Cardinals’ Off-season Needs

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  • #144341
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    rats, if you bat Carlson #2, ahead of Goldy, I’d expect at least .250 / .350 / .450 / .800

    #144342
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    You raise a good point, jj. Where Carlson hits in the lineup could influence his production. For me, putting him no. 2 would suggest a cleanup hitter is added and Edman moves down to the bottom third.

    #144343
    Avatarmudville
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    At some point major league pitchers are going to realize that they should never, ever throw Arozarena
    a fastball. Lets see how Arozarena does after that happens.

    I’m taking bets that after Ozuna gets the big contract that he wants, he will revert to the player he was in St. Louis. The team that has him will then be stuck with him for the length of his contract rather than just two years.

    How could anyone have known that Voit was going to go from fading prospect to blossoming superstar, literally, overnight? I wonder how that happened when nothing he ever did in St. Louis hinted that it would.
    Voit knows how that happened.

    After the Cardinals nursed Pham along through multiple injuries over many years, he finally is given his chance at the major league level where he has some success. Then, what does he do? He publicly bad mouths the organization and everyone in it. The Rays got rid of him, too.

    Carpenter fooled everybody, not just Mo. Salsa? Sure, salsa.

    Being a baseball GM is a tough job.

    #144344
    Avatarbccran
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    It’s unfortunate, but the Cards may need to trade some of their depth of pitching to firm up the offense. Not the top tier of guys like Jack, Reyes, Cabrera, Ponce, Gonber, Thompson, Liberatore, Oviedo, etc. – but second tier guys like Woodford, Rondon, maybe Helsley, etc.

    #144345
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    Watching these postseason lineups we can see how other clubs put their best bats 1, 2, & 3.

    SDP – Tatis Jr., Machado, Hosmer
    CHC – Happ, Rizzo, Bryant
    MIA – Dickerson, Marte, Aguilar
    MIL – Yelich, Braun, Gyorko
    ATL – Acuna JR., Freeman, Ozuna
    CLE – Lindor, Hernandez, Ramirez
    HOU – Springer, Altuve, Brantley
    LAD – Betts, Seager, Turner

    Many of these clubs bat their best batter 1st, which over a full season he leads the team in PA’s. Same for top 3 batting orders, they get more PA’s than MOTO because of the lineup rolling over to them first.

    4, 5 & 6 , MOTO, is becoming more of a support group, rather than the “feared” hitters in each lineup.

    #144346
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Yep, jj. The Cards could really use a high slugging #4 hitter so they could run out Wong (or Edman) 1st, then Carlson, then Goldy. O’Neill would be a classic #4 hitter as well as a good modern one if he got his power stroke back. He hit 47 homers in his first 162 games with the Cards organization.

    Down the road I expect that Carlson may be our leadoff man, or maybe Edman if he can hit better from the left side. Carlson-Gorman-Goldy-?? would be a good start to the lineup.

    #144347
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    25, it’s hard to name the best batter on any team and not see him bat 1st, 2nd or 3rd. Maybe there’s an outlier I’m not thinking of.

    Regardless of what Mo does this winter, I still consider DeJong a capable cleanup batter. He was on fire during ST and then caught Covid. Of all the Cardinals I think Covid, the condensed schedule and Shildt not giving him days off affected DeJong the most.

    From Sept 1st until end of season he had 1 HR and 2 doubles, in 116 PA’s. That’s not the DeJong we’re used to. He had 1 start off, and started 7 doubleheaders. He lost .091 pts off his ops and .095 off his slg% for the season. With a reset offseason I expect that to self-correct to a more familiar All Star in 2019 DeJong.

    #144358
    Avatarbccran
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    We’re 3/4 of the way there with Goldy, DeJong, and Carlson. Need one ☝️ more big bat.

