Not sure why he'd be more than another. He isn't a name that has come up as a player other teams would target for a trade-deadline deal. Production changes that, but now he's on the Cardinals' depth chart, not on another team's wish list.
I imagine the same way the Cubs front office would be viewed if they hadn't lucked out with Jake Arrieta and if Jeff Luhnow's group in Houston hadn't taken Mark Appel with the first pick and left Kris Bryant there for the Cubs to take second overall in 2013. Real nice parting gift there from Luhnow for the Cardinals.
My point: The smartest, best, most revered front offices all have some luck along the way.
Teams don't just check the ERA when making a move on a reliever. They don't just sort by a column on a baseball card. They are more nuanced than that these days. Even the Phillies.
They are. They have taken note, and that's why the handling of Rosenthal is worth watching, closely.
I don't believe I said that, no. I outlined the factors that could lead to that decision.
The top four teams in OPS against Kershaw are all American League teams that have faced him once (three teams) or three times (one team). When it comes to the NL teams he faces regularly, here are the highest OPS totals as a team against the lefty:
The Cardinals have the highest OBP against Kershaw of any team in the National League, at .304. Overall, they are batting .228/.304/.314 against the Dodgers' ace since his MLB debut came against them.
Only if the Cardinals are out of it, and I mean really, really out of it, and if they are out of it, and making trades like that, then they are inviting a real upheaval of the team as we know it because it's not the roster or the direction they imagined and a change would be invited.
This is where stats get a bit dicey, because you're talking about a stat like it's a merit badge, a ribbon for solid performance. That's somewhat how players see it. Front offices see stats as evaluative and predictive tools. Reporters and media folks see stats for their narrative power -- they tell what happened, what has happened, what could happen, and the trends to consider as they happen again. We are asking stats to do a lot of different things there ... so why not have a lot of different stats.
A quality start is a good measure for front offices and for the competitiveness of a team. If they get a lot of them, then they know the rotation is humming and they have a chance to win. It's not all that good as a predictive stat, and it can be clunky as a narrative stat.
A win is a lousy measure of an individual performance, but it does mean something for the pitcher. So, it is a stat that is more satisfying as reward. It's terrible for evaluation and isn't a predictive measure at all. It does, however, have a narrative value for reporters.
This is what gets me about stats.
I get it, for someone trying to evaluate players and predict their performance, a win is terrible. An RBI is not very valuable. And so on. But maybe there are other important uses for these stats, and they shouldn't just be dismissed because in your discipline they don't have value. In my discipline -- covering a game -- an RBI does have value because it tells a reader what happened, a win does have value because in one word it describes this sentence "pitched at least five innings and left the game with the lead in a game that the team eventually won." When saving space, a "win" helps me.
There's my soapbox for the day. All stats have some value -- it just depends on what you're looking for from. There are predictive stats. There are evaluative stats. There are competitive-reward stats. And there are narrative stats.
Not all stats are all things to all of those needs.
Shrewd. That word comes up a lot from other GMs and agents. More than a few agents also describe him as fair -- and clearly aware of what the Cardinals want to do, and not afraid to step away if they don't get it.
(And, I've never once heard a story about him not returning a call to a GM. Can't say I haven't heard that about other GMs who missed out on trades or infuriated a peer as a result.)
Other teams are interested in when/how MLB will take a stand on this. There was a concern that teams would abuse it with starting pitchers, and no real clear understanding of how the leagues would respond.
Years of control are also a big factor, as is the fact that some teams see Wong as an everyday second baseman. The Cardinals should be one of those teams, no?
I have, yes. But let's not imply that it's that easy. I have wondered when he is going to steal a single with a bunt. He hasn't done that as much at No. 3 as he did during spring at leadoff.
I don't interpret that anyway at all. He's ready. He's activated. Sunday he wasn't set for the team, could use the added rest, and the Cardinals had the DL to work with.
