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

Jhonny Peralta pros and cons for the Cardinals

On Saturday night, news that the St. Louis Cardinals are closing in on signing free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta was first shared by Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. The terms of the contract are not yet known, but Peter Gammons tweeted Friday that multiple general managers told him that Peralta had a four-year, $52 million deal on the table.

Early views of the signing among Cardinals fans have been mixed. My personal summary of the key pluses and potential minuses follow.

Pros

Fills a key positional need quickly. The Cardinals clearly need a shortstop who can hit and everyone in the game knows it. That the club could resolve it this early in the off-season is a good thing. Prices on free agents will not go down and it seems clear a fair trade was not out there to be made.

No top prospects/young players traded. St. Louis has been able to keep its entire cadre of young arms while improving both shortstop and centerfield, the latter via the David Freese-Peter Bourjos trade. 2014 injuries cannot be predicted, but the depth will almost certainly pay off.

No compensation pick lost. Detroit seems to have misread the market when they chose not to make Peralta a one-year qualifying offer. As a result, he can be signed by the Cardinals without loss of their 2014 first-round draft pick as compensation.

Defensive versatility.
Peralta can also play third base and left field, a point to keep in mind for the future.

Cons

Years and money.
As I said, we don’t know the exact terms, but it seems like at least four years and $50 million. The Cardinals have plenty of cash coming off the books in Chris Carpenter and Carlos Beltran, so have flexibility. I do not believe this signing would limit the team in making any other moves required down the road. Having a young and relatively inexpensive core allows the club to fill open needs this way when required.

Age 31. A long-term deal that touches the second half of anyone’s 30s is not ideal, but perhaps necessary in today’s market. As noted above, if better for the team, Peralta could be moved to another position down the road. A trade may or may not be possible, depending on the contract terms.

Defensive questions. According to defensive metrics I have seen, Peralta is not a Gold Glover, nor is he a butcher. No one is questioning his bat, which powered him to an All-Star berth in two of the last three years – or are they?

PED issue. Peralta’s 50-game suspension as part of the Biogenesis investigation is an emotional issue for some and a cause for fear of diminished production from others. We debated the former ad nauseum Saturday night at The Cardinal Nation message board, so I have nothing additional to say to the moralists other than “get real”. To those worried about a drop off in Peralta’s performance, I will note that he looked pretty good in the 2013 post-season. Then again, he had two months on the pines to rest up.

Overall, given the options apparently available, this looks like a reasonable signing for the Cardinals.

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87 Responses to “Jhonny Peralta pros and cons for the Cardinals”

  1. Bw52 says:

    Good summary Brian.

  2. Nutlaw says:

    Yeah, agreed on all points. Especially given that a “fair” trade for a talented young shortstop wouldn’t involve spare parts like Freese and Salas, or even a solid middle of the rotation guy like Lynn. It would have been for someone painful to lose, like Wacha.

  3. crdswmn says:

    Well, thanks for the advice. I wasn’t aware I wasn’t real but you learn something new every day. I will try to temper my morality in the future for everyone’s comfort.

  4. crdswmn says:

    No I’m not at all. I respect Brian very much and differences in opinion and outlook are to be expected. I was commenting that I won’t belabor the point anymore if it makes people uncomfortable. We all get emotional sometimes and express ourselves in ways that are misunderstood and I want to avoid that as much as possible.

    It’s not an issue worth fighting about.

  5. Nutlaw says:

    Also, I think that the positional versatility should come in useful right now, rather than simply in the future. With the glut of outfielders on the team, I doubt that LF depth will be an issue. However, infield depth remains perilously thin. If either Carpenter or Wong comes out, you either have Descalso back fill their position or you slide Peralta to third and play Kozma at short.

  6. Brian Walton says:

    Interesting tweets from Arizona pitcher Brad Ziegler. He said players thought 50-game suspensions would be a deterrent, but it isn’t enough so they are looking at it again. He also said the owners are against stiffer penalties. (Not clear if he is speaking for himself, the union, a majority of players or something else.)

