Happy Saturday, Viva El Birdos!
On Wednesday, I promised podcast content and the VEB writing team has delivered.
There has been a ton of Cardinals-related news since the end of the season and John Mozeliak’s first off-season press conference. We try to cover it all!
First up is Arenado opting in to the remaining years of his contract. We talk a little bit about what that means for the Cardinals this year financially and long term. The contract itself, while the largest the Cardinals have ever taken on, is a bit team friendly, with both deferred money from Arenado himself and money coming over from the Rockies. This season alone we have confirmed – with the help of Jeff Jones (Thanks, Jeff!) – that the Cardinals will receive $21M from the Rockies to offset Arenado’s $35M salary.
So, when the Cardinals say that they are going to raise payroll, we all assume that money from the Rockies + deferrals factors in.
The conclusion is that the Cardinals have, again in Jones’ words, A LOT of money to spend, if they so choose.
Some of that went immediately to Adam Wainwright, who returns to the Cardinals for one final season on a very team-friendly $17.5M deal with $10M of that money deferred to future seasons.
In the podcast Gabe, stlcardsfan4 or just Miles Mikolas, expresses his hatred for me, since I dared to suggest that the Cards might be better off letting Wainwright walk in order to put those funds toward a top-of-the-rotation arm. We discuss the ends and outs of all that, but the truth is we all pretty much agree. We’re glad to have Wainwright back and there’s every reason to think he’ll be productive for one final season. AND the team still needs to pursue some kind of help in the rotation – whether that is a pitcher like Quintana returning or some kind of better-than-Drew-VerHagen swing-style arm.
Then it’s on to the coaching news. We start with Jeff Albert, who we all kind of liked. And discuss the nature of the narrative that surrounded him on social media. It was ugly. It wasn’t rooted in reality. But Albert probably needed a little thicker skin. We think he’ll likely get to move on to a position of his choice, as the rest of the league will actually appreciate him for what he was able to do with the offense both at the MLB level and throughout the system. This could be a good move for him. It could be tough for the Cardinals, who will have to find someone who can step in a continue the club’s advancement in technology and mechanics and maybe take a few steps forward in game-to-game hitting strategy geared toward the opposing pitchers.
The word we chose for Mike Maddux’s exit was “opportunity”. The Cardinals need someone, likely from outside the organization, who can do what Jeff Albert did and bring a cohesive approach to pitching philosophy and development to the entire system. They need to get better at developing pitching and they need more swing-and-miss stuff from their MLB arms.
We talk about Skip Schumaker, too, and his new position as manager of the Marlins. The Cardinals will have to replace him, preferably with someone inside the organization who can provide Oli Marmol with the information he needs for in-game decision-making. Maybe that’s someone like Matt Holliday? More likely it’s Stubby Clapp or one of the minor league coaches.
Lastly, we leave you with some interesting speculation. I challenged the group to suggest one move that the Cardinals should make if there were no restrictions of cost. You’ll just have to listen or watch to find how we answer that one!
As always you can listen right here through our podcast stream. Or you can find the podcast on your favorite streaming service. Video is available as well if you want to see Heather’s many pets wander through the screen!
Thanks for liking and subscribing! And if you have a suggestion for a podcast guest over the winter months, leave them in comments! We’re going to branch out this winter and use the power of the VEB brand to pull in some great guests and some old fan favorites on the site!