Updated: Nov 19, 2018
The season of 'frenzy' is upon us. Not just the holiday season, but the off-season of Major League Baseball. However, not quite the flash and flare of a year ago. Once again, we are not seeing the push-push-push to sign free agents or 'make a trade' - especially of the top elite players.
This off-season seems to be a tad more subdued with monies to be spent. Four hundred million dollars is nothing to sneeze at. Over a course of ten years without an 'in-stone' guarantee for longevity of strong play. Yes, talking about Bryce Harper. And how many teams are going to put their eggs in one basket? Scott Boras, just my opinion, the shark of agents is again out to make a name for himself with a record breaking deal and not hurting his bank account either. The Philadelphia Phillies and the Chicago White Sox are reportedly in the mix for both Harper and Manny Machado. Will Boras allow that to happen?
But fans have a tendency to spend someone else's money far easier than their own. After all, some baseball entities are 'billionaires'. And ,seemingly, solely off the backs of the fans who attend the games. They don't take into consideration the responsibilities and obligations of the organization as a whole. The larger market teams, yes, do have investors that have help to fill their coffers and they manage those funds well. Their billions of collective dollars is not all 'free money' to spend. They have an asset/liability slashline to consider.
Great read by Chris Lollis: Why Do Some Cardinals Fans Complain About Every Option?
NOT GOING TO BE A QUICK DECISION
The Harper-Machado scenario will be slow to develop. The more hype, the bigger the deal? I'm hoping the Cardinals don't get caught up in either.
With that said, I feel the Cardinals learned a very important lesson last season. Their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton. They laid the money on the table plus prime prospects. Stanton "chose" to go to New York. It was not because the Cardinals organization didn't make a strong enough case. It was Stanton who made the final decision, not the Miami Marlins. And, in my opinion, a lot of wasted time for Cardinals effort in doing so. And, definitely not the exorbitant amount of money, but they still had to send prime prospects to Florida to trade for left-fielder Marcell Ozuna.
Now we are knocking on the door of 2019.
Yes, the Cardinals have the funds to bring Harper on board. Personally, I don't want them 'in the chase' and miss opportunities available. They know fully their direction going forward. To see the Cardinals in postseason in 2019 and beyond. Changes must be made, hard decisions along the way.
One potential choice is Diamondbacks 1B Paul Goldschmidt. He was scheduled to become a free agent in 2019, but with an option on the books for the Diamondbacks. They exercised that option signing him to a 1 Yr/ $8,875 MM contract. Pushing his free agency out to 2020.
Goldschmidt is 31 years old, but holds an eight year career .297/.398/.532/.930 slashline and a very strong first baseman. An All-Star in his last six seasons, five time NL MVP contender, three NL Golden Glove recipient and earning his fourth NL Silver Slugger Award in 2018.
Most fans and talking heads are leaning 'away' from a one year deal, plus high level prospects that would have to be thrown in. Yes, prospects would have to be part of the deal, which Cardinals have an abundance of great kids coming up through their farm system.
We can't hold on to them all. And some disgruntled fans shake their head when they are brought up to the Bigs - Rookies? I shake my head because each and every 'seasoned' player was a rookie who was given a chance to make good in the majors.
But I feel, more than the prospects given up, is that those who are against a one year deal with Goldschmidt is unwarranted. Money would not be an issue. Provided he continues his strong play, the Cardinals would push with a lucrative deal at the end of the one year to keep him on board. Which I feel he is not a 'one and done ego' type of player. And, in my opinion, he would definitely be the strong bat the Cardinals seek to boost their offense, even if he is a right-handed hitter. A great add to help the Cardinals 'see' postseason. He's a contender and a strong competitor.
Said persons have voiced faith in Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak's 'management', so why shy away from a extremely solid player just because he is now 'tagged' a free agent in 2020?
Cardinals have also been linked to 3B Josh Donaldson, 33 years old in December, which some have been very supportive of. A third baseman who, also, hits from the right side of the plate. But, he is a free agent who can be signed outright without giving up 'the farm'. His eight year career of .275/.367/.507/.874 slashline could be a contributing factor. He is a three time All-Star, MVP contender three times with winning AL MVP in 2015, along with two AL Silver Slugger awards. Comfortable resume, but feel not quite enough for Cardinals future plans.
HARPER VS. GOLDSCHMIDT ATTRIBUTES
Bryce Harper in his career seven years holds a .279/.388/.512/.900 slashline. Was the NL RoY winner in 2012. He has been an All-Star in six seasons. NL MVP contender, three times with winning top honors in 2015. Only holds one Silver Slugger award. His attraction being a left-handed hitter and only 26 years old. "In his prime".
However, in 2017 when Boras began the super hype of his chargee, he held a stupendous .319/.413/.595/1.008 slashline. That was his second highest of his career. In 2018 - he closed his season .249 BA/.889 OPS and only a .496 SLG, which in five of his seven seasons his average has equaled a .262 BA.
If I were in a position to do so, would I personally pay 10 Yr/$400 MM for such a track record? No. But I'm not the power-to-be decision maker. For one, personally, would I pay that much to lock in a contract for any player? No. I believe the top contracts have gotten way out of hand and, yes, burdening some of the cost onto the fans who attend the games and eliminating the small market efforts to improve.
Would I pay Goldschmidt $18 MM (Tick above the 2018 QO amount) for one year to be able hold talks of an extension at the end of that one year? Yes, I sure would. Cardinals gambled on OF Matt Holliday (29-2009) and OF/1B Lance Berkman (34-2011). Why not "Goldy"?
SOUND DECISION - BASEBALL SMART
Just my opinion, but I do feel if the Cardinals are serious about moving forward in a positive manner, Goldschmidt would be an excellent investment on their part. Even if it is for one season, but still contend it wouldn't be. Take the gamble. There would still be 'cash available' to add other solid position players and pitchers this off-season.
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