1. The “Hackgate” punishment could have been worse, but it wasn’t light.
Was the Chris Correa punishment too light? That depends on how severe you thought the penalty was going to be before you heard the news.
If you figured the Cards would have to part with an entire draft, money from their international spending allotment, plus a player on their 42-man roster then yeah, the punishment was light. I’ll say this: It could have been worse. But light? Come on. John Manuel, who is the editor of Baseball America, had a poignant tweet about what the Cardinals actually lost in terms of the draft: “Those 2 picks carry with them $1,853,200 in bonus pool allotment. Cards left with little over $2M for entire draft, no picks in 1st 3 rounds.” Considering the draft has been the lifeblood of the Cardinals under John Mozeliak, the “Hackgate” punishment will unquestionably have an impact.
2. Perspective on the type of players the Cards could be losing out on.
If you’re wondering what type of player the Cardinals could be parting with when it comes to losing the 56th and 75th overall picks: Carson Kelly was a second-round pick in 2012 (86th overall), as were Jon Jay (74th), Rick Ankiel (72nd) and Dan Haren (72nd).
Granted, there are a host of other players that were drafted in the second round that even Cardinal fans have never heard of, but it does provide some perspective on what the team could be parting with in 2017. The Cardinals have zero picks in the first three rounds this year, which will be detrimental in terms of keeping the farm system stocked with future big-leaguers.
3. The big question moving forward.
In some respects, the Cardinals must feel relieved that the punishment is in place and now everyone can move forward. The question now is how do the Cards move forward? Every winter John Mozeliak and the organization are criticized by fans for being too cheap when it comes to their approach to free agency. With essentially an entire draft wiped out, will the Cards be more aggressive when it comes to spending? With no draft picks in any of the three rounds this year, the team’s margin for error moving forward becomes smaller. The good news is that even though the draft has been the lifeblood of the Cards under Mozeliak, they also have plenty of money to spend if they decide to fill the void created by the 2017 draft. Indirectly, the “Hackgate” punishment may lead to Cardinal fans getting what they want (i.e. a more aggressive approach to free agency).
4. For those that don’t see what the big deal is.
Based on the texts and voicemails we received during Monday’s edition of “The Turn,” I gather there is a handful of Cardinal fans that don’t understand why the team was punished for the actions of one person. Yet, what if the Cardinals were the ones that were hacked? What if Jeff Luhnow had hacked into the Cardinals’ draft database and had information on how they viewed prospects? The Cards scouts did all the legwork on prospects, gathering medical information and player emulations, and then Luhnow steals it all. Regardless of what he ultimately does with the information, it’s still wrong (not to mention illegal). The Cardinals would have every right to feel violated and properly compensated by Major League Baseball. I can’t imagine the outrage if the Cardinals were the team being hacked, so let’s not try to minimize the situation.
And quick notes on the Blues and John Lynch…
5. The Blues are seemingly chasing two rabbits at the same time.
Teams that attempt to win and rebuild at the same time tend to do an average job at both. Right now, the Blues are a mixture of who they used to be, who they want to be, and who they are. They can no longer play that physical, heavy style that has been a trademark under Ken Hitchcock, yet they do not possess the overall speed to play the faster style of hockey that some teams are transitioning to in the NHL. The Blues never needed a full rebuild, but even retooling teams need vision to meet the end goals. Let us hope the Blues’ vision for the future is more obvious in the second half of the season than it was in the first. As of now, the Blues are seemingly chasing two rabbits at the same time and failing to catch both.
6. Hard to see Lynch becoming Elway.
Since taking over as the team’s general manager in 2011, John Elway has helped lead the Broncos to two Super Bowl appearances and one championship. The 49ers are surely hoping that John Lynch, their new general manager, can find similar success but the hiring is a massive risk. Lynch has zero front office experience, whereas Elway at least was the CEO and co-owner of the Colorado Crush from 2003 to 2008. Now, the Colorado Crush aren’t the Denver Broncos, but at least Elway received some on-the-job training before taking over as the top decision-maker in Denver. With Lynch coming straight from the TV broadcast booth to the front office in San Francisco, this situation screams Matt Millen 2.0. Millen, of course, set the Detroit Lions franchise back a full decade after his debacle of a run as GM between 2001 and 2008.