February 14, 2019 at 10:07 am #81852
Stubbornness is not a good trait in the baseball game. Ironically, Matheny was criticized unmercifully for his stubbornness.
Monday Matt Versagian stated that he felt that teams should move on when “mistakes” are apparent. It wasn’t aimed at any particular player but I couldn’t agree with that opinion more. You can take it for what its worth.February 14, 2019 at 10:31 am #81857
As has been discussed many times in many different pop-up Fowler discussions on many threads, the devil is in the details. While I doubt there is any person who thinks Fowler should be played indefinitely, there is clearly disagreement about how long his rope should be – or in the minds of some that there should be any rope at all.
Like I already pointed out, the latter point of view is futility defined. The Cards have made their decision. Complaining that they should have made a different decision is a waste of hot air.
Generic comments like Vasgersian’s are nothing more than that – generic. Being specific matters. So lets discuss how long Fowler’s rope should be and how to measure it. At least that has some relevance to what is really happening.February 14, 2019 at 11:31 am #81866
So lets discuss how long Fowler’s rope should be and how to measure it. At least that has some relevance to what is really happening
If Fowler isn’t producing by Memorial Day then its time to cut bait. Tyler O’Neill becomes the full time rightfielder.
.235 average, 2 HRs, 19 rbis – cut bait
.265 average, 5 HRs, 28 rbis – keeps his starter status
February 14, 2019 at 12:35 pm #81874
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Ratsbuddy.
Rats, thank you for the reply. It seems like a good place to start.
Are you assuming he did ok in spring training? I wonder if he ended camp batting just .235 if the pressure would not be on to replace him already – especially if Martinez and/or O’Neill have a big camp.
While two regular season months might seem reasonable, to be honest, I don’t think the segment of fans wanting change would sit still that long. Of course, if the team is winning in spite of Fowler, that would help to buy more time. But if the team is not winning at a high enough rate, there will understandably be pressure to act sooner. Likely there would be other perceived weak links on the roster as well.
On the other hand, do we really think there will be a decision to move Fowler from full-time starter one day to full-time reserve the next? Wouldn’t it be more likely to be a transition over time where he goes from every day to two out of three days to one out of three days as they also assess whether O’Neill or Martinez gets the job?
A lot of different options on how to play it. One thing is for sure, no matter what happens, not everyone will be happy.February 14, 2019 at 2:55 pm #81876
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“Of course, some fans wanted Fowler thrown over the side months ago. But that is not happening. He will be given a shot in spring training to re-earn the starting RF job.”
Aaaah, but that’s exactly the words I want to see, Brian, from the mouths of Shildt, Fowler, and Mo. An honest competition for the Opening Day assignment — or even one that’s slightly slanted toward Fowler, due to seniority. Even that would be wonderful! A competition, with no concern whatsoever for anyone’s feelings! Sports is supposed to be about competition, not group therapy. If I want to see group therapy I’ll watch a Bob Newhart rerun.
Sports exists for the competition. Competition between teams, and within teams. But re Fowler I have yet to see the word competition anywhere. Maybe I’ve missed it, I have yet to see anyone within the St. Louis organization directly or indirectly say that Fowler will be “given a shot to re-earn the starting job.”
Instead what I’ve read — primarily if not exclusively from Mr. Goold, is that as of today the Cards are “committed to Fowler” as their starting right fielder, or that currently it is Fowler’s starting job to lose. Big difference.
“Generic comments like Vasgersian’s are nothing more than that – generic. Being specific matters. So lets discuss how long Fowler’s rope should be and how to measure it.”
Okay. Last year at the moment that Fowler was benched on June 12th, the Cards had 5 other outfielders with an OPS at least 160 points above Fowler. And of course, except for Jose Martinez they were all better defenders than Fowler as well. (Which is why Fowler in mid-May should have been demoted to AAA to figure out what was wrong, or simply released if he refused the assignment. Because he was blocking clearly superior players, and the Cards needed every win.)
This year, if Fowler wins the starting job in Spring Training, he should keep it until there is someone clearly better — beginning at any point after May 1st. If after May 1st there is another outfielder with an OPS at least 100 points above Fowler’s, then you bench Dexter. (Obviously this rule wouldn’t apply if Fowler has, say, an .800 OPS and Jose Martinez has a .900 OPS in limited duty. If Fowler is playing well, he keeps his job. Conversely, if Fowler starts the year in an 0-40 slump, you bench him of course.)
