Blowhards: 8 trade/free agent fallacies of St. Louis Cardinals and MLB fans

Poker hand facing with cards down and chips

Holding all the cards with unlimited chips: The fan view of their home team’s trade potential (Getty)

Some fans are about to blow a gasket over the action or inaction of certain baseball front offices as well as certain columnists. Blowing gaskets is fun, but a quick introspection into how it happens is called for. Myths abound. St. Louis Cardinals fans are not immune from this phenomenon.

One thing I have learned from scribbling columns about sportsball and the St. Louis Cardinals is that when it comes to trade/free agency acquisitions, you get nothing but hate from recommending against acquiring Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb or Honus Wagner.

This is because certain types of fans never account for:

  1. The fact that the determination that Babe Ruth was Babe Ruth was ascertained towards the end of his career, and someone who *seems* to be Babe Ruth now in the middle of his career may indeed not be. And that there’s a risk entailed in that projection which you – and nobody else – will have to absorb. Nonetheless, certain readers are quite proud of themselves that they have glommed on to who the top 10 players in the league appear to be. Being a baseball GM is simple to them. Figure out who the Top 10 players are in the league and simply go get ’em.
    “What if he turns out not to be Babe Ruth after all?”, I ask?
    “What are you? Some sort of communist??” is often the response. Or worse, a pessimist.
  2. What you have to give up to get Babe Ruth. I am sure if the proposed trade was Babe Ruth for the entire 25-man roster, and I cautioned against it, someone would still comment “ZOMG, you’re actually against Babe Ruth being a Cardinal!”
  3. That you already have a player on the roster who plays the position that Babe Ruth plays, who is not Babe Ruth, but is say… Jim Edmonds. And that it might be prudent to shore up one of the other multifarious areas of the team first. Someone will still say, “Stupid you! You think Jim Edmonds is better than Babe Ruth. What kind of baseball expert are you?”
  4. That time exists. This applies to what a writer might say about the timing of acquiring players. If you say that you can wait one game into the season to acquire Babe Ruth and it will be 99% cheaper to do so, someone would still comment “You’re stupid. Ha Ha Ha. You actually want to wait to make Babe Ruth a Cardinal.”
  5. That money is finite. Every team is assumed to have unlimited funds
  6. That money can be saved in banks and used in later years.
  7. That fans on other teams should be perfectly happy with obvious downgrades. This fallacy is also known as, “You should trade us Babe Ruth, because reasons.” A classic example is the trade proposal made by certain St. Louis Cardinals fans that the Colorado Rockies should trade Nolan Arenado and take 34-year old Matt Carpenter and 19-year old third-base prospect Dylan Gorman and be happy. Think about it. You have a 28-year old who pounces on ground balls with Antaeus-like agility and cannons the ball to first. And he is widely regarded as the face of the franchise. And you replace him with a 34-year old guy who air-mails all longer throws plus a kid who is not shaving yet. Leaving aside the possibility of a Carpenter offensive renaissance, leaving aside that the Rockies may want to do a major tank, would this be a fun thing to go through if you were a Rockies fan? Are the Rockies likely to do thIs this deal as long as stadiums have seats in them? Cardinal fans would mutiny if the shoe was on the other foot.
  8. That you can’t say a trade was won or lost. This one involves after-the-fact, of course. This would render it impossible to say that the Yankees won the Babe Ruth trade. The reasons fans give to justify this hard-nosed position vary. Some say, “Why cry over spilled milk?” Some people say you can’t talk about a lost trade because you did not weigh in against it at the time. (Why?).  And then there’s the really big-brained: “ZOMG! That’s Monday Morning quarterbacking!” No, it’s history. Interesting history. Fun for playing the “what if” game. Lose too many trades and a general manager’s days are numbered. Of course this rule, supposedly of “decorum” and “not being a jerk”, conveniently prevents any retrospective evaluation of trades like the ones mentioned in #2, where 25-players are traded for a Babe Ruth who turned out not to be.

I find these to be the most common fallacies to which those fans who are wont to accuse you of originating from the Den of Lucifer, fall prey.

Next: The Cardinals could wait 2 years for Nolan Arenado

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