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January 15, 2019 at 6:37 pm in reply to: Trade Ideas/Acquisition Ideas/Non-Cards Rumors – 2019 #79991
I was rolling through an MLB free agent tracker after reading another lovely story detailing the Cardinals clear content with their current, projected 88-win roster, and shook my head hoping the organization is working some phone lines. Some quality players are sitting on the open market. I understand the players will start to move once Harper and Machado finally decide to stop holding the rest of the league hostage, but I am very curious to see the deals some of players get before Spring Training. Last year, we saw the negative impact skipping spring training can have on a player – Moustakas and Holland both are still free agents, again (clearly no lesson learned). I imagine some of these guys will want to push their agent to find them something, which at this point will undoubtedly be short-term. The Cardinals have expressed a desire to avoid long-term contracts and they have money, so why not throw a high-dollar, one-year deal at some guys and sure up a few spots.
Here are some of the names I hope they are looking into:
INFIELD: Asdrubal Cabrera; Derek Dietrich; Wilmer Flores; Marwin Gonzalez; Josh Harrison; Jose Iglesias
CATCHER: A.J. Ellis; Caleb Joseph; Martin Maldonado
OUTFIELD: Melky Cabrera; Robbie Grossman; Adam Jones; Nick Markakis; A.J. Pollock
STARTING PITCHER: Doug Fister; Gio Gonzalez; Dallas Keuchel (not a bargain deal, but still a worthy free agent candidate); Martin Perez; Ervin Santana
RELIEF PITCHER: Cody Allen; Brad Boxberger; Brad Brach; Xavier Cedeno; Tyler Clippard; Zach Duke; A.J. Ramos; Tony Sipp; Justin Wilson
Obviously, Wisdom is not on the same level as Moustakas. I am not calling for Wisdom to start for the Cardinals on opening day. My point is, why commit 4-5 years and likely around $70 million for player who is not a clear upgrade to the roster. I would just assume save the money and let Gyorko continue playing there and maybe see if Wisdom figured something out at 26. Then allow yourself some flexibility to go after Donaldson or Machado in the off season. I just do not think Moustakas is the type of player that will put the Cardinals roster in a position to compete for championships.
As far as next off season, I think the Cardinals will be more than willing to throw money at Machado. They might get outbid, but they have been willing to pay players. I have been critical of the Cardinals in the past as well, but I do not believe them to be overly cheap. They were willing to pay Price and Heyward, and they were willing to take on a giant portion of Stanton’s contract. I think they are willing to go to that $300 million range for Machado. The question is how much will another team be willing to offer?
I do not believe Moustakas lines up well with the Cardinals. First, he’s going to be expensive. Second, Donaldson and Machado will both be free agents next offseason and the Cardinals clearly have an interest. Why block 3B with Moustakas for multi-years when you could just as easily fill that position with an equally effective player. Third, the Cardinals already have a cheaper, right-handed version of Moustakas playing in Triple-A – Patrick Wisdom. In fact, Wisdom might be a better defender based on reports. They both play a solid 3B, hit their fair share of HR and strikeout way too much. The only difference is Wisdom hits right-handed and costs significantly less.
This could be an interesting process with Machado. His contract status makes negotiations unique and possibly drives several teams away. Reports already state the White Sox are not offering any of their highly rated prospects and I imagine a few other clubs feel the same way. I am curious how that factors into trade discussions.
Personally, I think i would hold steady and see if the asking price declines. At this point, I think the Orioles have pretty much decided they are going to move Machado, understanding a losing season is probably in their future. The primary question is if they believe they can wait until the season starts and hope to get a desperate team to make a move at the deadline. I am of the belief, smart teams understand how to maximize a players value and Machado’s peak value for the Orioles is this offseason. Losing him to free agency after next season will only net the team some compensation picks that will require several years to develop in a best case scenario. Holding onto him until the season starts could result in less interest, as teams fall out of contention and the value of acquiring him decreases with no window to negotiate an extension. Their best case at getting value out of Machado beyond 2018 is moving him in the next couple weeks, even if it only nets them a couple decent prospects.
I think some people would have been surprised by how little the Cardinals would have given up to acquire Stanton. I know reports had Alcantera going to Miami, but he may have been the centerpiece of the deal. You look at what San Francisco was reportedly offering and that was not much either. The Marlins were not looking to get talent back for Stanton, in any deal. They were looking for someone to take that contract. This deal with the Yankees required even less in terms of players because Stanton was only, realistically, going to accept a move to LA or New York. This is how deals go when money has to be moved.
I guess he gave away Stanton, but he also gave them a $265M liability. I understand when looking at player value changing hands, the deal looks lopsided. However, that is what happens when giant contracts are included. It’s just part of the business. Negotiation leverage. If the Marlins would have been willing to eat a giant chunk of his contract and possibly not move Stanton, they most certainly could have hauled in better prospects. But, that was not the case. Cost control is a major aspect of player movement. It is why Chris Sale and Adam Eaton pulled in giant hauls for the White Sox last year. It is also why Chris Archer is an unrealistic trade target. His contract is so team friendly and he’s under control for several years, the Rays can leverage that value to ask for more and better prospects.
I am curious to see the ripple effect of Stanton moving to New York. This is what I find so entertaining about sports transaction, particularly baseball. One move can set off a series of variables impacting various organizations.
