Having missed out on left-hander David Price and right fielder Jason Heyward, the Cardinals are unlikely to make a “dynamic” signing this offseason, GM John Mozeliak tells Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“It’s clear now this offseason is not going to have that dynamic signing that we tried to do with Price and Heyward,” Mozeliak explains. “There isn’t anything now that we’re chasing with a nine-figure contract. We can take the time to see what we have in the players we control. Obviously, we’re always open to adjusting.”
While that doesn’t eliminate the chance that the Cardinals could still add a notable free agent, it casts doubt on the likelihood of adding any of the top remaining bats on the market. Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis and Alex Gordon — the latter two of whom have both been linked to St. Louis — all have cases to exceed $100MM on their next contracts. While USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said after Heyward’s agreement with the Cubs that the Cardinals would turn their focus to Gordon, Goold now writes that Mozeliak and his staff don’t consider Gordon an alternative to Heyward. Goold likens the scenario to the Price/Zack Greinke market, noting that the Cards didn’t jump into the mix for the latter upon seeing the former sign in Boston.
The Cardinals are still looking for upgrades to the pitching staff, whether in the form of an additional starting pitcher or a bullpen arm, writes Goold, though he notes that the market for starting pitching may need to change before St. Louis enters the fray for the top remaining names. The team has been linked to Mike Leake and Wei-Yin Chen, though Goold specifically notes that Leake’s market may have escalated beyond the Cardinals’ comfort zone.
Price and Heyward were considered to be exceptions to the Cardinals’ typically measured approach to free agency, according to Goold. Though the loss of Heyward stings more given the fact that he’ll head to a division rival, it doesn’t appear as though there was any lack of effort on the Cardinals’ behalf. Reports have already indicated that the Cardinals offered Heyward a larger overall guarantee, and Goold adds that St. Louis’ deal, too, included an opt-out clause. (Of course, Heyward’s agreement with the Cubs is said to contain two opt-out clauses and afford him a higher annual value.) Having been spurned by Heyward, St. Louis figures to enter the season with an outfield trio of Matt Holliday, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty (although Mozeliak said nothing to suggest that trade scenarios would not be entertained).
In the rotation, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez and Jaime Garcia should all have spots locked down, while lefties Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales could factor in at the back end of the mix. Further additions shouldn’t be ruled out, although Goold does note that there’s a chance the only further signing would be to bring someone to camp to compete for a job in Spring Training. That, again, doesn’t necessarily preclude the Cards from upgrading via trade, though neither Mozeliak nor Goold indicated that said scenario is likely, either.