The Front Office's place in all of this chaos.

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  • #75170
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    It reeks of “lower your expectations” talk. My best guess is we sign Moustakas for 2/$20M, finish 2nd for Harper and sign or trade for a reliever. Maybe they’ll sneak into the Wild Card.

    #75171
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    A couple of considerations. First, we don’t know how directly Hummel is representing the view of the team. Second, the front office does not make the final decisions on the financial strategy – ownership does.

    Some people view “ownership” and “the front office” as this huge, complex entity. When it gets down to big decisions like this, I do not think it is complicated at all. Mo runs his proposal by DeWitt Jr. and they act accordingly. (No, I am not there, so I cannot prove this, but I strongly believe this is now the watch operates.)

    #75172
    AvatarOnyxgem
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    If that is true that they said they could not sign Donaldson because he would make more than Molina then the front office/ownership is dumber than i thought they were and I already don’t think they can put a team on the field that can win the division.

    #75176
    Avatarthejager
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    It is odd to care about who makes the most money on a team…are the players (especially the vets) truly that vain about those things? It seems Yadi would care more about winning than his salary…money is money…but who gets more seems a little out of character for a vert like Molina

    seems more an excuse that they used as they were probably scared of the injury history….but then again we hear they are interested in BRitton and Miller so i have no idea

    Harper is an exception to every rule for spending

    to me it seems they want Harper, AND they want to upgrade 3b too…they know they have to throw everything at the HArper chance, which limits their available resources or budget for upgrading 3b…which is probably why Moose is back in the discussion…lower price tag, and less risk, but without as high a potential impact perhaps

    Donaldson’s hitting woes are not the only problem too, his defense seemed affected too…Moose seems good too very good at 3b, hits lefty, and can mash when he is on…even when not on, he is still a force from the left side even with a lower average

    #75177
    AvatarCardinals2016
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    I agree, Mo pretty much follows the direction set by DeWitt. But this kind of thinking won’t get us into the playoffs anytime soon, and it definitely won’t result in any championships in this era of super teams.

    I wonder how many years of missing the playoffs it will take to light a competitive fire under them…

    #75184
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    C2016, I was reacting to your “fire the front office” comment. No matter who is in the job, on the big calls, they are taking direction from the owner. I don’t think a lot of folks totally grasp that.

    #75190
    stlcard25stlcard25
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    Donaldson’s hitting woes

    He didn’t have any real hitting woes. If you’re going to focus in on his small sample of bad results early in the year, you have to accept his .920 OPS with Cleveland to end the year as well.

    He would have likely been the best hitter on the team and average defense. He’d be more valuable than Gyorko if he played in half the games (and Gyorko isn’t exactly durable himself).

    I agree that they had injury worries but I think the Hummel comment is right. Yadi has a huge ego and runs this team by proxy. It’s unfortunate to miss on a potential huge upgrade over something so petty, and speaks to this team’s faltering leadership in both the front office and ownership.

    #75191
    Avatarforsch31
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    If this front office is going to make decisions based on Molina’s feelings, the Cardinals are destined to be mediocre for 2 more years. Only when Molina retires would they have the opportunity to make a difference by acquiring the correct players at the prices that need to be paid.

    #75192
    AvatarCardinals2016
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    C2016, I was reacting to your “fire the front office” comment.

    While DeWitt sets the direction, it is Mozeliak who put the blinders on and signed Fowler. It is Mozeliak that allowed the disfunction to grow in the Cardinals club house. It is Mozeliak who creates the culture of appeasing overpaid, past-their-prime players instead of making them compete for their jobs.

    #75194
    Avatargscottar
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    I wouldn’t read too much into this “we can’t sign him because he would make more than Yadi” line. Hummel may be a legend but I seriously doubt he speaks for the front office. For example, Hummel states every week that CMart should be the closer yet I have seen zero indication from the front office that this will happen.

    #75196
    Avatar14NyquisT
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    If this front office is going to make decisions based on Molina’s feelings, the Cardinals are destined to be mediocre for 2 more years. Only when Molina retires would they have the opportunity to make a difference by acquiring the correct players at the prices that need to be paid.

