Mo's view of the off season

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    Correction add one pitcher and 3.1 WAR to the in system players. Somehow missed Lynn and it was too late to edit when I double checked. Guess I am already counting him gone.



    One point to consider is that impact trades would have been hard to do for the last several years (before 2017). We didn’t have enough in the minors to trade unless we depleted the farm system.

    In the last year, we have finally achieved a surplus to trade from. We needed the prospects to progress through the system and put up the numbers like they did in 2017.


    Terrific analysis, Sooner.

    We just pump along with good players up and down the lineup, but no
    true difference makers. It’s good enough to have a winning record, but not be a strong contender in the playoffs.

    Brian, going back to relievers.
    How does it calculate when we’re tied going into the 8th and a reliever gives up a run or runs? Or if we’re only behind be one run going into the 8th and the same thing happens?

    Here are the ERAs per inning –

    1st – 4.50
    2nd – 3.11
    3rd – 4.11
    4th – 4.33
    5th – 4.33
    6th – 3.39
    7th – 3.78
    8th – 4.89
    9th – 3.66
    Extra – 3.41

    Sure looks like the 8th was our Achilles heel.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    “Depletion of the farm system” are words Mo has used at times as well to defend not making trades. I consider that an exaggeration. The problem implied was that every team wanted Reyes – which could be true. I think there were other chips that could have been used, though.

    Here are the consensus national rankings of the Cardinals farm system over the last five years. They are generally expected to be in the same range this winter as 2017.

    2017: 12
    2016: 17
    2015: 14
    2014: 7
    2013: 1

    Putting aside trades, the cost of free agent signings is mostly money. The most that could be lost on the player side is one future draft pick each.

    The Cardinals developed a strategy to grow from within. They augmented that with selected acquisitions from the outside. In recent years, they have mostly been role players who delivered less than hoped for – Leake, Cecil, Moss, Duke (inj), Fowler (def). Others delivered more than expected, but when they hit the wall, a good replacement was not there – Oh, Peralta and Gyorko (overexposed in 2H) come to mind.

    What nailed the Cards in 2017, IMO, was putting too much trust in Carpenter, Piscotty and Grichuk, who played three positions from which most clubs get a lot of offense – first base and the corner OF spots. Carpenter’s odd inability to function in the middle of the lineup doubled down on the problems, as it pushed Fowler out of the leadoff role he was signed to fill and left them short in the middle.

    My conclusion is that it took them a year too long to admit the offense was lacking and they had the resources to fix it before.


    Absolutely correct about Carpenter, Grichuk, and Piscotty. It’s why the 2 position players the Cardinals are most unhappy with are Carpenter and Piscotty. And why they may not be Cardinals in 2018.



    Grichuk should also be gone still has no figured out any plate discipline what so ever


    Heard an interesting synopsis of Piscotty. That he’s too intelligent.


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    agreed about Carp Piscotty and Grichuk… but in fairness to them, arent you supposed to invest in those guys…arent you supposed to give them a chance to succeed? Carp looked and still looks like a guy that should be able to hit in the middle of the order (his shoulder woes complicating it further)…Piscotty’s play until this year had been great and totally project-able…and still might be (no discounting his mothers illness and a sophomore slump that happens to plenty of players)…. now Grichuk…i think depending on him was probably a mistake, but his cheapness and skills made it hard not to think he coudl figure it out…though i think his chance was lost LAST year…and i think they depended too much on him last year not really this year…which is why Fowler was signed…

    i would say for 2017 they depended too much on DIaz and PEralta especially…Diaz for good reason..and PEralta i think the contract was making the decision (Justin Turner at 3b woudl have looked awful good all year and probably would have been that middle order gusy we were missing)

    add in depending on Broxton (a mistake but a small one as he had been volatile for a while) Siegrest …no reason to think he couldnt get it back..and especially Oh…again no reason not to think he woudlnt be at least close to heis old self from last year…

    so all in all we just really banked too much on lots of things and almost all of them didnt work out…but most of those chances were justified

