Happy New Year. Greetings from the eve of the Winter Warm-up. Welcome to a chat that we've done here about this time every year to mostly discuss the Hall of Fame ballot I submitted. That's usually because the market has already moved, free agents have been signed, and teams are coasting toward spring training with the roster they have. Not so this year. So, we'll field all questions. I'll reveal my ballot here imminently, and let's talk about it. Transparency is part of the responsibility of the vote. And already I see some questions about the bullpen ... about the cold stove .. about the ninth ... Away we go.
First, the ballot. This year was trickier than I expected. I was able to continue voting for many of the players I have in recent years -- Larry Walker, etc. -- and then consider some newcomers to the ballot because there was room beneath the 10 player cap. I also tried to stay true to the precedent I've set from previous votes, and that was where things got tricky, especially as I weighted whether to vote for Andruw Jones or not. Here are two things that stood out to me as I put pen to ballot:
1. The time is coming, and soon, where there will be room on my ballot to vote for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds -- the P-E-Duo -- because there won't be the 10 deserving candidates to fill the ballot and I won't need the clause as a way to cleave my list down to 10.
2. I don't think of myself as a Big Hall voter, though this ballot might indicate it. I have come to embrace the idea of being a Big Conversation voter. Jim Edmonds deserved more of a stay and more of a conversation on the ballot than he got -- and I voted as such. I would like to see the conversations continue on some of the players who could slip off this year just because of traffic. What echoes in my ear here is the experience of Ted Simmons. He was on and off the ballot in a year and that continues to come up when he has a chance with the veterans' committee. It shouldn't. So players should get a longer look. Big Conversation.
Better bet there's another reliever coming onto the roster than another bat. Let's broaden that discussion and say there appears to be more interest from the Cardinals in adding a pitcher before spring training (or during spring training) from the group of free agents.
I did not see the comments that have been referenced, but if so then there is an element of leverage here. Mozeliak and Girsch remain in contact with agents and look at available players, should the price find them.
Not really. Hosmer is being pitched to the Cardinals as a fit. Same as it ever was.
Possibly. He has the same agent as them, and the agent may want to work in order, as we've seen him do in the past. There is an element of poker here, and Martinez has enough on the line when you consider the kind of contract he's looking to command to call the bluff.
He was not one of the 14, 15 players that I considered once I had sorted the candidates.
Yep. Andruw Jones, for 10 years, was the most gifted defensive player at his position, and he's one of the best defensive center fielders of all time, no matter what source you want to use. His 10 Gold Gloves are the second-most by a center fielder ever, and if he played in an era when -- like now -- they assigned Gold Gloves to specific outfield positions and not just three center fielders then he would still have won that many Gold Glove and some of his peers would have fewer. So, yes, Jones stands out, and belongs in the big conversation just as much as I felt Edmonds did the year before. Sheffield was a force of nature and I wouldn't be surprised if he gets my vote at some point when there is room on the ballot. Santana did not make that final group that I pulled from.
This is a good question, and from what I can tell not much has changed from the start of offseason. The Cardinals saw Arrieta in a group of pitchers/starters that if the market softened on them would be of interest. The Cardinals want a shorter-term commitment to a starter than what was originally advertised as Arrieta's target. If he wants five, the Cardinals would prefer to go shorter than that, of course. They would, of course, go with a higher AAV to get that shorter team deal, and they are clearly not alone in that when you look at the contracts being handed out this offseason. The Cardinals being linked to Arrieta also serves the purpose of the rep if he wants to push the Cubs to make that deal, so a rival doesn't.
As of today, Randal Grichuk. He's arb eligible and if the Cardinals don't have a deal with him before the exchange of figures tomorrow, they expect to go to a hearing with him.
They were in on the Archer discussions. It's possible the conversations with the Rays were more about Archer than they were about Colome. Archer was definitely of interest to the Cardinals -- and that illustrates what they're looking to do with the rotation and how they defined "upgrade" when they comment about one.
Marcell Ozuna will be in attendance Sunday night at the 60th Annual St. Louis Baseball Writers' Dinner, and that night he will be presented his Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards.
Logical does not mean imminent. But I agree, every time you look through the available free agents and what the Cardinals traditionally try to find in that role you do circle back to Reed and see all the boxes he checks.
Sorry. Lost power there for a little bit. Back at it.
I do have to step aside briefly to conduct an interview for a possible news story in the coming minutes, but I promise to return and then you've got me for the afternoon. I want to get to as many questions as possible. We've got some catching up to do.
Mainly because he's one of the best players in the game and not all of that best is wrapped up in how many home runs he hits.
I would put that as a low possibility at this point. Washington, Houston -- those are possible landing spots that would fit what Lynn was looking for as a destination.
Good question. You're Missing a Great Game by Whitey Herzog is a good one. I enjoyed Pure Baseball by Keith Hernandez when I was young. A Thinking Fan's Guide to Baseball is a good resource to have around. And The Book. The Book gives you a new look at the game.
A wintry mix, I read. A wintry mix.
There has not been, no. Not recently. The reliever the Cardinals would be looking for appears more likely, at this point, to come from elsewhere than Tampa.
Have to step aside to do an interview. I will return ASAP.
Does not change much. The Cardinals sided with moving Piscotty, keeping flexibility with Grichuk, and having a fourth outfielder who can fill all three spots and add power off the bench. Mozeliak remains a fan of Grichuk's upside and athleticism, and he's still entering his peak. At his price and with his pop there's a fit for him -- especially when the Cardinals moved Piscotty and Sierra.