Cardinals offseason target: Manny Machado
The St. Louis Cardinals — and any other team that might have interest in pending free agent slugger Manny Machado — must be absolutely perplexed as the Los Angeles Dodgers infielder seems to be doing anything he could during the World Series to destroy his own market.
To leave no doubt about whether his perplexing incidents of indifference and dirty play earlier in the postseason were isolated incidents or serious character flaws, Machado repeated them in Game 4, casually blowing a bubble as he made his way down the first base line on a ground ball — and then spiking the opposing first baseman when he eventually made it to the bag.
I can only imagine that Machado knows where he’s planning to play next year — and for the next decade — and that he already has the framework of a contract hashed out. Otherwise, he’d be a fool to act like a child and make teams that want to pay him $30 million a year or more a year have second thoughts about his character. It’s a serious issue. If social media comments are any barometer, I’d say it’s a safe bet that more than 75 percent of Redbirds fans don’t want any part of him now. A month ago, more than 75 percent of Cardinals fans would have sold the family dog to help pay for Machado’s St. Louis contract offer.
I can’t recall ever seeing a player who seemed to care so little about his career. This is the absolute worst time for Machado to behave like this. If he had any sense at all, he’d behave himself as much as possible over the short term to try to enhance his value, not the opposite. The closest I can recall was two decades ago when Gary Sheffield played poorly on purpose — as he later admitted — to force the Milwaukee Brewers to trade him. I thought that was crazy because Sheffield was a young player at the time who risked damaging his reputation and future in the game. But Machado is free as a bird. He’s not trying to escape anything. He’s just hurting himself.
Although I don’t really have a vested interest in this World Series, I felt as if the Boston Red Sox were my ever so slight favorite because, while the Sox aren’t shy about spending money to buy a championship — see their effort to sign David Price, publicly stating that they would out-bid any offer for his services — the Dodgers basically went out and completely overhauled their team at the trade deadline. With former Cardinals hero David Freese (formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates) playing first base, Brian Dozier (acquired from the Minnesota Twins) playing second and Machado (from the Baltimore Orioles) at shortstop, three-quarters of the Los Angeles infield wasn’t with the team at the all-star break.
Can Cardinals take advantage of Mets mess?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the Redbirds were able to take advantage of an unprecedented mess with the New York Mets to fill the hole?
The Mets announced over the weekend that they made an unorthodox move to hire former agent Brodie Van Wagenen as their new general manager. What’s wrong with that? Well, Van Wagenen represented New York started pitchers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. It’s pretty hard to imagine how that relationship is going to work out with the guy who used to try to extract as many dollars from a team for his client now in charge of making sure the team pays as few dollars as possible. Those players can find another agent. However, it’s harder than that to take away the appearance of a conflict of interest in negotiating future contracts. Syndergaard is arbitration eligible, so Van Wagenen’s position over the couple of days probably changed from why he ought to be paid among the best pitchers in baseball to why he is lucky to have a major league job.
Maybe the Cardinals could help the rebuilding Mets by shipping some of their pitching depth to the Big Apple for deGrom, who is the clear-cut ace Martinez has been unable to become (although he is still a very talented and accomplished young pitcher with a team-friendly contract.)
Last week I mentioned a possible deal with the Rockies for Nolan Arenado.
Those two moves would make the St. Louis offense, defense and starting rotation better in two simple steps. And the deals would be arrangements that could be beneficial for all three clubs involved.