Where Have You Gone Jason Heyward?

I’m late to the party on the topic du jour for Cardinal Nation.  I’m late to the party for a reason, though.

I am a person who wants to have as many facts as possible before I draw any conclusions.  My legal training made me this way.  It’s not that I never make emotional, on the spot judgments, just that I make them infrequently. When I have made them, I have mostly come to regret them later.

On the topic of Jason Heyward and his defection, if one were to call it that, to the Cardinals longtime rival the Chicago Cubs, I have stayed mostly silent.  The reason, in a nutshell, is that I don’t have any idea what the hell happened.  How does one point fingers, if pointing fingers is your thing, without knowing who knew what and when did they know it?  If Cardinals fans can be likened to the Watergate Commission, then where are the tapes?

The facts I know, or think I know more likely, are that the Cardinals made a $200 million dollar offer spread over a number of years, perhaps 10, perhaps 9.  I don’t know if there was an opt out, though some sources have claimed there was.  I actually know more about the Cubs offer, 8 years $184 million dollars, two opt out clauses.  Some information exists that it was front loaded, though that particular detail is a little murky.

The Cardinals offer, be it 9 or 10 years, would have an average annual value between 20 and 22 million.  The 20 million AAV figure is what I seen bandied about more often, so let’s go with that.  The Cubs offer has an AAV of 23 million, so right there that is more yearly income in Heyward’s pocket.  If the contract is frontloaded that is even more income in his pocket sooner rather than later.  The opt out clauses have their own value, especially with a frontloaded contract.

So what we have here is clearly a better deal from the Cubs.  Anyone (I am looking at you Post Dispatch) who rings the “total value” bell to suggest otherwise is being intentionally disingenuous.  Jason Heyward didn’t jilt the Cardinals, he isn’t a “trader”.  Jason Heyward took the best deal offered him, as 99% of major league baseball players would.  Lance Berkman once said it’s always about the money, and he wasn’t kidding.

So where does that leave Cardinal Nation in their efforts to judge the actions of John Mozeliak and Co.?  Clearly they whiffed on this one, right?  If everything that is known is taken at face value, then yeah, Mozeliak whiffed worse than 1 in 3 Randal Grichuk plate appearances.

Let’s hold on a minute though, and put on our Watergate Commission eyeglasses.  Did the Cardinals make their last and best offer with all knowledge available to them, and it just didn’t cut it?  Or were there, as Mozeliak claimed on KMOX Sports radio on Sunday, “circumstances out of our control”? Well, your guess is as good as mine, only certain people know and they ain’t telling.  If such circumstances existed, what exactly were they and how did they prevent the Cardinals from securing their prize?  Again, who knows?

This is why I can’t get out my pitchfork and torch.  Without the necessary information, and the likelihood of getting that information is somewhere between winning the Power Ball and flying to the moon on gossamer wings, my pitchfork has to stay in the barn and my torch has to remain unlit.  It’s all rather convenient for John Mozeliak, don’t you know Robbie Cano, but that is the way this game is played.

What Mozeliak does between now and Spring Training may be more telling anyway.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

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The Cubs Are One Percenters

It was a grueling weekend at Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates all ended in wins, but they were hard fought, exhausting wins.  Not since 1987 have the Cardinals won 3 consecutive games in extra innings, by only one run, and in walk off fashion.  It was as if the Gods of Baseball decided after the Phillies series that the Cardinals needed to earn it the hard way.

They earned it.  Boy, did they earn it.

I must confess I was a little disturbed (no, I was a lot disturbed) by the recent roster moves that resulted in stuffing the bullpen with extra arms, more extra arms than seemed necessary to me.  Given what transpired, either someone in the Cardinals organization had a Nostradamus moment, or the Universe was sending me a message that I needed to keep my trap shut.  If it was the latter, the Universe doesn’t know me very well.  I have never once cared about being wrong about anything, especially if I was wrong in a good way.

