For the Cardinals? I cannot see how they're involved in this world at all or how it would shape or shake anything for them. That said, here's a question we're kicking around: How much would you spend on a Houston Astros player, and how concerned should you be that they won't have the same success outside of Houston?
On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a drag on production, a net loss, and 10 is a certainty, a bona fide middle-order All-Star type, the Cardinals are a six. They have promise, but lots of uncertainty. As an aggregate they can get production, but there's no guarantee it comes from one person or consistently.
If it happens, you can take credit for guessing right.
I continue to think that Keuchel would thrive with the Cardinals, give them a different look, and be a fit for them. Aaron Sanchez would be lottery ticket signing -- good upside, though I'm unsure now of the cost, and that has to be factored in. I know the Cardinals have made the rounds with other teams talking to them about outfielders, but there hasn't been one yet to emerge as the obvious -- and available! -- fit. That's a lot of what I hope to explore later today and this week to get a better sense of any gems.
The total production from the outfield is a concern for the Cardinals. As mentioned in the Post-Dispatch on Sunday, if the Cardinals intend to improve their offense some of it must, must, must come from the outfield. There's no way around that.
Not from what I can tell. Whether the Cubs make a move in the winter or at the deadline, the Cardinals are steadfast in their stance that they don't chase the moves, and the same has to be said about non-moves. They insist that they're looking to improve their roster, not get into a transaction race with rivals in the division. Now, the lack of moves or trouble making moves by rivals does change the lens through which the Cardinals' offseason can be judged, but not their plans for it.
I didn't mean to dismiss Pederson. I aimed to point out what you did -- he's not a complete answer. He's a good player. Yes, the Cardinals don't have a player like him readily available -- but that's because he bats lefthanded. My answer is twofold. They can look for better options, better certain options. Probably at the same cost. And if they do look to Pederson, then absolutely do as you point out: look how the Dodgers maximized him, and take that into account.
Why? He was a good player in Colorado. Also, it was a few years ago.
That's Trevor Bauer's argument, and he's been public about it. And I think it's a fair question that Houston should address. Players can get better. I'm not in the camp that the only explanation is sinister or cheating. Better development, better tech, better coaches can make better players. We see that with swings. We see that with fielding. So, why can't we also acknowledge that with pitching?
See earlier in the chat. If you can connect the dots by all means.
Arizona has been shopping Peralta around to see what they could get in return, especially he nears free agency, as you suggest. Peralta came from the Cardinals system. He was a pitcher for them. Reinvented himself as an outfielder, and he's been a good one, too. Defensively strong. Bats lefthanded. Exactly as you outline. I've gotten no sense from the Cardinals that he's the move they aim to make -- in part because there's some similarities the Cardinals see between Peralta and the outfielders they have, minus the lefthanded hitting part. Obviously Peak Peralta -- that 30 homer, .870 OPS Peralta of 2018 -- would be highly attractive to the Cardinals, but if they're evaluation is that he's more likely the Peralta of this past year, or career Peralta then they're judging their own prospect as capable of matching that in left. This is where the discussion of the .800 OPS comes from. The Cardinals are betting they can get there and more internally. Sounds like a big bet to me. Sounds like they would be better to go for the guarantee. But it's not certain Peralta is that guarantee. He's a career .824 OPS with two spike years and then an OPS in that range of .790-.805.
Absolutely they see this. They have leveraged a lot of their payroll spending on the middle shelf of the market, and they have not gotten the return expected as a result. I cannot say this enough: Certainty has a price tag. Let's call it the Scherzer Rule. If you want to sign Max Scherzer and his year to year excellence, that known quantity is costly. Now, if you want to try and score the value play and get more production than cost from a player, every so often you're going to strike on a Mikolas and you do that knowing that every so often you're also going to strike out on a Leake or a Cecil, and so on. The Cardinals got in a spot where they jumped the market or met the market in order to sign free agents who were lower cost because they weren't the guarantees that others were. That obviously is part of their plan, part of how they keep the payroll lower, but the risk is obvious. It's also exposed why they are so protective of their depth in the minors. If one of the high-cost players falters because they have to bake-in that's going to happen, then they need on-hand, cost-effective replacements that can still help a contender.
That would be an interesting bargaining chip for the players to play. I definitely see why it should be discussed, but haven't heard any thing from either side about it being discussed. But do expect medical practices and studies to be in play as the negotiations take place. The union is going to be hyper aware of testing and tests that teams are using to look into durability and usage and the union will be looking to protect the player's privacy and health.
Too much is unknown at this point. I've asked about this with the Cardinals, and that's the answer I get. They had two affiliates on the list of 42 in the New York Times, and they aware that it would change what they need for a facility in Florida if there were more players there. But beyond that, there isn't a lot of clarity for teams. Heck, they're still trying to find out about the 26-man roster and the three-batter limit and on and on.
One trend that we've seen with GMs in the Hall of Fame is they've won in two places. Gillick. Scheuerholz. And people talk about Theo Epstein as a Hall of Fame -- for breaking two curses. Dombrowski has won in multiple places. That would set them apart from Mozeliak in this conversation.
He can play all three outfield spots, yes. That's something that Cardinals worked on this past season with him seeing a lot of time in center field to become more familiar with that position and show whether he can handle it as he advances. He's viewed as a corner outfielder longer term, either left or right, but he has the athleticism and the nose for center field. He is not the elite center fielder that Bader is or the instinctual fielder that Thomas is or the speedy center fielder that Arozarena is, but Carlson plays it smooth, and that comfort will grow with experience.
Fair argument. I would suggest you look at how he got there. That's all. In the past two seasons he has 107 plate appearances against lefthanded pitchers. He's a platoon outfielder. Kolten Wong had 122 this past season, alone. Just please keep that in mind. You're right -- Pederson has certain production when used that way. I'm merely suggesting that for the cost the Cardinals could look to get better, and if they don't find it and make a deal for Pederson that they pay attention to how he was used. That's all.