Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein calls St. Louis Cardinals the standard


Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has referred to the St. Louis Cardinals both a powerhouse and a standard.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Epstein was very complimentary of the Cardinals organization.

"“In reality, they’re a powerhouse,” Cubs president Theo Epstein said. “The Cardinals are the standard in a lot of ways. They’ve built an incredibly healthy baseball organization and a thriving, robust business operation and they combine those things really well. I don’t think they’ve reached their potential yet. I think there isn’t a player in baseball that they couldn’t go get if they wanted to. If they sensed a threat and they wanted to put their foot on the gas I think it’s almost unlimited what they could do.”"

It’s interesting to see these comments coming from the president of the Cardinals’ rival. Of course, the Cubs have the money and they’ve been building up a solid farm system since Epstein’s arrival to the club in late 2011. Many thought that Epstein would have gone after David Price prior to the trade deadline.

As other teams are willing to pay the highest price possible to sign a player, Bill DeWitt, Jr. and John Mozeliak will only go so far. They can’t be blamed for this policy. Look at what the Cardinals have been able to do by passing on signing Albert Pujols to a long-term deal when he became a free agent following the 2011 season. Not only did they get compensation picks in Michael Wacha and Stephen Piscotty but the club was able to extend Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Allen Craig, and Matt Carpenter to long-term deals. Craig has since been traded to the Boston Red Sox.

Knowing what is in the farm system, Mozeliak is smart to not trade or sign a free agent outfielder that would block a talent such as Piscotty. Seeking a veteran who has a year or two left on their current contract makes perfect sense for the Cardinals. Doing so without giving up the farm or paying an arm and a leg is even better.

"“We have payroll flexibility. We’re not hiding from that,” Mozeliak said. “It just goes against our mental model in terms that we want to stay disciplined in how we purchase talent. You can always do something irrational, but at what point does that get you? When you start evaluating those types of deals, shorter is much easier to accept vs. when you’re talking about five-, six- or seven-year contracts. Those are hard to run from if production goes away.”"

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington, according to Goold, said that the Cardinals attendance is the main factor for the club’s ability in spending.

"“The Cardinals have done such a good job of putting a winning team on the field that I would think they have been able to exceed market projections and generate the revenues they can then roll back into their organization and baseball operations,” Huntington said. “Every division has its big markets, its medium markets, and its small markets. St. Louis has exceeded their market.”"

That’s because St. Louis has the Best Fans in Baseball. Without those fans, who knows what kind of product the Cardinals would field.