    #144362
    Avatar14NyquisT
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    Getting one player that is a certified all-star won’t be a game changer to the Cards in ’21. It would take a few guys from the present lineup to have career years in ’21 to propel this team back to the tier 1. (very iffy)

    I would think that the guy upstairs will be avoiding to take on any large salaries for the next season unless there are signs in his crystal ball pointing to the Cards making a 180 in one season. A lot of the budget is tied up by poor decisions in the past few years. When those albatrosses are gone… only then can the franchise move forward towards ’22 with an influx of promising high level prospects and a pickup or two for depth.

    DeWitt, should be thinking of saving up his money for prudent extensions that will pan out for a change. But hey, its always a crap-shoot. Recently this club is a fine example of how things can go south in a short period of time. If you want you can call the circumstances of 2020 just plain old bad luck. However…. some how we crawled into the post-season. And what can you attribute that to? [scratching my head]. Who can remember having two or three Cards in the top ten in BA. That used to be quite common.

    #144365
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    I remember the same thing about the Cardinals and the batting average race in the old days, but OBP is a much better measure.

    In 2020, Goldy was 11th in BA and 5th in OBP, but you have to go all the way down to no. 31 to find the next Cardinal, who is Wong. No other Cardinal was in the top 50 in OBP.

    As I see it, the bigger need is SLG, where Goldy was no. 30 and no other Cardinal was in the league’s top 60. And then, the Cardinals’ next two were Edman and Wong, not where you ideally want to get your SLG from. They are supposed to be your OBP guys at the top of the order.

    #144366
    Avatarbccran
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    Clear failure of LF and 3B to provide power. Gorman is on the horizon, but we need a new left fielder. And a new right fielder when Dex is gone.

    #144367
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    As I see it, the bigger need is SLG, where Goldy was no. 30 and no other Cardinal was in the league’s top 60. And then, the Cardinals’ next two were Edman and Wong, not where you ideally want to get your SLG from. They are supposed to be your OBP guys at the top of the order.

    Slugging is definitely an issue. The Cards’ slugging dipped almost 50 points this year, and over 50 points if you consider the fact that no pitchers had to hit in 2020. The schedule definitely played a part in it. A batting eye doesn’t fade when you’re exhausted but the power muscles certainly do. I would expect a bounce back somewhat regardless, but adding another power source to back up Goldy would certainly help. It would also help if Dejong, O’Neill, and Carlson could hit 80 HRs between them. It’s possible in 2021 but even if that happens they need some more clout in the lineup with so many weak pieces (Wong, Edman, Yadi, Bader wouldn’t be expected to hit 40 HRs total even if they all played the entire schedule).

    #144368
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Another thing that changed in 2020…the Cards got on base just about the same rate as in 2019 (.323 vs .322), yet they went from 110 stolen bases (1st in the NL) to 18 (13th in the NL). Were pitchers and catchers that much more effective in stopping the Cards’ running game? Or were the Cards trying to preserve energy for other phases of the game? Seems like another casualty of the schedule crunch.

    #144369
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    stlcard25, you may be onto something, but stolen base opportunity is not equal. The team’s top three steals threats are Wong, Edman and Bader, and the first two had lower OBP in 2020 vs. 2019. (Further, being a part time player, Bader had just 125 PAs vs. well over 200 each for Wong and Edman. So even though his OBP was better Y2Y, he played less.)

    Having said that, your avoid fatigue point is still the most likely primary cause. I will try to remember to ask Shildt about it when they have their season post-mortem.

    If the drop was driven by conserving energy, steals could be a reasonable area about which to look for improvement from basically the same players in 2021.

    #144371
    AvatarPadsFS
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    Brian Walton

    Why do you think Brantley would have to take a salary cut of 25% or more when his results have been consistently very good?

    His OPS+ the last three seasons:

    2018 – 124
    2019 – 126
    2020 – 126

    I missed this discussion, but Brantley seems like the ideal addition to our roster. I think he’s right in line with some of the better (Berkman, Beltran) additions that they’ve had in the past. I also think he’s a dependable player offensively that could be eased into the DH spot in a year or two.

    The big thing with adding Brantley is he immediately fills the dire offensive need.

