"The timing is ideal. We have a busy July coming."-John Mozeliak to the media on June 30.
If the President of Baseball Operations
move making General Manager was talking about a busy baseball schedule for the St. Louis Cardinals, he was accurate. The Cardinals played 27 games this month, winning only 13 of them. The Cards got busy being mediocre.
If Mozeliak was referring to the trade activity, he was dead wrong. The Cardinals traded Marco Gonzales to the Seattle Mariners for Tyler O'Neill, who is ripping it up at Memphis. But that is all they did, and that is not okay. Not for a team begging for translation and transition.
The Cardinals didn't trade Lance Lynn. The demand for his services may have scared off other teams, or the Cards simply didn't want to cut ties with the durable righthander just yet. They have little to no plans to re-sign Lynn this winter, but they didn't trade him now in a starting pitcher savvy market. What in the ass? If Lynn walks, the Cards will pick up a second round compensatory pick once he signs with another team. That's snooze worthy.
The Cardinals acquired O'Neill, a high ranking prospect in the Mariners farm system, but didn't thin out the herd in their current outfield collection. This would be okay if the four outfielder softball arrangement was executed.
Stephen Piscotty is coming back from a rehab assignment this week-and Dexter Fowler isn't far behind him. But the Cardinals have Randal Grichuk, Harrison Bader, and Tommy Pham all settled in and hitting at the moment. Why not trade a hot outfielder with no locked in future in St. Louis for bullpen help or a prospect?
I understand the Cardinals not wanting to give away Lynn for pennies on the dollar, but the inactivity sends an unclear message to the fans. As the Cardinals struggle through a disappointing season, I have a few questions.
What is the plan? What is the short game? What is the end game?
What are Mozeliak and Michael Girsch going to do for this team to be a serious World Series contender in the next three to five years? If you think Alex Reyes and Jack Flaherty are the answer next year, please stand by for a kick in the ass.
It's okay to make small moves in rebuilding a team back into a perennial playoff contender, but inactivity doesn't help anything. A big move wasn't expected, but something should have happened, right? Lynn will make 10 more starts and then walk. The Cards will have to do something about their outfield, but most likely keep 2018 jam-packed out there again. This team doesn't seem to have a plan for how to to make this team great again, and that's alarming.
Mozeliak told the press today that the Cardinals are going to use the next two months to analyze what they need to do for 2018. Translation: the white flag is being waved on 2017. That is fine, if the Cards wouldn't bat Yadier Molina fifth and played the rookies.
Instead, the Cards will recycle hope from a 5-2 stretch against the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks while forgetting about the 4-6 stretch against the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Mets, and Chicago Cubs earlier this month.
Mozeliak and the Cardinals predictably broke out the rebuild exercise excuse today-but the lineups for the next two months WILL NOT resemble a rebuilding effort. You won't see Luke Weaver start here the rest of the season, nor will you see Bader play much outfield when Piscotty and Fowler return. Carson Kelly won't split time with Molina either.
While the Cards are only 4.5 games out of first place, it might as well be 8.5. The Cardinals haven't won more than four games in a row the last two months, and the Cubs have heated up, taking over the division lead handily.
By the way, Bader was optioned today to make room for Piscotty. Hold on while I pour a shot of bleach.
If you know what the Cardinals plan is, please tell me. I'd love to sit down like a five year old and watch you in amazement. But I bet you have little clue.
The farm system is strong, but isn't strong enough to play the next month.
The Cards are only so many games out of first place, but not trending well the past month.
Do you really expect the same group of players to suddenly create a different result in the second half? Don't be fooled. This team is doomed.
Mozeliak and Girsch could have made moves to properly launch the new look of this team for next year, but they stood pat. I am not talking about a middle reliever. I am talking about creating a new identity for this team. The current one is tired and not working anymore.
Unless the Cardinals make a miraculous run this summer, they will miss the playoffs for the second season in a row. The last time that happened was in 2007-08, the honeymoon after a World Series and the birth of Mozeliak's reign. That was a transition. What is happening in 2016-17?
If the team truly thought they could contend this year, they'd make trades to improve the team.
If they truly wanted to prepare for next year, they'd trade expiring parts and play the youth.
I figured today would give me some idea of the direction this club is taking, yet I sit here confused at the lack of activity.
How about you?