The Cardinals didn't sign Luis Robert because:
a) The Chicago White Sox did a better job recruiting him. This is the biggest lesson for the Cardinals to learn from not signing Robert. They need to rely less on their laundry and their history and modernize their recruiting.
b) The White Sox offered more money.
c) The Cardinals raised their offer, and they had the distinct feeling they were being used to make the Sox offer more money, because Robert preferred the Sox.
d) They were going to pay a dollar-for-dollar tax on the bonus given Robert because of the penalties. And that is what Mozeliak has talked about. Those are the dollars he's described, so please keep that in mind as you discuss the "facts."
Robert is the star you're talking about? Robert? Not Scherzer? Not Harper. Or not the inevitable lack of interest from the Cardinals if Betts became a free agent this winter? No, Robert?
Robert is a talent, for sure. Absolutely. But -- star? He's not there yet, and he's not even the argument that you want to make because it's the high-end surefire free agent signings that they've avoided, or that they've tried to jump ahead on w/ trades, as they tried with Stanton, tried with Yelich, did with Ozuna, did with Heyward, did with Goldschmidt, etc. Those players are far more established than Robert, and some -- a few -- are stars.
I hesitate to do this, but you did bring up facts, so let's discuss the season that Robert just had. He hit .233/.302/.436 with a .738 OPS and 11 homers and he was part of a dynamic offense, to be sure. He's an exciting, electric talent to "dream on," as Luhnow said, but doesn't his slash line look familiar? Harrison Bader had a .233/.336/.443 for a .779 OPS. You wanted facts. Perhaps you need to think about what you want from a "star" player.
Do you want buzz -- do you want promise to dream on -- or do you want production?