Mark Jan. 31, 2019, down on your calendar as the say St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak went too far.
On that date, Hall of Fame sportswriter Rick Hummel published a story in which he quoted the guy in charge of the Birds’ player personnel moves as issuing the most ridiculous assertion he ever uttered about why the team absolutely, positively refuses to even try to sign on of the two 26-year-old sluggers lingering on the market less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
“Is there another piece we could add, based on where the market is?” Mozeliak asked rhetorically before answering himself. “Any move we would make now would sort of complicate things. Even if we were to break (camp) today, we’re going to have guys competing for at-bats already. And we still feel we have a lot of depth in our pitching. If nothing changed, we would have some tough decisions. Any additions would just make things tougher. We have competition now. In fairness, is it over competition?”
You’ve got to be kidding me.
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The folks who push the “we’ve got the best fans in baseball” schlock think we’re so stupid that we don’t know the difference between an MVP winner and the no-name, .200-hitting utility player the Birds landed in trade over the most disappointing winter in recent memory — and that’s saying something after the Max Scherzer freeze out, the David Price near miss and the way Giancarlo Stanton publicly spurned the invitation to play for the Cardinals for weeks before the Miami Marlins relented and traded him to the New York Yankees for a lesser package of prospects.
While Mo was dropping the biggest line of bull since the Old West cattle drives, the San Diego Freaking Padres decided to jump into the bidding for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado because the bidding is so stagnant. These are the same Padres who stunned the world last offseason when they signed first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year contract that they must have immediately regretted when they saw the market head south for the winter.
Say you don’t want to sign a mega star because you’re afraid he’ll underperform like the other bad signings you’ve made including Gregg Holland, Dexter Fowler, Mike Leake, Ty Wigginton, Brett Cecil and others. Say it’s because you’ve set the budget and won’t exceed it. Say it’s because you stupidly gave Fowler way too much money and too many years, and you don’t want to admit that you made a mistake by replacing him. But, Mo, don’t insult our intelligence by feeding us the old line where you claim you’d love to make a move to improve the team but there just aren’t any guys out there who are better than the ones you already have.
Even with the signing of Andrew Miller and the trade for feared slugger Paul Goldschmidt who is in the last year of his contract, St. Louis is only projected to be an 88 win team. After missing the playoffs three consecutive years, I’d think the alleged sense of urgency the team has would make it dig a little deeper than a handful of games over .500, especially when the Cincinnati Reds have made major moves this winter to join the fray and the National League Central champion Milwaukee Brewers have added a slugging catcher and seem poised to jump on more free agent help.
Talk is cheap and I am tired of hearing it.