That is a good point. Remember, though, the new CBA doesn't force teams to give up first or second-round picks for signing players who were given a qualifying offer. They only have to give up third-round picks.
First of all, you cannot blame the Cardinals if a guy doesn't want to waive his no-trade clause to come here. Secondly, the Cardinals will do something this winter. They know it will a tremendous failure if they fail to upgrade the bullpen and find a middle-of-the-order hitter who can be considered an impact bat. It's early. It's still way too early to concede winter defeat. I promise.
In that scenario, I would probably take most of Stanton's contract than pay Machado $350 million over the same period.
That is a good question, but I don't know. You cannot assume that he would be able to be a quality first baseman.
You make some good points. I see the Cardinals as potentially being a bigger playoff contender than the Giants next season if the Cardinals make the upgrades they promise even if the Giants get Stanton. The Cardinals have a strong farm system and cash flow to land the hitter they need and the two bullpen arms they want.
I don't think that's a mistake. I've said that if I were GM, I would get a veteran swing man who can buy some time until Reyes and Flaherty and Alcantara and Hudson or whoever isn't traded. You can find a solid No. 3-4-5 later in the winter. If they upgrade the lineup and the bullpen, they should be strong enough to compete and be a serious contender with a rotation that has Martinez and Reyes at the top with Weaver, Wacha and Wainwright and eventually Flaherty, Alcantara or Hudson.
Carlos Gonzalez would be a nice addition, but there's no way in hell anybody would consider him as the big bat the Cardinals need. Neshek was an All-Star this season, but the Cardinals need a reliever who can close. They need a guy like Davis, Holland or Colome. They may not need to shoot for the biggest stars to find the bat and relievers they need, but they need to shoot very high.
I honestly don't know enough about that issue to comment.
There's no way to know that.
A good argument can be made that the Cardinals need to add two bats for the middle of the order, but I would also point out that Tommy Pham could be one of those impact hitters. Pham and Donaldson or Pham and Stanton or Pham and Ozuna would make this lineup much stronger.
I would be hesitant to give up Piscotty for Strickland. Remember, until last year, you could make the argument that Piscotty seemed primed to be an All-Star in the future. I don't see a problem if the Cardinals give up on him, but I wouldn't sell quite so low yet, though.
I cannot stress enough how it's still early. It's foolhardy for anybody to have expected anything to happen at the general managers' meetings. In fact, a source that I trust tremendously predicted as much. The activities at the GM meetings are essentially courtship rituals. Everybody is trying to figure out who is willing to find a match. Nobody wants to settle for the first offer, so teams are trying to see what the market will look like in the next three weeks.
I stated the stats that prompted me to vote for Bell second on my ballot. As I noted, both were worthy or being second or third, but some other voters clearly disagreed and didn't even put them on their ballots. It was a close call. There is no wrong answer as long as you know that Bellinger was the clear right choice for the award, which we all did.
I haven't today, no. But it wouldn't surprise me in the future.
I would only be guessing, and I wouldn't want to do that. Nonetheless, I would assume that Dexter Fowler would be a perfect fit in San Francisco if he wanted a trade.
I don't have a vote, but I think Jose Altuve will be a near unanimous pick for AL MVP. I will be shocked if he doesn't get 24 of the 30 first-place votes.
The Cardinals will never tank. Bill DeWitt Jr. has said as much, so you can forget that scenario. I've only worked in St. Louis for two years, but I can tell you that the sense or urgency this year is tremendously greater than it was last winter. Remember, last winter a lot of people in this town chafed at my insistence that the Cardinals weren't doing enough. This year, the Cardinals' front office is signing the same song I sang much of last winter. You don't concede the holes in the lineup if you don't plan on filling them.
Stanton hit 47 of his homers batting second this year. That's exactly where I'd hit him. 1B Carpenter, RF Stanton, LF Fowler, CF Pham, SS DeJong, C Molina, 3B Gyorko, 2B Wong would be my opening day lineup.
One of the soccer writers I've long respected, Elliott Almond, billed it as a the Failure Cup. In a World Cup year without Mexico to anchor it, that tournament would be a huge flop in America. I could envision selling out only MLS stadiums. Nobody likes to be reminded of failing. I wouldn't pay to see it because I know the best players from those national teams won't be on the rosters.