What you absolutely don’t do, is repeat the destructive stubbornness of 2018, and allow Fowler to keep the job into June if he’s terrible. Matheny generously stayed with him 3-5 weeks too long. And then Shildt behaved like an insane person by re-installing him into the starting lineup, dislodging Bader, the team’s finest outfielder at the time. No more of that crap, please.
“Are you assuming he did ok in spring training? I wonder if he ended camp batting just .235 if the pressure would not be on to replace him already – especially if Martinez and/or O’Neill have a big camp.”
Whoooah. Hold the phone. A minute ago, Brian, you said that Spring Training was a competition. You very specifically said that Fowler would get “a shot” to “re-earn” the starting job. Now you certainly seem to be saying that it’s Fowler’s starting job to lose. And you’re questioning whether it’s fair to “replace him” if he has a poor spring and bats just .235 for example. If it’s a real competition, then no one is being “replaced.”
So which is it, good sir? Is Dexter Fowler an honest competitor alongside his fellow professional outfielders, or an incumbent to be gifted the benefit of the manager’s faith & patience? Is this a fair fight between challengers, or is Fowler the champ who must be knocked out? I don’t think I’m splitting hairs here. I believe this is an important distinction.
“Of course, if the team is winning in spite of Fowler, that would help to buy more time. But if the team is not winning at a high enough rate, there will understandably be pressure to act sooner.”
If Fowler is terrible and the team is on pace to win 110 games, he should be replaced with exactly the alacrity as if the team were on 65-win pace. Not just Fowler. Any truly terrible hitter or pitcher. Manage by math, not emotion. No reason to “buy more time” for any failing player, not if there’s a superior talent to take his place. Play your best team. That’s the rule. Whatever your record, play your best team. Always play your best team — with one eye toward the future, of course.
I’m honestly curious about one thing. Where do people get the idea that the Cards “owe” something to Dexter Fowler? Goold has said it, and Bernie Miklasz as well. That the Birds need to “do right by Fowler.” As if Fowler’s been a big part of franchise history or something. As if for some reason the Cards should bend over backwards to give Fowler chance after chance to prove himself. It’s unfathomable to me, this mindset. They owe him his paycheck, and that’s all they owe him. This isn’t Molina, this isn’t Wainwright.February 14, 2019 at 3:17 pm #81877
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I think giving Fowler until Memorial Day is reasonable but I’m not sure how quick of a trigger the FO and Shildt will have. I’m sure they really don’t want to talk about that unless they have to. Like you say the team’s w-l record may have something to do with it. Regardless I think JMart and/or O’Neill should get at least one or two starts a week in RF, especially against LH’s.
Hopefully Fowler will rebound to his 2017 numbers and I wouldn’t completely rule him out from doing that but if not the team will be under pressure to do something. How will he respond to a bench role? I know they don’t want to release him and eat the contract which is understandable. One other option would be to find another bad contract to trade for. There was speculation that the Giants were looking at Ellsbury. I would imagine Fowler would be as appealing as Ellsbury but I doubt the Cards would want Cueto in return though since he is out this year from TJ surgery.February 14, 2019 at 3:25 pm #81878
C’mon, Bob. Yes, you are splitting hairs. What I say is not binding. Same with Goold. We all understand what is happening. Word play will not change it. Fowler will be the regular right fielder in 2019 until he proves he shouldn’t be. The reality is that Shildt and the front office will make that call as to when, not me, you or the fans. How they will make that call will be theirs, as well. What I hope is that they do what they believe is best, not what they think fans or the media want. That was what was behind my winning and pressure comment.
So I will pass over a lot of the rest of the words and focus on May 1. Another interesting estimate. Thanks for that part. 😉February 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm #81879
I’m on record with “bat him second the first half” and I stand by it.
He’s 10% of the payroll, which is not trivial. Put him in the best opportunity to succeed, if he doesn’t, kick him to the curb.February 14, 2019 at 4:42 pm #81880
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“We all understand what is happening. Word play will not change it. Fowler will be the regular right fielder in 2019 until he proves he shouldn’t be.”
Since all I’ve read is Goold’s second-hand words, and nothing from Shildt or Mo or Fowler himself, I have to gently disagree and say that No, I don’t think that “we all know what is happening.” But I do understand that you are retracting your statement about Fowler “re-earning” anything. Fowler already has it. No earning necessary. Fine & dandy. Then in my opinion perhaps you should not have said it in the first place — giving suckers like me a scrap of false hope — if you meant something else. So let’s edit.
“He will be given
a shot in spring training to re-earnthe starting RF job.”
On a remarkably similar note, just yesterday….
