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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Will Greinke create opportunity for Miller and Rosenthal?

A perennially-contending club like the St. Louis Cardinals seems unwilling to sacrifice a season or two in the present to increase the odds of a future payoff. Perhaps they see such a move as unnecessary.

2013 should be no exception. The Cards have made the post-season as a wild card in each of the last two seasons, including going on to claim one world title. They prospered even after the departures of Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa and will be welcoming back most of the same players from 2012 this coming spring.

Yet, 2013 could mark the end of an era for the club. The three most veteran pitchers in their rotation – Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook – will be in their final year of their respective contracts. Only Westbrook has an option for 2014.

Zack Greinke’s new megadeal with the Los Angeles Dodgers – six years, $147 million – should float a number of other current and future free agent boats higher, including that of Wainwright.

The Cardinals have never committed anywhere near that number of years nor that amount of money on a pitcher, but they may soon have to decide whether or not they want to start.

Further, the contending Tampa Bay Rays’ take from their Sunday trade of front-line pitcher James Shields serves as another reminder of the high value of pitching in the current market.

In preparation for a 2014 that may bring major changes to the rotation, do the Cardinals take additional risk in 2013 to prepare? Specifically, do they find a way give additional meaningful major league innings to more than one of their four potential fifth-starter candidates – Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal plus 2012 holdovers Joe Kelly and Lance Lynn?

From the current rotation, Wainwright and Westbrook seem locked in for 2013 with Carpenter and Jaime Garcia set to join them – health permitting. Injuries could create additional opportunity for the youngsters, but it is not assured.

Should the Cardinals sit back and wait or should they create opportunity, even if it might mean more immediate risk?

For 2013, should the Cardinals?

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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15 Responses to “Will Greinke create opportunity for Miller and Rosenthal?”

  1. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    The question really is……………….how many will they expose for purely competitive reasons. They could put a “shaming” on Miller again, and send him back. Rosenthal likely is headed to the BP for protection….. that leaves Kelly for the rotation…a guy they’ve been trying to trade……… Competition will have nothing to do with it …………. in fact…..this is a perfect year to take third place or worse. Saves a whole bunch of money………………. they wouldn’t do that would they?….or is it on the 5yr plan already?………………….. the Matheny/MO managing apparatus has all the scapegoats already built in……… I put you third if others start spending.

  2. blingboy says:

    Bill James 2013 projections:

    Grienke: ERA 3.45, FIP 3.16, WHIP 1.22

    Wainwright: ERA 3.33, FIP 3.13, WHIP 1.20

    Wainy seems like a fair minded guy. He’s two years older than Grienke, so maybe he’d be OK with 4 years. Maybe he’d knock 10% off the AAV for home town discount. Let’s say 20%.

    Show of hands, who sees Bill going for that?

    • crdswmn says:

      I see Bill paying Waino whatever he wants to pay him. I see Waino either taking Bill’s best offer or going to FA.

      How’s that for prognosticating? 😉

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        They could of had a killer rotation with Lohse at 3/45….. All teams will get a big boost in 2014……. 50+ million from the TV deals………..Carp likely retires if he survives another…………. they are planning on collecting insurance on Garcia all year………………Lohse contests Adam at 15, discouraging any more than an 17 or 18 million dollar average……….. they still had an offer in on Shields to do the same thing….. BD’s focus is beating the players, and the fans out of dollars…….. he is doing good…. if you think about it………..the Molina invitation to be a hitting coach right out of the Blue……screams a buffer against alienating Yadi should they make unpopular moves ………. that is just a PR move all the way………like for AP……..they are planning for it.

        • crdswmn says:

          Waino goes, he stays, whatever. I hope he stays but I have bigger fish to fry.

          Bill can do whatever he wants. It’s not like any of us can do anything to stop him.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    I object to the introductory claim the Cards are a “perennially contending club.” Nowadays, a perennial contender is one that can overcome the designed disadvantage of low amateur draft picks by exercising a great deal more money than other teams. The Yankees and Dodgers can take on enough salary to contend every year, owing to financial muscle. Obviously, the Cards do not qualify as this kind of contender.

    Milwaukee, Cinci, and Pittsburg are smaller markets, so the Cards have intrinsic advantages versus these financially weaker teams, though these teams can get ahead via effective drafting of higher picks. During 2010-12, the Cards were perenially surpassed by Cinci or Milwaukee.

    There is nothing that ensures the Cards will make the playoffs. According, Mo has to run scared and not take anything for granted.

    During the past decade, the Cards got lucky in terms of obtaining Chris Carpenter after he escaped Toronto. We got lucky to turn JD Drew into years of Wainwright, thanks Atlanta. And we had historic luck in unearthing Pujols in round 13 in 1999. We have enjoyed some great strokes of luck that has translated into some success within a non-powerful division.

    We should never assume a bit of good luck in the past means we are now perennial and perpetual winners. We have to both work hard and get lucky. Success is by no means handed to the Cards, because they do not have financial power, so the risk of losing is never far away. It is good to be clear minded about this, because this insight has implications as regards trades.

    • crdswmn says:

      Objection overruled.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      If we raise any starting pitchers, we should hang on to them. Historically, since the 1970s, the Cards have been WRETCHED at signing amateur pitchers and turning them into ML starting pitchers. When we find a guy who can pitch at the ML level, like Dan Haren, the last thing we should do is trade him away.
      Lance Lynn just won 18 games in his first season as a ML starter. Should he be traded? Of course not. Could he be stashed in the pen during 2013? Yes, it did not hurt him to pitch relief during 2011.
      Joe Kelly pitched well. Should we trade him? No. Can he be stashed in the bullpen for the short run? Yes.
      Is Rosenthal ready to start in the majors? No. He can be employed in the pen during 2013.

      Carpenter is nearing the end. Westbrook too maybe in a couple of years. Change will come. Do we have to get all excited and trade some pitcher? No.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Wondering how many words would be spilled in taking exception to the sky being blue? 😉

    • blingboy says:

      The second wild card gives a team like the Royals something to shoot for. Low spending teams seldom see any chance to try the win now strategy. The AL should look into moving money bags Detroit out of the Central and putting a low payroll team in there for competitive balance.

  4. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    According to officials, the organization is still lining up private financing. In this soft economy an economic development project of this magnitude is scrutinized much more closely than five years ago and leaders cite that as the reason for the delay. The new target date to start construction is the end of the year.

    Due diligence ??????? I could light the fuse right now………. but I won’t….. my gift to you all…….

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