    While DeWitt sets the direction, it is Mozeliak who put the blinders on and signed Fowler. It is Mozeliak that allowed the disfunction to grow in the Cardinals club house. It is Mozeliak who creates the culture of appeasing overpaid, past-their-prime players instead of making them compete for their jobs.

    These type of comments should not come as a surprise. The two recent instances of the ineptitude of the power upstairs, the Fowler signing and the contract given to Molina, in addition to the on-going problems associated with them, has nearly brought this team to its knees.

    AND these miscues are compounding as the FO/Ownership/Girsch/Mozeliak/DeWitt/GM/operations, try to cover their tracks. Its plain to see that they continue to dodge any responsibility for the rash of poor acquisitions that have drained the club in many ways.

    I blame DeWitt for paying more attention to that ballpark thing than on the actual baseball team. And I blame Mozeliak for caving time after time instead of being his own man. Girsch is merely a lackey.

    #75200
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    I don’t pay much heed to MO’s comment. Everybody says something out of character once in awhile. The bottom line is that they didn’t want to sign Donaldson, at least not for the kind of money that he got. I don’t know anything about calf injuries. But the fact that it happened two years in a row suggests that it could be chronic and recurring. The question then becomes ‘How much do we want to gamble on this player?’ Obviously, $23M was more than the Cardinals’ front office could stomach. If Donaldson DL’s again, the Atlanta front office will only be able to say ‘Well. We gambled TWENTY-THREE MILLION DOLLARS, and we lost.’ If that happens, somebody should take their checkbook away from them, and make them stand in the corner for the whole time Donaldson is on the DL. Or they should be forced to pay back the twenty-three million dollars that they wasted. I would like to see every front office get more rational about how they throw millions upon millions of dollars around.

    #75201
    AvatarNJ315
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    Maybe Mo should pay back some of the money he spent brilliantly on the likes of Leake, Fowler, Gregerson, Holland, and who can forget Cecil. There are risks period that’s life. Braves took a chance and if it works they are serious contenders. The Cards are still paying for Leake, Fowler, Gregerson, and Cecil.

    #75203
    AvatarBob Reed
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    I’m not sure exactly how damning the Hummel chat remarks were. Here are the quotes, lifted straight from his chat (emphases mine):

    “Have I missed something? When is $23 million low risk? You’re not paying anybody but Bryce Harper more than Yadier Molina for one season and certainly not Donaldson.”

    “The Atlanta Braves have jumped the shark and signed former Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson to a one-year, $23 million contract.
    Many will ask why the Cardinals didn’t do this.
    Some answers:
    He is going to be 33 next season and missed two-thirds of this season with calf and shoulder injuries.
    He is not a lefthanded hitter.
    Nobody on the Cardinals should make more money than Yadier Molina, unless Bryce Harper is signed. Donaldson never has played in the National League. There is an adjustment period.
    Donaldson had one single and one walk for Cleveland in three playoff games. That is why the Indians acquired him — the playoffs.”

    Now, I could be way off base. But to me, those bolded comments above look much more like statements of personal opinion from the Commish, rather than insider-knowledge echoes of club policy/strategy. I’d say that Rick just hates the idea of an injured outsider from another organization coming in and being better paid than the Hall Of Fame bound face of the franchise. Which makes sense from a staunchly traditional baseball man’s point of view.

    (That rather “traditional” point of view also prompted Rick to call the Cardinal defense “the worst in the league” during his chat. No team is worst in the league, if they’re perhaps the single strongest defense in baseball up the middle. Molina, Wong, and Bader could each have rightly won Gold Gloves. And DeJong has been average or better defensively at short.)

    Rick has repeatedly and enthusiastically expressed his scorn for Donaldson’s playoff performance with Cleveland. (What was it, ten at-bats?) And if he believes the Braves have “jumped the shark” with the Donaldson deal, he probably doesn’t agree about precisely how great Donaldson was until very recently. From 2013-2017 Donaldson registered a 5-year stretch more valuable than any active player has had, over any half decade, except for Trout & Kershaw. And maybe Mookie’s past 5 seasons. Much better than Harper’s best 5-year stretch.

