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

Molina Mourns Trades, Criticizes Management

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina is considered the best in the game at what he does.

The seven-time all-star is well-compensated for his many accomplishments – made a wealthy man via the third largest contract on his team, a five-year, $75 million dollar deal. The Puerto Rican native owns two mansions in the US, started his own record company, has lucrative endorsement deals and gives to others via his charitable foundation.

The 32-year-old is also a good teammate and friend, especially to two of the players his club traded away this week in catcher Tony Cruz and outfielder Jon Jay.  After better seasons in the past, the two now ex-Cardinals batted just .204 and .210, respectively, in 2015.

Molina’s unhappiness over the departures spilled over into his social media accounts on Tuesday, where he posted this photo along with some pointed comments.

This is what he said on Twitter.

So sad!First Tony and now Jay!! Maybe I’m next!!!It may be business but for me you guys are family. U will b missed!

Nice sentiment and all, but in reality, Molina has exactly zero chance of being “next” – unless he has quietly waived his full no-trade protection.

The catcher should have stopped there, but unconstrained by 140 characters, he went further on Instagram – perhaps one step too far.

yadier_marciano_molina very sad!! first tony , now jay!!! wow maybe iam next!!! ,,, i know is business for them ,,,, they dont care about anything only business ,,for me we are family ,, iam so sad men!! @jonjayu @dakidcruz i wish you guys the best !!

This is a good reminder that players can at times be as emotional as fans. Yet, the criticism of his long-time employer was better off unsaid in a public forum.

By upgrading their bench via these trades, it seems to many impartial observers that “they” – undoubtedly a reference to the Cardinals front office – are taking necessary steps to improve the roster.

If the Cardinals cared only about business, as Molina asserts, they would have maintained the status quo with the less-expensive Cruz and Jay instead of taking on more payroll dollars and years of contract commitment by adding Brayan Pena to replace Cruz and Jedd Gyorko in return for Jay.

Since Molina was injured and unavailable in each of the last two post-seasons as the Cardinals were eliminated, it is too bad he cannot appreciate that his bosses are making moves to try to make his team better – and specifically to keep him healthier.

Clearly one of his team’s leaders, Molina is one of the few remaining Cardinals to possess two rings. I trust in time he will accept that changes that may feel uncomfortable to him personally are needed to put him in a better position to earn a third.

Hopefully, that next championship is what matters most to everyone involved.

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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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81 Responses to “Molina Mourns Trades, Criticizes Management”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Couldn’t sleep, so I got up and logged back on the computer to see you had addressed this. I saw it this morning on Twitter.

    I totally agree with you. I get that the clubhouse getting along and all is important. I mean, we’ve seen the opposite with teams like the Nationals, and to some extent the Dodgers, and the Nationals have really been a train wreck these last few seasons, even with the talent they have. So I don’t discount the importance of club cohesion. But it seems to me it can also be taken too far the other way, and the Cardinals’ clubhouse is getting close to getting there if players feel like they can openly criticize management for prioritizing improving the team’s chances of winning over keeping the clubhouse frat party going. Getting along is great; creating an us (players) vs them (management) atmosphere is not great.

    Seems to me if Matheny is so great at the leadership thing he would see the necessity of nipping this in the bud; Yet, based on his comments after the Allen Craig trade, I think he may be fostering it. Not a wise move on his part if you ask me, considering who pays his salary.

    Yadi needs to keep his opinions to himself and concentrate on playing baseball, and improving his performance at the plate.

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      Yep, Matheny was so unwise that after the way he handled the Craig trade the team only won 100 games the next year. A certain amount of tension is good. It is one of the tricks of leadership. Up to now it appears Matheny has done just fine finding the right.level.

  2. blingboy says:

    Poor Yadi needs a hug. He should call his buddy Schmalbert and they can trash greedy management for not caring about the clubhouse family. Maybe put in a call to Heyward, he must be fearing the worst.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Unloading Jay and getting some talent in return was a brilliant move by Mo. Great to turn nothing into something. The Padres got fleeced.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Like any trade, time will tell. Both teams have the potential of benefiting, though the Cardinals creatively addressed a clear need for more depth in the infield. What has surprised me though, is some who suggest the team explores trading Wong since Gyorko has been acquired. That would seem a move in the wrong direction, IMO. Why give up the depth you just built?