    My immediate question is one of timing. When did the Biogenesis violations actually occur compared to when the current penalties were enacted?

    • Bw52 says:

      I thought Peralta stated that he made his mistake in Spring 2012.As for the owners being against stiffer penalties I think owners are afraid of taking the chance of losing a big draw (star players).

      • Brian Walton says:

        Interesting. Peralta’s worst season was 2012.

        I have not heard the owners say they are afraid of losing players. Do you recall where you read that?

        • Bw52 says:

          Didn`t read it.Figured owners would naturally be afraid of losing the main attraction.Owners biggest fear is losing money IMHO. No big attraction mmight mean less fan interest and less interest means less revenue.

          • Brian Walton says:

            What I remember is the opposite. Selig pushing for stronger testing and the Players’ Union fighting it.

            I doubt the Tigers made measurably less money this past season because Peralta sat out 50 games. Same for the Rangers with Nelson Cruz, etc…

            • Bw52 says:

              Selig working the PR angle IMO.Owners puppet doing the PR shuffle.Owners can say they are trying to clean up the game but the players union won`t let us.How would the tigers draw if Cabrera was suspended 50 or 100 games or any huge star being suspended? Peralta and Cruz aren`t big stars.I still have my doubts about owners worrying about the integrity of the game.How many would rank integrity over profits in the real world.

              • Brian Walton says:

                I don’t see it. My guess is that if the Union asks for tougher penalties, the owners would readily agree.

                • Bw52 says:

                  If the owners wanted to be harsher on PED or Other offenders then all they have to do is tell their GM not to sign such player because of owners stance against said problem.Has any owner come out and said “don`t come here” to any PED offender?

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    No owner is going to artificially limit his team’s chances by refusing to sign cheaters (and/or releasing current ones) when his direct competition is not doing the same.

                    If the owners took that action in concert, it would be collusion, a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

                    On the earlier point: If for no reason other than for the PR benefit (or should I say to avoid the negative backlash), I believe owners would agree to stricter penalties if the Union went public with their desire to do the same.

  7. Brian Walton says:

    Jon Heyman reports the deal is $53 million over four years.

  8. blingboy says:

    Whatever I thought about Peralta this morning is out the window. He’s one of us now.

    I imagine Pete could use a hug.

  9. JumboShrimp says:

    Mo is having a massive off-season!

    What to do next? After taking care of CF, 3B, and SS, there is not a ton more that can be done.

    For an encore, I would like to see us get a better backup catcher, so Molina can take more off days.

  10. Bw52 says:

    Cards need a RH bench bat who can play 3B and Agree about a better backup catcher.Not thrilled with Cruz.I also think Jon Jay is traded somewhere.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Bourjos is coming off wrist (presumably tendon) surgery. While we hope he bounces back, this is a serious injury for a baseball player. We need to keep Jay around for 2014, because we do not know if Bourjos will bounce back.
      A surplus is at LHR. We could deal Choate toward a backup catcher. Choate is pretty good as a loogy with value to other teams. Choate is less of an asset for the Cardinals, because most of our starters have a hard time getting to the 7th inning. We need relievers who can eat an inning, which Choate seldom does.

      • Brian Walton says:

        No. He had a fracture due to getting hit by a pitch which required a small screw to be inserted to set the bone.

      • Bw52 says:

        Cards have Jon Jay clone at AAA in Oneill.Taveras wil possibly be there and Robinson is a better defender than JJ and hits righty.Plus Joey Butler figures in mix also.Don`t forget Craig.
        Choate is one of the few Cards LH relievers who did pretty well after coming in FA.I say hold on to him.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Oneill is a light hitting LF, no CF. He would be a big drop off defensively in CF from Jay.
          Chambers was a Jay-lite clone, but left as a minor league free agent.
          Until Bourjos proves healthy and capable, Mo is not going to trade Jay.
          Robinson may have a hard time remaining on the 25 man roster, after arrival of Bourjos.
          If we had known we would land Bourjos, we would not have claimed Butler.

