St. Louis Cardinals: Are they waiting or content?


Another outfielder off the market leaves you wondering? Are the St. Louis Cardinals content or waiting?

What is going on inside St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak’s head these days? I guess I’d love to be a fly on the wall in his office. Most people want to fly to Tahiti or go to California for a vacation.

I’d like to take a trip to Mo’s office and hear some internal dealings. Something. Last week, Alex Gordon signed with the Kansas City Royals. Today, the Colorado Rockies added another outfielder by signing Gerardo Parra to a three year contract.

Folks, the contracts are going down. They’ve been trending that way since mid to late December. The fallout of the Jason Heyward mega deal was the prime opportunity for fellow free agents like Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Davis to strike their big deal. Instead, they waited. Is Mozeliak doing the same thing? Is he waiting for the market to truly shift in his direction?

Gordon’s deal was for 4 years and 72 million. Parra signed for 3 years and 26 million. I am not comparing those two players(hint, their 2016 production may not be that far apart as you think) but it’s basically a look at the market and where it is tipping.

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The chances of Upton or Cespedes getting the monster contract they once sought out has closed. Christmas is over and gone. Trees are put up. Lights are put away. The big deals left the building.

Mozeliak may know this. He’s a smart man who has never overextended himself or his franchise in offseason trade talks in his tenure as GM(which is nearing 10 years). People may make the argument that he lost the Heyward/Shelby Miller trade due to the outcome, but at the time he didn’t overextend his franchise.

He hasn’t given a contract bigger than Matt Holliday‘s 8 year 117 million contract since January, 2010 yet the Cards won a World Series, played in another, and made the playoffs 5 of 6 seasons since then.

Maybe he knows something. As several fans get frustrated or trash the GM(I’ve done my fair share of constructed wondering), it could be all part of the plan, as the Joker would say with the world burning around him.

Or, maybe Mozeliak is truly content with what he has. It seems odd at first, but the man doesn’t covet his prospects for nothing. He loves his kids and may well believe in the full season dream of Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. He may have traded for Brandon Moss with 2016 in mind instead of a healing half campaign in 2015.

He could carry hope in Matt Adams getting back to his 2013 self. A healthy Matt Holliday could easily produce a .800 OPS, 35 doubles, and hit .290. Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong should see an uptick in production now that they aren’t asked to play 35 games in a row. If all else fails, Mike Leake could get some starts at first base and get that bat in the lineup more often. I kid, I kid….

While it’s safe and sound to be skeptical of Mo’s plans, understand he has a plan. Sure it’s not the plan that was outlined in November. He thought he would nab the top pitcher and hitter on the market, and lost both. His reaction hasn’t been quick, nor should it be especially if you know Mo and his ways. He always has a plan.

He may be waiting for the right time to strike. Now that Colorado has signed Parra, Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez could be expendable(my guess is Rockies want to unload CarGo). Upton may eventually fall back on a pillow 1-2 deal(still unlikely). Cespedes may bring his demands down.

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Maybe Mo is ready to ride into 2016 with his current roster and take his swings, gladly carrying the underdog mantle. The thing about a hypothetical is that it could work out and not blow up in your face, like Grichuk’s right elbow.

As January gets halfway finished and spring training is a month away, it may be time to once again sit back and trust in Mo. Save those “I told you so” statements for mid-season. Or load up on the hard whiskey chilling in the freezer.