I used to think that the worst part about the winter was the fact that there is no St. Louis Cardinals baseball to be watched.
Now I am certain that the worst part of the winter is helplessly waiting to see what the Redbirds front office will do — if anything — to try to improve the team while the folks who talk about the club on social media and sports radio publicly lost their minds.
People were ready to jump off the Gateway Arch a couple of weeks ago when the Cardinals were trying in vain to make a trade for former Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. It only got worse when Stanton publicly rejected the local nine by exercising his no-trade clause, instead pushing for, and getting, a swap to his preferred destination, the New York Yankees. Then we went into a week or so of angst as the Birds tried to trade for Stanton’s former teammate, Marcell Ozuna.
When the Ozuna deal was completed, people in the St. Louis area seemed to be elated — for about 12 minutes. That’s when they figured out that, for some reason, the Cardinals and Marlins were keeping the identity of the players headed to Miami a secret and they suddenly became concerned that Alex Reyes, Carlos Martinez, Paul DeJong, Yadier Molina and the ghost of Stan Musial would be going to South Florida for two years of control of an outfielder.
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That turned out not to be the case, obviously. But by then, Cardinals Nation was torn apart by disagreement over whether their beloved team should trade for Tampa Bay Rays closer Alex Colome and Gold Glove third baseman Even Longoria — plus, maybe, starting pitcher Chris Archer. And, just when it looked like that situation might find a resolution, then the hot rumor that the Redbirds were talking to the Baltimore Orioles about superstar infielder Manny Machado leaked out.
Since then, we’ve all been consumed about the cost of such a move, the likelihood that Machado could be re-signed by the Cardinals and the development that somehow the Chicago Cubs — who have a third baseman in Kris Bryant and a shortstop in Addison Russell — decided to get involved.
Wake me up when it’s over, please. I am sick of talking about ifs and maybes. I just want to fast forward to spring training and see some ballgames be played beneath the sun in warm weather.
But, since we must talk about such things... I can’t imagine while the Cubs want to get involved in trading for a player who mans positions that they already have well-covered. That’s their decision. But I hope, if that’s what they want to do, that the Cardinals don’t stop them.
It was just a year ago that the Cubs were supposed to be at the beginning of a dynasty. But in 2017 they had a decidedly uneven season, then they lost a pile of starting pitching and their closer to free agency. If they’d like to tinker with their greatest strength, that’s fine by me. Cubs incumbent shortstop Addison Russell is one of the best fielders in the game, he’s 24 years old and he can’t be a free agent until at least 2022. If Chicago wants to give him away for one year of Machado, then try to sign their new, shiny toy to a $35 million annual contract for a decade or so, that’s all right by me.
The lastest news from the rumor mill is that Machado doesn’t plan to sign an extension before he hits the free agent market and when he does, he hopes to sign with the Yankees. It would be very sweet to see the Cubs disassemble themselves and then have their gamble go bust.
In the meantime, I wish the Cardinals front office would stop making disheartening comments about all the players they aren’t interested in signing or acquiring through trade. People don’t seem to get that general managers always downplay their interest because, if they don’t, it drives up the demand and therefore the price. But in the world we live in these days, every comment that of the sort that the Birds are satisfied with their starting rotation or that they’d be “surprised if they added another signature bat” are examined to death on the internet and it is driving me nuts.
I’m trying to look on the bright side: We have a week of December left to get through, the month of January and then half of February before pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Then, finally, we can talk about something fun.