VEB readers were treated to The Red Baron's latest draft preview. Aaron looked at three pitchers, two from the college and one high school talent from St. Louis. Eric Lauer and Logan Shore are two relatively polished college pitchers where Aaron sees a high floor with under-rated upside. Erik Miller, entering his senior year of high school, is much more raw but also possesses a much higher ceiling.
Yesterday I also had some thoughts on a growing front office trend. Twelve front offices now have a President of Baseball Operations, a position higher than General Manager. If the Cardinals did the same, they'd be able to add an extra executive as an extra brain and set of eyes. This move could also protect Assistant GM Michael Girsch from being hired away from another team, as it could involve promoting him to GM before another team could offer him that role.
In her hunt and peck article, lil_scooter shared shared her thoughts on the Rams leaving St. Louis, and how the Greatest Show on Turf is the reason she loves sports today. I also enjoyed the Rams' few good years as a kid, but I never felt like they had inspired me. As someone that moved away from St. Louis years ago and haven't actually followed the Rams in over a decade, I feel only a strong sense of apathy about the Rams moving. But lil_scooter's piece reminded me that some people actually really cared a whole lot about the team, even if there's been very little to cheer about for quite a while.
Ben Godar had a great piece on Mozeliak and how he conducts himself. What I love about this piece is how Ben compares him to the professional gambler: "As John Mozeliak walks through the casino of Major League Baseball, it's clear that he thinks several of the tables are sucker bets and refuses to play them." As someone who spent thousands of hours at the poker table (online and brick-and-mortar) in what feels like another lifetime ago, this really spoke to me.
At the same time, Ben is spot on that it's a fine line between being prudent and inflexible. Specifically he brings up the opt-out clause that has become popular in recent years, and wonders whether Mo will balk at ever including Opt-outs in a deal. I think the Opt-out is here to stay, and that the teams who have included them in deals are generally getting good deals despite it being more of a player perk. The most likely occurrence in the David Price deal for instance, is that he pitches like David Price for three years, provides a good chunk of surplus value, and leaves for a bigger contract.
Fangraphs writer Dave Cameron wrote about why he thinks the Cardinals should make a big move for Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, or Chris Davis. Dave argues that the Redbirds are at the part of the win-curve where it makes sense, and it's better to sign someone now than trade talent at inflated prices at the trade deadline. I felt this way when Price and Heyward were still free agents, but for some reason I can't get onboard with it for the three remaining good free agents.
I think ultimately, winning a Wild Card spot is a successful season so I get the logic, but the Cardinals are already at $140M payroll this year, and its hard to want to push that much higher when it really doesn't move the needle much in terms of winning the division. Pushing payroll to ~$160M or so and missing the playoffs (which would still be a legitimate possibility even after a big signing) would be disastrous. At least if things don't go right the first half the season, we can take advantage of a seller's market at the deadline. That seems less likely if we make a big win-now signing and invest heavily in winning this year.