          • Brian Walton says:

            I was with you until the last sentence. Butler is primarily a right fielder and was likely added for veteran depth at Memphis. Bourjos is a centerfielder who will certainly be in the majors.

            Further, if the Cards no longer wanted Butler, all they would have to do is put him back on waivers.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Craig and Taveras are coming back from injuries, adding an element of uncertainty. If we already had Bourjos, its not clear we would have needed to add Butler to the 40 man roster. We could have pursued him as Moore, giving just a AAA deal.
              Overall, armed with a big budget, Mo has been on a roll. Butler was a solid decision at a specific point in time.

              • Brian Walton says:

                You mix lots of points together. Butler has nothing to do with Mo having a big budget. In fact, his addition was just the opposite.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  Butler was added because we have guys trying to come back from injuries. We needed more RFers with ML or AAA experience for 2014.
                  Financial muscle landed Peralta, so we agree it has nothing to do with Butler.
                  My broader point is simply Mo has been hot. He has not had to fall back to Plan M or Plan O, since Plan A or B or C has worked out. There has been many the long winter when this has not happened.

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    We agree on the point that moving quickly is probably a good thing.

                    • JumboShrimp says:

                      Sometimes it helps to have good luck. The Yankees re-signed old Jeter (with Brendan as his frequent fill-in), so were not in the market for SS. They are spending on McCann and they hope Beltran.
                      This left the Cards in a good position for Peralta. Sometimes free agent markets favor your team, other years they do not, as when we had to sign Izturis for 2008. This year we are in a good financial position and have a successful team so players want to come here. But we still need good luck in terms of player availability in the free agent market.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  We have trading chips to hunt for a more experienced backup catcher than Tony Cruz. Backup catcher is now our biggest weakness.
                  We could backfill Descalso with Greg Garcia, so Dan is tradable. Kozma is available. Randy Choate is available, since we have Jaime Garcia, Siegrist, Freeman, Lyons, and Stoppelman as lefty relievers. Shane Robinson is available for a trade too.
                  If we can supply a diversity of talent at SS, 2B, lefty, or CF, it might be possible to find a ML experienced backup receiver.

  11. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Cruz has been great JBo…………. a little slack please….. On Johnny P…….

    1) clearly, this was not the plan. But it is a good plan. JP has a market value. With the Cardinal apparatus maintaining it, that can only improve.
    2) will he be loved? The guy is a player. He will be independent of some of the issues here. He should excel. He is an adequate defender, but a seasoned one which is money in my book.
    3) His chances of playing here 4yrs are slim and none. Unless! he is just money. Then he is a good deal. Clearly DeWitt has flexibility here financially. He has a team that is festooned with young players. Defending that precedent is worth some minor losses if that’s how it plays.
    4) Clearly……the Cardinals have just toughened up. Not just a bunch of pretty boys. I like that. We lacked a Furcal type of professional. Clearly Bill DeWitt is defending a position here, by putting up some Green Backs. In essence, the Detroit/ Texas maneuver has kept him for taking some assets to market. That’s fun.
    5) With all of these assets on board, clearly Axford will be moved, and I’d guess the new Memphis property will be well stocked.
    6) First competitive move I’ve seen here in years. What are people whining about? Enjoy it. Bill has circled the wagons. Get out your banjo’s.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Doubt Axford will be moved. We do not know if Motte can rebound.
      Axford is like Peralta, Molina, Wainwright. Some athletes are bargains, while for others Mo has to pay the piper. Axford is no bargain, but could be helpful and we have the budget to afford him.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Because of his projected salary, Axford is a non-tender candidate.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Axford is within the arbitration window, so will command less than if he on an open competitive market. He is somewhat cost controlled.
          I agree Axford could be non-tendered. However, my crazy guess is Axford and Mo will be able to reach an agreement for 2014.
          We shall stay tuned and see what happens, before too long.