    we got bailed out by a lot of guys that we werent depending on:
    Dejong…saved our butts by helping at SS…if he wasnt ready defensively we would have been much worse
    Wong (turning it around..i believe everyone had written him off)
    Pham (helped Grichuk and Piscotty issues)
    JMart (helped outfield and dealing with 1b and Peralta allowing Carp to move over to help fill the hole)
    Rosy (turned it back on…but no one was depending on him)
    Brebbia (helped with Broxton issues)
    Duke (like adding a veteran for the stretch but not depending on him at all)
    Weaver (filling in for Waino and then Leake but we werent depending on him to win games yet)
    Gyorko (super utlitity saved us with early power and all yar stellar defense at 3b)

    depending on these guys wasnt a mistake, no reason to think they would be bad
    Carp (bad is relative)
    Fowler (again relative)

    depending on these guys should probably have been better prepared for:
    I am throwing in Diaz here TOO because we didnt bring in a backup SS in the offseason just in case, even a defensive minded one, when we had nothing between Diaz and Dejong…and as high as the Cardinals were on DeJong…there is no way they thought he was ready to be a full time MLB SS in 2017 going into the year

    However, solving for Grichuk and Peralta Broxton and a backup SS would not necessarily have made the team from the beginning better

    we had internal solutions for each of them (except SS IMO)…however those internal solutions had they been the only thing we needed would have been easily overcome

    but then you throw in all the other issues and underperforming and all those internal solutions got stretched, and it is pretty remarkable and impressive how close we really came to making the playoffs with so many issues…

    to me it comes down to two things we didnt do last offseason…that we should have known better than to not address

    a middle of the order bat….3b (Turner or trade for Donaldson or another good 3bman)
    a backup SS (preferably one who coudl play outfield too…i suggested Chris Owings all offseason but was shot down as that being dumb because Greg Garcia was a better option)

    had we unfortunately had to cut loose Peralta and trade Greg Garcia or Adams to bring in a couple of quality players that fit better IMO…i believe we woudl be in the playoffs right now even despite the other issues we had…and YES both Turner and OWings got hurt this year, but that isnt the point…the individual players werent the point…

    the point is that there were things last offseason that there was no reason not to fix that we did not…and there were things that didnt work out this year that were going to happen… we just hit WAY too many of those things going against us than coudl have been expected…our good depth in the system bailed out most of those problems but it left us in a pinch for a few of the things we ended up really not having and ended up needing

    had we had the closer issues with Oh etc…and we were looking for JUST a backend closer or good reliever at the trade deadline we woudl have done that …but by the time that came we had so many problems and holes that fixing one in the middle of the year just wasnt going to be enough….which was a mistake as it ends up all we needed was about 5 more wins to get in the playoffs…something that could have been addressed at the deadline… Jay Bruce or JD MArtinez (both came crazy cheap)…Madson or Nicasio (cheap) would have been about all we needed…throw in a big trade for Sonny Gray or Quintana and we’d be watching playoff games right now

    they gambled in the offseason on things that they shoudlnt have and it didnt pan out…then they gambled during the year that the season was lost and that no help from trades woudl have helped fix this year…another mistake…

    but make no mistake….we faced a crazy amount of adversity this year and regression from positions we had no reason to not trust in…we just ended up having TOO much of it…and while the guys that stepped up filled almost all the holes, we were still left wanting on a few that ended up being the difference in making the playoffs


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    Back to the topic of this thread, I think Mo and the FO will take action this winter, if for no other reason, out of fear. They don’t fear the Cubs but I think they fear our own fan base. People vote with their pocketbooks. Yes, we had 3.4M in attendance this past year, but as Brian pointed out, there were many discounted tickets in that figure. Also, TV viewership was down.

    While the new TV revenue will be great, the FO knows they have to do something or season ticket sales will plummet and tv viewership will continue to decline.

    As a side note, I think another factor that we don’t talk about much is the role of Girsch. I know MO is still higher in the food chain but Girsch will probably start to assert himself more into the decision making process and that should be a positive thing. Why? I don’t know exactly, but based on some of his comments and reading up on him a bit, I just have a gut feeling that Girsch is a more aggressive guy than Mo and that eventually his ideas will win the day. I can only hope.


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    Girsch is known for his analytics. I wonder if his aumented influence in his new role allowed for him to push for a more analytic pitching coach?


    gs…. I picture Mozeliak standing at Girsch’s desk peering over our “GM’s” shoulder. I don’t see that ending in this century.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    Interesting point, CC. Girsch did not hire the fired pitching coaches, Mo did (some years ago).


