While the St. Louis Cardinals are looking to revamp their pitching staff this offseason, it's clear that their model has resulted in major mistakes in the pitching market in the past - specifically, not investing in the high-end talent that they have needed. Randy Karraker of 101 ESPN's "The Opening Drive" reminded fans of the front office and ownership's reluctance to sign Max Scherzer in 2014.
Karraker shared (link to the interview provided) that when Scherzer received his offer from Washington (seven years, $210 million), he contacted Adam Wainwright, saying that if the Cardinals even got in the ballpark of that offer, he'd come to St. Louis. Wainwright told the Cardinals front office, but they never reached out to Scherzer.
A couple of things to note with this story that has been blowing up on social media. First, this isn't news, but it seems like a forgotten tidbit of information from Cardinals fans, as Bill DeWitt III has openly talked about this being a major miss by the Cardinals in the past. Derrick Goold reshared a story from 2015 on the Cardinals' reluctance to pursue Scherzer earlier today.
Obviously, this was a huge miss from the Cardinals. They did have one of the best staffs in baseball at that time, but they should have been forward-thinking enough to realize the kind of opportunity they had in front of them, the volatile nature of pitching, and how Scherzer could have put them over the top in so many ways.
These are conversations the front office are having right now, and Goold referenced this in the chat he did this week as well.
"I agree that this is a definitive offseason for the DeWitt ownership and the Mozeliak baseball operations. And part of that is how the latter influences the former. It is quite literally Mozeliak's job to lobby ownership to approve moves that will make the team better -- not just operate within the constraints or budgets given. Absolutely, DeWitt is involved in all of the decisions, and he has adhered to a model when it comes to signing pitchers that is risk-adverse. He's brought that up, specifically when it came to signing a right-handed pitcher long-term into his 30s, such as Max Scherzer. Look at the Cardinals experience with pitchers they have signed...
...It is the front office's job to convince ownership of this change and the need to adapt the model and spending and all of it. So, this winter has those two tracks going. Can Mozeliak and Marmol make the case for updating the spending model, and does DeWitt and the ownership group approve that change, literally buy into the argument that front office has made and will make again."
All eyes are on the Cardinals' front office and ownership this offseason, as they are faced with the opportunity to finally learn from their previous mistakes and keep up with the spending that the game of baseball has passed them with. I'm cautiously optimistic that they will do so, but their actions will speak louder than words.