          • Brian Walton says:

            I again disagree. The entire reason Axford is a non-tender candidate is that his potential salary via arbitration may be MORE than his actual market value. If the Cards enter the process, they would have NO control over what Axford requests and risk the arbitrator ruling in favor of the player.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Arbitration is a customary part of the market for player services, established by teams and the union under their consensual labor agreement.
              I could fully agree if you argued the Cards could get a reliever for less money. They can find someone in January for $1MM. It is up to Mo to decide if he wants to bargain shop during January or shoulder $3-5MM more bucks for Axford.
              The labor agreement gives teams a right not to offer arbitration, if they think a salary will be excessive, in relation to the future performance the player could contribute or in relation to the availability of a cheaper alternative.
              The January guy’s salary is ailored to him, whereas Axford’s present market value is unique to him. Axford’s value under arbitration will be what the team, Axford, and/or the arbitrator decide it is. This is a market value, too, for a veteran.
              Axford is a talented guy. He showed he can be helpful during the playoffs. He can close games when Matheny wants to give Rosenthal a day off. The Cards think they have a strong team, a reason they shelled out mucho bucks for Peralta. They may similarly decide Axford is worth paying for. Its a judgment call.
              A playoff caliber team may choose to invest in Axford. A lower spending team like the Marlins clearly would not. If we decline to offer Axford arbitration, he will land with the Pirates, Yanks, Red Sox, Dodgers, Rangers, etc. He is going to be well paid during 2014. The only question is what uniform.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              The Angels added set up man Joe Smith for $5MM/yr for 3 years. During a 7 year ML career, Smith has saved a grand total of three games.
              Given this kind of lofty price tag for a set up man, Axford’s cost is not bad. The Cards can retain control for around $5MM, but we would not have to give out a 3 year deal as with Smith.
              Axford may be happy if the Cards decline arbitration. Axford should command a better deal as a free agent than under arbitration. We shall see what happens.

              • Bw52 says:

                I would hate to see Axford leave over a couple of million dollars.He has closer experience and he pitched fairly well for the Cards.I like having him around as veteran insurance with the kids in the pen and his ability to close in case Rosenthal falls victim to Sophomore jinx or any of the the kids in the pen have similar troubles.Plus nobody knows if Motte can come and be effective .After spending money to upgrade SS and CF why be stupid over a couple of million bucks?

                • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                  The least they could offer is 20% less than his last figure. That would certainly be their position with his numbers. They will make an offer and if he doesn’t except, they just release him. He has problems. I expect they trade him before they commit to the process for whatever the market will bear. I’m sure its already out there. Those rotation rejects have to find a place.

                  • blingboy says:

                    It seems like Mo was reading GM Strategy for Dummies and it said when you are heading for postseason with a young pen, find a veteran with high pressure experience. So he got Axford, who didn’t do much, good or bad, and now the post-season is over, and here he is. We could have lived without him in October, and we can live without him now. But Mo gave up a decent prospect, so do you just cut him loose? Pay him to join the middle reliever scrum this year? Pay him to block a minimum wage guy? What?

                    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

                      If Jamie is healthy, he is going to bump Kelly or someone. The pen will have (need) two long men with some resilience. I like Freeman. Add the bumped starter. That being said, add them up. You get to 7 or 8 in a hurry. Who do you have waiting in Memphis?

                      Rosie
                      Martinez
                      Segrist
                      Choate
                      Maness ……..that’s 5 for sure….2 or 3 more?…. No room for the worthy let alone Axford.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Wow. If that is the worst you’ve got on Mo, you ain’t got much.

                    • blingboy says:

                      I agree that the Cards are not going to pay Axford since he has no role. There is no pen role to be filled.

