The MLB winter meeting recently concluded and the St. Louis Cardinals, like most other teams, left Las Vegas without making a significant transaction. But don't fret fellow fans of the birds on the bat, this doesn't mean the Cardinals post season is over. It just means further moves will come later, maybe not until after the first of the year.
As most fans know the Cardinals started the off-season with a bang when they traded for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt on December 5th, just prior to the Winter Meetings. This trade alone, had the impact of resetting the NL East, closing the gap with the Cubs and the Brewers.
Following this move, many expected big things to happen at the winter meetings in Las Vegas. To paraphrase the poem, "Twas the Night Before Christmas", Cardinals fans had dreams of Bryce Harper dancing in their heads...or at least a closer and left handed reliever.
-LAST WEEKS WINTER MEETING WERE....UNFULFILLING
At least from a fan perspective, not much happened at the Winter Meeting in Las Vegas last week.
With players like Harper, Manny Machado, and Craig Kimbrel on the market, more fireworks were expected in Vegas. Though some of the moves were interesting, the major names were still available when the GMs and agents went home on Thursday.
The St. Louis Cardinals moves' reflected the week as a whole. On Monday, the Cards announced they weren't in the Bryce Harper market and claimed right handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles. Then on Tuesday, they swapped infielders with the Texas Rangers, acquiring Drew Robinson for Patrick Wisdom. With that, the Cardinals were done.
So was the rest of baseball, unless you count the Phillies signing Andrew McCutchen on Wednesday. A lot of noise going into the meetings, but in the end, a quiet winter meeting.for baseball in general.
The St. Louis Cardinals front office isn't done. Just because they didn't make a major trade or free agent signing during the Winter Meetings, means they were sitting at the blackjack tables in Las Vegas.
The need for a closer and help on the left hand side of the bullpen is looking at the Cardinal front office straight in the face. Reports from the last week's meetings were the Cardinals are in discussion with relievers David Robertson and Zach Britton to address those roles. By Thursday, the rumors were the Giants were discussing a trade that would send left handed reliever Will Smith to the Cardinals.
This off season seems to be going like last year's, with many trades and free agent signings not being made until well after the first of the year. Many baseball analyst are saying this year's market is locked up due to to the free agency of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Thus, until Harper and Machado are signed, there will not much movement in the off-season market.
However, the St. Louis Cardinals do not need to let this affect what they want to accomplish. They need a closer and left handed help in the bullpen. Mozeliak and company have already let anyone who would listen, they are not in the Bryce Harper market.
The Cardinals need to focus, and I believe they will, on upgrading the bullpen. If they keep their eye on this goal, the Cardinals will finish closing the gap with the Cubs and Brewers.
So, paraphrasing the political consultant James Carville, 'it's the bullpen, stupid'.