They drew 3.5 million people this year. They won 100-plus games for the second year in a row. They have a new ballpark rising in the shadows of Busch Stadium and new revenue streams flying at them from all directions. So why are they suddenly spending money as if they're the Twins?
They could have had A.J. Burnett signed at these meetings if they'd been willing to offer him just a little bit more than $38 million over four years. They had a potential deal for Javier Vazquez fall apart over money issues.
They let Mark Grudzielanek, a player they wanted to sign -- and who wanted to return -- take a hike because ownership wouldn't let the baseball people pay him more than $2 million a year. And they've now lost 16 players since the final game of the 2003 World Series, many because of pressure to keep the payroll down.
"That's a team whose window to win may be closing," said one GM. "They'll still be good. But they're getting thinner, and they're getting older, and they're getting more vulnerable."
And what happened at these winter meetings -- when a starting pitcher they clearly wanted to sign didn't bite on the "You Should Take A Little Less Because We're The Cardinals" sales pitch -- could be an indication of just how much more vulnerable they really are.
anyway, something big is surely about to occur, because i'm heading out of town -- family affair in minneapolis, flying out this morning, be there through tuesday. so this'll stand as the weekend discussion thread: what acquisition(s) could redeem this offseason for you and have you feeling good about the cardinals heading into spring training? doesn't have to be a superstar; if you say a trade for jason michaels would get you pumped, i don't think many people will laugh. might've two weeks ago, but now . . . . .
before i go, a plug for a new cardinal blog that looks pretty good: crimson fowl.
good weekend ev'yone . . . .