“I’ve got to go out there and earn my spot,” Adam Wainwright said after the team wrapped up its rain-shortened workout on Wednesday. “When you pitch like I’ve pitched the last year and a half when I’ve hardly pitched, you haven’t earned anything. I have to come in here and earn my spot.”
And then Jen Langosch, b’gosh, commented: The Cardinals intend to give Wainwright every chance to break camp as a starter. But his fit isn’t a guarantee.
Wow. Wouldn’t it be nice, in fact wouldn’t it be absolutely amazing if Dexter Fowler said something like what Wainwright said?! A mature, humble, practical, professional approach to his job?
Something like: “I was bad, but I’ve been good for a long time. I’m going to try like **** to be better this year, and I am going to earn my spot in the starting lineup. This isn’t Christmas and I’m not asking for a present from anyone. I want to earn it! And I’m going to earn it!”
And wouldn’t it be nice, in fact wouldn’t it be absolutely astonishing, wonderful, and wacky to read a quote from someone, anyone, any journalist or member of the Cardinal braintrust, that Fowler would be “given every chance to break camp as a starter, but his starting role is not guaranteed“?
Gifting Fowler a starting role regardless of Spring Training events is money-driven madness, and I’ll keep railing against it. If I’m wasting my breath, that’s okay. I got lots of breath. Every instinct I possess, and every publicly available computer model, says that Fowler is NOT one of the three best outfielders in the organization right now. Probably not top four. So make him earn it back.February 14, 2019 at 5:43 pm #81881
Here is another area where we disagree. Wainwright is so overly optimistic and humble that to me, I treat his words as less than meaningful. Don’t get me wrong, I believe he is sincere. He just isn’t always being honest. I’ve lost track of the number of times he was one adjustment, one pitch tipping fix, one grip change, one injury recovery, etc, away from being the old Waino.
We all know he is going to be in the rotation – again – until he proves he should not be. In fact, based on his years of goodwill built up, he will likely be in the rotation longer than he should be.
To re-use your words, Wainwright is no more among the best five starters than Fowler is among the best outfielders (in your opinion). But he is a franchise icon so he is treated differently. That is understood.
Wainwright’s talk of having to earn his job could be driven by two things. One would be to motivate himself. The other perhaps is to try to ignore the fact that he does get special treatment. (Just my guesses.)
Just as we look at the numbers to make a cold, hard assessment of Fowler, the results show that the last time Wainwright was a difference maker was five years ago, in 2014.
Different people have different egos and approaches toward their jobs, but that is their business, IMO. All I really care about regarding Dexter Fowler is how he performs on the field. Skip all the talk and play ball!February 14, 2019 at 7:40 pm #81886
I’m on record with “bat him second the first half” and I stand by it.
Agreed here. He’s the everyday RFer and batting 2nd until he proves that its just not going to work out.
BaderFebruary 14, 2019 at 7:59 pm #81887
I have to disagree with Mister Bob. If the team is winning, many sins can and possibly should be forgiven. Messing with winning chemistry is always dangerous.February 14, 2019 at 8:50 pm #81889
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The conversation between Bob and Brian reminds me of a point made by Jen Langosch and Kevin Wheeler on the latter’s radio show. For all the talk about how front offices have gotten smarter at evaluating players, rarely is the 25 men on the roster at the end of spring training the best 25 players the organization could put out there. Teams are really reluctant to move on from bad contracts as quickly as they could or perhaps should and typically wait too long to admit their mistake and play the player who is better but makes less money. Teams almost invariably choose the option that keeps costing them wins rather than admit to their bosses they made a huge mistake. I think teams who operate like Boston have a huge competitive advantage because they’re willing to eat bad contracts rather than continue to play guys that are hurting the team because they make huge amounts of money. The Cardinals could operate more like Boston in this regard given how financially strong the organization is, they just choose not to.
February 14, 2019 at 9:01 pm #81892
- This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by dac8b9.
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I don’t think anyone in these waters is going to argue with your assessment, Dac. They’ve (Boston) sure kicked our keesters this century.February 14, 2019 at 11:22 pm #81893
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Anyone share with me the thought that Giovanny Gallegos could be a pleasant surprise in the pen this year?February 15, 2019 at 6:56 am #81897
I get most of what dac is saying, but in the case of the Cards, I don’t buy all of it. Bill DeWitt Jr. doesn’t need a memo or a briefing from the front office to understand the situations of Dexter Fowler, Brett Cecil and Luke Gregerson, for example, in significant detail. He is not some disinterested, unaware owner out of touch with reality who is spoon-fed information by the front office.
As far as moving on from bad contracts, if it was your $50 million, you might be motivated to play out the hand longer than if it was someone else’s money. It is easy for tough-talking folks to gloss over that. Always painless to spend OPM = other peoples money.
