Based on the lack of moves thus far by the Cards’ front office, John Mozeilak is going to be asking himself that very same question come September – “Where did I go wrong?” If things stay as they are and this truly is the team we enter 2009 with…then I’ve got an answer for him.
The entire problem with the Cardinals’ approach to the offseason (and this team) is that they are scared to death of getting burned on a bad deal. Their approach is bargain-based rather than need-based. They approach the offseason like a four-year-old in a candy store…tentatively holding out his hand with his two nickels, three dimes, and a penny with a scratch in the center sitting gingerly in a sweaty palm…and asking, “Hey, mister…what can I get fer’ this?”
Mo and DeWitt are constantly trying to stretch a dollar rather than simply saying, “This is what we need…and it’s what we have to get.” They try to get as much value as they possibly can for their bucks…and while that sounds like a sound theory, it has lead to a sluggish and ill-equipped approach at the negotiating table. Think about it…how many times, in Mo’s short GM career, have we heard the Cards’ FO say something like, “Our attention was focused elsewhere and by the time we got back to him, he had accepted another offer…”? One too many.
The reality is that the Cardinals are so focused on making sure they get supreme value for their dollar…AND not looking like fools in a bad deal…that they have paralyzed themselves. They look at what’s available and say, “Okay…we could get this guy and this guy…settle for that guy…and still save a few bucks,” instead of simply saying, “This is the guy we need and want…let’s get it done.”
Grow some balls, Mo/DeWitt…go after somebody. Cut this shit about, “Our priority is…” You know why the Cardinals’ priorities keep shifting? Because all they do is wheel and deal and try to manufacture a scenario where they can get the best “value” instead of simply saying, “To hell with priorities…we need that guy…we all know it…let’s get him.”
I will say this…all this penny-pinching could help us sign Pujols to that large contract everyone is expecting…but what happens in the meantime? A guy like Pujols is going to be looking at the teams he will be playing for…do they have a shot at another World Series? Or is all the money going into his contract and handicapping the team – and him – in a title chase?
If I was Pujols, I would be terrified to sign long-term with the Cardinals…they just don’t know how to build a winning ball club anymore.
Anyway…that’s my two cents…
Go Cards…I hope…