It has to be excruciating for the Pirates and their fans to lose 3 games in a row in that fashion.  All of that hard work and determination and nothing to show for it.  You have to admire the Pirates, they fought every bit as hard as the Cardinals did.  Despite all the hype and hoopla the media has been giving the Cubs, it is the Pirates, in my view, that deserve it more.  The Cubs are just the entitled rich kid flaunting his wealth and getting all the attention while the middle class kid works his keester off to get a slice of the pie.  I want to have a beer with the Pirates;  the Cubs can take their cognac and their cigars and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

Yes, I know the Cubs have this Curse thing going on and the over a century long drought of having not won a championship.    I get that there is a lot of sympathy for the Cubs and this sense of entitlement comes from finally having a realistic chance of achieving the dream.  The Pirates have had a long drought as well, not Cubsian (sic), but a drought nevertheless.  The Cubs just don’t do it for me in the Have to Root for the Underdog category. I can’t work up the enthusiasm for them that I can for the Pirates.  The Pirates have likable players like Andrew McCutchen; the Cubs have overly hyped prodigies who, even if they are nice kids, make you want them to fail just so the media would shut the hell up about them.

This is not a popular opinion in many quarters of the Baseball Universe.   In addition to not caring about being wrong, I also don’t care about conforming either.

The Cardinals play the Cubs in a 4 game series at Busch, starting tonight.  I do not want any extra inning nail biters against the Cubs.  I want complete and utter domination.  Please give me that, Cardinals.

The Cubs are the 1%.  They must be crushed and demoralized.

Thank you for reading.

It’s Just Getting Started

Day 4 of the MLB regular season has come and gone, and the Cardinals have played 2 games.  With an off day on Monday after the opening game on Sunday, and then a weather postponement on Tuesday (weather that didn’t materialize), the Cardinals played their second game against the Cubs on Wednesday afternoon. Game #2 didn’t end so well, not as well as Game #1 did on Sunday night.

Starting pitcher Lance Lynn looked sharp up until the 7th inning.  Lynn struck out 9 and walked only one, while giving up only 2 hits, a triple to Jorge Soler and an RBI single to Starlin Castro.  Though the Soler triple was ugly, aided by a poor route to the ball by Jon Jay and a weak throw (what else is new), Soler was thankfully left stranded.  What happened in the 7th inning is another story.

Lynn started off the 7th by hitting Anthony Rizzo with a pitch.  Rizzo is not a huge threat to steal, and he didn’t have a very large lead off the base.  So why Lynn threw over to first is a mystery to me.  Generally, throw overs to 1st base are called by the dugout and signaled by the catcher.  If Matheny called the attempted pick off, I am at a loss to understand why.  Nevertheless, Lynn threw to first, threw it wide, and the ball sailed past Matt Adams.  Rizzo advanced into scoring position easily.  Lynn then preceded to throw a hanging slider to Starlin Castro, who tattoed it over Jhonny Peralta’s head into left field, whereby Matt Holliday threw the ball into the infield to a cutoff man who was nowhere to be found. Rizzo scored easily.  Because of the Holliday throw to nowhere, Castro was able to advance into scoring position.  A sac bunt moved Castro to third, and a sac fly brought him home. putting the Cubs up 2-0.

Had the Cardinal offense been able to make any headway off of Jake Arrieta, things might have been different.  The Cardinals managed all of 3 hits, one of them coming from Lynn, and none of them scoring runs.   By the bottom of the 9th, it looked like the Cardinals hitters wanted to get the hell out of Dodge, as both Jon Jay and Yadier Molina swung at the first pitch for outs.

It was only the second game of 162, so the loss is not a big deal (at least for me).  But I do have some thoughts to share.

Lynn pitched a very good game, despite the error on the throw to first.  Anyone who says   different is just picking nits or is a chronic complainer.  Unfortunately there is a lot of that in Cardinal Nation, more so than there should be.  It seems among some fans that the entitlement is so strong that perfection is demanded.  That’s not an enjoyable way to watch baseball.  It’s also annoying as hell for those of us forced to listen to it.

