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Mailbag: Nolan Gorman, Randy Arozarena trade, and more

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League Championship - Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros - Game Three Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It’s time again for the mailbag! I put out an article out a while back looking for questions about the St. Louis Cardinals. This got wild and for a lot of these I had to stare at the screed and hope the words wrote themselves. That’s a testament to your questions. And if you’re wondering, the words did not write themselves, I still had to do it.

It’s been a wild year and all I can offer is my perspective, but let’s get to it.

How much did Gorman grow in ‘20?

The honest answer? No clue.

Rick Hummel quoted St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Michael Girsch talking about Nolan Gorman. Essentially, it was the same report as always. The power is still very much there and he can play a decent third base, but he strikes out a lot and is working on that.

Realistically, it’s extremely likely there was at least some sort of progress made. He spent the entire time at the alternate camp against arms with MLB experience and that should’ve been good for him.

The entire point of having Gorman at the alternate site was to limit the stunting in growth that might have otherwise happened.

Why is it that so many players come to the Cardinals and have down seasons?

So I could pretend this question isn’t meant for only one specific player who used to be an outfielder for the Cardinals. This said player may or may not be in the midst of a playoff run with the Braves, and he totally is.

The most light I can shed on this situation comes from Birds On The Black writer Zach Gifford where to talks about a ‘slice’ with Marcell Ozuna. That was increibly well done by Zach, and it explains why Ozuna might have had some trouble. Then to Atlanta, something changed.

Now, let’s not grab the pitchforks and go after the coaching staff. Maybe that’s the answer, but I just want to hold off for the moment. If given the opportunity to let Ozuna walk again, I think I’d do it again. If I knew he’d post a 2.5 fWAR in a weird season then I wouldn’t, but that’s not a luxury. He was coming off bad years and whether you fault the coaching staff or not it was time to see what Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson could do.

None of that answers the question, but there are plenty of examples of the opposite happening. They just don’t stick out at much.

While I’m a bit concerned about position player/hitter development with no minor league season this year, is it possible that taking a year off from competition might actually be beneficial to pitcher health?

This is a very interesting question. At first I thought it might, because it would kind of make sense. However, my doctorate Bachelor’s degree in medicine communication leads me to believe that it will not. These guys were still throwing at the alternate site, or wherever they could if they weren’t at the alternate site. This was a good year for some to get surgeries if they needed them so they can come back healthy, but it would’ve done very little to prevent future injury in my entirely guesswork medical opinion.

With 2020 revenues cratered, and 2021 looking highly uncertain, what is your outlook on this offseason’s FA market? Do you expect many players to sign one-year deals?

I could see this going two ways. I could see teams wanting to sign one year deals just to keep the books relatively simple coming off of a down financial year, or it could go the complete opposite direction. If a team is strapped for cash, or just strapped for the ability to want to spend the cash they have, it would make sense to add more years for a smaller AAV. Both have their advantages, so it could also go on a team by team basis. I know this isn’t helpful, but if the last couple years of free agency have taught us anything is that predicting the FA market is an act of futility. And fun to do.

If you could have a do over on the Randy A trade would you?

Oh man, I love Randy Arozarena. Always have. He’s just a fun and extremely talented player. I’m not going to say the trade shouldn’t have happened, because I liked it at the time. I’m also not going to say I’d be mad if it were a player other than Arozarena that were dealt. My official take is to wait on this. Matthew Liberatore hasn’t had a chance to show us anything yet.

I’ve watched as much Liberatore as I can get my eyes on and I do believe the Cardinals got some good value back. My worry about wondering if trading Arozarena was the right thing is the same as with the Luke Voit trade. Before Giovanny Gallegos was able to even show the fans what he could do that trade was already a bust in a lot of peoples mind. Which, trades bust, I get it, but they can’t bust before we see what the return is.

In the case of both of these trades, there’s a player with no clear path to playing time getting traded for value. So before I state my regret about the deal, I want to see how Liberatore plays out. I also want to see what Arozarena looks like outside of the playoffs where his name is skyrocketing. I really hope he thrives because I’m a big fan, but that’s another story. Both can do well which would be the best case scenario.

Given Mo’s recent trade results (Arozarena, Voit, Pham, Gonzales), do you think this is the right FO to push this franchise forward or is it time for a change?

Maybe it is time to push for a new one because we have retrospect. Save for the Tommy Pham trade where I was more confused than anything, I actually liked all these trades when they happened. But when the four players received for Pham and Gonzales are denied opportunity it takes a toll. Sure Voit is doing well, and I’m happy for him, but Gallegos provides value to the team where Voit probably would not have. We couldn’t have predicted league-wide DH, so the Paul Goldschmidt trade largely nullified the future role for Voit. Instead of a career MiLBer, Mo got Gallegos. With Arozarena, maybe he was the wrong choice but the FO took a log jam to get a top 50 prospect.

I’m not trying to defend the FO, but rather point out that we can’t use hindsight one way. It’s not like Mo is out here traded Jack Flaherty for nickels and dimes. It’s important to note that all of the trades came from a place of the team not getting value from the player and having a chance to flip him for someone who could provide value.....except Tommy Pham.

That said, we can see what the results of these trades are and it’s not good. And that is certainly a point in the wrong direction for the FO.

As you can tell by now I’m dancing around the question. In my opinion, I don’t think this is the brass that will take the Cardinals back to the World Series, but it has less to do with the trades made.

Thank you for all your questions!