– If the reports are complete and Miami is getting Castro back, the Marlins still have a lot of money to cut to get to the reports $55M-$80M payroll goal. Unless they unload Castro in a couple days, this move only clears about $12M-$15M off their $121M projected payroll. Castro is due close to $23M over the next two years, which is about a third of the $77M due to Stanton in the next three years. This means Miami might have to cut a little deeper into their roster to hit the payroll goals.
– The addition of Stanton probably won’t impact the Rays or Red Sox offseason plans. However, this could have ramifications on the Toronto and Baltimore. Both have aging rosters and barren farm systems with MVP-caliber players at 3B entering a contract year (Baltimore also has a once dominate closer hitting the market after next season). Both have said been tepid about moving Machado or Donaldson, which could just be a negotiation tactic to drive up trade value. However, maybe they both planned on holding on to them in hopes of being competitive next season and going from there. Does this move dissuade those thoughts?
– Where do they go from here. A guy mentioned a couple days ago as an alternative to Stanton was Khris Davis. He’s in the second year of arbitration right now and Oakland would probably like to unload him. He’s got power and can play LF. He’s not a star and is entering his 30 year old season. Conveniently, the Cardinals happen to have another OF, who is cost controlled, from the Bay area and was discussed with Oakland during the deadline last summer. I know Piscotty for Davis isn’t a thrilling move, but it would make some sense.
2018 Free Agency
– Brian alluded to the Harper-Yankees connection earlier in this thread, but it is worth mentioning again. The 2018 free agent class has been discussed for a couple years now. This probably doesn’t take the Yankees off that market, but the idea of Harper getting $400M to play in the Bronx seems a little less likely. Where will some of these guy end up next winter?
I think that’s a good route to take 1964. I also think the Marlins could still match up well with Miami, as Goold and others have reported. Looking at the payroll, the Cardinals could save the Marlins close to $30M next year by taking on Ziegler, Yelich and Prado. It might be worth one year of Ziegler and two years of Prado to get five of Yelich in CF.
They have some other guys they may look to unload, too. Derek Dietrich is projected to make $3.2M next year and Justin Bour is projected at $3.5M.
I am also curious to see who the Cardinals have been eying in free agency. This Stanton thing has been a lot of work for nothing, but fortunately the free agent market has been essentially silent. The Cardinals have been connected to Eric Hosmer. I think Logan Morrison would be an interesting option at 1B. Left handed power who played college ball in Kansas City.
My hope is this Stanton situation can work in favor for the Cardinals. A lot of reporters are acting like Miami is going to be forced to unload Stanton to one of the four teams on his reported list. I do not think that is the case. We will see what happens, but Miami has more leverage in this than some of these reports indicate.
Personally, if I was Miami, I wouldn’t deal him unless I get a deal equal to what San Francisco or St. Louis was offering. The whole point of trading Stanton was the salary relief. These reports are saying Miami will be forced to trade him to one of these teams with bad contracts coming in return. I do not understand why they they think that. Miami knew they would not get player value back in a Stanton deal. The only reason they are trying to move him is to get his contract off the books. But, they do not have to shed his money. I know everyone acts like Stanton is a $295 million player, but he isn’t for Miami. For Miami, he’s a three year, $90 million player because of that opt out. Miami has announced their rebuild. They are not planning on winning for a couple years.
If I was a Miami executive, I would tell Stanton he has two options. Either play here until that opt out is available, which means you will need to perform for those three years to have any hope of getting another deal at 30; or you go to a team willing to take on the bulk of your remaining contract. Miami can shed payroll other ways, i.e. deal the majority of the major league roster and enter next year with $30M for Stanton and about $50M for 24 other players. In terms of rebuilding, they will get more prospect value out of moving Yelich, Ozuna, Bour and Realmuto, then they will moving Stanton.
And the idea of taking on bad contracts like Adrian Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, etc., just to get Stanton out of town makes no sense. Where is the value to Miami? They still have too much payroll, they don’t get any quality prospects to quicken their rebuild and they will still have to deal the Yelich, Ozuna, etc.
I think Stanton ends up back in Miami and trade discussions remain until either the deadline or next winter. Miami can get crappy old players with slightly cheaper contracts for Stanton next year. Again, for Miami this is not about shedding $295M. This is about shedding three years, $90M without needing to completely gut the roster this year.
For the Cardinals, this could work out. If Miami has to pursue other avenues to shed payroll, maybe they can get Yelich. Reports indicated Miami wanted to hold on to him if they could move Stanton. Maybe they can swing a deal for Yelich and Bour, add a couple quality bats and still have some money to spend on the bullpen and be in a position to hit the packed free agent market next off-season. Additionally, maybe this is the major wake up call DeWitt and Co. needs to realize something is wrong with the Cardinals. Players are not jumping at the opportunity to play in St. Louis and DeWitt and Mo need of figures out why and address it.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by KylMss.
Read some mention of the Marlins possibly trading Justin Bour, too. IF, the Cardinals can work out a deal with Miami and Stanton can be convinced to waive his NTC to play in St. Louis, I wonder if the Cardinals could get Bour added to the deal. He’s entering the first year of his arbitration years and is controlled through 2021. However, he is also 29 and due a raise. Maybe he could be a throw in, if the Cardinals are asked to pick up a large chunk of his salary. Could solve two problem areas in the lineup and the field.
Just throwing this out there for further discussion. Stanton still seems like a long shot to me, but a fan can hope.