December 07, 2016

Overpay for Fowler? Try a trade? It's Mo's move for the #Cardinals

Yes, it looks like outfielders could be pricey indeed this offseason.

It all started with the four-year/$110 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes, which was was itself an overpay under either the old or new CBAs

Then it got worse when it leaked that Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper, via überagent Scott Boras, wants a 10-year, $400-million new contract. No, really.

Other than his career year of 2015, which currently seems to be an anomaly of major size, Harper has never posted more than a 135 OPS+ nor more than 6 WAR.

He's an average defensive right-fielder, and not hugely above average there offensively.

As somebody else said on Twitter, if Harper actually is "worth" that, then Mike Trout is worth $1 billion.

That said, from the Cardinals' point of view, this just jacked up the free agency price for Dexter Fowler. He's going to want 3/$50 at a minimum.  And 4/$70 would not surprise me. That said, the Cardinals' initial offer of 4/$60 would not be so much an overpay — if he took that. That's the team, not him.

So, the trade route? Adam Eaton sounds great, and just like another player the Chisox just traded, Chris Sale, young and under contractual control.

On the other hand, that means Cards GM John Mozeliak will have to shovel out the prospects, just like Boston did with Yoan Moncada and three others to get Sale. I'm OK with Luke Weaver being in such a package from the pitching side, though not overenthusiastic, but really don't want other AAA/AAAA players to add in. If the Chisox need an MLB player back, give them Tommy Pham. I would prefer NOT to include Carson Kelly; young catchers with potential don't come along a lot.

Update, 7 p.m. Eaton's moving — to Washington. Which, in turn, means that Bryce Harper is even more likely to be moving somewhere else. Heh, heh.

Jarrod Dyson and Lorenzo Cain are other rumored trade options. Dyson's a poor man's Fowler with just one year of contract left. He might partially fill a gap, but why? If you're thinking of him, let Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk further develop on their own instead. If that's Mo's idea of an "answer," it would be sad indeed.

Cain is certainly a better defensive player, though Dyson isn't bad. He's also a cut, but not two cuts, above Dyson with the bat. He might be worth resigning, but in the longer term, I think the Cards would have to do that with the proviso of moving him to right. And, AFAIK, MLB doesn't allow trades to be made with part of the trade value contingent on resigning a player.

The third answer, to riff on Dyson vs. current players, is to stand pat, and possibly think about 2018 free agent outfielders, though that crop isn't great either. Assume that Carlos Martinez moves another step forward, Adam Wainwright will be somewhat better, that the later two-thirds of the season Lance Lynn will be like he was in 2015, and that "whomever" can fill out the back part of the rotation decently, the bullpen will be straightened out, and that, if Mike Matheny is serious, fundamentals of play will be improved.

Mo said "some clarity is starting to shake out" Wednesday morning. That said, kind of weirdly and with interesting timing, he mentioned Ian Desmond. More weirdly yet, the Rockies just signed him to a contract with some very interesting creativity on salary structure.

Since the Cardinals have sucked on baserunning ever since Matheny became manager, it's kind of hard to take him seriously here, though. 😣😣😣 Ditto on Mo wanting more speed, as he knows enough about Matheny at this time to know his weaknesses. 🍋🍋🍋

So, sorry to new Post-Dispatch columnist Jose de Jesus Ortiz. Turd-polish him all you want, but I'll believe Matheny is continuing to improve ... when he actually does so. And, according to Redbird Rants, John Lackey complained about management at end of 2015. Whether he meant Mo or Matheny, I don't know.

No comments: