Cards Hot Stove thread

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Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby cardsfan » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:33 pm

Z......We haven't even disagreed about Cardinal baseball this off season yet so thought I'd throw a couple of my thoughts out for you to shoot down.

Mo has spent the off season so far talking about his opinion of Cards needs......IMPACT BAT and BACK OF BULLPEN HELP. While I'm not against either of those things by any means, I think he's missing what I think is the Cards biggest off season need......starting pitching. Maybe he's throwing up smoke screens and really intends to chase high-end starters but his public comments have been that his focus is on impact bat and bullpen and then "maybe circle back around closer to spring training and see what's out there as far as starting pitching".

I really don't think I agree with this at all. I see lots of needs on this roster, but I really don't see a bigger need than starting pitching if they are serious about contending in 2018. Right now the rotation is:
Carlos......solid guy, I'd say potential down the road to be a legit #1 but much better suited as a #2/3 starter on a good team right now.
Wacha......surprised me by being healthy enough to give them 30 starts last year so maybe his injuries are behind? He was pretty much a league average pitcher last year after being a significantly below-average pitcher in 2016. I don't see him as a top of the rotation starter at all and I think you still have some legit reasons to worry about his health going forward.
Waino........love the guy, love what he's done in his career but if you are counting on him as a full time starter next year, I think you have to be fooling yourself. He's been a substantially below average pitcher for each of the past 2 years. By August last year, he could barely throw the ball 84 MPH and was simply not a major league starter. I know every Cards fan roots for Waino to either magically regain his good stuff or figure out a way to get hitters out with the stuff he's got, but he's 36 years old, every number you can look at says he's at the end of the line. You just can't possibly be expecting to get even 20 good starts out of him in 2018 can you?
Luke Weaver.....He made 13 MLB starts last year, most of them pretty good. I think he's got a chance to be a legit #3 starter, maybe he'll be that this year, but more likely not. He's 24 and threw 137 total innings last year, so reasonably you could hope for 150-170 inning this year.
Jack Flaherty.....He's just 22 years old and projects to be at least a solid middle of the rotation pitcher eventually. He looked mostly over-matched in a cup of coffee with the Cards last year but I think he'll get a shot at the big league roster next year. He was around 140 innings, so he also should be in line for 150-170 innings maximum next year and at 22, that's certainly as far as you'd want to push him, I think. But a total crap shoot whether he's even ready to give you 10 starts next year.
Alex Reyes......Cards best pitching prospect, age 23. Coming off Tommy John surgery. He threw 110 total innings in 2016...coming off major arm injury at that age, I can't imagine they'd want him to throw more than 110 innings in 2018 and again, who knows what he'll have......I'd think he'd be slated for bullpen to start the season at least.

As far as I can see, that's the rotation candidates--a legit #2 starter, a legit #4/5 starter. And 4 legit question marks. I really don't see how they can look at that group and, with a straight face, try to convince fans that they are serious about contending next year regardless how many impact bats they add. I think they need to aggressively seek a legit top of the rotation starter and a solid veteran middle/bottom of the rotation guy. Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi (or any of dozens of MLB-average starters like him)...........add those 2 guys to this roster and I think you have a rotation you can seriously try to contend with.


Stanton is all the talk and I know the chat board fans are in love with the idea of him. Certainly, he'd be an exciting addition. I don't think it's likely we get him--he has a full no-trade and reportedly prefers being somewhere warm on the coast. Also will cost HUGE money and prospects for us to get him and that's just not been DeWitt way. We're a better team with him but if we add Stanton and do nothing with the rotation I don't think we are close to the Cubs. And if we are spending $30MM a year on Stanton, I think that makes it much less likely we address the holes in the pitching staff. So I'm just not all that excited about Stanton to be honest.

I see people pining for Hosmer....count me OUT on that one. This whole idea that Mo is floating about Matt Carpenter being some sort of super-utility player next year is utterly ridiculous, IMHO. Marp is a huge defensive liability anywhere, but by far does the least damage at first base. The thought of playing him regularly at second base is depressing to me. Frankly, if the Cards pursue a first baseman as their impact bat, I hope they trade Marp.....he needs to play first or be gone, I think. I'm not a big Hosmer fan at all. He had a good year last year but he's been very inconsistent. He was a bad hitter in 2016 and 2014. Talk is he will get $20MM on a 6 year deal....absolutely not interested in that.