Next thought is that two games is no indication of how the offense is going to perform this season.  Today looked a lot like what we have seen before, granted, but it is too early for panic.  Baseball has it’s ups and downs, and under the circumstances, with two idle days between games and not so habitable weather to play in, the results were nothing to be concerned about.  It isn’t like the Cubs looked all that great either; an error, some defensive miscues, and a little bit of luck were responsible for the Cubs only two runs.

Once the season gets well under way, and the weather cooperates, I suspect things will look much better.  Cardinal Nation needs to get it’s whining under control and let the season play out.

Let’s play ball.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

Cubs Series Post Mortem

I’m a little behind the eight ball lately, been kind of busy and then there was those pesky taxes to file.  Playing the Cubbies is always an adventure.  The Cubs always seem to play the Cardinals like they are the poster team for 106 years of World Series futility.  They just refuse to play like they suck, they do it against every other team, so why they won’t do it against the Cardinals is very disingenuous of them.  It always has to be difficult.  On to the post mortem.

 

Friday, April 11—Cards 3 Cubs 6

This was a Joe Kelly start, so it should have been a win.  Someone forgot to tell the Baseball Gods or they were just sleeping on the job.  Joe did splendidly for the first 6 innings, but in the 7th the wheels came off the bus.  Kolten Wong made a disastrous fielding error, and Joe couldn’t record an out after that and one run scored.  In comes Carlos Martinez and stops the bleeding, for that inning anyway.  Martinez gives up a single in the 8th and out he comes, Siegrist coming in.  Siegrist then allows the guy Martinez put on to score, and then allows another run of his own for good measure.  So the Cubbies are now in the lead, but the Cards battle back in the 9th to tie the game and send it in to extras.  In the top of the 11th,  Trevor Rosenthal comes in and does an un-Trevor like thing; he gives up a 3 run home run to Welington Freaking Castillo.  Who spells Wellington with only one “l” anyway?  The hero of Waterloo is turning in his grave.

So the Cubbies win this one, and all of Cardinal Nation has a giant freak out session.

 

Saturday, April 12—Cards 10 Cubs 4

Now this one was more like it.  Adam Wainwright on the mound.  He has that Waino look on his face like the world is his to own.  He winds up and throws his first pitch—-right over the plate and knocked into the seats by Junior Lake.  Okay, that didn’t go over too well.   Never fear though, the Cardinals came back and took out a giant can of whuppass and doused them Cubbies with it.  Four runs in the 2nd, 5 more in the 4th.  Carlos Villanueva left the mound in the 4th inning, crying (not really).   The Cubs weren’t really in this one, they managed to squeeze 3 more runs out of Waino so I guess that was their World Series moment of the day.

 

Sunday, April 13—Cards 6 Cubs 4

Cards took the series behind Michael Wacha.  This one was a little more difficult to get.  Once again the Cubs forgot they suck.  Wacha decided to emulate his mentor, Waino, and give up a home run in the first inning; he decided to be a little different though and wait until the 3rd batter to do it.  This one was a 2 run jobber too, not a solo like the one Waino gave up.  The kid needs some work I guess (just kidding).  The Cards took the lead back in the second inning, then the Cubs tied it in the top of the 4th, then the Cards took the lead back again in the bottom of the 4th on a beautiful triple by Speedy Petey Bourjos, who was then brought home on a sac fly by Matt Carpenter.  It stayed that way until the 8th, when the Cardinals added two more insurance runs.  It was a good thing to, because Trevor Rosenthal came in to close and gave Cardinal Nation some drama by allowing the Cubbies to score another run.  All’s well that ends well, as they say.

On to Milwaukee and the Only Temporarily in First Place Brewers.

 

Thank you for reading.

Probably My Shortest Post Ever

EVERYBODY TAKE A BLOODY CHILL PILL.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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