Since Johnny Cueto signed with the San Francisco Giants on Monday, free agency has been inactive for the most part. The initial belief that Jason Heyward's signing would open the floodgates for the other major position player free agents to sign has largely not come to fruition. In the meantime, Viva El Birdos has had a lot of time on its hands to consider a wide range of approaches to how the St. Louis Cardinals should handle free agency.
Approach One: Stay the course
Craig Edwards made some very good points that frankly, I didn't want to hear, and you may not have wanted to hear either, but he isn't wrong. The central point of his post is that the Cardinals should not spend money just for posterity's sake: Most free agents are not worth the money, and while an incremental free agent improvement would be optimal, it would be irrational to expect a high-dollar contract for an aging free agent to work swimmingly when historically, they don't tend to work out well. And while this isn't as exciting as signing ALL OF THE PLAYERS, there is an optimism to be found here; that maybe, just maybe, the Cardinals are being prudent after all.
Approach Two: Check out these more budget-minded free agents
Joe Schwarz examined two starting pitchers, Wei-Yin Chen of the Baltimore Orioles and Scott Kazmir of the Houston Astros. While neither pitcher is as exciting as a David Price, Zack Greinke, or Jordan Zimmermann, Joe provides an in-depth look at two much lower-priced options, neither of whom would likely be a staff ace but either of whom could be an intriguing option for improving rotation depth. Few things separate the two: each is a lefty in his early thirties, and the two have similar run-prevention and peripheral statistics. One of the few differences is that Kazmir is not attached to a qualifying offer and Chen is. Which reminds me...
Approach Three: Sign smart, but don't worry about the draft pick
I wrote about signing players with attached compensation picks and how it may not be worth worrying about the possibility of losing a first round pick due to signing a free agent. I won't bother summarizing myself too extensively, but here's a bonus fun fact I uncovered: Did you know Adam Kennedy has the 7th most Baseball Reference WAR in his career among Cardinals first-round draft picks? Yeah. That's a thing.
Approach Four: Accept and embrace DOOM
Lil Scooter used an image which shall haunt my nightmares for the foreseeable future. I mean, whatever, that's okay, not like I wanted to sleep anyway.
In a bit more detailed of an examination of worst-case scenarios, Ben Markham looked at the possibility of the Cardinals as sellers in 2016. As Ben fully acknowledges, we don't know whether it will come to this, but it's interesting to consider the value of Trevor Rosenthal, Jhonny Peralta, Brandon Moss, and Jaime Garcia on the trade market. While it's not ideal, I'm not that far removed from my NFL team winning a total of six games over a three year period. I think I can handle "not being world-beating awesome for a year and getting exciting young players for the future because of it."
Anyway, that's all for me for now. Enjoy your Wednesday, ladies and gentlemen.