Boston does have a reputation for making bad free agent signings and later getting out from under them. It eventually even caught up with Theo, who was responsible for many of them. Despite winning their first two rings in over a century, he still got the boot from his ownership. Think about that for a moment. I am not defending Fowler’s deal, but that would probably barely make the top 10 of bad Red Sox deals in the last 15 to 20 years.
At least under this ownership, the Cardinals are more cautious with both signings and releases. That should not be new news to anyone.February 15, 2019 at 7:11 am #81898
Gallegos is in a good spot. He has good stuff and experience. He has one minor league option year left so should ride the shuttle this season. Tyler Webb could be his bookend from the left side.February 15, 2019 at 7:22 am #81899
Fowler should have to EARN his starting spot in RF in spring training and if he stinks in spring training he should not be GIVEN the starting spot during the season end of story.February 15, 2019 at 7:26 am #81901
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Well said, Brian. I would also add that the optics of signing a guy and then kicking them to the curb two years later wouldn’t make anyone look good. Maybe Boston gets away with it but I’d also argue that they have a tougher hill to climb in terms of $$ commitments because of it (think of how much more Boston had to pay Price to get him over St Louis). Like begets like, in a sense. Bad contracts lead to releases which force more bad contracts. It’s a model that might work in a big market like Boston or New York or LA, but isn’t viable in St Louis no matter how much fans might wish it to be so.February 15, 2019 at 9:34 am #81910
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I understand where Bob is coming from. I think we all want our best starting eight to be on the field but in reality we all know that contract amounts do matter and the Cardinals aren’t alone in doing this. A lot of teams are reluctant to eat big contracts. Boston has done it but most teams don’t. The Yankees have held onto Ellsbury despite him being useless for years now. The Giants have Cueto, Melancon, and others on useless deals. It happens.
The question is how long will Fowler keep the starting job not when he will be released.February 15, 2019 at 10:30 am #81920
Teams almost invariably choose the option that keeps costing them wins rather than admit to their bosses they made a huge mistake. I think teams who operate like Boston have a huge competitive advantage because they’re willing to eat bad contracts rather than continue to play guys that are hurting the team because they make huge amounts of money. The Cardinals could operate more like Boston in this regard given how financially strong the organization is, they just choose not to.
dac8… This is a good observation on the situation within this organization.. They say they want to improve the defense, they want to make the play-offs etc, etc…. etc. Nonsense. Every game matters in the final standings. Giving this guy and that guy SPECIAL TREATMENT because of what they are getting paid doesn’t jive with what the boys upstairs are promising… just as Bob pointed out.
A successful leader treats everyone equally. Mozeliak has proven time after time that equality is not part of his vocabulary, especially when it comes to his mistakes. What are the other players feeling when they know that they are being overlooked because of some garbage called “special treatment”. Wainwright, Cecil, Gregerson and the poster boy Fowler, potentially cost us games in the standings by playing poorly and blocking roster spots that could be filled by better players. They have to be thinking wtf. No matter how they try, being better doesn’t slice that way with the present FO regime.
How is that playing to win every game?
ps. Bob, you’re not wasting your breathe, I for one read all of your comments.February 15, 2019 at 10:55 am #81922
This is from VEB:
Ozuna and Fowler can make or break the entire season almost completely by themselves.
This is what I mean.February 15, 2019 at 10:58 am #81923
FWIW, those are the same two difference-making players Danny Mac and I singled out for discussion in this week’s podcast. He brought up Fowler and I added Ozuna.February 15, 2019 at 11:16 am #81925
Well Mo just said the magical words yesterday “I think for us, we are pretty confident in what we have” Now I think he said that the last three seasons also, maybe every season.February 15, 2019 at 1:05 pm #81933
saying that just because the cardinals have chosen to keep fowler and play him that fans cant or shouldn’t criticize that is ludicrous. sure you can also have discussions on how long his rope is but you can have both discussions. if the cardinals offered a free service, didn’t charge you a penny for coming in to watch their games and didn’t take money from tv deals then yea, they are free to run things as they see fit. but when you do all these things as well as well as get tax breaks to build and run your stadium and team, you are fair game in the criticism department, nothing is off the table. that its their money thing is bull crap too, it isn’t all their money. teams that tank[not the cards], or teams that use those magic words being fiscally smart[the cardinals] don’t get the benefit of the doubt and have no right to complain when fans don’t come to the ballpark with teams that are tanking regularly, or in the case of the latter when fans complain about the product the team is putting on the field.
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