                      Mo’s decision to bolster the pen and not the bench is hard to defend, which makes the lack of an Axford exit strategy stand out. In the end, Blazek was given away for next to nothing and the Cards tried to go the distance with no bench. A very significant GM fail. No way to spin it.

                    • CariocaCardinal says:

                      Rosie and Choate in Memphis (not even commenting on the others who at least
                      spent a little time in Memphis). Did someone sleep through the season?

                  • Brian Walton says:

                    Which rotation reject do you mean? Axford hasn’t started a game since A-ball in 2008.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  Because sixth or seventh inning men are plentiful.

                • blingboy says:

                  As to dubya’s position that Axford would make good insurance in case Rosey and Motte have problems, I agree. Axford/Martinez wouln’t be a bad fall back position. Its not my money, so I wouldn’t mind. Let some worthy sit in Memphis until the late inning situation resolves itself, then clear out somebody by either moving Axford or DLing someone as the case may be.

                  I would be shocked if that is what they do. But I wouldn’t mind. I am also not convinced there would be no trade value for Axford at some point, unless he craters.

              • Brian Walton says:

                Axford is not going to make more than $5 million per year as a free agent. No way.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  There is a lot of money sloshing around the Game. 8 years ago, it took about $9MM to sign David Eckstein to a three year deal. This winter, the SS cost $53MM over 4 years, about 4 times as much per year.
                  Or, Mike Matheny collected about $9MM over 3 to go to the Giants, while today Yadier Molina pulls down $15MM/yr, 5 times as much as Mike made as his peak.
                  Starting pitchers once cost $4MM, now a good one can cost $20MM/yr. Dan Haren and Josh Johnson are commanding about $10MM coming off ho hum years.
                  Given the market, Axford could do well as a free agent. A bunch of teams would be interested. No reason to be penny wise too, while so pound foolish.

                • Nutlaw says:

                  Right. Axford’s stock has fallen. Also, when do the Cardinals ever go to arbitration with anyone? As WC said, they’ll sign him ahead of time to a reasonable deal or they’ll release him.

  12. Bw52 says:

    Anyone else having technical issues with the forums pages?Scout says pages not found? Whats the deal with that?

  13. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    “I agree that the Cards are not going to pay Axford since he has no role. There is no pen role to be filled. Mo’s decision to bolster the pen and not the bench is hard to defend, which makes the lack of an Axford exit strategy stand out. In the end, Blazek was given away for next to nothing and the Cards tried to go the distance with no bench. A very significant GM fail. No way to spin it.” BB

    He signed Axford for the sole purpose of removing any leverage accumulated by Mujica….. It of course did more than that……… He saved millions there……….. The 53 million toward JP is purely an investment in his young pitching. A few more runs saves a hell of a lot of pitches, and makes for graceful 6th inning departures. He knows that if the young group starts to struggle………..stocks go way down in a hurry………..that could bury his whole youth movement…which as it stands, is worth a fortune…………….. he will have a home grow SS ready in a year or two……… he will likely have the boys at the post drag Peralta through his PEDS history every few months, just so he doesn’t take root………..That seems a bit cynical…….but true I’m afraid…….I like JP…….we need a hardnosed guy……… hope he influences some of the more mild personalities………..like MM!

    • blingboy says:

      Not sure about the Axford/Mujica part. The Peralta/protecting young pitching value part is profound. I will enjoy mulling that for weeks.

      The homegrown SS part is speculative, of course. I remain unconvinced that the Cards have mastered the art of home-growing shortstops. But they don’t need to. Rather, I see Peralta as a glorified UT who can hold down SS for a year or two until Mo is ready to trade an arm or two. An arm or two with preserved value as you adroitly point out.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        I wish I wasn’t sure about it. They guarded him every step of the way………. I watched his collapse in Milwaukie……. If Edward wouldn’t have just folded, it would have unfolded differently. Nothings saves Edward……..nothings saved Lohse……nothing saves Beltran….. Freese could have repeated 2011 in the last 2 games…..he was still gone………….. tough business……get used to it……I have to believe the turn Jay over…..its in their best interest……..

