Cardinals’ Off-season Needs

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    Well, the season is over and the sting is still fresh. However, it’s time to give our thoughts to what needs to be done in the off-season. Let’s keep it realistic, thoughtful and positive oriented. Hopefully, we can come up with a lively, wishful discussion of what the team could do.



    Offense: the team needs to upgrade, somehow. I know the salary structure has the front office hand tied but there should be something they can do. The weak links are the OF and 3B.

    Defense: it is fairly good. However, IMO, 3B could be upgraded. Carpenter stops what he gets to but has a weak arm. Edman is an average defender there but both of their bats are weak for the position.

    Pitching: the team is loaded with starting pitching and relievers. They should use some of their excess in a trade to upgrade other areas.

    One of the first things they need to do is start working on extensions for Waino and Molina. In Molina’s case, they need to let him declare free agency first. That way they do not have to work about a maximum cut ceiling.

    Brian Walton

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    Free agency officially begins five days after the completion of the World Series, Game 4 is scheduled on October 24 and Game 7 on October 28. After a five-day exclusivity period, players are free to sign anywhere.

    Note that in the recent past, when Wainwright had to declare free agency first (to get around the maximum salary reduction), his contract was worked out in advance and was held until the first day it could be announced. This is a possible path for Molina this year. Then again, Yadi may choose to look around.


    As some have said, we need a MOTO bat.
    Look to the arbitration players on low budget teams.



    Would you describe a MOTO bat as a power hitter, contact hitter, or a combination of both?



    I think there is probably just enough pitching to put together a good staff. With how injury prone pitchers seem to be you need 15-16 arms to get through a full season.

    The line up however is just a disaster. I’d keep Goldschmidt, Dejong, Wong, and Carlson and then Molina for now although at his age how many games can he play and will he continue to produce?

    Carpenter, Fowler, Bader – gotta go.

    Goldschmidt is too easy to pitch around with no reliable protection behind him.

    The line up really is a mess.

    The division was clearly sub-par this year as evidenced by the 1-8 performance in the playoffs. All 4 teams make wild card round exits. That’s bad.


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    A legit crunch time producer that would be a reasonable clean up hitter in a one game season.


    MOTO bat –

    .250+ BA
    .340+ OBP
    .850+ OPS
    25+ HR
    90+ RBI


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    Ironically, had Ozuna put up the numbers he did this year for us we would have been in pretty good shape.

    Carlson might be the middle of the order bat we need, although he may need another year of growing before he really gets to a high level. Any chance Gorman can become the third baseman by mid-year ’21?

    The dead weight is first and foremost Matt Carpenter. No where to play him and his contract is an albatross. Edman is an enigma. Nice player as a guy you can spot in several positions – not quite strong enough offensively to be used at a traditional high-octane spot (third base or corner outfield).

    Dex will be in his final year with us, and is acceptable in right if we have a stronger bat at third or left. As is we need a stronger offensive player at one of those three places, third, left or right.

    Bader – for all his value on defense, he just does not put the ball in play enough as a hitter, which negates what would be another positive, his speed. If he is to stay on a big league roster he needs to adjust similar to the way Kolten Wong has – shorten up his swing, make more contact, learn to place the ball and bunt, while only occasionally turning a pitch on the inner half.

    O’Neill is the guy who could be the offensive force. I still would like to see more of him, but he did not take full advantage of the playing time this year. Still he hit a lot of “at ’em” balls, so I do not count him out.

    Molina is about done. His offense is below par, but still brings a lot of value as the on-field leader. Hope he is back for another year and helps Knizner ease in to a steady role.

    Brian Walton

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    Bikemike said:

    Molina is about done. His offense is below par…

    Not quite and yes. But how does it compare to himself and others?

    The MLB average for catchers this season was an OPS of .701 and wRC+ of 91. Molina came in at .662 and 82, respectively.

    To put that wRC+ into Molina’s career perspective, his other lows were as follows:

    2007: 86
    2010: 84
    2015: 81
    2019: 87
    2020: 82

    Career: 99

    So 2020 certainly wasn’t among his best, nor was it his worst.

    Now one could argue that his numbers might have dropped off during a regular 162-game season, which is another way of saying that if he stays, he has to let Knizner play more.


    Has anyone mentioned that we had/have an OF problem (on top of a 3B problem)? If we didn’t have the 3B problem, the OF problem might not be quite as glaring.



    I think Molina has to understand that it’s time to start sharing catching duties. It will only benefit him and the Cardinals. He is still very valuable but he needs to be batting 7th, 8th or 9th in the order, now.



    Bccran, I mentioned it in my second post in this thread


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    I’d prefer Carlson batting second in front of Goldschmidt. I was really impressed with his early pitch recognition during the postseason, very selective. I hope Mo can solve the cleanup batter issue to allow for this.



    To me, a MOTO bat needs to be someone who hits around .280+ with around 20+ home runs. Their OPS needs to be around .850+. RBI numbers don’t mean much to me. RBIs are a product of having runners on base.

    One of the biggest things is they need to have a K% under 20%.


    How can you possibly measure the value of Molina using advanced statistics? His main value is in leadership, example of toughness, and his knowledge of NL batters.
    You cant measure those things. Advanced stats can measure robots perhaps.