I think their best opportunity for an impact bat is at third base. Let Gyorko be the utility guy you thought he was going to be. Leave Marp at first. Find a legit third baseman. I don't see any talk of Moustakas so I wonder if somebody that follows the Royals has thoughts on him? Frankly, he seems like a much better fit on the Cards roster than Hosmer to me?????
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby zsportsguy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:53 pm

Cardsfan - i just found this thread...I'll argue with you later...I've got a meeting...but will look forward to it!
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby zsportsguy » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:15 am

Cardsfan - I want to disagree with you...but it's difficult to argue your points about the Cardinals rotation. Both Carlos and Reyes seem to have the potential to get to the true #1 and #2 guys that would circumvent your argument...but you're absolutely right that Martinez' inconsistency and Reyes health have made it difficult to know what their upside truly is, which leaves us in a difficult position. Do you spend the money and prospects to try to get a top-of-the-rotation guy? If so, do you really think Archer is the guy? I'm not sold on him at all...and I don't see many other outstanding candidates out there.

Which brings me to Giancarlo Stanton. There has been a lot of statistical analysis over the past couple of years that would support the idea that scoring lots of runs and having a 'shut down' bullpen are the keys to winning in today's MLB. Starting pitching has to be good enough, certainly...you can't have a bottom-feeder rotation and expect to stay in the playoff race. But, having a legit top-5 rotation has not been necessary to contend and win, in recent years.

I think I'm okay with trying a different approach, identify the big-time, middle-of-the-lineup bat you want and go get him. It's not like he's a 'maybe' guy...he's probably the best hitter in baseball, overall...and it would certainly have a dramatic and immediate effect on your lineup, not to mention the fact that Flaherty is the only starting pitching prospect on your list that is being talked about in these trade rumors (along with Alcantra). Get Stanton without giving up either Martinez or Reyes?...I'm not sure you can ignore that deal. I could argue that adding Stanton to the everyday lineup has a bigger effect than any single pitcher could possibly have. I could argue that...I wouldn't necessarily be right.

It's not something the Cardinals have done...really, ever...unless you count Matt Holliday...but, to me, Holliday was a different situation, since he wasn't even the best hitter on the team with Albert still in St. Louis. I've been very surprised that Mozeliak seems to be willing to go so hard after such a huge contract. It looks like it's down to St. Louis and San Francisco for Stanton. If they can get him...and rebuild the lineup around him...and then hope that the young, but talented, rotation can hold up and they can find the bullpen help they need to handle the back end, I think it's worth a shot. I think.

If they end up 'whiffing' on Stanton, then Plan B is likely exactly what you're suggesting. So we'll see. You may be right.

I agree whole-heartedly on Hosmer!! My Royals fan friends cussed him for YEARS!...until he got hot at the right time and had some big hits during their World Series run. But, overall, he was generally inconsistent, struck out way too much, and underperformed.

I also agree on Carpenter. His bat is enough to want him in the lineup, but you HAVE to minimize how much damage he can do defensively...and first base is really the only place that makes sense...so find another spot to get an impact bat.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby cardsfan » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:19 pm

Well, I guess we're not going to get into a big scrap on this one. I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of Stanton or another impact bat. My primary concern is if they invest big money and prospects in one big bat, they will convince themselves that they are done and I just don't think that's enough to legitimately address the needs of the team. Stanton would be terribly exciting and there's no question having that bat in the middle of our lineup makes the team better. A few concerns on him:
--I hear people say how nice it would be to have a guy you could count on that would hit 50+ homers a year. Yes, he hit 59 last year and maybe that'll become the new normal for him. Prior to last season, he had not hit more than 37 in a season. And in 7 years in MLB prior to last year, he had hit 27 or less 4 times. He's not been a sure bet to hit 50 HR's up to this point...you are definitely "buying high" right now.
--Part of the above is due to his inability to stay healthy. Now, I know this is random and unpredictable. He missed a big chunk of a season after getting beaned in the head. And not saying he's 'soft' or anything but it does seem like some players are more prone to injury than others. In his 8 seasons in the big leagues, Stanton has played more than 123 games just 3 times. That's a lot of money for anybody, but for a guy on the DL every year, that's really expensive.
--The money he makes isn't my biggest concern really. DeWitt has money to spend so that's his worry, not mine. And we have prospects to trade, I know. I'd be careful just how deep into the farm system I went for him though. Best case scenario for Stanton is that you get 3 MVP-caliber seasons from him....if so, that's great, but if so, it's nearly certain he'd opt out of his contract so you are trading prospects for just 3 years of a guy. The bigger downside probably is if he doesn't opt out....which likely means he's performing at well-below MVP caliber level and now you are stuck with 7 more guaranteed years--through 20127--which is certainly go through serious decline years.