    Please don’t anybody construe my observations as belittling of the Commish. He is a treasure, and I hope he works for another 20 years. He’s a fine writer, a more than patient chat host, and he possesses a wealth of hardball knowledge very few can match. When he retires we’ll all be the poorer for it.

    #75214
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    Agreed that we have no idea the origin of what he said. Hummel does not have a history of editorializing, but instead reporting, however no one other than him knows for sure. I also agree they are not “damning,” but they are very curious at a minimum.

    I will continue to believe that someone at some point said something to Hummel about the team being reluctant to pay anyone more than Molina, therefore planting the seed. Whether or not it was in the context of Donaldson really does not matter.

    I vaguely recall similar words used a few years back (by some source) when Wainwright was the highest-paid Cardinal. My personal view is that it is a lame excuse and I would expect Hummel to view it likewise. Again, conjecture. I’ve also picked up other points sort of related over the years which I will not detail here.

    P.S. I will acknowledge that I found several of his other answers a bit unusual. For example, he said he only cares about 2019 and not beyond. Seems very narrow-minded and could easily lead to some sub-optimal conclusions. He also said (incorrectly) that had Cordoba been picked up, he would have to remain in the majors. Perhaps this controlled Q&A format enables them to let their hair down a bit, with uneven results. I imagine that even with them hand-picking which questions to answer that it is a wild ride each week.

    #75222
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “P.S. I will acknowledge that I found several of his (Hummel’s) other answers a bit unusual. For example, he said he only cares about 2019 and not beyond. Seems very narrow-minded and could easily lead to some sub-optimal conclusions.”

    Yeah, that was weird. A recall a famous GM, John Schuerholz maybe, saying once that a good GM during decision making is usually weighting the seasons: 50% next year, 30% the year after that, 10% the year after that, and another 10% for all subsequent seasons combined, beyond the next three. Of course that’s just a rough estimate.

    But far worse than that, The Commish conflated his comedians! Everyone knows that “Take my wife, please” was Henny Youngman, not Rodney Dangerfield. Dangerfield was “When I was born, I was so ugly the doctor slapped my mother.”

    #75225
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    #75226
    Brian WaltonBrian Walton
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    My take on Rodney’s signature line is this:

    #75228
    Avatar858booyah
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    Just had a chance to review Rick Hummel’s chat yesterday. Two different times, he said that one of the reasons Donaldson was not a fit for the Cards is that his salary would be higher than Molina’s, but Harper could be ok as an exception.

    If that really reflects what the front office is thinking, they are either letting the inmates run the asylum or have come up with the lamest excuse possible for not spending.

    I am neither anti-ownership nor pro-sign Donaldson, but this amazes me, and not positively.

    How much do you buy what Hummel is selling here?

    Stanton was a contract quite larger than Molina but that would be an exception due to his star power. Machado and Harper are generational talents. Donaldson is coming off an injury plagued dud of a 2018? Would you say someone is pulling the strings here not in upper management.

    #75231
    Avatarmspaid
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    The Cardinals in the off-season are a great source of humor for me. They really don’t know what they are doing and the moves they do make are a joke. Heyward, Leake, Fowler, Cecil, Gregorson, Ozuna are an indictment of this organization. If they were trying to suck they couldn’t do a better job. Whoever is in charge in the Front Office is lousy at what they do. I think we’ll have to get used to third place for many years.

    #75232
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “Machado and Harper are generational talents.”

    If they improve, they certainly might be. But now, I don’t see the supporting evidence as persuasive.
    Since Matt Carpenter became a fulltime major leaguer in 2013, here are the top 10 MLB position players according to Fangraphs:

    1) Trout…54.0 WAR
    2) Donaldson…35.6
    3) Goldy…32.9
    4) Betts…30.5
    5) Billy Barty…29.4
    6) Votto…29.0
    7) Generational Talent Machado…29.0
    8) McCutchen…28.8
    9) Freeman…28.5
    10) Matt Carpenter…27.2
    GAP
    13) Generational Talent Harper…26.3

    Mildly interesting to see more “corner guys” than up-the-middle types. If there’s a lesson here, it’s apparently Hitting Trumps Fielding. Also, four of the ten were never on a top 100 prospect list, and two more were never in Baseball America’s top 40. In other words, 60% of the greatest players of the last six years were never considered elite prospects by the presumptive experts at Baseball America. (To be fair, the other prospect graders didn’t perform much better than BA.)