      • crdswmn says:

        LOL, trading Wong and playing Gyorko is crazy talk. Gyorko is the epitome of a bench/platoon player. He has significant L/R splits, and his defense is nothing to write home about (small sample sizes at 3B and SS).

        The whole idea is to provide a backup to give Wong rest, because it is likely his second half slump was fatigue related.

        As for Jay, if he is healthy he might give the Padres some limited offensive boost in the form of OBP with no power, but his already limited defensive capabilities are going to be exacerbated in Petco’s outfield, especially with that train wreck of an arm.

        • Brian Walton says:

          ‘Tis the season… for crazy talk…

          How about yesterday’s rumor from a national writer that Zobrist had a 4 year/$80 MM deal on the table – just a few hours before he accepted a 4 year/$56 MM offer? As Maxwell Smart used to say, “Missed it by that much!”

          • crdswmn says:

            Agent manipulation. People fall for it all the time. Just like they take everything a GM says literally. Every year at this time Twitter goes neurotic, hanging on every word Mozeliak says without thinking about the possibility that he is speaking in negotiator tongues. Hey people, he’s not going to telegraph his intentions to you or anyone else, in fact, he may be engaging in a bit of negotiator misdirection. Most fans just don’t get that for some reason.

            The offseason is definitely full of crazy talk.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          Gyorko is the epitome bench player if you take away his starters salary.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        This still reminds me of shipping Jim Edmonds to the Padres for David freese, a big win.
        The Padres fleeced Mo in return by snagging Luke Gregerson for poor Khalil.
        Mo is back in command of the Friars 0with this trade. We get years of gyorko at an acceptable salary, collect $7mm and save another pile by getting rid of jays salary. It’s incredible. What on earth are the Padres thinking?

        • JumboShrimp says:

          The Padres are either dumping salary of gyorko or are frantic for a center fielder, who can get on base, but for just one year.
          A strangely one sided trade. Sweet

  4. Brian Walton says:

    Message to first time posters: Welcome. Please be aware your first comment here only must be manually approved. This is necessary to combat spambots.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    While it’s nice to strengthen the bench, losing Heyward, Lynn, and Lackey would be significant losses.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    If we lose out on Heyward, so be it. You cant get too caught up in one guy. There is always somebody else.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    So we decline a Broxton option at $9mm, but resign him at $7.5/yr for each of two years. Plus he got $2MM when we declined the option, so he ends up with $17MM haul over two years. For all these gyrations, the team arguably saved $1MM to get two years of the player’s services. We are cost conscious, despite operating within an incredibly pricey industry. You have to be.

    • Brian Walton says:

      You are confused on multiple points.

      The Brewers covered most of the remaining commitment on Broxton’s 2015 contract and the buyout – $3 MM of the $5.2 MM due.

      His new deal is for $7.5 MM total, not per year.

      Therefore, the Cards get two years and two months of Broxton for a total of $9.7 MM.

      If they had not taken the buyout, they would not have gotten the $2 MM from Milwaukee. In that case, the Cards would have been out $11.2 MM for ONE year plus two months.

      So they saved $1.5 MM compared to exercising the option plus they get 2017 “free”. Since $3.75 MM is the going rate for one year of Broxton, the Cards saved about $5.25 MM by going this route.

      (Edit: Fixed my math.)

  8. JumboShrimp says:

    It’s interesting that it was the Padres who are trying Perdomo. Luis has a fine arm, but it would be hard for anyone to skip AA and AAA to relieve in the bigs. If he can do it, good for him. perdomo had zero chance to relieve for the birds next season. Bowman has 0.5 percent chance to relieve for the cards, modestly higher.

  9. Bw52 says:

    Heyward picks the Cubbies 8 years 185 million.Per several sources;MLBTR,rotoworld etc; bye Jason Heyward.
    Cards after Alex Gordon now………………………………still rather see Upton,Davis,.