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    I think it is always helpful to mention $$$$$$ when having these discussions because it is pointless to throw out a wish list if the money doesn’t work. As of today October 3, 2020, here is the 2021 payroll situation.

    Goldy- 26
    Carp- 18.5
    Mikolas- 17
    Fowler- 16.5
    A. Miller- 12
    DeJong- 4.16
    Kim- 4
    Hudson- .6
    Gallegos- .6
    O’Neill- .6
    Webb- .6
    Edman- .6
    Helsley- .6
    Cabrera- .6
    Ponce- .6
    Gomber- .6
    Knizer- .6
    Carlson- .6

    That totals 116.47 million.

    Gant- Arb 2 (2M)
    Hicks- Arb 1 (2M)
    Flaherty- Arb 1 (5M)
    Brebbia- Arb 1 (1M)
    Bader- Arb 1 (2M)
    Reyes- Arb 1 (2M)

    I am guessing at those numbers but that totals 14M which brings our overall total to 130.47 million.

    Then you have Wong’s option at 12.5M. That would bring the overall total to $142.97 million.

    Then you have the free agents of Yadi, Waino, Wieters, and Brad Miller.
    Let’s say we bring Yadi back at 12M and Waino back at 8M.

    That gives a grand overall total of $162.97 million.

    In order to make many moves the Cardinals would have to move some payroll. Could they move Wong? CMart? A. Miller? Maybe, who knows?

    The other thing to consider is when will MLB know if fans will be allowed next year? That is a crucial piece of information when planning the budget. We don’t know when a vaccine will be aprroved and when it will be distributed. It could be anywhere from January 2021 to July 2021 or later. Or maybe only a portion of fans will be allowed to enter, say 1/3 capacity. That would help revenue some but not enough. A lot of unanswered questions still remain.



    I had forgotten Mikolas had such a big contract. Wow – He had one good year got paid – followed that with an average year – then out injured and maybe never to return to even average form.

    The Cards FO has really painted themselves into a corner with bad contracts.

    Carpenter, Mikolas, Fowler – good grief….


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    I and others like 25 and JJ have advocated moderate upgrades like Joc Pederson or Kevin Pillar. I still think those are good ideas.

    If the Cardinals wanted to think bigger I think Lindor could be an option. The question is who would Cleveland want in return. They would probably want DeJong. The Cardinals might insist they also take CMart because of the salary or maybe the Indians would accept a reunion with Andrew Miller. They also need OF help so maybe O’Neill.

    Would DeJong, O’Neill, A. Miller or CMart get Lindor? I don’t know but it might be worth an ask. They might also want Knizer. The risk in that scenario is that if Lindor bolts for FA next winter we wouldn’t have a SS for 2022 unless you think Edman can do it every day.


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    If STL is unwilling to make a Mookie mega-offer to Lindor, during his one season of STL control, they shouldn’t even pick up the phone.



    One thing the Cardinals have to find out is why DeJong’s production keeps falling of the cliff as the year goes on. If it’s totally due to how much he plays, they better get his backup planned out this off season. That may be an internal option or an external option. It may even be a replacement.


    As a side note, the Padres had about the same payroll as the Cards this season, and had Tatis, Machado, Myers, and Hosmer in the lineup.


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    If STL is unwilling to make a Mookie mega-offer to Lindor, during his one season of STL control, they shouldn’t even pick up the phone.

    The Cards rolled the dice on Goldy signing an extension and it worked out. Lindor might be a tougher situation though.


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    As a side note, the Padres had about the same payroll as the Cards this season, and had Tatis, Machado, Myers, and Hosmer in the lineup.

    Their payroll was about $17M less than ours and they didn’t have near as many unproductive contracts.


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    Unlikely to happen but could this be the off season the Cards decide to reduce payroll?

    Let walk –
    Molina (unless he signs a Wainwright type contract)

    Trade for value even if minimal. –

    Miller (eat $5 million including trade kicker)
    Fowler (eat $10 million) (has no trade clause)

    Trade for no value –
    Carpenter (no trade rights) (eat $12 million)

    Mikolas/$18 million
    Wainright/ $8 million
    Flaherty / $4 million
    Kim/ $4 million
    Hudson (IL)/ $700k
    Ponce deleon/ $700k
    Gomber/ $700k
    Reyes / $1 million
    Gant $2 million
    Cabrera/ $700k
    Hicks/ $1million
    Gallegos / $700k
    Brebbia/ $1 million
    Helsley/ $700k
    Webb/ $700k

    Goldschmitt/ $26 million
    Shrock/ $700k
    Dejong/ $4 million
    Edman/ $700k
    Knizer/ $700k
    O’Neil /$700k
    Carson/ $700k
    Bader/ $3 million

    Dean/ $700k
    Thomas /$700k
    Sosa /700k
    FA IF / $2 million
    FA C / $1 million

    Actual payroll ~ $84 million
    Committed money ~ $112 million
    Estimated 2022 payroll (everyone back but Wainwright) ~ $100 million

    A lot of money to spend on FA’s if you want to bump it back up.

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