Happy New Year. Good afternoon. Nice to be back on this chat with you all after somehow managing to be on vacation the previous two Wednesdays. I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas holiday. Please fire away.
The Cardinals have already landed the "big bat" they craved this winter when they acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. According to people I trust in the Cardinals' organization, Moustakas is not in their plans and they're not going to worry about matching a seven-year deal for Hosmer. I haven't heard any rumblings about Frazier.
Let me be clear that the Cardinals didn't declare anything in my opinion piece. I declared it based on what my plugged-in sources were telling me. If you think replacing Piscotty with Ozuna means the Cardinals have the same lineup I'm afraid that I cannot do anything to change your mind. The fact is that the lineup has been upgraded with Ozuna. Sure, there's no denying the lineup could be improved with Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado, but let's not pretend that Hosmer and Moustakas are exactly in the same class as those two. It's too early to declare any offseason moves a complete success, so you're right in that regard. Let's wait until pitchers and catchers report to spring training before we declare the Cardinals' offseason shopping spree over. Remember, I quite clearly stated that they're still open to upgrading the bullpen.
There's always a chance, but I wouldn't expect the Cardinals to add two more relievers for the back end of the bullpen at this point. I assume that Holland might ultimately be priced out of the Cardinals' comfort zone, but this free agent market has clearly been slow to develop. I wouldn't count on seeing Arrieta with the Cardinals this season.
There are clearly multiple reasons for this year's slow free agent market, but I assume the biggest reason is the lack of true star power compared to what will be on the market next year. The biggest names that have stoked the Hot Stove League this winter have been on the trade market. Hosmer, for instance, doesn't rate on the same level as Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who will highlight next winter's free agent market. Arrieta is a star, but he's not in the same league as Clayton Kershaw, who has a chance to hit the market next year. Nobody remaining on the free agent market is a must-have player.
It all depends how you look at it. The fans would likely agree that the Cardinals addressed their biggest need with one of the best players on the trade market. In Ozuna, they landed a two-time All-Star who will tremendously upgrade their lineup. Sure, Hosmer and Moustakas might be good upgrades, but I would argue that they're not worth the long-term commitment they seek in terms of years or salary.
I would disagree with you. I would rather give the backup outfield job to Randal Grichuk or Harrison Bader. Greg Garcia, Jose Martinez and Carson Kelly also are solid backups.
I'd say I could name all of them. But if you're asking if I could name more Cardinals and Blues than Missouri basketball players, I must confess I know more about the Blues and Cardinals.
At this point, I would bet the Cardinals' rotation is set unless some serious bargains fall into the team's lap. I don't assume Arrieta will give anybody a bargain with Scott Boras as his agent.
This is a very good point. As I noted in today's column, the Cardinals have the roster flexibility to feel good about being patient with this slow-moving free agent market and even into the season.
Actually, Matt Carpenter's slugging percentage (.451) was lower than it was in 2016 and 2015 (.505). His on-base percentage (.384) was actually the second highest of his career, trailing only the .392 slugging percentage he had as an All-Star in 2013. Carpenter is a solid on-base guy.
I haven't heard those names mentioned. I wouldn't expect those guys to get anything more than minor-league deals at this point.
I might have to disagree with you. The only bigger name than Ozuna realistically associated with the Cardinals this winter was Giancarlo Stanton, who didn't want to come to St. Louis. Did you really think the Cardinals would rob their entire farm system to add Machado as well? Moreover, the free agent market still hasn't moved very much this winter. There are still playing of names and plenty of time remaining.
I sincerely have no idea why he hasn't signed. I wonder if he merely doesn't want to play for the Royals or Padres. I wonder if he hopes to play elsewhere and is merely using those reports to improve his bargaining power with other teams that he actually covets.
There is no cheering in the press box, and most markets follow those rules. I'm sure some reporters grew up as fans of the teams they cover, but most reporters I know can separate their past fandom from their work responsibilities.
It sounds as though the Raiders made a good hire, but he has been away for awhile. It will be interesting to see how he does.
I don't approach signings by what I'd like to see. My job is to opine on what they did or opine on what I think they should do. If I were the GM, I'd be hesitant about spending too much on a free agent closer. It all depends what the going rate. I'd argue that Colome is the better closer, though.
They have different responsibilities. Hull is more of an ambassador. The other three help consult with GM Doug Armstrong.
Anything is possible, especially when you consider that the free agent market doesn't seem to have much traction so far. The Cardinals' top priority at this point, though, is the back end of the bullpen.