Hello, on MLK Jr. Day, from the fourth floor of the Hyatt Regency in downtown St. Louis and the media Hobbit hole. There is a lot of furious typing going on all around me as we work to transcribe and provide news from Day 3 of the Winter Warm-up. Through the course of this chat, I will have to step away periodically for interviews and to take care of some work, as we're spinning plates with the coverage. Chatting. Blogging. Reporting. The usual. It's a holiday, but let's see if we can still fill the hopper with questions and see where this chat takes us.
That is. Thought it provided an artistic juxtaposition.
Evidently they see something that is not immediately apparent with their moves. From a straight numbers standpoint, the Cardinals had three relievers who served as closer walk out the door this winter and they have added only one to replace that group. There is a two reliever deficit, and they still have two spots in the bullpen to claim. That speaks to the fact that the Cardinals are still looking to add -- but not trying to look desperate in doing so. Bill DeWitt Jr. said he does not envision any moves before spring training to reshape the roster significantly. They'll be looking for trades during spring, it appears.
That's the word, yep. And on a two-year, reasonable deal, too.
It will be a reliever. That seems likely. Let's go Rowan Wick or Dakota Hudson. Either could turn a real strong spring into a role opening the year with the team.
Mozeliak's comments are meant to affirm a confidence in the current roster and underscore his belief that the club can give Gregerson the chance promised -- to win the closer role -- while also looking at Lyons, Reyes, and a handful of others as options to eventually win the role. The Cardinals are willing to throw numbers at the ninth, not certainty, and that appears to be because, as an organization, they don't believe there is much certainty in closers. DeWitt talked about that with us today about how the role just is too volatile to predict, and as longtime readers will know the Cardinals are allergic to paying for past performance when it comes to closers. They see Wade Davis' contract as payment from Colorado for saves that the Cubs already got. That's not the Cardinals' approach to contract, and the closers continue to be a role that is polar opposite for their viewpoint. That's clear with their action. Sneaky closer targets like Nicasio, Reed, and others signed short-term and lucrative deals, but the Cardinals appeared to heavily weight workload this year -- and that to me is an indication they feel they can find the necessary reliever in spring training on a one-year deal or make the trade for a reliever that doesn't have the mileage. That's entirely true. Those options will be available to them, because we've already discussed in this chat, the bullpen isn't full, the bullpen isn't certain, and no the Cardinals did not dump all their "dry powder" into Miami. They remain a team with more player assets and more payroll room than almost any team in baseball.
Pound for pound, possibly. Don't discount many of the pitchers.
Paul DeJong will be the shortstop. Tell me the starting pitcher and I'll tell you the likely shape of the infield, but let's go for now with the most likely starter at third base being Matt Carpenter.
I didn't hear Mozeliak say those exact words. I have been told by two sources within the Cardinals that the reports -- including ones from me -- about the Cardinals interest in Colome were overstated. I have also been told by one source that the Cardinals were not interested in Colome in those talks with the Rays, and that they did not see him as the answer for closer. At one point this winter, I was told by someone with a feel for the Cardinals view that Colome's contract was appealing because it had three years remaining, and that he could be a seventh inning, eighth inning, or closer and not make the free-agent closer money. That fit the Cardinals' sweet spot, if you will. I have since been told that the talks with the Rays, from the Cardinals' perspective, centered on Chris Archer. Perhaps from the Rays' perspective they were trying to make Colome or Evan Longoria the topic.
Matt Carpenter is just a hitter. At some point in time this leadoff thing just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and not some statistical certainty. That's my viewpoint. Talk enough about a guy not being able to do something, and eventually he never gets a chance to prove otherwise and then it becomes a given that he cannot hit anywhere else because, you know what, he never hits anywhere else. Let's take a tour of Matt Carpenter's career, by spots in the lineup, with OBP and OPS and plate appearances.
1. .391/.878... 2,594 PA
2. .340/.720 ... 534 PA
3. .355/.752 ... 245 PA
4. .158/.474 ... 20 PA
5. .167/.348 ... 12 PA
6. .511/1.143 OPS ... 45 PA
7. .393/.805 OPS ... 114 PA
8. .393/.583 OPS ... 28 PA
By some of the logic driving the leadoff-only school would have Carpenter only batting sixth because look at those bonkers numbers. He gets on base more than 50 percent of the time and has an MVP-level OPS there. Of course, it's only 45 PAs. There is a preponderance of evidence that the hitter Carpenter is is the hitter he is at leadoff, where he's had the most plate appearances, and not the hitter he is at No. 3, where he's had a 10th of the same plate appearances.
For example, at cleanup he's not been all that successful. In fact, he's never reached base in those 20 plate appearances by way of a walk. Does that mean that Matt Carpenter should clearly never hit cleanup because he will never ever never walk there? The numbers say so! Hardly. That's an extreme example about how eventually a player finds his level -- unless he's constantly told that he can't do something or is never given the opportunity because the team has convinced itself that he cannot.
Must step aside for a quick interview. Will step back in shortly. I will provide a video.
Clearly there was some concern about Reed's health/strength/workload. When you look at the winter that Reed had, there did seem to be something limiting the feeding frenzy on his services. He had so many of the indicators of a value-play closer -- or late-game reliever. For a lot of teams. Colorado. Mets. Cubs. And, of course, the Cardinals. The Phillies, at one point, were said to have completed a three-year deal with him. And then nothing. That speaks to some hesitance from somewhere to commit years to him, and that likely stems from the workload he's had. Teams saw him as a volatile add with a piling up of innings that could catch up with him. That said, I agree with you. That's a good price for Reed even with the perceived risk, because the market says that's what the gamble costs, and I bet the Twins made a good gamble that Reed will be an effective reliever, even a closer should they go that route with him. The Cardinals, evidently, disagree.
Adding a pitcher of some type to this team should be a priority. It's missing that piece.
That would not be a pragmatic hope. They're better off trading for the bat they desire.
Sure. You do you. Doesn't change the fact that Cardinals are taking a rather rigid stance here.
That he likes the roster he has right now. About 20 other GMs are saying the same thing, and then five of them will make a move to suggest otherwise. This is the business. Pretty standard.
I'm not sure what you mean, Mark. I don't think discussions with free agents turn into Lincoln-Douglass Debates where the free agent offers an argument counter to the one he's hearing from the Cardinals. If anything, we've seen often over the past few years that they just say no. And sign elsewhere.
Why not indeed. Wrote a story about that very thing. The Cardinals went around their lineup and said, good, good, good, good, and Mozeliak said the view he had is that's fine, but "we need great." I was struck by the fact that they didn't also look at the bullpen the same way. They are taking a stand that they are good enough -- with enough depth and arms and young talent to throw good, good, good, good and have someone emerge as great. It's an interest approach for a team that entered last year with two closers and two lefty setup guys who they intended to use in crunch time, even in the ninth and here's how that turned out:
-- Seung Hwan Oh, replaced as closer. Injured. Now free agent.
-- Trevor Rosenthal, started in setup. Injured. Now free agent.
-- Kevin Siegrist, claimed off waivers. Now free agent.
-- Brett Cecil, struggled during season. Gave himself a 5 out of 10 for year. Still around.
So, the Cardinals had two pitchers had experience closing games and ended the year needing Juan Nicasio to do so. Now they have one pitcher with experience closing games and they're expecting to conjure another closer out of the rest. Absolutely it's a big gamble for the team that had a chance to provide certainty for the bullpen and either a) didn't see it at the right price in this market, b) thinks it can count on depth and not pay for newcomer, or c) still has a move planned.