While it may not 100% pertain to the VEB-readership, there is a large sentiment amongst Cardinals fans that this off-season has been a failure. On my drive home today, I was listening to MLB on XM and they were discussing on their Hot Stove program how in emails and phone calls, Cardinals fans by a wide margin have been the most disgruntled with this off-season.
I thought about this for a good while and wondered, "Is he right? Are we bitter towards the things the team is doing? If so, do we have a right to be?"
The more I thought about it, the more I rifled through teams to see how and why they would be upset. I limited it to teams that either competed for a playoff spot or were right on the cusp:
Brewers - Snuck into the Wild Card after Bud Selig screwed the Houston Astros. They lost their top two pitchers this off-season. They did, however, make a move to solidify their bullpen, a weakness they've had for years. Bringing in both Trevor Hoffman and Jorge Julio, they seem to be ready to close out victories...if they had any starting pitching to get them there. Offensively, they've replaced the ever valuable Craig Counsell with....Craig Counsell.
With the Brewers, though, it is a double-edged sword. They went all in last season with the Sabathia trade because they knew that was probably their best window to make the playoffs for the first time in decades. Their homegrown players would be seeing pay increases that would stiffle other such moves. Likewise, fans can be angered that the higher than usual turnouts Sabathia brought them has increased revenue and that revenue isn't showing up in the off-season signings.
Mets - Place hands beneath sternum and apply swift upward pressure with both arms. Mets fans have every right to complain about how utterly terrible their FAILPEN has been over the last few seasons but no right to complain about the off-season. They traded for one of the three best pitchers this decade in Johan Santana last year and have added to that this year by signing two low risk/high reward guys in Tim Redding and Freddy Garcia. They are likely to be bring Oliver Perez back in the coming days at a discounted price. To top that off, their FAILPEN has become a K-PEN (yes, it makes as much sense as calling a guy named Fransisco 'K-ROD') with the signing of ALL-TIME SINGLE SEASON MEANINGLESS STAT LEADER!!!
Atlanta - Hudson goes down, Smoltz leaves for Boston, Tom Glavine is in a frozen state of stasis. Braves quickly moved in the market to try and give away two of their young middle infielders for Ryan Ludwick and Jake Peavy and were rebuked for both. Their fans must have been livid. They would have stormed the stadium to burn it down like Sherman taking the Ole South....if only their fans actually knew where the stadium was! Never fear, the Big Sachem in the FO took care of things. Atlanta success is built on pitching, Coca Cola and Delta Airlines and he took care of one of those. Bringing in veteran pitching in the way of Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami, Chief Nokahoma still won't be getting too much action but atleast the other teams overtly racist mascot won't be celebrating too many roundtrippers either.
Minnesota - Johan Santana. Gone. Torii Hunter. Gone. Fransico Liriano. Angry. Free Agents. Non-Existent. This little team that shows up as a blank space in the out of town boxscores in most newspapers seems to find a way every year to be in content without doing much of anything FA wise. Can their fans be THAT angry that the ticker on MLB Network shows NOTHING as their off-season moves?
St. Louis - Wait for 2009! That was the cry by the fanbase and newspapers. Money was going to be flowing, AJ Burnett and some sluggers would be holding press conferences at Shannon's. Happy times would be here again. No more whinning about the Cubs outspending us. No more having to watch guys that some thought were actually dead show up in ST to win spots over players in our farm system. No more having to rely and the mystical powers of the Giant Rabbitt LaRussa and the Sage of the Bullpen Duncan.
We had 3B in bulk. We had OF'ers in bulk. We had a farm system full of shiny red fruit, plump to be picked for big trades.
And yet, we see that same MO. Took a bad contract from someone at SS for a player that was terrible the season before and signed some salty vets for the bullpen. And when we talked about making a move, it was for things we had cheaper, younger and better versions for.
I can see why some might be upset.