  14. blingboy says:

    I am interested to hear any ideas about the thinking behind the front loaded contract.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Who has one?

    • blingboy says:

      “Peralta gets $15.5 million next year, $15 million in 2015, $12.5 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017. ” Fox Sports article.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        That meets Bill’s need to inflate the value of the moves he made on this years payroll………and it makes it easier to move JP when his time comes. What agent doesn’t love this? Bill is real complicated………his agent was talking incentives so Bill just shut him up with the extra million. He likely amortized the contract payment over 9 months instead of 6, just to take the million back. He is special………….

      • JumboShrimp says:

        1. Peralta probably cannot stay at SS the whole 4 years. His defensive contribution should decline. If he has to shift to 3B or LF, he is worth less. He would be easier to trade for year 4, if the salary is lower.

        2. The departures of Beltran, Chris Carpenter, Westbrook, Furcal, Freese, and Salas liberates about $45MM. The Cards are budgetarily flush right now, so it makes sense to use some of the surplus at the front end of the Peralta deal, so we are in a stronger financial position toward the end of the contract.

        • Brian Walton says:

          1) The year four salary should make it no easier or tougher to trade him. The Cards would have to pay the difference between salary and market value either way. If the delta amount was a bit higher at the end, it means that they avoided that spend earlier on. If the final year delta amount was a bit lower, they paid more of the total contract value earlier. In other words, the total spend is the total spend (disregarding time value of money). (I could/should have made this same point earlier to Carioca.)

          2) Carioca already made that point earlier.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Here is an explanation of what I mean in point #1. Here are two cases. In the first, Peralta’s pay is front-loaded. In the second, the pay is backloaded. We assume that before year 4, the Cards have to dump Peralta, with his market value at the time at just $5 million.

          While the Cards would have to eat more salary during year four, they would end up spending $48 million over the term of the contract either way.

          From the perspective of the team taking Peralta, they don’t care either way as long as the Cards cover the amount between the contract and his then-current value.

          Front end Contract Spend Y4 value
          Y1 15 15  
          Y2 14 14  
          Y3 13 13  
          Y4 11 6 5
          Total 53 48  
                 
          Back end Contract Spend Y4 value
          Y1 11 11  
          Y2 13 13  
          Y3 14 14  
          Y4 15 10 5
          Total 53 48  

          • blingboy says:

            If it turns out he can play without juice, he should be useful for four years. Kind of an expensive UT toward the end, but a good value for a starting shortstop now. Anyway, I doubt Mo or Bill are worried about maybe having to eat a few million four years from now.

            One thing that seems certain is that the Cardinals will put a better team on the field in 2014 than the one that tied for best record in 2013. A lot better probably.

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            ????????? If he is a contributor………but you still want to move him in year 3 and 4……..for what ever reason…… it sure looks a lot better when you don’t have to eat contract……. less conspicuous….
            This team looks really good……Molina gets hurt………they don’t make the playoffs……..they will spin him in a rebuild mode………. that is an unlikely scenario….. however, Reds have a new coach…….Braun has a new chemist……..Pittsburg is in a learning curve…. Cubs…..find a magic lamp??

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Normally, the Cards backload contracts. If they front-load one, this indicates how much they wanted Peralta. The guy who benefits from a front loaded deal is Peralta, not the employer.

  15. CariocaCardinal says:

    Really smart move by Mo. He has room in the payroll this year (reduces fan pressure to use it on something else), has Peralta making less in the years he is most likely less productivity (reducing criticism in the future), Saves money in the out years when the young guys are starting to get huge raises and the payroll flexibility will be needed, and makes him more tradeable in the out years.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I am not sure I put any credence on the criticism point, but I do agree on the salary increases for the young guys coming. The time to spend a bit extra is now.