    #144372
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    If Waino were to decide to retire into the broadcast booth or Mikolas wasn’t progressing, one option for a free agent who might be worth a look see would be Robbie Ray. He had a bad 2020 with Arizona and Toronto. His 2019 was just ok. In fact, his results have been worse every year since his great 2017 campaign. He does have a couple things going for him:

    -Elite strikeout rate. 11.1 K/9 for his career and no worse than 11.8 (this year) the last four years. He’s only been a starter his whole career.

    -He’s played most of his career in Arizona, where his stats have mostly been mediocre. Away from home, he’s been much better (ERA about a run lower, OPS allowed almost 100 points lower, WHIP 18 points lower)

    -His bad 2020 may make him amenable to a 1 year deal, and while he may not want to think this way, he could potentially be a wipeout reliever who could impact games in a meaningful way, a la Pomeranz.

    If we didn’t already have Andrew Miller committed for next year, I’d be all aboard the Ray Train on a one year deal with a mutual option for 2022 ($7M+13M). If he struggled in the rotation, you move him to the pen.

    #144373
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    I agree PadsFS, Brantley would be the ideal addition, he’s just a professional hitter.

    #144375
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    The Brantley question is going to be money and years. He has been making $16 MM per year and doing well. One year at $12 MM or less for 2021 is a pipe dream, IMO, for a guy sure to generate a lot of interest as a free agent.

    #144377
    Avatarbccran
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    How about 3 years at $12 million per year?

    #144378
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    I would expect Brantley to get something similar to what he got from Houston last time. Maybe a slight discount if the team was willing to give him 3 years. So…3 years, $42-45M perhaps. If backloaded to save some money for 2021, maybe $10M-17.5M-17.5M.

    #144379
    Avatarbccran
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    Seems reasonable, 25. Did you factor in being older?

    #144381
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Seems reasonable, 25. Did you factor in being older?

    Sure. He got $16M AAV the last two years so this would bump it down a million or two. Of course, the Cards gave Yadi and Carp well more than that in their extensions at that age or older.

    If there’s a DH spot available, it might make even more sense. Brantley isn’t a bad fielder but even if they pick an OF up it isn’t like they won’t have one of either Bader or O’Neill available for CF or LF, who are both likely to be better with the glove.

    #144382
    jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl
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    So there are the financial constraints, strike one.

    Brantley should get a Q-offer this winter, so the acquisition cost includes a draft pick lost, strike two.

    A club who is a legit contender, lives with the draft pick loss, as ATL did last winter with Ozuna. Is STL a legit contender with Brantley? They were a NLCS club in 2019. If you don’t view Brantley as a bat that gets STL late into the postseason, with the existing roster, it’s likely strike three.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by jj-cf-stljj-cf-stl.
    #144384
    Avatarbccran
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    At age 32, Brantley was given a 2 year contract at $16 million per year. Several years older, at 34, and to add in a 3 year contract, I think the AAV would be slightly lower. That’s why I came up with $12 million a year for 3 years.

    #144387
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    I question why folks are “bumping down” the salary of a player who performed better on his current contract than his prior one and has been at the same high level for each of the last three years. He will be just 33 when next season opens, not 38.

    If he turns down a qualifying offer as speculated above, he is going to expect at least $19 MM next season. That is simple math. Ozuna tried that approach and didn’t quite get it, but he was coming off two subpar years. That isn’t the case here.

    Brantley’s downside as I see it, which hasn’t been mentioned here, is a fair number of injuries in the past. That could figure into the age risk noted.

    Still, if I am Brantley, I see this as a chance to get my last big contract. I would open at three years/$65 and settle for three/$60.

    P.S. Josh Donaldson had a 126 OPS+ last year, same as Brantley. He has an injury history, too. He was 33 years old last winter, same as Brantley now. Donaldson got four years, $92 million (or $23 MM AV) as a free agent.

    Another FA last winter, Mike Moustakas, got $16 MM per year for four years despite not being a particularly good fielder and being nowhere near as good of a hitter as Brantley. His OPS+ marks the prior two years were 107/114 – and those were in his prime years of age 29/30.

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