St. Louis Cardinals: MLB Winter Meetings Primer


Things are starting to spiral out of control quickly for the St. Louis Cardinals’ offseason plans. Will they overreact to make a move or stick to the plan?

Here we are at the start of the winter meetings and the Cardinals only acquisition is backup catcher Brayan Pena. While the acquisition is a good one, other teams in the National League are improving their clubs while the Cardinals are seemingly standing pat and watching the chips fall where they may.

The weekend saw the Cardinals lose out on Jeff Samardzija, John Lackey, and (one other I can’t think of). If you search #STLCards on Twitter, you will find all kinds of amateur GMs out there calling for GM John Mozeliak’s head and assuming the Cardinals are going to finish dead last next season. It’s quite scary and amusing all at the same time.

There is reason to believe that the Cardinals are actually better off for not going after these guys. Let’s go ahead and examine this for a moment.

John Lackey

Look, I really am glad the Cardinals got the best of Lackey last year, it was a great season for the veteran right-hander. However, I warned you about what Lackey offers beyond this year earlier this offseason when we were wondering whether or not the team would offer him a qualifying offer or not.

It’s bittersweet that he’s headed to the Cubs. Bitter meaning that another former Cardinal has to endure playing for the Cubs, but sweet when you look at the peripheral stats surrounding Lackey’s career year last season. Cubs’ fans like to defend their “bandbox” stadium, but even they can’t dispute the numbers that say Wrigley absolutely plays to a hitter’s advantage more so than almost any other park in the entire league.

Take that and add in that Lackey’s 2.77 ERA was a bit of an anomaly. He had a FIP of 3.57 and an xFIP of 3.77, when you couple that with Lackey’s SIERA of 3.90 (courtesy of Fangraphs), it doesn’t bode well for Lackey and the Cubs. 

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  • It’s not just that either, Lackey also enjoyed a career high LOB% of 82.6 this past season. Which means he stranded runners on base at an all time high at the age of 37. Lackey has had one other season with a LOB% above 80% and it was back in 2008 with the Angels.

    Other than that year Lackey, hasn’t come close to these numbers in his career. He normally sits around the 75-76% range for his career. So, it should be pretty nice to see Lackey regress this coming season, especially considering the Cubs current crop of not so gold glove outfielders.

    Jeff Samardzija

    The San Francisco Giants reached a deal with the former Chicago White Sox pitcher on Saturday, the deal is a five year deal totalling in $90 million. That is not an outlandishly crazy deal, but it is some pretty big money for a guy who has had one year with a FIP at 3.20 or below in his entire career. Many were clamoring for the Cardinals to go after Samardzija, remembering his time as a Cub and the success he had with said team just a year ago.

    However, giving a guy who was woefully bad last year a large sum of money over five years, just doesn’t make sense for this team. I honestly believe all of the hooplah we heard about the Cardinals willing to sign a pitcher long term was a one pitcher deal and that one pitcher was David Price. We all saw how that turned out, not good.


    At this point in time, the Cardinals are rumored to be in the running for the services of Mike Leake and Alex Gordon, according to MLBTradeRumors. While Leake isn’t the best option, he’s also not the worst option out there (Mark Beuherle). I think he could play the role of an innings eater and could experience some better numbers in the spacious Busch Stadium. 

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    However, Alex Gordon is the type of free agent the Cardinals should steer clear of. Yes he probably will have a few good years left in him, but he wreaks of the type of  “emotional move” the Cardinals just don’t make. Also, Gordon has played a whopping 25 innings at RF.

    John Mozeliak came out and said yesterday on KMOX, that the club is “more than comfortable sticking with Cooney, Gonzales, or Lyons” to make up innings lost from Lackey/Lynn. While I agree with this statement, I think it could easily be placed on the OF as well.

    The Cardinals don’t need Jason Heyward as bad as everyone thinks they do (please do not think I don’t want Heyward back). The team is taking this same stance according to Benjamin Hochman of the Post Dispatch. There is reason to believe that a full season of Stephen Piscotty/Tommy Pham could be the offensive upgrade the Cardinals need next year.

    The Cardinals also stand to gain at least one extra first round draft slot this offseason by not going after a Jeff Samardzija or Alex Gordon. This will let the Cardinals continue to build through the draft, which is what they’re good at.

    Next: Five unexplored pitching trade targets for the Cardinals

    All in all, while we may have been duped a bit by thinking that the Cardinals were going to be spending their cash this winter, this is not a bad thing. This is what the club is comfortable with, why would they all of a sudden start spending money to spend money?