-USA TODAY Sports
As the St. Louis Cardinals stagnate, for better or worse, the rest of the National League is taking shape. The St. Louis Cardinals now know who the contenders are.
On paper, the St. Louis Cardinals aren’t on that list, for reasons that have been examined ad nauseam here and elsewhere. Honestly, this has been one of the worst offseason in franchise history. Allegedly flush with cash, the St. Louis Cardinals have spent virtually none of it yet.
That lesson? Faith, trust and pixie dust doesn’t work anymore. Once upon a time, the St. Louis Cardinals could lean on their amazing fan base, always packed home ballpark and long winning tradition to lure free agents into signing reasonable long-term deals. That seemed to be the strategy with Price. From USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, writing shortly after Price signed with the Boston Red Sox instead:
"Price, a native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was enamored with joining the Cardinals, who have reached the postseason the last five seasons, with two pennants and a World Series title. Yet, the Red Sox’s offer simply was too strong for him to refuse."
Boston got Price for seven years and $217 million. According to Nightengale, the St. Louis Cardinals offered the lefty the highest contract in franchise history, but it was still $30 million below what the Sox offered.
Heyward’s snub was worse, though. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Derrick Goold:
"Two sources confirmed for The Post-Dispatch that the Cardinals’ offer was greater in guaranteed value while the Cubs’ had the higher annual average value, at $23 million a year."
There is an opt-out in Hayward’s deal, however:
The Cubs essentially beat the St. Louis Cardinals at their own game, wooing Heyward with the strong fan base, packed stadium, cool, new-age manager and winning culture. Ouch.
The dust is quickly settling, and the St. Louis Cardinals are now left looking up at four National League teams positioned well for postseason baseball in 2016 and perhaps beyond. Here, I give you the St. Louis Cardinals’ latest public enemies number 1, 2, 3 and 4 …
Next: Arizona Diamondbacks