St. Louis Cardinals: Mozeliak Owns Trade Rumors


The St. Louis Cardinals have been connected to several trade rumors this offseason already and many of them have yielded zero results.

Are the St. Louis Cardinals kicking tires?  Is Matt Adams a trade piece to come?  Will Kolten Wong find a new team this offseason?  These are just some of the questions revolving trades that have linked the Cardinals to other teams.

We all get excited about these rumors.  That said, we should all temper our excitement right out of the gate.  Just yesterday the Cardinals were linked to Brian Dozier which wasn’t the first time that this name bubbled with St. Louis.

All-in-all this offseason, the St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to Edwin Encarnacion, Dozier, Mark Trumbo, Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, Adam Eaton, Charlie Blackmon, Lorenzo Cain, Jerrod Dyson, Chris Sale, Carlos Gomez, and Justin Turner just to name a few.  I’m sure I missed several here but these names capture the wide nets of the Cardinals offseason.

How many of these were actual connection?  How many were just kicking the tires of interest?  We know that Fowler was real but what of the others?

One thing we should all keep in mind is GM John Mozeliak’s adroit handling of the trade market.  While many of us argue that Mo doesn’t do enough to make the team better, we should admit that he and his team knows the market and the players better than we do.

So here’s a wrinkle that fans do not often consider regarding trades and rumors: a smart GM achieves a win not just through a trade but can also earn a win by driving up the cost for another team.  This, I believe, is one of Mozeliak’s greatest strengths.

Let’s look at the David Price deal made during the offseason of 2015.  The St. Louis Cardinals were rumored to have been very active on Price.  What we know to be true is that the Red Sox might have minorly out-bid the Cardinals.

Pure speculation here but I believe that at some point Mozeliak discovered the price it would take to land Price and, rather than stepping away from the table, he remained in discussions to drive the price for the Red Sox.  While this didn’t help the Cardinals in 2016, it did make things more difficult for the Sox in the future.

A good GM then, using this logic, is one who can see the long-range effects of trades.  In short, the Cardinals lost out on Price but could land someone else in the future without the Red Sox serving as competition for the signing.

Jumping then to this year’s connections and rumors.  I believe that Mozeliak might have again used this same Price-logic (pun completely intended here) in rumors such as Justin Turner.

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If we look closely at the Encarnacion deal, I wouldn’t find it difficult to argue that Mo may not have had much interest from the start due to many factors such as positional play and cost, yet the Cardinals were active in the Edwin discussions until the final deal fell.  Here too, in future attempts to land names, the Indians may not serve as competition thanks to the long-term signing of Edwin.

Dozier.  I just don’t see the Cardinals actually holding overt interest.  I don’t see the cost (both financially and via personnel) being worth the deal. I do, however, see the value in Mo driving up the cost for the likes of the Dodgers again to prevent them from serving as competition in the gigantic market that will be the offseason of 2017.

There it is, then, Mozeliak may have more than the 2017 season in mind– he might be planning for the large free agent class of 2017.  I hope this is true, and I’m sure it is, as I would love to see the St. Louis Cardinals able to be major players next winter.

At the same time, I would love to see large markets like the Red Sox and the Dodgers find themselves limited thanks to the deals they have made and are making now.  In this regard, then, I’m glad to see Mozeliak use the St. Louis Cardinals name to drive the cost even higher in this offseason.

Next: Will Carpenter Rebound in 2017?

What do you think?  Do you think the Cardinals are okay as they stand today?  Should Mozeliak sign another name or wait until next winter?  Either way, Mozeliak likely knows better about how to make these things work than we do.