Greetings. After a week to sneak away and try to steal some days off, I'm back at the keyboard, back on the phone, and back in the chatter's box. There is a stockpile of questions awaiting me so enough prelude let's get to work.
Jose Martinez is a player that is of interest to the Marlins. I mentioned him in the morning update/roundup that appeared here in StlToday.com. Here's a little peek behind the curtain about different ways reporting is done: I've heard Michael Wacha's name come up as someone that the Cardinals would be willing to offer in a trade. That's it. What I have not been able to verify is whether the Marlins are interested, and that to me is where news is made. The Cardinals can offer all sorts of names from their roster, but if the Marlins aren't interested -- and we know they are interested in a top pitching prospect, and now there is a connection with Jose Martinez -- then it isn't much to go on.
Sure. The Cardinals -- or any team for that matter -- have an internal way to determine future production. It's how they evaluate all players. The Cardinals will run their calculus on future production based on past production and trends and aging and all that stuff, and then it will spit on the predicted future production -- or a confidence interval (think of it as the meat of the bell curve), and then that production can be affixed with a price tag in the current market. FanGraphs does something similar with its value assessment of production. So if the Cardinals expect Stanton to go out and have a series of four consecutive MVP-type years worth, say, $35 million on the market place, and then have that dip in later years to $15 million in that final year, they come up with a total value -- and that's the number I'm talking about.
The Cardinals and Nicasio had talks about an extension before he became a free agent; when he became a free agent they both decided to see what else was out there and the Cardinals have made advances on other options. There was a perception headed into Thanksgiving that the Cardinals had momentum with Reed. As for Yelich or Ozuna --- of course! That's part of this whole thing. Any conversation with the Marlins is a conversation that could yield the bat for the Cardinals. That's it. That's been true all along. That's why you've read here and elsewhere why the Cardinals want to stay involved with the Marlins when it comes to trades. If it's not Stanton, it could be Yelich. And that still is a possibility. Heck, they would already have a good feel for what would be involved in that deal. Was just joking around that the Marlins could come out and say OK Stanton approved deal to Giants, but hey we also made a deal with the Cardinals.
As for Zack Cozart. The Cardinals believe they already have a Zack Cozart. His name is DeJong.
If the Cardinals pivot away from the bat and go after a shortstop it will be a defensive whiz, one that would really put an emphasis on run prevention, and you would see DeJong move to third at that point.
There are appears to be three motivating reasons for the move of Diaz to Toronto. OK, four. Well, no, let's go with five:
1. Free up a roster spot.
2. Free up a roster spot.
3. Wasn't going to be involved in deal with Marlins, Rays, or others.
4. Free up a roster spot.
5. Outfield depth in minors.
Action? Yes, it's picking up around baseball, and the Cardinals have long expected that if they could not get a jump on the market -- they didn't -- then they're going to have to act fast within the market, and there is going to be a lot of that as the winter meetings approach and so much talking is going to lead to completion of deals. I guess, to quote Larry David, it depends on what you mean by "soon." Is soon two days? Three days? Or is "soon" two minutes? Three hours? Soon, as in before the end of the winter meetings? Then yes, that's soon.
It is not nor has it ever been Stanton or bust.
Have to agree with your view. I would have bet on Diaz's bounce back. We're clearly not running teams.
That is a possibility. I just haven't heard that as a wish, on either side. The Cardinals went into their pursuit of Stanton -- and this goes back to the trade deadline, really -- believing that the contract was structured to give him every reason NOT TO USE the opt-out. That it would be in his best interest to stay and that any offer should be tailored to expect him to stick around for 10 years. That has somewhat changed because of the opt-out trial period theory. In a sense, if Stanton wants to be a Dodger or an Angel or a Padre or a Yankee or whatever, that he could get free from Miami for three years, go to this new team, and then opt out after Harper, Machado, Kershaw and, yes, Trout have inflated the market and go where he chooses to go as he enters his 30s. That's possible. Now, moving the opt-out up a year would be akin to shortening that trial period. Stanton would have a two lease-to-own, not a three-year lease-to-own. And that's what it would be. A lease to own.
Rearranging the money to give him more upfront would, yes, increase his reasons for going, and I'm not sure what the motivation would be for a team other than they just want out from the out years of that deal.
There are a few reasons for this. When it comes to the Marlins, they have backloaded contracts to telegraph trades. They did this with Reyes and with Buehrle, and at the same time they did not offer them no-trade clauses, because it was against team policy. So, the Marlins would have the lower salaries at the front end of the contract and then have motivation to move those players before the salary climbed. Another reason teams do this is simply inflation -- or betting on increased revenue. Stanton's deal is an example of this because it does mirror what you'd expect to happen for a team as inflation and increased revenue came in -- salaries rise and a $30 million future salary has a present day value of less than that. Also, Stanton's deal is structured that way to give him reasons to stay through the opt-out.
The Cardinals, and a few other teams, have at times gone for the frontloaded contract because they're paying for the better production up front. One we've detailed in here before is Peralta's. Jhonny Peralta's deal was frontloaded for two reasons. First, it paid him the most when he was going to have the most responsibility on the team (shortstop, middle-order hitter), and it paid him the least as he moved off of shortstop to another position and the power possibly faded. Two, it made it possible for the Cardinals to trade him toward the end of the deal to a team that didn't want to take on a bulk contract or wanted to have a cost-conscious designated hitter.
I thought there was ample evidence that Aledmys Diaz was improving defensively. The metrics as he approached the demotion showed this. I'm not sure what happened at the plate. To me, it appeared as if he fell out of sync and then had so many voices on his shoulder telling him to do this, to do that, to do this more, to do that less, to do this again, to do that again, that he was awash in suggestions with no real solutions. The league adjusted to him. The league used his eagerness to swing against him. And from there it was like he didn't have an approach that he could really rely upon.
Chance to win. Crowd. History. Chance to win a championship. Minimal travel through year. Facilities in spring training. Spring training proximity to Miami. Future pitching staff. Talented farm system. Chance to win with that youth. Spring training where he already has spring training. Chance to win a ring. History. Rinse. Repeat.
I didn't say 2018. That would be next year. That be a one-year rental deal and it would cost a lot to get him already. I don't know if the Cardinals talked about that -- but that would severely curtail who the Cardinals were willing to offer to get him. He'd be a rental. And we'd just back in the same spot talking about the same thing and looking at the same options for the Cardinals 12 months from now in the chat.
I don't get the sense a) Abreu is the next stop for their shopping or b) that's the deal they'd offer.
I think both are entirely fair ways to look at it. I've also heard that both deals show the value teams are placing on roster spots, keeping them open, and using them for young players who are, yes, cheaper and have more years of control. This is the cost of teams going younger and younger and churning through those "middle-aged" players who don't have a solid role, who don't have a multi-year contract, and who are stuck in the same spot that a zero-to-three player can fill.
Yes. They must make a move for offense. I'm always unsure how to answer this question because it seems like we go through the same list of names every chat and in almost every article in print, and when I point that out there this backlash that I'm not being helpful, or I'm being a jerk. There are dozens of questions in here about Plan B, and Plan B has been detailed so much that I'm not sure it does anyone any good to just rehash over and over again. Please advise what to do here.
That is certainly one scenario. The Cardinals have made the better offer. That is the perception of people I have heard from, people I have talked to, and other reporters who have tweeted such info.
No, the Cardinals are not the only team "holding up the hot stove." Baseball is not a Redbirdcentric market, believe it or not.
All of those things and the farm system.
I do not get the sense that they intend to pursue two bats unless they whiff on a series of the single bats that they have identified as possible trade/sign targets.