I'm just not obsessed with getting that one big star as much as I am with trying to build a really solid team. I'd still rather see them spend money and prospects on shoring up the rotation and bullpen and making whatever marginal upgrades they can to the 'starting 8'.

The Mark McGwire Show was great fun. And no doubt he sold a lot of tickets. People talk about how having that one impact bat in the lineup somehow insures team success and we've seen up close that it takes more than that. McGwire hit 70 HR's in 1998 and we won 83 games and finished 3rd. (Starting pitchers with the most starts in1998--Kent Mercker, Todd Stottlemyre, Matt Morris, Donovan Osborne, Manny Aybar, Mark Petkovsek, Juan Acevedo)

He hit 65 HR's in 1999 and we won 75 games and finished 4th. (Starters in 1999--Darren Oliver, Kent Bottenfield, Jose Jimenez, Kent Mercker, Garrett Stephenson, Juan Acevedo)

In 2000, Mac hit just 32 HR's but we added Darryl Kile and Rick Ankiel (when he was good) to the rotation (as well as Jim Edmonds to the lineup) and we won 95 games and finished 1st in the division.

Chicks dig the long ball and I know watching 550 foot HR's would be great fun. But I much prefer to watch a team win and I still think you need to have significantly better starting pitching than the Cards have available right now if they are serious about contending next year.

I think DeWitt CAN afford to do both...add Stanton or another big bat and upgrade the rotation....I just have fairly low confidence that he's going to allow them to spend $30MM on Stanton and also let them invest significantly in the rotation.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby zsportsguy » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:22 am

Well, Stanton wants to be a Yankee...so be it. I'm just glad he's not landing somewhere else in the NL. I have every confidence that the Yankees will figure out a way to screw it up.

Now, we find out whether all of these 'Plan B' options that have been thrown around while waiting for Mr. MVP to make up his mind will come to fruition...and we'll find out whether Cards brass is really committed to getting done what needs to be done. I still like several options that seem to be out there...and think that, without the HUGE $$$ that Stanton would've cost, there is still room to find a bat or two, a closer and some more help for the rotation. We shall see.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby cardsfan » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:51 am

Winter meetings this week so maybe that will get the market started. Been slow so far other than the "big" deals with Stanton and Ohtani from Japan. I don't hear many rumors for the Cards that really excite me much.
Yellich is a really nice player and I'd love to have him........but he really doesn't fit the "impact bat" that Mo seems to think he wants.
Ozuna might be more of that.....37 HR's last year. If you think that's what he's going to be, he could be a nice addition. He's got 2 years arbitration before he'd hit free agency. I haven't seen enough of him to really have an opinion....if you just look at his stats, I think there's room to wonder if 2017 represents a young player with potential finally "figuring it out" or if it was just a guy having a career year. MLB guys said they thought the Marlins wanted to package the terrible Martin Prado contract with Ozuna.....he'll make something like $13.5MM the next 2 seasons and he's not even a legit starting player. Prado adds nothing but payroll, but I guess if that's the cost of making a trade, DeWitt may have to do it. If you are taking that Prado contract, I'd assume you shouldn't have to trade too many top prospects.
I keep hearing Evan Longoria's name and while I think third base makes a lot of sense for the Cards to add their "impact bat", I'm not the least bit excited with Longoria. He was a legit superstar through age 27 but he's put up very mediocre numbers 3 of the last 4 seasons. He's getting paid a ton and is 32 years old. Honestly, not sure he's any better hitter than Gyorko at this point, so I don't care for this at all.....I think his name comes up as potentially being a contract the Rays want to dump on a team trying to get their closer...Colome I think? If we could get Chris Archer in the deal, I'd like it much better, but as far as Longoria as a legit impact bat, I just think those days are behind him.