That last part the Cardinals did not find a taker for, not when they tried this past winter. And by the time Saturday arrived and they had to make a move for the roster spot, their leverage had been compromised in that regard. The clock was ticking. The Cardinals had a team interested, and there was no playing that team against another interested team for a better value. Also, a reliever wasn't coming in a deal like that.
For a long time, we have been positioning things way: Mozeliak handles the roster, Matheny handles the lineup. This phrase has a history that dates back to TLR, and it involves Anthony Reyes. You'll recall that there was a push from the front office to have Reyes on the major-league roster, and there was some concern by Duncan/TLR that Reyes wouldn't have a place in the majors. It didn't matter if the front office wanted him to be a starter, because once he was on the roster the manager chose the role. Make sense? The GM gives the manager the 25 players, and the manager chooses how to use the 25 players. This is a rule of thumb that we've turned to when looking at Wong's demotion or Taveras' arrive, and so on.
Well, we have been introduced to a corollary of this rule since, about 2013.
The GM sometimes has to give the manager the 25 players that best fit the managers habits or the preferred usage of the manager. The Under Glass Reliever is an example of this. The Cardinals front office would prefer not to have a de facto 24-man roster. That said, the front office recognizes that Matheny feels more confident using other relievers when he has that one Under Glass, and if the front office is going to maximize the value of the bullpen as built then it does need to consider the manager's habits. Look at the way the Cardinals have gone about building the bench: young players one year, veterans the next, a blend one year, and the a bunt of Swiss Army Infielders the next -- all in an attempt to find the right mix for the team and the right mix for the manager. The Cardinals aren't alone in doing this. All team does to a certain extent. The Giants, for example, and their front office is far more likely to get creative with the acquisition and signing of relievers because they know that Bochy is so deft with the bullpen and its late-game use that he'll maximize what he gets. Same with the Cardinals of yore with relievers. I've mentioned this before, but Jocketty once told me the best coupon he had for pitching was Duncan because he could turn a low-buy into a high-dollar pitcher. Suppan and Lohse both have the contracts with Milwaukee to prove it. The Cubs know that Maddon likes to have that Z-man position, and they spent to get him that tool that he wants to be able to use.
With Robert, don't give them that out entirely. Yes, it appears that they made their bid, learned that it wasn't enough and came to grips with that decision as the announcement approached. But, that implies that if they had a chance to make that next bid they would have gone over the White Sox offer. That's not a given. Not at all. Maybe they were so off as to make it clear to both sides that upping the bid wouldn't get them closer, or maybe the kid wanted to go to the White Sox and it was just a matter then of one-on-one negotiation for the best part of that deal.
With Adams, we'll find out. I don't think it's a given that his value would be higher at the deadline. Atlanta is certainly hoping that it is.
I don't find it curious at all that they didn't improve the big-league roster with that deal. They had little leverage to do so -- and thus would have been taking another teams equivalent of Adams the reliever in exchange for Adams the bench bat. Seriously, would Cardinals Nation on Twitter been receptive to that kind of deal as an improvement. Matt Adams the reliever? It would have been that kind of swap. And that kind of swap wasn't available with the Braves, not from what I could see.
They won't have that choice. They didn't have that choice this past winter and had to spend to get Fowler. Another tipping point is approaching -- whether they address it this trade deadline and add a bat that will be costly or they kick the need down another few months and have to go to market. Their needs are going to force them to spend or they will fade.
I have talked to him about this, often. Honestly, more often than he would like me to. He and Mozeliak and others in the Cardinals group who may be reading this sentence right this very minute are tired of my questions about the extra pitcher and the need for 13. They wish I would move on. Get a hobby. But you outline one of the scenarios where it does cause an issue -- even a rare one. The Cardinals would have to go to Leake in this case. That would be the preferred choice. Wainwright would be another one. But the bind is enough that you can see the times the Cardinals move Molina to first base and Fryer behind the plate and not Molina out of the game. What you describe is one reason to do that.