Greetings from nearby the site of the Cardinals' spring training. Hunkered down here at the real estate office with Hall of Famer Rick Hummel and set for the first chat of the year from Jupiter. Already it's been an active day. Norris agrees to terms. Fowler named as leadoff hitter (for now). Alex Reyes throws a bullpen. Adam Wainwright snaps through his bullpen session. And more. I have collected some multi-media items to sprinkle through the chat. Enough prelude. Let's have a talk.
I guess what you're asking about is the Cardinals' obvious hesitation to go four years, five years for one of the remaining starters out there, like the Cubs did for Yu Darvish. It's a fair question when you consider Wainwright's deal is off the books after 2018, and the team will have to decide after the year whether to bring him back as part of the rotation or move in a different direction as they have done with Holliday and Lynn, most recently. What has the Cardinals concerned is not this year or next year, but what teams call the "out years" of a contract -- those four, five, six years. And the thinking behind it is that a pitcher like Darvish or Arrieta is going to miss part of the contract with an injury. The team has to bake that in. And if that pitcher is one of the highest paid at that point and there's been no youth to move in behind him then the team could be stuck. Or, the team could be in a bind when the starter makes the money of a No. 2 in Year 5 and pitches like a No. 6. That's their thinking. An alternate argument is that all of the production you're paying for later comes at the beginning of the contract, and plan accordingly. The Cardinals don't want to block their young pitchers -- and yet it's those young pitchers that positions them so well to add a pitcher who might be costly when he's less productive, and here comes the young pitcher who performs well beyond his contact to compensate.
I get what you're saying about the optics of the moves. But you do have to consider the motivation and roles for the moves. The Cardinals did not sign Mujica to be a part of the major-league team. He got a minor-league deal. The Cardinals did not sign Norris to be their opening day starter. They signed those players to play a role in the depth of the roster. The Cubs were in need of a high-end starter because their rotation lacked that player. We've discussed that. The Brewers still do. The Cardinals feel they don't. That's their view of things. But to suggest that the Cardinals were chasing after Darvish and having not signed him went after ... Norris ... is disingenuous. To suggest that the team could have signed Holland or Davis or some other reliever and just preferred to bring back Mujica is also disingenuous. There are better arguments to be had, like, for me, the Cardinals not going after certainty when they prefer to just collect quantity.
Sure. I mean they are about to sign Bud Norris, if he passes his physical. And they are not closed off other options when it comes to pitching. They do have a full 40-man roster, and Norris will mean removing someone. What doesn't seem to ignite their interest at all, after talking to folks this week, is seeking a veteran for the middle infield or signing that lefthanded bat for the outfield/first base. Mozeliak mentioned Breyvic Valera as a lefthanded bat option already on the roster. Logan Morrison would seem to be a fit on a short-term deal, but that didn't move the needle much in the past few days.
There will be an existing player moved of the roster through waivers. At this point there isn't any indication the Cardinals plan to do anything more complicated than that. There are players they can move, especially when you look at the relievers they've added.
He was a problem for the Cardinals. A most confusing and confounding problem for the Cardinals. They would whomp against pitchers who were better and just couldn't get a feel for him as a group.
That is a fair argument. Not sure where you would put the Ozuna deal, though. He had the best year of any position player acquired from outside the division. Does the Cain-Yelich combo put the Brewers ahead in your estimation when it comes to "Trying to win the division"? To me, the Cardinals put together the roster they thought could win 90 games. That's been an approach they've taken before. It does somewhat slip behind when the Cubs try to put together a roster that they project to win 95 games. Ninety is about what the wild-card team will be, all things being equal and healthy.
I have a hard to buying the Cardinals did not consider signing Bud Norris until just a few hours ago when they saw that the Cubs signed Darvish and they decided, oh, better do something. Norris had been a player they discussed for awhile. This wasn't a counter. This was a silo.
The second part is definitely true. I don't believe the Cubs were a great team 72 hours ago.
Good, for sure. But hardly great.
Keeping up with the Hoyers is not their business-model, no.
Lively. We are moving properties, getting people in condos. Always. Be. Closing.
That's how it works on the depth chart. A lot of the comments I've received from people about Greene -- not all from the Cardinals -- sound like the comments about Alcantara a year ago, or the year before that. Power. Looking for consistency. Needs a better second pitch. Could be a fit fast as a reliever, but holds his velocity late into his starts and that gives some credence to the idea that he should get a long look at starting until a need brings him north as a reliever. I think they see a similar ceiling yes.
Paul DeJong is an option there with Yadier Molina around sixth. Hummel and I had a good debate the other day sitting around the ballpark about whether Molina would fit seventh or hit sixth, and he suggested sixth with the Gyorko, Martinez option behind him, and Wong hitting eighth.
They haven't thrown a pitch yet. Not one game that matters has been played.
They just started wearing them en masse today. They had been passing around the only one that I had seen actually in use. Weaver and Wainwright wore the same one, and I'll be honest I thought more about asking them about how they're pitching, how they're feeling, and what they're working on than how that one hat felt. I've failed you.
They are aware of the lack of a lefthanded bat like you're talking about. They would argue about the fact that they need one. This has been something I've asked around about -- specifically today as Matheny talked about the lineup. It leans right. A lot. Jedd Gyorko had some strong splits a year ago where he thumped away on lefthanded pitching, but didn't have that same success against righthanders, not like say Moustakas or Hosmer did. But then you're not signing either of those players to contracts as parts of a platoon, and it's at that point that you have to figure out where would they start and where would that put Matt Carpenter, who the Cardinals are clearly leaning on as a featured member of the lineup. There are many similarities between Moustakas and Gyorko, and last week's chat featured examples of the ways that Gyorko is better. Splits would make them, combined, a force at third base. That's not going to appeal to a free agent. That's not going to appeal to a team that has to pay full freight on a part-time player. To me, the member of your trio that could be the best fit as of today is Morrison, and after conversations today with folks that doesn't seem to be on the Cardinals' docket as a move.