Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
In the wake of the St. Louis Cardinals signing soft tosser Mike Leake (yawn), the Atlanta Braves continue to flood the market with disinformation. The St. Louis Cardinals shouldn’t believe it.
Observe esteemed Fox Sports baseball writer Ken Rosenthal’s tweets about the Braves and GM John Coppolella from a few days ago:
So what we’ve learned from this is that a number of Coppolella’s peers aren’t buying what he’s selling, which is the notion that the team won’t do anymore trades unless they’re blown away and want to rebuild around their sweet-swinging first baseman, Freddie Freeman. The problem with that is Atlanta is going to take more than a few years to rise from former GM Frank Wren’s wreckage. Meanwhile, all those hugs Freeman is always giving his teammates? I’m guessing he’ll be giving a lot fewer of them in 2016. By July, we should see him agitating one way or another to get out of Dodge. I’m more inclined to buy into Mozeliak’s claim that the St. Louis Cardinals will be making no dynamic signing this offseason. From Derrick Goold’s piece in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a few days ago:
"[Mozeliak] did describe how the club would not be “reactionary,” and how sometimes that long view can be at odds with the hot stove’s tendency toward demands of urgency."
If the St. Louis Cardinals sign Leake, then yeah. That claim still holds true. That is a rational signing of a lukewarm pitcher who really wants to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks, near his home. But the D-backs have obviously already done all the upgrading they require for now. With or without Leake, the St. Louis Cardinals don’t look awful on paper. Brandon Moss could have a bounce-back year. Maybe. Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty could put themselves on the map as long-term St. Louis Cardinals stars. Jed Gyorko, finally free of vast Petco Park, could fulfill the equally vast potential scouts had lavished on him in the minors.
And then? Then the St. Louis Cardinals eyeball the July trading deadline and place a call to the Atlanta Braves in, oh I don’t know, early June just to let Coppolella know we’re still thinking of his first baseman. Mozeliak is right. Hot Stove heaters like me keep yelling and screaming for urgency. But I’ll be honest. I don’t care if it’s now or at the July deadline when it comes to acquiring Freddie Freeman.