Seems like a classic value play. We won't know if it's a disaster until he starts throwing pitches for them -- because it's an open question how his stuff will translate. There are of course good indicators. He doesn't walk many (some of that is the style of league). He has excellent, smooth, repeatable deliver. Clear athleticism -- and we all know how much the Cardinals prioritize that when it comes to finding/developing/acquiring pitchers. He has a plus slider. Now, if he's just a two-pitch pitcher then his durability and ability to handle innings may not have as much value because he won't see that third time through the lineup, or may be moved over to the bullpen for that reason alone. That's where the value comes in. While some of the pitchers the Cardinals were interested in wanted to only start and didn't want to sign without the promise of starting, Kim was open to either starting or relieving because his goal was to be in the majors. He got that promise, not a promised role.
Somewhat. It gives them a baseline of where they want to go with that spot. For example, they haven't signed a veteran catcher to a major-league deal yet because a) they can wait, b) their preferred options (Wieters) hasn't signed yet, and c) they have a full roster and would prefer not to have to give away another player from it. This is why the Cardinals have spent so much time trying to make a trade from the 40-man roster that would package outfielders for one move, or to acquire a player that doesn't need to be on the 40-man roster. The Cardinals designating Garcia for assignment was seen by some as a dual-pronged move -- it cleared a spot for Kim and it forced the trade conversations to take on some urgency so the Cardinals could see who was really interested in him, not just kinda sorta maybe someday interested. That happened. The Rangers jumped the line to get ahead of Miami, etc., by trading for him.
That would certainly make for a lively chat. Actually, no, it wouldn't. If they did it now, we'd cancel the chat because there would be some writing to do. Are you really telling me you'd rather have Arenado than a Christmas week Cardinals chat?
More than none, for sure. According to reports in Denver and sources I've talked with outside of the Cardinals organization, the Rockies are entertaining the idea of trading him. That seems to suggest a pivot for the Rockies or an openness on Arenado's end to relax his no-trade clause. That's interesting. It's a crowd group of available players at the hot corner. That's for sure. Of the group, the one -- the one, the only one -- at this point that seems to interest the Cardinals is Arenado. But at the price? It would be like paying him free-agent dollars and spending talent to do so, for the promise of only two years.
They recently traded Adolis Garcia to the Texas Rangers for cash.
So these chats aren't a difference-maker? Sounds like a New Year's goal to me.
Well, we can start with Joc Pederson isn't a Cardinal. So I'm not sure how to connect the dots here, but I'll try. Yes, high strikeout rates definitely inform some of the decisions the Cardinals make when it comes to acquiring players or removing from the roster. That's not unusual. Part of the Garcia move was definitely to spur trade talks for him, and the Cardinal had to know there were teams interested. The Rangers were one, based on previous conversations with them, it seems. As mentioned earlier the DFA move put a clock on such trades, and that would spur the offers, get the talks going toward completion and did. Now, we can debate whether the Cardinals got enough for him. That's entirely fair as a criticism. But they were in a spot to get something now or nothing as he skated off to the first team to claim him. Again, I'm not sure how Pederson enters the picture here. He's a lefthanded bat. He's an outfielder. He was at least part of some trade talks somewhere, according to reports. And he's got some remarkable platoon splits. To my knowledge, the Cardinals never dismissed him because of his strikeout rate, per se. When I asked around, the review I got was that he would start against righthanded pitchers for sure, and that the Cardinals were interested in trying to find an everyday certainty in the outfield. They already have enough players to put together a committee of outfielders. And also it would take a trade to get Pederson. The cost would be a consideration, and what that cost would be for a most-days player. It wasn't like the Cardinals were going to get Pederson for cash considerations.
Great question. I've heard this come up every so often -- and I've never really understood why it's been dismissed. There is, however, a trend in baseball for teams to not hold batting practice at home all that often at all. As workload management takes front stage with teams they have reduced the time players are on the field before games, bringing that work down into the cages, into the controlled environment there, or having some players skip those on-field swings altogether. It might be something to do in September, when there are plenty of young, bench players around sure to take their swings. But I've been at the ballpark more and more in recent seasons when people have BP passes for before the game and get on the field to find no one taking BP at all. There are some relievers warming up. That's about it.