    If Mookie’s total feels too low, bear in mind that he only had a couple hundred trips to the plate prior to 2015. Pro-rate his numbers and he’s neck-and-neck with Donaldson for 2nd best player of the past six seasons. In any case, regardless of what Scott Boras or other hyperbolists say, for me Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are not yet particularly close to generational talents.

    Are they both great players, and on a Hall Of Fame path? Absolutely, in no small part because they started so freaking young. But Hall Of Famer alone doesn’t cut it — a dozen or so Hall Of Famers emerge from every “baseball generation,” i.e., each 5-7 year period. Mike Trout is a generational talent. So is Kershaw. Betts might be already. Maybe Maximus Scherzer, if he can keep excelling for 4 or 5 more seasons. But Harper & Machado need to be better than they’ve been, to gain that label. For me.

    #75233
    AvatarBob Reed
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    “Heyward, Leake, Fowler, Cecil, Gregerson, Ozuna are an indictment of this organization. If they were trying to suck they couldn’t do a better job. Whoever is in charge in the Front Office is lousy at what they do. I think we’ll have to get used to third place for many years.”

    Grading the above moves, I’d give Leake and Ozuna a C- or D+, because who would have thought that Leake would be stupid and stubborn enough to not let Yadi call his pitches for him? I liked the Leake signing in general, because of Yadi, the move from Great American Bandbox to Busch Stadium, and Leake’s relative youthfulness, solid velocity, and good health history. I hated the Ozuna signing because they were buying a guy coming off of a huge career year that was unlike anything that had come before. (Just like with Fowler.)

    I’ve beaten the Fowler signing to death repeatedly. It’s an F- for Fowler and I wish there were a lower grade.

    Cecil I was ambivalent, but it was clearly too many years from the start. And both Gregerson and Holland were very, very risky given their ages and significant evidence of decline already — esp. velocity. All three relievers get a straight D.

    But Heyward? The Cards got a great year from him, for almost no burden on the payroll (less than 10 million bucks for a 6-win season), and then afterwards they got a high draft pick as compensation when he left via free agency…after which his hitting declined immediately, and now his bloated contract is hurting the hated Cubs! What more do you want than that?! That’s like Ralphie’s essay grade in A Christmas Story: A+++++++ for Heyward.

    The front office has done a terrible job with free agency over the past 2-3 years. But they did get Mikolas and Final Boss from Japan, and did trade Jon Jay for three good years of Gyorko and counting. And the Tyler O’Neill/Marco Gonzales trade could pay large dividends if Tiny Kingman gets the chance to start 20+ times a month.

    The brilliant Redbird front office of 2008-2015 is still largely intact. They just need to get back to the disciplined ways of those years. No long contracts for relievers, or players on the wrong side of 30 unless they have value to the organization off the field, and you know them very well. (Waino, Yadi of course.) No big four- or five-year deals for 2-3 WAR free agents, especially older ones. Be smart, not splashy. Be the Brewers of the last twelve months. You know, when the Brewers were emulating the Cardinals.

    #75234
    Avatarforsch31
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    Bob, I disagree about Holland. He only signed for 1 year so his signing was not a risk. He didn’t give us anything for the amount they paid him but they got rid of his contract after only 1 year. Fowler and Cecil are like bad gifts that keep on giving, year after year.

    #75235
    AvatarNJ315
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    Trout is in a league of his own. Betts had an amazing 2018 and on his way to be a big time player. But to be fair can we compare WAR through age 26 for the rest? Then the assessment would be even for all of the ones not named Betts or Trout.

    #75236
    AvatarNJ315
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    Actually through age 25 since Harper turned 26 in October.

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