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Cards, Mozeliak Moving Forward

by Mark Hostert

The Cardinal Winter Warm-Up happened Saturday and of course, General Manager John Mozeliak was bombarded with questions about a potential sign or trade. The speculation has been rampant this offseason to the point that Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi were convinced the Cardinals were going to land either Max Scherzer, David Price, Cole Hamels or James Shields. According to Derrick Goold, Mozeliak was on the record as saying: “We are out of the big pitcher market.” Furthermore, owner Bill DeWitt stated adding a pitcher would be “a long shot” and Mozeliak backed that stance up by stating it would be unlikely. While the door remains cracked, it seems highly unlikely the Cardinals will make a move for a top-arm.

In what seems like more of a confirmation instead of a revelation there are many in Cardinal-Nation that will be disappointed with this outcome. With the speculation and rumors going about on what seemed like a weekly basis, fans were excited for a potential big-arm. While this outcome may seem depressing there are many good signs that the Cardinals are not making a move:

  • The health of Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha seems to be more clear – The team believes that these two pitchers will be healthy for a majority of the season. It would appear the biggest concern of the team would be to not overwork them coming off a season of arm trouble. Though it is speculation, it seems to be a positive signal for the two starters.
  • The team has faith in Carlos Martinez as their 5th starter –  He has been waiting for his chance to shine in a starting role and will get his opportunity. He has been considered a top three prospect in the Cardinals organization for several seasons and top 50 in Major League Baseball. He will now get to show it.
  • Mozeliak believes in the depth of the roster and so should you – If a pitcher isn’t ready for the beginning of the season or if an injury occurs during the season the team has faith in several options. Mozeliak believes that Marco Gonzalez can be an effective starter this season if needed. Wainwright, Wacha and Martinez will be watched closely this season as to not overwork the pitchers. Gonzalez could be a spot-starter depending on how things work when the season begins.
  • The depth of the Cardinals should not be overlooked – This should be mentioned twice because I’ve yet to touch on Jaime Garcia and Tyler Lyons. Both of these pitchers have starting experience and will be overlooked in case their needed. The depth could lead to a trade if needed down the line.
  • Why overpay for a pitcher now? – If the Cardinals need a pitcher later, they can see if the Phillies will drop off in their price. They can check back to see if the Tigers are competing and would trade David Price. Jordan Zimmerman could potentially become available. There will be more options, there is no need to overpay for something the team doesn’t need.
  • The team avoids a hefty contract – These pitchers were going to be making $20MM for 5-6 seasons at least. The team avoids being hampered by a large contract. They can look to spend money in other places.

The team is moving forward with a core of young players that just came off of a loss in the NLCS. These players will have another year of experience and continue to gel as a team. If there is a move that needs to be made, Mozeliak will address it when the time comes. Without making a move for a top-end pitcher the Cardinals are still the favorite to win the NL Central.

In the end, making a move for one of those players would have been unnecessary. The team has depth and seven viable starting pitcher options, at least. Clearly, the team is not as strong without having Scherzer, Price, Hamels or Shields. Yet, the they won’t have to surrender a draft pick, $20-25MM+ in salary, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzalez. If there is a need, have faith in Mo and company to make the right move. Until then, sit back and enjoy this current roster. They’re not bad.

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