Speaking of Stranger Things. This series of sentences is not tethered to any reality that reporting has revealed.
They already have. The new CBA has mechanisms in place that spoil some of the tried and true approaches to tanking-and-banking. Not the least of which is severe limits on bonus spending when it comes to the international market -- an area that teams felt they could go to gobble and harvest talent without limitations. Now, tanking and spending will still lead to limits for years ahead.
Relegation would be fascinating.
Memphis would advance to NL, Padres would be relegated to PCL. Bring on the BabyCakes as your sleeper favorites to win baseball's answer to an FA Cup!
This is something that came up in last week's chat, and has been discussed often in here. Let's call it the Arrieta Appeal. It has to do with the length of the contract. The Cardinals are going to prefer shorter term deals at a higher AAV (Annual Average Value) than longterm commitments even at smaller AAV. That's how this all fits together. If the Cardinals can get an upside starter at high dollars for shorter term, that's just more appealing than the longer term commitment. It's like Leake, right? The Cardinals went five years for him and wanted out after two, and they were willing to pay a good portion of his remaining deal to get that flexibility and sign someone else. If they could do that for the remainder of Leake's deal -- get a better, upgrade, on that term -- it would mean they'd be in a position to still mix in their young pitchers, and not carry an albatross into the future. That's the idea. That's where they are.
This is a lot of hoops to jump through just to say you want the Cardinals to trade Matt Carpenter. In this scenario, as you outline it, it's more likely that the Cardinals would start him at third base than trade him. They don't need to free up salary. They're doing OK on that end. And a "marginal improvement" would be a negative improvement if Carpenter isn't in the lineup.
Josh Donaldson has a big salary for one year and is the far easier deal to stomach, understand, and thus make -- if the Blue Jays are looking to make that move. It's a rather standard deal that we see throughout baseball multiple times a year. Giancarlo Stanton has a big salary, a contract no team wanted to take on, and an opt-out clause that either makes him a short-termer or a big commitment, and, oh, he has a no-trade clause. There has never been a deal like that one because there's never been a contract like his, and that means it's incredibly difficult to figure out what to do when it comes to moving that deal.
The Cardinals would have to offer a package for Donaldson, with a likely centerpiece of a top-100 prospect, or perhaps a major-league player with more years of control. The calculations would be thus: One year of Donaldson at $22m+ is the equivalent of X Player(s) and X Control years at a reasonable salary. It's not an Eaton-level deal. It's more of a rental-level deal.
He came from Houston. He plays all over. And he's like a lot of guys -- plays a bunch of places, produces well enough anecdotally, and isn't going to be the target of a deal, would just be a welcome part of one.
They're going to try. That still puts it at less than 50/50. Can't ignore their past.
That appears to be the mandate.
Thoughts: Fair line to draw. Elimination is an important facet. Cardinals won Game 6 so many chatters in here are going to favor that game.
As I mentioned in the paper: Name recognition and career success echoes in that dugout, and that's going to give his voice a higher decibel, for sure. Don't discount the value of reputation.
He's still in the mix. He has a strong resume, and there are teams that he has connections with. Pitchers who have had him as a coach will speak highly of him. One thing that works for and against Cardinals coaches is they're so cloistered by the club that they get promoted through it but they don't get much mention outside of it, and that limits the connections that can be made. Lilliquist will be helped by his playing career and his time around the game.
The list is too long for me to re-type here, and some of the names won't even be recognizable then. For example, some of the players have retired or moved on. But here, from a recent chat, is a good working list of the familiar players who had to/have to be added this winter (some already have):
Sandy Alcantara, Chris Ellis, Austin Gomber, Anthony Garcia, Gabriel Lino, Corey Littrell, Nick Martini, Daniel Poncedeleon, Alberto Rosario, Jordan Schafer, Patrick Wisdom, Arturo Reyes, Ryan Sherriff, Wilfredo Tovar, Miguel Socolovich, Oscar Mercado, Tyler O'Neill, Matt Pearce, Dewin Perez.
I see the legitimacy of the comments, and the concerns. There has been all sorts of theories that popped up this season. There was The Blister Theory. This seemed isolated around players, some of whom have extensive history with blisters. There is now the slick ball theory. And the lack of sliders in the World Series. Major League Baseball has a wide variance when it comes to the standard of the baseballs -- well, relatively wide -- and that could account for MLB saying the balls fit the specs and pitchers saying there is something off with the leather, the seams, whatever. The specs are going to allow for enough difference that fingers used to the intricacies of the ball are going to recognize.
Here's my caveat: Let's not ignore two things happening more and more in the game -- hitters are selling out for power and pitchers are throwing more cutters. Cutters are a high-risk, high-reward pitch, and there are some lousy ones out there. You know, ones that become cement-mixer sliders. You know, like we've seen punished all postseason. Now, is the ball causing these cutters to fall apart? Perhaps. But so too is the fact that every pitcher is toying with them and the line between a good, effective cutter and souvenir is even narrower than the specs MLB has for its approved baseballs.
Piece of cake. No problem. Only the most important facets of any roster.
It appears that the Cardinals' patience for the current model has run out, and they are making changes. Coaches now. Roster next. Manager is certainly taking note.
They would have to woo him with the comfort of their jersey, the international flair of the Hill, or perhaps their proximity to Six Flags. Maybe toasted ravioli. The Cardinals are limited in the bonus they can offer international players like Ohtani. And that means he can get a bigger -- much, much, much bigger -- bonus from another team. Now, there have been reports that some of the teams in the Cardinals' situation would try a work-around that gets him on a low bonus with the promise of a mega-contract when the limits loosen. That's a tough sell. Baseball will be watching. And even then the Cardinals are in a spot where they have to sell him on the trappings of their organization and ballpark and opportunity and try to woo him away from larger cities. We've seen how this story ends.
Maybe. It's certainly a good start. Tiny tinkers each of which improves other parts of the roster.
Meh. I think closers can be made. A power reliever? Yes. A power closer? Give that power reliever a chance and watch the saves roll in.