    • kray66 says:

      I agree completely. I think it’s a smart split up of the salary with what you would expect production-wise from him.

      We all knew the Pujols backloaded deal was terrible for the Angels. Two years in it already looks bad. While on a much smaller scale, Mo didn’t want to repeat that mistake. The Angels will be paying Pujols the most when they are most likely to need to spend some money to make up for him likely sitting on the DL for prolonged periods of time.

  16. CariocaCardinal says:

    I think some people here way over value Blazek!

    • blingboy says:

      The point made does not require Blazek to worth a lot. Just worth more than we got for him.

      Assuming Axford walks, and in light of his contribution last year, we got next to nothing.

      At the least, Blazek will provide somebody with servicable middle relief for cheap for years to come. There is also the potential for something more.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I have no issue with the trade, fully expecting Axford to be non-tendered. He provided a late-season buffer in case the kids (and/or Mujica) stumbled. He did fine, but is very replaceable.

        Your point that Mo should have tried to address the bench instead, or in addition to, is fair criticism, IMO.

  17. Bw52 says:

    In my opinion it is a no-brainer to work out a deal with Axford.People seem to forget that Cards have Seigrist,and Maness who don`t even have a full season experience in the bigs and Rosenthal who has barely over a season experience as important parts of the bullpen.Nobody knows if Motte can return and be effective or Jaime Garcia can return to starting effectively.So if The 3 kids falter who do you turn to?Choate is pretty much a LOOGY,Joe Kelly might be MR Fix-it but he can`t do multiple roles at one time.Who you going to use…………………..Keith Butler? u Carlos Martinez in the bullpen?Sam Freeman? A couple of sore arms or elbow pains and Garcia and Motte inability to return and be effective and the Cards could be screwed.That`s why MO needs to work out a deal with AXford.To do all the upgrading thru FA and trades and then screw the pooch over a couple of million bucks is beyond stupid.

    • Brian Walton says:

      There are definitely reasons to consider it, but any above-value move for a sixth- or seventh-inning guy is far from a no-brainer. We aren’t talking about Motte or Rosenthal here.

    • blingboy says:

      Like I said, I wouldn’t mind if we held onto Axford. If Mo wants to have a veteran with late inning experience, and arguably possible late inning fill in potential, he might as well just pay Axford. He is probably a rung above the run of the mill middle reliever types who are always obtainable. And prices keep going up.

      Mo would robably prefer to cut him loose and keep the dry powder safely tucked away in dewallet.

      I also have no issue with the riskier strategy of opening up spots at the top of the system for all these young arms to tussle over.

      • Bw52 says:

        IMHO the “Dewallet” comment is uncalled for a plain silly.Cards just spent 53 million on a SS.Yadi and Wainwright have large contracts as do Holliday and Craig.If the Cards were run by the shysters that run the Marlins I could understand the comment.Because Cards don`t throw money around like drunken sailors and usually have reasonable restraint on monetary decisions is not a bad thing.

        • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

          Your missing the point. He has created a public expectation that he will spend X amount. These large contracts create a flow of player expectation and salary potential around them in a very small band of payroll flexibility………….. that means you need to turn lots of players loose, and bring in more cost controlled players later. …………… That is the business plan………… He was aiming for Andrus for god sakes……………. He is going to be right around 100m this year. ……… Lots of new money coming in…………… Life is good…..I like the team though……..good for Bill.

  18. blingboy says:

    Bernie says his take on conversations with Mo is that a RH bat who can help at 2B is Mo’s remaining #1 priority at this point.

    I have seen several dregs mentioned on different boards. Wiggy’s waiting to happen, IMO.

    Somebody mentioned Omar Infante, which would be interesting. Kind of pricy, though. Smarter use of the money than Axford, though.

  19. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I just reviewed JP playoff AB’s………………he will likely be the best hitter on the team…… tough guy to pitch to.

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