Gregerson as a piece for the middle of the bullpen is ok, I guess. He has had a nice career after we sacrificed him in the bad Khalil Green trade several years ago. He's around 32 now too, I think, and coming off a pretty bad season last year. HR rate was way up.....moving out of Houston to STL might help that. Again, as a depth piece for the bullpne, ok.....if they think he's THE ANSWER as closer, not so much.

Jeez, they surely will make some moves.....they have tons of money to spend and they really need to thin out that glut of outfielders I think.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby zsportsguy » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:53 am

Well, at least for the moment, it appears momentum is building for an Ozuna deal. Cardsfan - like you, I really wasn't very familiar with the guy, other than the fact that a lot of baseball people are 'gushing' about his bat. After reading more about him and looking at a few scouting reports, with some statistical analysis...I'm getting more and more excited.

Yes, 2017 seemingly was a 'breakout year' for him, and you always wonder if he can do that again, so to speak...but take a better look at his previous years, and you get at least a little bit of evidence that 2017 was just the natural progression that he's shown as a good hitter. His HR numbers have really been pretty consistent - 23 in 2014...only 10 in 2015, but that was a year in which he missed 40 games with an injury and played hurt for at least 40 more...2016 - 148 games, 550 at-bats, 23 HR's, 76 RBI's...and then last year - 159 games, over 600 at-bats, 37 HR's, 124 RBI's. I like those power numbers. BA was pretty consistently around .260 to .270 until he had 191 hits and batted over .300 last year. Virtually all of the scouting analysis I've found projects him at around .280 with 30-35 home runs and 100-120 RBI's. Add in a gold glove in left field last year, and the fact that he was widely considered a gold-glover the year before, and you've got a pretty good player there.

If the bat he is likely to replace in the lineup is Piscotty's (who might very well be traded if Ozuna becomes a Cardinal...with Dexter Fowler going to RF and Pham settling in at CF)...I'd consider that a potentially good upgrade.

I also have read more on the talks with Tampa Bay...and it sounds like taking on Evan Longoria's contract might be the key to getting a deal for either Colome or Archer. Tampa Bay REALLY wants to dump the contract, and it's not a team-friendly deal...but as Ben Fredrickson said in the P-D this morning, if you have to take on Longoria's contract to get the guy you really want, why not? Cards have the cash...he did have a 'down year' last year (altho he hit 20 HR's and drove in 80 runs), but he's not far removed from still being awfully productive...36 HR's and 98 RBI's in 2016...he's AVERAGED 160 games, 620 at-bats, 25 HR's and 88 RBI's over the last five seasons. If he doesn't hit, Gjorko can step in. If he does hit, Gjorko can move around and still get some at-bats. Meanwhile, you either get the closer you need, or one of the more coveted starting pitchers on this year's trade market. I kinda like it.

All of this sounds great to me!!!...but...none of it has actually happened. Sounds like there's progress...but no announcements. As you said, Cardsfan, 'surely they will make some moves!!!'
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby cardsfan » Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:25 pm

Still waiting on the details of the deal but looks like Ozuna is likely the "impact bat" that Mo and the Cards are looking for this off-season. Those who had their heart set on his teammate, Stanton, will surely be disappointed but Ozuna offers potentially a significant upgrade for the cleanup spot over what the Cards have run out there in recent years.

From what I've seen it looks like the Cards are sending hard-throwing right handed pitcher Sandy Alcantara and speedy outfielder Magneirus Sierra as two pieces and possibly more....but likely the remaining prospects would be lower-level guys. Early rumors had been that the Cards might be sending 2 of their top 3 starting pitching prospects (either Hudson or Flaherty along with Alcantara) which would have changed my opinion of this deal substantially.

