November 27, 2013

The #Cardinals should be done with Hot Stove League moves

I know some people are saying weird things, like suggesting they try Jhonny Peralta at third and move Kolten Wong to short, or that John Mozeliak will go looking for "something."

But, why?

Instead, I can offer a good "why not."

Or, rather, refer to Baseball Prospectus, which has already done the job for me.

It ranks the Cards as No. 1 in baseball for having "core" players protected for multiple years. It notes that, if you take these "core" players, and multip ly that by B-P's version of WAR, Wins Above Replacement Player, the Cards have a WARP core lock-up of 58, a full 11 points ahead of the second-place Braves' 47.

Just take a gander at that B-P graphic at left. Throw out Carlos Beltran, of course. Everybody else except Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso is still under control for four years, and they're not part of long-term plans.

Why tinker with that? The Cards did a modest overpay in giving Peralta a fourth year, but that got him as part of that core of control.

The Cards don't need to make any more moves. They don't need to do anything else, other than decide whether to go to arbitration or cut ties with John Axford. They just need to get to spring training and work to make sure Wong is big-league ready, see when Oscar Taveras might be big-league ready, and make sure Peter Bourjos is healthy. (Health is one thing; nit-picking about minute differences in lefty-righty splits, as a few blogs have done, is another.)

On the pitching side, all that's needed is to see if Carlos Martinez can join the starting rotation, and how healthy post-surgery and rehab Jaime Garcia is. Then, he and Mike Matheny get to brainstorm about how to "spot" Michael Wacha, and Martinez if he's a starter, and, possibly "spot" Adam Wainwright, too. (No, not joking there. Waino had 240 regular season innings and a full 300 overall last year. He may, indeed, have been running on a bit of fumes in the World Series.)

Other than that, Mo needs to look at probably a catcher and a third baseman with the coming draft's top draft picks, including that comp pick for Beltran.

Beyond that, Mo gets to start examining that rotation more critically, looking at longer-term salary issues.

Finally, I've ragged on Mo, and Matheny, a bit about how Miller was handled in the postseason.

That's nothing compared to the head-scratching he induced with the Ty Wigginton signing a year ago, which was a total flop. So, while Mo has looked like a near-genius this offseason, that's our reminder to never give him a total pass on any deal.

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