  10. blingboy says:

    The Cards sure don’t have much in the way of star power and household names.

    I wouldn’t want to be the marketing firm tasked with selling season tickets.

    “On any given day you stand a good chance of seeing a quality start!!”


  11. blingboy says:

    ” Mr. plink-out-13 homers.”

    And that was playing for a contract.

  12. JumboShrimp says:

    So the Cubs may have signed Heyward for CF. Their 2015 CF was Fowler. He is about the same size, also from Georgia, hit 17 hrs, stole about same number of bases, switch hits. Fowler is 29, so will get fewer years than the younger Heyward.
    Fowler whiffs more and is a weaker lefty hitter, but otherwise there are similarities. Same agent even. Fowler is a free agent looking for a new home.
    Back in 2004, the cards got Larry walker from the Rockies, who used their cost savings to bonus fowler to turn pro.

    The cards need to sign one starting pitcher. We have enough hitters, barring injuries. Hazelbaker and Tilson provide AAA depth. Happy Sinatra Day!

  13. JumboShrimp says:

    So the Heyward thing was overblown drama. Glad we can move on. Part of the drama was he is so young, he commanded a long and expensive deal, which gets hyped up.
    The only disappointment was trading Shelby for him in the first place. Mistakes get made, so be it. Mo blamed it on an algorthim, providing a smart excuse for doing something dumb.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      It made some sense to go after Price, because if you are going to spend, he is a rare talent.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I don’t think the trade was a mistake at the time. The Cards needed a right fielder and they had a team good enough to seriously compete for a World Series win. Had they not fallen short in October, the trade would have been viewed by many as a success.

      The final verdict won’t be in until we see what kind of career the compensation draft pick the Cardinals will get has.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        You wrote an essay at the time, in advance of the trade, expressing misgivings. For once, I agreed.

        I agree Heyward helped secure the division, but we ran short of pitching for the playoffs, when miller would have been helpful.

        • blingboy says:

          It looked good through coke bottle glasses.

        • Brian Walton says:

          I had what I readily admitted was an irrational fear that the trade would be what I called a “reverse Drew”, in that the player the Braves would get would become very good for them for a long time. It won’t work out that way exactly. Kind of ironic that Miller ended up leaving the Braves as fast as Heyward left St. Louis. Of course, the Braves have Jenkins and a bunch of other prospects in return while all the Cards have is one draft pick. The Cards would probably need to hit a Pujols-like player for it to have a chance to balance out.

          • crdswmn says:

            I personally don’t see the need to take a trade and extend it out to some arbitrary endpoint. If A happens or A+B happens, or A morphing into B which morphs into C happens, then the trade was bad/good.

            We had a dire need, we addressed it in the best way we had. Heyward helped us win 100 games and the Division. In my book it was a successful trade. The end result was disappointing, but that doesn’t take away from the positive results.

            • Brian Walton says:

              Rationality isn’t playing well these days…

            • Brian Walton says:

              I think there are two ways to look at trades, both valid. The first is the immediate need. The second is the long-range impact.

              For example, I bet that in response to the Drew trade, the 2004 Braves would have said, “We needed a right fielder. Adding Drew to our excellent pitching, we hope to go all the way.”

              They did win 96 games and their division, but lost in the first round. Over time as Wainwright realized his potential, though, the view of the trade tilted hard in the Cardinals favor. I am not suggesting going as far as adding up WAR, though some do it.

              • crdswmn says:

                To each his own, but I am not looking at the trade that way. Most trades are done for improvements to the team or if it is a need, it is probably one that was anticipated for a while. Making a trade because your star OF prospect just died in a terrible car accident, is not something that happens as a matter of the course of doing business.

                Moreover, I am just not inclined to resort to mental masturbation over a trade like this because it didn’t end the way I wanted it to.

                We had a need, we filled it, and it netted positive results. I am satisfied it was a successful trade.

              • blingboy says:

                If the Cards liked JH enough before the season to give up Miller, and still liked him enough after the season to outbid everybody else, it stands to reason that they liked him all along the way. Given that, it makes no sense to think that they did not try to sign him during the season, preferring instead to bid along with others once he reached free agency. We are all agreed on that, good.

