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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:09 pm 
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So I'd like to have an objective, non-emotional conversation about Cardinals management.

I know that's asking for it, but I really think there are some interesting conversations to be had if we try to dissect the approach of Cardinals management, and why their approach is so different from what the majority of the fanbase wants.

At one time Mozeliak was considered a shrewd GM who was able to keep the Cardinals as contenders and rapidly rebuild the farm system at the same time. Then he was able to keep the ship afloat and keep success going far longer than most teams.

Then the last 3-4 years happened. The team is continually treading water in slightly-above-mediocre-but-not-quite-playoff-level quality. The team tends to give away players for head-scratchingly low value, then turn around and over-pay for the wrong players. They've been criticized for not being aggressive, and then panned when they are aggressive (Heyward, Holland, Miller, even Goldschmit to an extend).

What do you think causes the disconnect?

A couple of things i've considered:
  • The team has a different player evaluation model than most teams and fans, leading them to but/sell at different levels than expected.
  • The team over-values their farm system.
  • Girsch and co has a lot more influence than previously recognized, and Moz is taking more of a back seat leading to a different approach.
  • Mo was never that good, he just rode the coat tails of Jeff Luhnow and others.
  • A large portion of GM success is luck, and the Cardinals luck has run out relative to the first part of Mo's tenure.
  • Management has gotten complacent and don't feel the need to improve the team beyond borderline playoff level.

My personal opinion is that it's been a combination of 3 things:

1.) The current management structure has been a victim of their own success and have gotten a little arrogant that certain uncommon risks are going to work just because they've worked in the past. Middling prospects are considered more valuable because similar middling prospects have turned into 3 win players for the Cardinals ala Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, and a plethora of other players in the first few years of this management's run.

2.) The luck pendulum swung the other way. The first half of the run, things worked out really well for the team, and either by luck or having better scouts the team was able to build an 80 win team and in up in the 90s through unexpected wins from the farm system and waiver-wire pickups. The team's core then aged out. Pujols left, Holliday got old, they couldn't find another Berkman or Beltran, Molina got old, they haven't pulled out a Jhonny CarpenCraig from fa/farm to unexpectedly drive the team in a few years.

Instead some of the big prospects the team relied on didn't pan out. From Oscar Taveras to Alex Reyes some of the more critical prospects the team relied on just didn't solidify. Even the pitching staff hasn't been able to turn out reliable starters like it did. Leake was not like Lohse. And none of the current pitchers have managed to have the consistency of a Lance Lynn.

Even the team's aggressive moves like trading for Heyward or Ozuna haven't panned out. The team chose the wrong florida OF. The scrap heap acquisitions for the bullpen haven't worked out like they did. etc. etc.

The team is doing the same basic thing it did in the early-mid 2010s. Difference is they pixie dust isn't as potent.

3.) The team has a different evaluation method for talent than the fanbase and other teams. The team is evaluating players like Pham, Voit, etc. and deciding they aren't going to be successful here. I think part of it is their attempt to create a "cardinals way" culture where the team has loyalty for those who buy in to the Cardinals system, and discard those who don't. This is also why Molina and Carpenter were extended. It's telling the league that if you take a risk with the Cardinals and buy in to their system, you'll get rewarded. I think some of that is going back to #1 where the confidence of management has started to hurt them a bit.


What do you think?


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:15 pm 
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Fans seem to think they have a better grasp of the inner workings of baseball than the Front office does.


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:22 pm 
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I feel like they build teams with good players and expect them to be stars. Minus Goldschmidt, we have a 40 man full of complimentary players and no stars. Even Goldy wasn't playing up to his ability until recently. Every year I feel like we have way to many question marks. You cant expect every person to play above their ability. I also think Luhnow leaving has a big thing to do with our players. He obviously was a big reason for our success and Mo got the credit imo.


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:28 pm 
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I don’t have time for a long reply here - though I will try to offer one - but I think a huge factor here is that we were once ahead of the curve analytically and philosophically. Now, the whole league has caught up to us and some teams are beginning to innovate in ways that are ahead of us. We are behind. And it shows up in our player evaluation, drafting, international signings, 25-man player evaluations, and all of that bubbles up to wins and losses.

I don’t have a lot of data or hard facts on this, but I have seen rumblings about it from respected sources. It’s hard to pin down... because if we could pin it down we would be elite, innovative baseball analysts and not fan forum posters. I also know the Cards have made some internal changes in recognition of this reality. Pay attention to small articles about changes in database systems and technology and you will see what I am talking about.

When we can’t gain an advantage over other teams - or are afraid they have an advantage over us - it leaves us somewhat paralyzed in making riskier trades because we can’t stand losing deals. Couple that with a general drift toward the conservative and you have the crux of the problem. Goold has written about this quite a bit.


Last edited by Fat Strat on July 31 19, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:37 pm 
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Other front offices caught up


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:37 pm 
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Fat Strat wrote:
When we can’t gain an advantage over other teams - or are afraid they have an advantage over us - it leaves us somewhat paralyzed in making riskier trades because we can’t stand losing deals. Couple that with a general drift toward the conservative and you have the crux of the problem. Goold has written about this quite a bit.


I think this might be a really valid point. The team is risk averse.

Maybe they're not as worried about missing the playoffs as the fans are. Maybe they're more worried about failing in more aggressive moves and slipping from a .500 playoff bubble team into the land of mediocrity that haunts 10 or so teams in baseball right now.

Or worse, they're terrified of a rebuild. Being perennially mediocre in a baseball town still gets them 3 million fans, solid TV ratings, and ownership growth. And that gets them extensions on their contracts.

A couple of real big swings and misses in trades and asset management could get them on the cliff to mediocrity that they won't be around to fix.


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:43 pm 
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Cardinals fans: We don’t have any tradable assets on the Major or Minor league rosters


Also Cardinals fans: I don’t know how the front office isn’t able to make a big trade to improve the team significantly


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:44 pm 
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Nothing will change as long as 3 million or more in paid attendance happens every year. Ownership decided to use the billion dollar TV money to build another new stadium instead of rebuilding a competitive ball club. The Farm System has done OK, but we have also had some duds like Reyes, and traded some talent away to get some more mediocre pitching.


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:46 pm 
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Yes, I also think that they are more worried about slipping into Reds territory than they are about keeping up with the Dodgers or even the Cubs. At 81-88 wins, they don’t have to worry about income, which is first and foremost for a business, and can play around with trying to win. That’s very clearly their model and has been for a long time.

A rebuild threatens their money, so they won’t go near it. Better to stay where we are and never really win, from a business standpoint.


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PostPosted: July 31 19, 4:49 pm 
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Outdated methods and cheap ownership. Everyone already knows my thoughts and I don't want to say them again.

Look at the sum-total of Mo's last 5 years, just transaction wise. What is inspiring about it? For every Mikolas, there's a Cecil and Pham, and poor extension. For every Ozuna, there's an improper valuation of depth.

Another new annoyance lately: so many traded Cardinals doing well on other teams. From Kelly to Mercado to Voit to Pham.


Last edited by Big Amoco Sign on July 31 19, 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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