What’s Broken Can’t Always Be Fixed

Yeah, it was ugly for the second game in a row.  Let’s face it, the Orioles are a very good team, and the Cardinals are, well, the Cardinals.  The team that looked good on paper at the beginning but hasn’t looked that good in practice.  The possible reasons for that are as numerous as the runs given up by Cardinal pitching in the last two games.  It’s been a frustrating season for Cardinals fans, and that is an understatement.

There has been much discussion concerning what, if anything, John Mozeliak could have or should have done to improve the Cardinals at the trade deadline.  Many believe offense should have been the priority.  I can certainly understand the thought process behind that, but the realities of the market can’t always be counted on to produce the desired outcome.  More than once as the trade deadline approached I saw discussions amongst the national media pertaining to the lack of bats available of any worth in the trade market.  Marlon Byrd was the only decent bat that was known to be available, and he was being bartered by Ruben Amaro Jr, widely believed to be one of the worst, if not the worst, GM in MLB.  Amaro is well known for overvaluing his assets, and in all likelihood he was asking an exorbitant price for Byrd, a price that no sane GM would pay.  The other very good bat that moved at the trade deadline was Yoenis Cespedes, traded to Boston for pitcher Jon Lester, a trade that came out of nowhere during the last hours of the trade deadline.

In essence, folks, there was no offense to get.  Continuing to bark up that tree will get you nowhere.  It is a statistical truth that offense is down throughout major league baseball.  Teams that have offense are holding on to it.

So Mozeliak attempted to improve the team in another area that needed shoring up—starting pitching.  Injuries and reduced effectiveness had taken it’s toll on the rotation.  The two pitchers who were acquired have not set the world on fire, but they are giving innings and that is what matters now.  It is too early to judge the trades at this point.

The Cardinals’ offense has to find a way to produce beyond what it has up to this point.  Reinforcements are not likely coming.  The door to Memphis is not revolving, it can’t.  I think this is the one point I want to make above all others in this post.  Folks seem to have this belief that all will be fixed if Mozeliak just brings up guys from Memphis, and why isn’t he doing it?  I am going to tell you why.

There is this thing called the 40 man roster.  In order to play for the big league club, you have to be on it.  It only holds 40 players, hence the name.   The team can only have 25 of those players on the big league roster at a time until September 1st.  If you bring one of the 15 players who aren’t on the big league roster up to the club, someone who is currently on it has to come off.    Those are the rules.   If you want to add someone to the 40 man roster, there are rules on how to do that.  If there aren’t spots on the 40 man roster, someone on it has to come off to put someone else on.

To further complicate matters, there are rules about who CAN come off those rosters and what you do with them.  Some players would have to go on waivers to come off.  Some can’t come off at all.  Furthermore, if you add a player to the 40 man roster, he has to stay there for the duration of his career with the Cardinals or you risk losing him to another team.  It is a constant juggling act that the GM has to master, AND he has to plan for the future as well as the present when it comes to the 40 man roster.  Moves on and off the 40 man roster have to be planned carefully, with an eye to what the consequences will be for the future.

It isn’t as easy as just moving players around like pieces on a game board.  Even aside from all the roster rules, there are contractual matters to consider as well.  Fans like to play junior GM, but the reality is the vast majority of those fans have no earthly clue how it all works.  It’s fine to say “Player X should be called up”, but knowing whether that is even possible or feasible is a whole other can of worms.

Moreover, I haven’t even yet mentioned that you can’t completely trust what a player is doing in Memphis as something he can also do in the big leagues.  Those gaudy Memphis numbers look pretty, but they very often don’t translate over to the major leagues.  Hitters in the Pacific Coast League do not see the caliber of pitching they would be facing once they hit the big leagues.  It’s a completely different ball game.

I am not suggesting that moves can’t be made.  I am suggesting that fans need to temper their expectations and their demands, and let the man who is paid to make these decisions make them.  He is operating with a great deal more information at his disposal than fans have or even understand.

This team is floundering offensively, no question about that.  The problem is clear, the solution is not so clear.  There may not be one, other than the team has to play better.

Don’t get me started about the managing part.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. baseballmania

     /  August 9, 2014

    I just think its an off year..happens after a team plays a very long season and for many after the fall classic.
    Just look what happened to the Red Sox!
    However I still dislike the GM.

    Like

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  2. bw52

     /  August 10, 2014

    Nice article.As has been pointed by several other fans is that the Cards have too many fringe or junk players on the 40-man roster that are keeping better prospects off the roster.This could be for various reasons {mlb service time,team loyalty to a player,manager preference,lack of depth in a certain area etc;}.That said I have several legitimate questions why concerning personel.
    1.Shane Robinson-a nice guy,team guy…………..why not Tommy Pham instead? Iam not a Pham fan but wouldn`t he offer more than Robinson?Pham can draw a walk and probably pinch-hit as good as Robinson`s not doing (2-19 I think)
    2.Mark Ellis-it`s been obvious this move hasn`t worked for a while.You want a RH hitting infielder who doesn`t hit then bring up Kozma.he`s a hell of a lot cheaper.
    3.Jorge Rondon RHP-wouldn`t it be a Tim Cooney LHP or even a John Gast LHP would could be a spot starter or long man .Or even Zach Petrick RHpP to get a September callup?
    4.Audry Perez C- what about Cody Stanley who has had a good year at AA defensively and hitting.Stanley offers more than Perez and he hits lefty.
    5.Descalso-needs a mulligan for this year but the fact that MM thinks DD is a adequate SS is mind blowing.

    Just a few thoughts and opinions.

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