Your analogy works.
Let's continue with it.
When it comes to the amount of time you let an investment play out before pulling the plug, do you tend to give more time for bigger investments? Probably so, right? The amount of money invested is likely related to the faith you had in that investment, meaning you want to extend the timeline as long as possible before determining that it as a bad investment.
When you do decide or realize you made a bad investment, do you pull the plug entirely, or slowly shift away? Do you eat the loss all at once immediately -- or do you scale back and see if a different approach with the same hire or asset can find a better way to work. Try to see if you can get SOMETHING out of it, for example.
There was a reason Tommy Edman got got a team-high 204 at-bats this season compared to Matt Carpenter's 140. There was a reason Brad Miller got as man at-bats (142) as Carpenter.
The Cardinals are moving along the timeline you suggested, just not as fast as many would like.
They rarely do move as fast as many would like when it comes to eating a contract, and we're talking about a legacy contract here, not just any contract.
Carpenter is being handled differently than some other players would be handled.
His extension -- given because the team wanted him to end his career with the Cardinals -- was handled differently than some other players would be handled.
At your company, I bet you have employees who are not performing as well as they were when they first started, but they've been there a long time and built up a lot of good will and a healthy salary. Sometimes those employees get fired, sure. More often, they are eased out. Carpenter seems to be being eased out -- although if recent history tells us anything he will get a chance to reverse the trend.