Speed is in again for Major League Baseball

Posted by Scott Wuerz on December 19, 2013 

I wonder if the fact that the Yankees are trying to amass speedy players is a sign that the steroid era is truly over.

New York coughed up big money to sign former Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury already this winter. And now there's talk that the Yankees tried to sign Cincinnati outfielder Shin-Soo Choo as well.

Presumably, if New York landed both players, they'd fill two positions in their batting order with speedy singles hitters who steal a lot of bases. And it would happen at the expense of the likes of Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells, slugging outfielders capable of hitting the ball over the boards.

When guys started smacking homers left and right in the 1990s the stolen base went out of fashion. After all, why make an out in front of a potential homer when all your going to do is open up a base if the stealer is successful?

The Cardinals, who were at the tip of the spear in the stolen base movement in the 1960s and then again when it made a resurgence in the 1980s, haven't had a real base thief since Delino DeShields stole 48 in 1996 and 55 in 1997.

 As much as I enjoyed watching guys like Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds crack homers, it was a lot of fun to watch. But it was also a lot of fun to watch Lou Brock, Willie Mcgee and Vince Coleman intimidate opposing pitchers. A blend of power and speed could give the Redbirds a much more dynamic offense that could hurt another team in a variety of ways.

As prolific as the Birds were when things were clicking last year, they didn't have the ability to manufacture a run when they needed it.

The Cardinals have made a move to adapt to changes in the game by trading for Peter Bourjos and adding rookie Kolten Wong to the roster. We'll see if they can get on base enough to justify their place in the starting lineup.

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