do you think Brian Daubach will make the team?"
Ray: "It's a shame, but I don't see Brian making the 25 man roster out of spring training. It's a shame because he is doing everything asked of him and deserves to be given a shot on the major league roster. His lack of versatility hurts his chances. Don't be surprised to see him sent down in the next round of cuts. I would suspect he'll report to minor league camp and I would hope the Cardinals would release him, if another major league club shows an interest in him."
FAN: "How's it look in left field?"
Ray: "The problem in left, is that two of the contenders, Larry Bigbie and J-Rod Rodriguez have both been injured and have missed a lot of playing time. So Taguchi will see a lot of playing time in left this season, as well as center. Bigbie will probably miss the first month of the season and J-Rod is starting to hit a little better and with Bigbie on the sideline that could open the door for a John Gall, Chris Duncan or even Skip Schumaker."
FAN: "What about the Cardinals sending Reyes down, isn't he ready?"
Ray: "I personally don't think there was really much of a question as to who the Cardinals were going to name as their 5th starter, once Ponson signed a $1 million dollar contract. So the announcement that the Cardinals did in fact, name Ponson as the #5 starter, didn't surprise me."
FAN: "What can we expect from Ponson. Is he in shape?"
Ray: "Ponson is working very hard in spring training and is doing everything he can to take advantage of this opportunity with St. Louis. My initial reservations about his signing, have long been dismissed."
FAN: "Rick Ankiel, what's the story on Rick, is he a legit prospect?"
Ray: "Rick's problem is he's been injured this spring and other than batting practice has not been participating in a lot of the training and not playing. I think you have to consider him a legit prospect, but I don't see him making the club this season. If I had to bet, I would bet he would start the season at Double-A Springfield."
FAN: "How does this team look, compared to last year's team?"
Ray: "I have heard comments from the Cardinals' brass that this team is better than last year's version. I don't see it. Of course I don't think they have to be to still win the NL Central. The Cardinals played 22 games above .500 against their Central Division opponents, I don't see where that is going to change much this season."
FAN: "How many games do you think this team can win?"
Ray: "A couple of years ago, I predicted the Cardinals would win 95 games, when most experts didn't think they had a chance to win 88. I hate to make predictions but I think this team is still capable of winning 92-95 games and that is plenty to win the division and get into the playoffs."
FAN: "Are the Cardinals going to making any trades before the season starts?"
Ray: "I don't see one in the works. Of course we could have some problems early on in left field and at second base and the Cardinals will consider options as they present themselves."
FAN: "Any surprises this spring?"
Ray: "Chris Duncan, for me has been a big surprised. I hate to admit it, but when our staff did our Forty Prospects, Forty Days, Forty Nights, countdown, I didn't even list Duncan.
Other surprises, let's see, the non-roster invitees and I'm talking about just the pitchers now, have all come in well and pitched better than what anyone could have hoped for. Josh Hancock and Brian Falkenborg, both have a good chance to make the club.
FAN: Do you have any Cardinal Tickets?"
Ray: "I get that a lot, sorry I don't. If you check out our website at www.stlcardinals.scout.com, we have ticket brokers who sponsor our site, who have tickets available for purchase. I admit it may cost you a premium for these tickets, especially this season."
FAN: "Will the new stadium be done on time?"
Ray: "The stadium will be ready for opening day, though the construction is not likely to be completed until mid season.
Thank you for your time and if you have any more questions, I'll be more than happy to meet you after our session or you can write me at email@example.com or call me at 618-889-0588.
In addition, don't forget to check out our website and message boards. Thank you.