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    A quick comment on Mo saying criticism of Matheny is “unfair”. That makes no sense. When a team is in regression, of course criticism of anyone in the organization is fair. It might be misplaced at times, but certainly not unfair.

    Heck, I criticized some of Maddon’s decisions in last year’s World Series. Was that unfair? They won, but Maddon made some curious moves.

    Mo should be saying something like “The entire organization is accountable for the results on the field. When we fall short of expectations, then criticism of our work is certainly fair game. But rest assured we are addressing the club from top to bottom, and our plan is to return the Cardinals to the top of the division.”

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    I am not sure which quote you saw, bikemike. Here is one.

    Mo: Sure, and I think like all employees including myself I mean we can always get better at what we do, and having that self evaluation or self reflection is important… Ultimately we want to be able to look at Mike, and his staff and try to optimize what we get out of them. I think a lot of the things they do they don’t get a lot of credit for, as far as from the public standpoint, but they work tirelessly. They’re always looking at ways to improve their own skill set and Mike’s no different.

    So you know a lot of people I think we’re calling for his head over the last few months, and you know I feel it’s unfair. Hopefully as we readjust our staff people realize the importance of what we think (of) Mike.


    Has MM really been given the players to compete at the highest level? I don’t think so recently. The jury is still out, and Mo is giving MM the benefit of the doubt. As some of us have said, what happens during the games is only a part of the year round job a major league manager has. Much of it off the field and behind the scenes. Mo is giving MM credit for all the things we don’t see. Maybe we should too. It’s the discussion we have been trying to have – MM’s strengths as well as his weaknesses. Unfortunately there are a number of posters who just won’t go there.


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    I do not think the Cardinals have the talent right now to be a top tier team. But when you are close to at least getting a shot at post season, basically when you are somewhere around the 5th through 7th best team in the league, and lose a lot of one-run games the manager will be under more scrutiny.


    One has to shake their head when looking at the 2017 Cardinals roster compared to most of the playoff teams. Maybe with full seasons from DeJong and Martinez plus an addition or two things will look better in 2018.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    Put aside all of the playoff teams, including the Cubs, and just look at the rest of the relatively weak NL Central. Against the three other non-playoff teams, Cincy, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee, the Cards were just 29-28. For the season, these three division opponents came in at a combined 229-257.

    In other words, the Cards had mediocre results against mediocre competition. There is no reason I can see that the Cards should not have done better against these other non-playoff teams.



    The Twins won the AL WC2 with 85 wins. I don’t get BC’s obsession with the roster. Yes we needed a middle of order bat but this team was clearly still capable of winning the NL WC2 (at minimum) and as Brian stated above, this team underperformed.


    Peralta failed
    Diaz failed
    Piscotty failed
    Grichuk didn’t improve
    Garcia regressed
    Adams was traded
    Broxton failed and was cut
    Leake regressed and was traded
    Oh failed
    Siegrist failed and was cut
    Socolovich failed
    Rosy went down
    Gyorko got hurt
    Fowler was hurting

    Not a whole lot of stability.
    Do you seriously think that was a playoff team?

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    Every team faces adversity and could create a list like that. Most seem to agree this team underachieved. There are many possible reasons. Individual player performance is certainly one of them, but to hammer that as seemingly the only factor conflicts with reason.

    For example, the third base coach was fired during the season and the two pitching coaches were fired at the end. Does not that suggest staff issues?


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    Staff issues or scapegoats?


    As the front office has said, the leadership needs to be changed either at the field staff or player level. Changes have been made in the former. Changes to come in the latter. MM is safe. For now.

    Two years ago the Cardinals led the entire major leagues in staff ERA. The starters were #1 and the bullpen was #3.

    Lilliquist sure went from being a good pitching coach to a bad one in a very short period of time.
    Strange how these things happen.

    Brian WaltonBrian Walton

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    No way for any of us to know what happens behind the scenes, good or bad. As many have observed before me, when sports teams underachieve, often times key staff changes are made a year before making the more drastic decision about the man on top. In the meantime, full votes of confidence to the manager/head coach are given for very logical reasons – to try to keep the overall vibe positive. However, the bottom line is always the team’s results and this current trend almost certainly has to be broken in 2018.



    Thank you, Brian:

    You are exactly right about adversity and facing it instead of using it as a constant excuse.

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