First, let's not assume that Harper is going to command a deal that is the same as Goldschmidt only doubled. That assumes evidence not yet entered into the market. Second, last week we talked about the disconnect between the team and the fans. I think you hit on an area where the disconnect is completely reasonable -- and obvious. The Cardinals have said for a while, publicly, the kind of player they are more likely to go after and the hesitance they have with aging players in the free-agent marketplace. They've talked about their need for a star. Harper fits a lot of the things they've been talking about. Entering the winter and throughout the early part of the winter, this was a prominent part of our coverage here at The Post-Dispatch, complete with quotes from Cardinals executives underscoring their stance. The Goldschmidt deal clearly shifted a few things for them. It also reveals somethings that you may even agree with:
-- The Cardinals believe Goldschmidt is a better hitter than Harper.
-- The Cardinals believe that Goldschmidt, at his position is a better fielder than Harper.
-- The Cardinals believe Goldschmidt is more likely to win an MVP in the coming year.
-- The Cardinals were able to get this player and his millions of value in production for $15.5 million in the coming season. That's a steal, if he stays healthy.
They also reveal some things they believe that you may not:
-- They have a better chance to sign Goldschmidt to an extension than they do winning an auction for Harper.
-- They believe they'll have an opportunity to get to know how Goldschmidt will age, and there is track record and examples of how his durability at his position and his player type will be productive through his mid-30s. They'll compare him to Matt Holliday, for example. Get ready for that.
If fans disagree with these stances, that is the root of a disconnect and drives this notion that the team should spend on Harper (or both players) because it can. I'm not at all discrediting that opinion -- because it does line up with what the Cardinals have said they're capable of doing and what they've said they want to avoid in the marketplace. What I'm trying to suggest is that the Cardinals clearly see something in the move for Goldschmidt that they did not in the bidding on Harper. I'm certain part of that was certainty. I'm also certain that actions -- attempted or actualized -- still speak louder than words.