There is obviously always risk when you make a trade. Risk that the prospects you move go on to become stars elsewhere. Risk that the player you acquire flops. But you simply can't be paralyzed by fear of that and I think this trade represents a fairly reasonable risk for the Cards. (assuming the remaining pieces aren't top prospects, I reserve the right to be mad if so).

I think you can kind of see what you want to see in Ozuna. If you are optimistic, you look at that 2017 season, which was just terrific as Z's numbers point out. He was 26 years old, an age where MLB players often blossom. It's not unreasonable to think that Ozuna could have found a level of play that he might be able to sustain or even build on over the next couple of years.

If you are more pessimistic about the deal, you'd focus on the rest of his career where he's been pretty much a league-average player and conclude that trading 2 of our top prospects for that is silly.

I'm leaning toward the optimistic view on this one. The Cards really needed to make a move. While they have a wealth of young outfielders, I'm not sure they have anybody who is reasonably close in 2018 to being ready to make a significant impact as a middle-of-the-order bat. Certainly if Ozuna can come close to duplicating his 2017 numbers, he will be a huge upgrade.

I'd generally hesitate to give up top prospects for a player who is likely gone in 2 years, but given the depth of the outfield position for the Cards, I think the shorter-term deal might be ok here. He won the Gold Glove in left field last year so his defense is good. He played some centerfield for the Marlins a few years ago but from what I read, he's best suited for a corner outfield spot. Reports indicate it's likely that Ozuna will probably play left field with Pham in center and Fowler in right....I suspect flipping Fowler and Ozuna would make more sense but reports are that Fowler wasn't thrilled with being asked to relinquish center and he prefers right over left, so I'd guess they'll appease him there. Getting Fowler out of center certainly helps the defense.

Many questions remain, of course. Rumor is the Piscotty to Oakland could happen soon.....indications are that the Cards are not likely to get top-end prospect there. They pretty much have to move Piscotty or Grichuk....honestly I think they need to trade both of those guys and they still may. A shame if we really do have to just dump Piscotty for nothing...he had a tough year last year but I think he's a better player than a guy you should just give away and could end up being a steal for the A's. But that contract probably hurts his value coming off the year he had, so you move him. Good for Piscotty if he gets to play closer to home and his ailing mother, that's for sure.

I still think it's likely that the Cards will move more outfielders. I guess it's possible you could go into the season with Ozuna/Pham/Fowler as starters and Grichuk as 4th outfielder but I doubt that happens. I think more likely Bader is the 4th outfielder next year, but we'll see. I think Grichuk has some trade value and really think he'll be included in a deal before spring.

Talk that the Cards are in discussion for Colome...the closer for the Rays. I'm thumbs DOWN on this one. I can't pretend to have seen him at all so I don't know what his stuff is. I know he had 47 saves last year but a closer look at some of his numbers is kind of alarming. His strikeout rate fell dramatically from 11.3 per 9 IP in 2016 to 7.8 in 2017. In the K-happy world of today's MLB, a closer who strikes out less than one hitter per inning is scary to me. All of his numbers were substantially worse in 2017 than 2016 and to be honest, 2016 was a dramatically better year than he's had before, so at this point that looks like the outlier to me. I hope they miss on him, but most seem to think that's close to a done deal. I think the people who are excited about this are not looking past 47 saves and honestly, that's a poor stat to rely on. And talk is that we going to have to trade high end prospects if we get Colome. I'm hoping we miss this one.

I also keep seeing that the Cards are talking about Evan Longoria and that's an even bigger NO from me. 32 years old who has been in significant decline for 3 of the past 4 years with a big contract. Again, I see a lot of people excited about this but I think that's surely people who recognize the name and think he's still the legit superstar player he was up to 2013. Honestly, I think it's likely that Gyroko is at least as good a player today as Longoria and he makes a lot less money and he's younger. I can't imagine why the Cards would be interested in Longoria.

Chris Archer's name gets thrown around but I haven't really seen any credible reports on that one. That's a name that is interesting and he certainly would be a guy you could throw into the rotation and count on giving you innings. He's made at least 32 starts each of the past 4 seasons. Honestly, looking at his stats, I'm underwhelmed....I assumed he was better than what his numbers really indicate he is. Certainly a solid MLB starting pitcher but his numbers don't paint the picture of a legit #1 starter. Some think the Rays are going to try to push Longoria onto a team who wants Archer or Colome to get out of the rest of that contract and I guess that's the only real reason I could even imagine taking on that guy. If you are stuck taking Longoria, maybe that lowers the price of prospects?

