Season's Greetings. Welcome to the last Cardinals Chat to be Named Later of 2016. It's been a year here on the Cardinals beat. Definitely a year. Here we are chugging toward the major holidays of December and the market has cooled a little bit. The Dodgers have spent feverishly to keep their band together. The Mets kept Cespedes. The Cardinals added Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil. And Washington traded for the official underappreciated leadoff hitter of the CTBNL, Adam Eaton. Yet, can any of those teams say they really closed the gap on the reigning champs. I imagine this chat will be holiday-spiced with questions about remaining free agents. Maybe more questions about that than anything. But I hope to be surprised. Good tidings to all. On Donner, on Blitzen, on Shirley in Fenton, on Farmer Bob, On AustinTX and Bruce ...
I was crafting an intro worthy of the readers.
There really isn't a vacation period for front offices, not one that is set. It's not like hockey or football that have no-move breaks in the schedule. Front offices will joke that the easiest time of year for them is in October when their team is in the playoffs, because there aren't trades to make and very few roster moves to be had. That said, throughout baseball that week from Christmas to New Year's is a good time to steal time with the family -- for executives, for agents, and for writers, too.
Cardinals have stated that a goal of this winter is to change the team. They saw what the 2016 Cardinals and that roster could do and don't want to repeat it. Moss and Holliday were two players moving on that allowed the Cardinals to change that look of the roster, the personalities that led the team, and so on. When last I checked on this possibility the explanation I got was how the team didn't want to bring everybody back, they wanted a new direction, a different feel. I'm not sure how far Moss' price would have to fall for the Cardinals to look at bringing him back, and whether bringing him back would only be considered if they find a team interested in Matt Adams at the price they've set for trade.
11 meters per second, of course. Cue the coconuts. I'll be on my way.
Schafer was one that was brought up. A few guys already onboard figure to compete for it. Jose Martinez would be another candidate. A few guys that I've had brought to my attention by scouts/evaluators are Chad Huffman and Todd Cunningham. They both got NRIs from the Cardinals. There could be some names added to this list headed toward spring training, one the free agents looking for major-league jobs now settle for a minor-league offer closer to spring. Keep in mind the Cardinals are going to want a guy willing to take a minor-league deal because they don't have room on the 40-man right now -- but will by the middle of March.
That is the club's hope. They're working on that schedule.
They are prepared to do just that. Mike Matheny has outlined an infield that starts with Diaz and Peralta as the starters there and Jedd Gyorko as the regular replacement, at third.
Exactly. That one-year pillow deal -- which is something players take to ignite their value for the next winter, ala Dexter Fowler -- is appealing, but they don't often happen this early in the offseason, not for a guy who was healthy and has eyes on a bigger deal. Two also becomes appealing, especially for an NL team that doesn't have the access to DH.
The Cardinals have been entertaining offers for Adams, exploring what kind of deals could be worked out that included him. He was likely a piece of conversations the Cardinals had with teams about center fielders. Adams is entering arbitration eligibility and has two more years of control. We've seen control really enhance the return on deals. Certainly was the case with Eaton, and has certainly been the case with what Colorado is asking for Blackmon. The Cardinals don't expect to get those returns, but they're not going to hand him over for the reason you mention. They're one injury this year or one year away possibly needing a first baseman. And he's proven a proficient pinch-hitter.
Low on Encarnacion. Still seems to be a guy who can score close to the deal he wants, just testing his patience at this point. Lower on Trumbo.
Plummer will start with extended spring training. This past year was tricky for him as he lost the whole year due to two hand surgeries. He has some catchup to do, and if he gets to State College or a cameo at Peoria that's a strong leap for him. There are at least three other center fielders ahead of him in the organization that are more likely to replace Fowler at some point in center, or be there as the heir when his contract is up.
Makes a lot of sense from Cardinals point of view. Would take more, and not some low-level prospect, either. Less sense from Royals, especially with the return that they've seen other players get. I think there is the faint outline of a legit deal here, but it's not one that I've heard, to be honest. The Royals were one of the teams that called the Cardinals on Kolten Wong.
It would be a welcome cleanup hitter, to be sure. The Cardinals do have the money, to be sure. The biggest concern is the "out years." Does it take a four-, five-year commitment to land a player like those two? It has to this point. That's not appealing for an NL team doesn't see them as a defensive upgrade now (for sure) and wonders what position a slugger will be playing in his late 30s while making $20m-plus.
They are when it comes to the bodies and names they have. They are unsure how all of them are going to fit together into roles. Had the Rule 5 draft gone differently, the Cardinals would be in the market for a lefty reliever. Now they have depth there, and they can look in the remainder bin closer to spring if there's an upgrade or depth move there. I would not be surprised if they added a minor-league free agent as a starter closer to spring training, one who might add depth there at Class AAA. But an impact reliever? They are eager to see if Rosenthal or Wacha could be that guy.
Paul DeJong is set to be the starting shortstop at Class AAA Memphis. That's a big move for him -- a higher level, a new everyday position. It does put him in position to really wow the Cardinals with his legit power potential and his versatility and set the stage for a role in 2018, as Peralta's contract expires and the Cardinals consider another shifting of the infield. The chance of him pushing that up a year with a strong spring are slim. It would take an injury or two to make that happen, not just his production.
Thanks for doing the conversation.
Cardinals don't want to trade him to a team that is "taking a flyer." They want a return.
I did. First night I could. Really enjoyed it. A welcome change to the Star Wars genre -- in tone, in story. I thought it was better than Force Awakens, actually, because it was a story I had not seen before. Rogue One also was wittier than many Star Wars movies and it had more at stake than all of them since Return of the Jedi (not include the travesty that is Episode III). A really strong story, and I wonder what it looked like before the reshoots.
They have. This is something Mozeliak has wanted to add: a fifth outfielder type who could push on Pham. They have with minor-league contacts (why minor-league deals? check earlier in the chat). It's entirely possible they revisit this position as the market settles and some of the players looking for major-league deals now are just looking for a home come spring training.