In the St. Louis Cardinals' quest to add starting pitching this offseason, John Mozeliak is now cautioning about the idea of adding two front-line starters, according to FanSided's own insider Robert Murray.
In a GM Meeting roundup that Murray did yesterday, he dropped this nugget of information regarding where the Cardinals are at in their offseason plans.
"The St. Louis Cardinals are hopeful to add two starting pitchers this offseason and “think we'll be able to do that,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. But he cautioned that it will be tough to add two frontline starting pitchers."- Robert Murray, FanSided
While this is not a shocking comment from Mozeliak, I do think there is a bit of context we need to take into account here. Derrick Goold was also at the General Manager Meetings this week, and when he talked to Mozeliak yesterday, Mozeliak noted that they need to field a product that fans want to see (subscription required). Now, their definition of what fans will want to see and ours may be different, but I think Mozeliak knows they can't ignore the reception they have been getting.
No matter how you feel about Mozeliak, I think one thing most people can agree on is that he's not exactly the best public relations guy in the world.
Even with some of his quotes being taken out of context back on Monday regarding payroll, it's still easy to point out that Mozeliak is prone to make statements that frustrate the fanbase. In all honestly, I do think they will explore and try to add two top-end starters, whether both come from free agency or one comes from the trade route, but Mozeliak is not going to promise anything. That's just bad business when you're competing with other GMs and trying to negotiate with agents.
The fact that Mozeliak is prioritizing the two starters first says a lot to me though. If he kept saying things like "We need three starters and aren't sure if we can get front-line pitching because of that", I'd really be concerned. My reading of the situation is that, since they are prioritizing the two starters, they are trying to leave themselves room to acquire a number one and number two starter, rather than committing to adding three and having to sacrifice the quality of the top arms. But again, Mozeliak not going to come out and say that or promise that, as he has no idea how the free agent or trade markets will truly unfold.
His comments to Goold seem to indicate he's not shying away from the top end of the market either, even if they can't go all out there. When asked about the rising cost of pitching, Mozeliak told Goold that although it's not great for the industry, they know they need to upgrade there, and just because they do not like the price, doesn't mean it's not happening.
Only time will tell about what exactly the Cardinals do this offseason. Maybe Sonny Gray ends up being their best free agent signing. Maybe it's Aaron Nola. Maybe it's both. Perhaps they go for one and then trade for a Tyler Glasnow or Dylan Cease? Or maybe they get one of those guys via trade and then shop for a few middle-of-the-rotation type starters?