Should be interesting couple of days.......happy to at least see some movement.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby zsportsguy » Thu Dec 14, 2017 5:05 pm

Cardsfan - I've read a couple of really positive articles about the A's prospects that are coming to the Cards in the Piscotty deal. Sounds like a couple of fairly 'high-end' prospects to me. The shortstop had a very solid AA/AAA season last year and was expected to compete for a spot on the A's big-league roster this season...might see him as a backup in St. Louis. The second-baseman seems to have some 'pop'...slugged over .800 at AAA last year. I hope Piscotty finds his stroke and makes us all miss him in the next few years. He seems like a really good guy with lots of potential. Sounds like, even with his Mom's illness, he wasn't really pushing to get moved to California...he really seemed to want to be part of the Cards future.
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Re: Cards Hot Stove thread

Postby cardsfan » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:11 pm

Watching this hot stove season is a bit like watching paint dry so far. Saw a list of Boras' clients who are free agents the other day and it's long and that's probably one of the reasons for the slow going....he tends to drag out signings forever to get what he wants. So it seems MLB network pretty much just keeps regurgitating the same rumors every couple of days.

Most seem to think a trade with the Rays remains possible in some form.....Archer being the big prize and probably least likely. Colome as the potential closer more likely. Longoria as the lump of coal that a team might have to take to get what they want. I can't make any sense of the notion of taking Longoria just to get Colome.....if you are willing to spend the sort of money you'll spend on Longoria just to get a closer, then it makes more sense to me to just go sign Wade Davis as a free agent. Archer's contract is a huge bargain, so I think Longoria packaged with Archer makes sense. I can't see why the Rays would trade Archer at all unless they are able to just get massive haul of prospects...good pitcher with a great contract.

Lots of talk about Machado or Donaldson again. Both are one-year players then free agents. Both would be upgrade at third base, but I think both would cost significant prospects and again, that really isn't how Mo has done business in the past...trading a big haul for one year of a player. Could happen, I'd be surprised to be honest.

MLB guys were talking about Hosmer again the other day.."great fit for the Cardinals". I still don't see that one....I think Scott Boras is behind all the national guys talking this one up. He's trying like heck to stir up interest for the big mega-contract he thinks Hosmer should get and it seems there really aren't many teams involved. Yankees unlikely to go big on a free agent after they tied into Stanton and they are trying to save salary space to chase Machado/Harper in the free agent market next year. Red Sox were throught to be a possibility for Hosmer but they re-signed Mitch Moreland and that would seem to signal they won't chase Hosmer. About the only two teams who seem interested in Hosmer are the Royals and Padres and I"m sure Boras would like to get bigger-spending team involved than those. So I think he's planting the Cardinal rumors.....again, I could be surprised on that one but I just don't see Hosmer as a great fit.....unless, his money comes way down.

That seems to be about where we are. Still seems to me there is work to be done on this Cards roster and I continue to think the bigger issues are pitching. One of the Post writers wrote that the Ozuna move signaled a sort of "go all in" for the Cards and if that's really what they think, they need to make some big pitching moves. I think if you really want to go "all in" for 2018, you need at least one high-end starter and a legit closer and probably another legit lefty for the bullpen.

I don't really buy that Mo is going to do that.....I think he's more likely looking at marginal upgrades where he can. The Ozuna move makes sense in the context of a team with a wealth of young outfielders who should be MLB ready within the next 2 years......by the time Ozuna's contract is up, hopefully, O'Neill or Mercado or Garcia (or others) are ready to assume a central role. You have several legit pitching prospects who are close and you should be able to project 2 or 3 of those as possibilities to assume middle of the rotation spots by 2019 and 2020. So I think the Ozuna move is more of a bridge to that than a real "all in" move. But we'll see.

I do think they'll make a move for an arm in the bullpen. I'd be content with Addison Reed and a veteran lefty (Tony Watson??) for the bullpen and see what happens.

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