The proof will always be in the pudding when speaking of the Cardinals’ front office, but all signs point to the team being active members in this offseason’s transactions.
John Mozeliak said as much earlier this month when speaking of the team’s abundance of MLB-competent outfielders:
“I suspect when you look at the outfield depth we’ve been able to collect, there will be (interest). I think that’s good news for us and really I think it will make this offseason one that will bring a little more excitement to us and hopefully we can a way to really upgrade our organization as a whole.”
Whether fans decide to believe this is entirely up to them, but general manager Michael Girsch doubled down on the sentiment in a recent chat with Bernie Miklasz.
“I think it’s pretty clear we have depth for our Major League team in numbers that don’t really add up…to enough playing time, enough opportunities, whether that’s at the big leagues or even at Triple-A, for some of our outfielders,” Girsch said.
“We’re certainly going to be looking to make moves to consolidate some of our talent…We won’t start next year with the same 25 that we have now. That’s always true. Our goal this offseason is to find ways to improve the team, whether that’s free agency or trades.”
Whether you’re too deep in Cardinal cynicism to believe Girsch will determine how you interpret the GM’s comments, but logic would say the abundance of capable outfielders would in fact command some interest this winter. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen, but pair their bipolar play throughout 2017 with the fact they have trade chips and there’s surely possibility for a different looking lineup come April 2018.
Girsch also said he doesn’t see a “single glaring need” when looking at the current roster and that this would benefit them this offseason.
“We have big league-quality players all across the starting eight. With the injury to Trevor (Rosenthal), I think the bullpen is the closest thing to a glaring need we have,” Girsch said. “But other than that, we have options. We’re not going into the offseason with our hands tied and only one position we can upgrade…It does mean we have lots of opportunity to find places to take that next step.”
You can read other topics Girsch covered in his chat with Bernie below, as well as the interview’s full audio:
On Tommy Pham’s season and chances he’ll start in ’18:
“I think Tommy’s more than earned a starting role for next year…You want to talk about a pleasant surprise for the season…It’s sort of amazing. My first year with the Cardinals was 2006. I was working the amateur draft and that was the year we drafted Tommy Pham. He and I have been with the organization the same amount of time.
“He’s always been a talented player. He’s always been an effective player when he’s been healthy. He’s had quite a number of different health issues along the way, but he’s finally blossomed into what he thought he could be and what we thought he could be when we drafted him years ago. It’s been a great season for him.”
On Luke Weaver and potentially improving the rotation:
“Luke has shown he appears to be well on his way to filling the role of reliable…Six or seven innings every time he goes out…Take the ball 30 or 32 times…So I think we’re in good shape in terms of having Luke ready to step into that role.
“And then we have Alex (Reyes) and (Jack) Flaherty…Going into the offseason we’re going to look at all the options, and certainly improving the rotation is always on the table. It’s not like we’re only going to look to improve ‘position X’ or only improve the offense…If we can find a way to upgrade the rotation that’s certainly a possibility, but it’s just not an area that we’re as overly concerned with because we feel like we have these young guys who had all earned a shot and at some point you’ve got to give them a shot to show what they can do.”
On where Matt Carpenter fits next season:
“He offers us some flexibility…We’ve had offseasons before where there’s a gaping hole in our eight-man everyday players and the offseason goal was to fill that gaping hole. This year that’s not the situation. Guys like Carpenter and (Jedd) Gyorko who have a little bit of flexibility in the positions they play make it a little easier for us to look around the diamond and see where the best upgrade might be and then adjust the pieces around it.
“It’s a little hard at this moment to say exactly who will be starting at what position, especially for a guy like Carp, but that’s a benefit, not a detraction from him. He will be in the lineup somewhere. We just don’t know where yet.”
On whether there’s disappointment over Dexter Fowler’s season:
“He’s hit well for us when he’s been able to play. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to keep him healthy with a variety of little nicks and knacks that keep coming up every time he gets his bat going…’Disappointed’ is not the word I would describe it (with). He’s performed about as expected and just hasn’t been on the field as much as we had hoped.”
Could Fowler move to a corner outfield spot in ’18?
“I think that’s something that we’ll talk about over the offseason, but not something that’s a concern at the moment.”