Of course, Altuve has been the better player. Why he wasn't viewed as the better prospect is part of the issue with prospect rankings that we've explored many times over at Bird Land. They do favor draft picks. They do put a lot of stock in bonuses. And thus Kolten Wong as a first-round pick came into pro ball with a rep and hype and expectations higher than Altuve, who received a $15,000 signing bonus. That's it. The better comparison here might be how Matt Carpenter's rise as a prospect and expectations compared to Altuve. Carpenter, a fifth-year senior, didn't have much hype coming out of TCU and received a paltry bonus, even for where he was drafted, because he had no leverage. Both Carpenter and Altuve got to the majors the way it ought to be -- meritocracy, with performance, and no help from the money invested in them. All on their own talent, not their bonus.
I don't want to get into this back and forth with other baseball writers, but that's what the chat often becomes in the silly season. There are a lot of predictions out there. Have fun with them. Enjoy them. Dream on them. But when we talk in here I've got to do my part to offer you things that I can prove or verify or tease out because of reporting and research and conversation, not speculation. The Cardinals going after Martinez does not seem likely. And if they got to that point, it wouldn't be because only the Stanton deal didn't happen. It would be because several of the deals the Cardinals would prefer to make trading for a bat didn't happen. Martinez is an interesting player, no doubt. Power does play. Power also pays. And the Cardinals rarely win the auctions for players like him. This seems like an unlikely series of events.
The Cardinals are going to try for the latter, and they will definitely do the former. The Cardinals are going to move some pieces around on the roster. That's a given. They would like to make their move for a bat ahead of the market. I've been told several times that there could be an accelerated pace to things this winter because of the 40-man roster and because of the lack of bats on the free-agent market. That doesn't mean tomorrow. That doesn't mean Wednesday. That does mean that the GM Meetings take on the increasing importance that we've seen in recent years.
They saw a younger pitcher who was already a free agent at a lower AAV that they thought was a value play and a good fit for the kind of pitching that the Cardinals have excelled by relying on. The estimates that I hear from people is that Lynn will be aiming for more than what Leake got, around what Samardzija got and pushing toward Zimmermann, if the market will give it to him. That hasn't changed.
A lot. Significantly. This is the Stanton Calculus.
Not one of the top-tier pitchers unless the market craters for a guy like Arrieta, and there isn't any expectation of that at this point. Cobb has come up. Makes some sense. I've mentioned Cashner in past chats. Here's a new name for the chat that is going to be one to watch, and depending on how the market moves for him could be right in the Cardinals' wheelhouse: Tyler Chatwood. Check out his road splits. Consider he had a second Tommy John. That he's young enough and perhaps interested in a short-term, two-year deal to build up his value, and that he'd be looking to do that for a solid team at a friendly ballpark, and that he's going to be a darling of the analytic set for his advanced metrics. Watch the conversation about him and around him unfold.
Can't see a reason why Atlanta would be aching that make a move like that.
The expectation is that Toronto wants to go in the direction of Cleveland and in the direction of Milwaukee, and maybe take a step back to build a longer-lasting, more self-sustaining team, one that is more familiar to its current front office and the leaders there. Of course, many around baseball were expecting them to make that step back this past year, and they didn't.
I have a Hall of Fame ballot, yes. For the Class of 2018.
I think that you could make the argument that the Cardinals, as I wrote this past weekend, could invest in the potential of a reliever to be a closer and not pay the price of past saves. That makes sense to me.
That would be foolish. Surgery is serious. There is not a 100 percent return rate from Tommy John.
I used that phrase. I asked Mozeliak if this was a "de facto November trade deadline." He chided me for the phrasing. Not an unusual thing. Writers trot out phrases like that. Baseball execs bat them away. Rinse. Repeat. Scorpions sting. Ask the frog.
As for your second question, why does Theo Epstein answer questions about the Cubs? He's the president of baseball ops. They have a GM there. It's the same thing for the Cardinals. Mozeliak and Michael Girsch are both going to be answering questions this winter and speaking on behalf of the front office. Mozeliak is still the captain of the baseball ops ship, and thus he's the one doing a lot of the interviews as the winter opens. Through the course of the GM meetings and into the winter meetings and off into 2018 you'll also hear Girsch and see Girsch and read Girsch.
Indeed. He would welcome it.
I'm not sure what you mean. The "Cardinal Way" is a handbook, and whatever other use of that phrase there is it's so darn hard to keep up with. One week it's a list of virtues that players are supposed to have, the next it's the kind of grit a player is supposed to have, and the next it's where they grew up as a ballplayer. It's become this amoeba of a phrase that bends and shifts and warps to the agenda of the user and, thus, has lost all meaning. Like "narrative."
Jose Oquendo's return was driven by the Cardinals eagerness to improve the defense and the fundamentals and to have a coach back in the clubhouse with a resume that has instant credibility and trust with the players. And his health. His health is a major factor here. McGee brings a lot of the same qualities -- instant credibility. In fact, if you look at the Cardinals coaching hires this winter -- Maddux, Oquendo, and McGee -- what you see is deep, strong resumes that come with instant credibility and trust and rep and gravity and trust. Sense a theme?
This is something that will be discussed, yes. As will trading for a glove-first shortstop and moving DeJong to third base and really going heavy into the run prevention. Again, that's if other preferred moves don't work out. I want to offer one note of caution with the Cardinals and Cozart. The Cardinals believe that DeJong could grow into Cozart, or at least be similar to Cozart in total production. Better offense. Capable glove. That kind of thing. And I was given that comparison this past summer when I asked around about whether the Cardinals would try to trade or sign Cozart, and more than one person told me that they already had "their Cozart." They were talking about DeJong.
He and his agent wanted to go to the market and see what else was out there. He was so close. Why not try it for the first time?
Two is entirely possible, even desirably, yes.
I have no idea. The people in the industry I've spoke to for the past year have all mentioned that round-about estimate. So I'm not sure where you're getting other numbers. It hasn't been a secret around the Cardinals or teams that know Lynn the market expected.
Sounds like an interesting article. It's that time of year. Lots of interesting articles.