The most veteran players aren't always the leaders on a team, so let's keep that in mind. The players who speak the best in front of a camera or come across as a leader when the red light is on aren't always the actual leaders in the clubhouse. Sometimes it's the exact opposite. Adam Wainwright clearly sets the tone for the rotation, and he has been a leader whether he's pitching or sidelined, and that last part is not easy to do. Flaherty and Hudson have been drawn to Wainwright in the same way he was drawn to Carpenter, and there are obvious parallels. According to his peers, Michael Wacha does not get enough credit for what he was doing as a leader the past few years with some of the young pitchers. Molina sets the tone for the players who gravitate toward him -- especially Latin players and catchers. And when he chooses to speak up in the clubhouse, you can bet it gets attention in all corners -- if that's the kind of leadership you're talking about. Dexter Fowler has helped some of the younger players who were looking for ways to fit into the clubhouse culture, to maintain their personality in that atmosphere. More quietly, Paul Goldschmidt does all of that same stuff, player to player and out of sight, often in the cage. I had a few relievers tell me stories about how Goldschmidt has helped them, or given them an example to follow that you might also consider leadership. In a vote of players for who embodied the example set by Darryl Kile and provided leadership on and off the field for his peers, Goldschmidt won the Kile Award for 2019. If both Wainwright and Molina are gone, then Goldschmidt and Flaherty and Hudson are still around. Don't discount Wong's role either.
Any day now. I've not heard any official timetable at all. It lingers and lingers.
Back in 2001 there was a vote, 28-2, to fold two teams. The two owners that voted against the move were from Montreal and Minnesota. This was met with considerable criticism, and as you can see the Twins weren't shuttered, and neither were the Marlins (who won a World Series two years later) or the Rays or the A's, for that matter. Business is good. There are new ballparks almost everywhere but Tampa and Oakland, and there are cities hungry for those teams if they don't get the deals they want. I think we might have a different view of "struggling." Baseball, according to a report yesterday, generated more than $10 billion in revenue, and it's doing OK as an industry, as a whole, and that includes even some of the smaller teams that do need new ballparks, but don't need to be contracted.
Well, that's not true. I spoke with a scout for another team that raved about Adolis Garcia. Another scout suggested that O'Neill was a change-of-scenery candidate because he'd like to see him get playing time that the Cardinals seemed reluctant to get him. Compared him to other K-prone sluggers that needed commitment from a team, like Gallo, etc. I spoke with an executive with another team a few weeks ago who wondered why the Cardinals traded Pham, were looking to trade Garcia, and what they DIDN'T see in their own players that other teams did. I don't think there's a blanket here that you can throw over the Cardinals to say they overvalue their prospects anymore than 28 or 29 other teams value their own prospects, and as with anything it depends on the individual. The trick is finding the team that likes a prospect more than your team does, and then make that deal on their hope for the player.
I believe that when I see it. That would be a message they couldn't ignore.
He starts every day in Class AAA Memphis. He's got two more option years to use. He's not on the clock for a needed promotion. And he can benefit from getting the time to play every day. Had a strong finish to a year that began with a disappointing choice he made and an injury. That set him back. But he asserted himself on the roster and in the depth chart and there's nothing wrong with talent playing in Memphis -- attracting attention from the Cardinals or building interest that will help the Cardinals at the trade deadline.
Clearly it's the asking price. I'm not sure how else to say it. It would be pretty ideal, but two things are really unclear publicly at this point -- how eager the Dodgers were to trade him, and what the Dodgers were demanding in return. You'll notice a trade hasn't happened yet, so both of those things are very very very much in question. I have been able to get some clarity on this from the Cardinals point of view and I'll reiterate that they didn't see him as the everyday player they would prefer to get. What that tells us is the asking price was such that the Cardinals felt they could get an everyday player for the same, or for less.
I guess it could be. It hasn't come up as a plan, no. He's good in the role he has, and the Cardinals are open to the notion that he could get compete to close at the start of 2020.