                So they tried and failed to sign him during the season. This would have given Mo a very good idea of where things stood, and just how excited Heyward was about coming back. Given all that, Heyward’s rejecting the Cards offer and moving on may not be as surprising and traumatic to Mo as it seems to be for some others. Mo probably would have had a feeling this may well end up being an expensive and embarrassing rental. As it turned out, Heyward taking less to go elsewhere really takes the monkey of Mo’s back.

                • crdswmn says:

                  1. Heyward refused to negotiate during the season.

                  2. You have no idea what you are talking about, you have no more info about what went down than any of us, or any knowledge of what Mo knew, thought or felt.

                  3. More importantly what in the Sam Hill does any of that have to do with whether the trade was successful?

          • JumboShrimp says:

            It’s not irrational fear to intuit a problem. Around baseball it was generally felt the cards overpaid for Heyward.
            The cards picked miller over trout and Grichuk in 09. This was a rational choice, for the best high school Rhp. He was an unusually strong arm who we seldom find still available in the draft.

  14. blingboy says:

    I see the Stros offloaded Mark Appel. He has been very hittable at every level but the hype has been relentless.

  15. blingboy says:

    The Cards inability to lure anybody, together with Yadi’s abrasive comments suggests the possibility of issues.

  16. JumboShrimp says:

    Mo says he is not aiming for more “dynamic” signings. This must mean premium prices for celebrity jocks. Back to shopping at TJ Maxx, looking for good values. Less sucking up to agents.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Baseball is a strange game. Dombrowski traded for Price. Then he traded Price to Toronto and got himself fired. Then Dave lands in Boston and shells out big bucks for Price. All very dynamic.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Bernie makes an interesting claim that we prioritized Price over Heyward. Sure makes Jason leaving more understandable.

        I wonder if it is snobby to focus on price and later Heyward, as if no one else can help? So now we won’t bid on anyone else because they are not dynamic? Yikes

        • blingboy says:

          Mo’s computer knows what it is doing.

        • Brian Walton says:

          In the context of free agency, the whole loyalty discussion is kind of silly, IMO.

          Price certainly made his decision first, but how do we know the team did not also have an offer on the table for Heyward? Unless the two free agents have the same agent, their cases were moving independently, but in the same time frame. It seems unlikely the Cards waited until after Price to engage Heyward. Further, do we know the Cards would not have seriously tried to sign both?

          I agree that the dynamic thing is odd.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            Yeah, Bernie might have made a mistake.

            The word dynamic is new. I like it, though am still trying to figure it out. Maybe it means star power or celebrity in a Hollywood sense. We like to have a few headliners.

            • Brian Walton says:

              I don’t know if he made a mistake. I did not read his column. It depends on whether he is postulating or has some inside info. Sometimes, very complex situations get oversimplified to help the development of a story line.

              You may be right about the definition, but if so, it must be a change. Their last big free agent signing, Matt Holliday, is the antithesis of celebrity star power.

              • JumboShrimp says:

                Beanies piece is worth reading.
                Holliday was a star and one who hung out with Birds in the offseason. He seemed a safe trade, whereas the Braves had found out Heyward was going free agency.

                Love the word dynamic. GM talk. Maybe they thought they would make a huge splash but there is so much money within the industry, it’s hard to get people to take your moola. Go figure

                • blingboy says:

                  Mo excels at not spending money. He doesn’t seem to be good at getting value for young pitching. He also doesn’t seem to be good at getting value for guys we don’t want any more, and he stinks at protecting valuable prospects from being snatched. It looks like we will have three picks before the second round. Mo is good at that.

                  Lucky for us, loading up on expensive free agents doesn’t work a lot of the time. Paying top dollar is risky. All the more so when you give the player an opt out. Agents have figured out how to sell that. Over on the main site forums, folks think it is all a sure thing. Whoever spends the most will win the most.

  17. JumboShrimp says:

    I wouldn’t want to give Cueto $130nm. But Buehrle for $10mm sounds ok.

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