The MLB Winter 'Meetings' begin tomorrow, Monday December 9. All thirty teams will be represented by their respective organization executives. Yes, St. Louis Cardinals CEO Bill DeWitt, Cardinals Pres. Bill Dewitt, III and President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak, along with General Manager Mike Girsch will be among them.
And, all have already arrived in San Diego for the "kick-off' pre-meetings gala today and dinner this evening at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. "The event is held in conjunction with the Baseball Trade Show™ and PBEO® Job Fair, which will take place at the near by San Diego Convention Center." (per Google)
LET THE RUMORS BEGIN
In the past few days, it has been reported "..... a source told MLB.com a new potential bidder could be entering the fray [Madison Bumgarner Sweepstakes]: the St. Louis Cardinals." (Mark Feinsand, MLB News)
I recall a lot of hype and scuttlebutt last season. Rumors that the Cardinals to make a trade pitch for then Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. And, it did transpire. Goldschmidt to the Cardinals with Cardinals catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver and minor league infielder Andy Young going to Arizona.
I, for one, lobbied very hard for the above mentioned and held faith that the Cardinals would come through. They did not disappoint.
NEXT UP FOR 2020, my newest lobbying case ~ LHP MADISON BUMGARNER
This season it has been written about possible interest in LHP Madison Bumgarner by the Cardinals for their rotation to go along with Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson and newly extended (one year/$5 MM w/$5 MM from incentives) veteran Adam Wainwright.
I believe Bumgarner would be just the ticket for our Cardinals. In my opinion, a much needed left-hander for our rotation. Bumgarner is a strong and solid force on the hill. Granted, in 2019 was his career high ERA with a 3.90 but still logged 202 SO/1.13 WHIP. His fourth career season to top 200 strikeouts. He has increased his ERA a slight tick each season since 2016. Even though, still would be a very appealing add for our Cardinals starters.
In 2019, Flaherty, 2.75 ERA/0.97 WHIP; Hudson, 3.35/1.41 WHIP; Mikolas, 4.16/1.22 WHIP; and, Wainwright, 4.19/1.43 WHIP. I can see "MadBum" virtually fitting as the #3 starter.
Out of his 11 year career, he has seven seasons with 200+ innings pitched, varying from 31-34 (34 in two seasons, last being in 2019) game starts. His is a four-time All Star, five-time Cy Young contender, two-time Silver Slugger winner and was in the top 20 MVP contention list in 2016.
JUST A "MADBUM' PERK
Yes, I highlighted Bumgarner's Silver Slugger awards - he holds a career 19 HR/62 RBI/18-2B with 105 hits, adding 51 runs and a total of 180 total bases. For a pitcher, whom I believe does not want to see the designated hitter come to the National League, has the potential to be a threat offensively as well as defensively.
BACK TO PITCHING AND 'SHOW ME THE MONEY'
Of course, money will be a factor. The trade for Goldschmidt was not the glaring $100+ MM, as reports of summation, the Bumgarner camp will be seeking. Length of contract for the 30 year old Bumgarner, probably looking for a six-seven year deal. And, even "IF" he signed for say a ceiling of $120 MM. I don't see it with any team, BUT one never knows in the current MLB. At the amount, over six years - $20 MM, per season. Seven years - $17-tick+ MM. Will the rascally "opt-out" clause be included - by him or the organization he may sign with? Or, another to have a 'no-trade' clause which is driving some Cardinals fans crazy regarding IF Matt Carpenter and OF Dexter Fowler. Those would be details 'after the fact', so to speak.
Cardinals would be competing with the Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and the Atlanta Braves ... teams mentioned in the "Sweepstakes".
The Cardinals reportedly don't want to go over their 2019 payroll of approximately $169 MM. Information from Spotrac regarding the Cardinals, in my view, St. Louis still has wiggle room for Bumgarner.
Their absolute commitments at the moment is just shy of $153 MM (which is includes payment of $4 MM still being paid for RHP Mike Leake.) With the 'add-on's' bottomline figure of $186 MM. The Competitive Tax Threshold for 2020 is $208 MM. Leaving Cardinals a balance of $21+ MM. So, a contract with Bumgarner could be doable. "IF" a lesser amount is 'market' - even better.
Attractive, I believe yes. But, I'm not in control of the purse-strings. Are the Cardinals "cheap", not in my opinion. (But according the famous MLB agent, Scott Boras, all 30 teams are.) And do hope those Cardinals fans who throw out those accusations review the report from Spotrac. Does anyone like paying taxes? My thought - No.
In addition, one may want to consider the July deadline and possible moves. That in my mind is a mute point since Cardinals held fast last season and it paid off without a knee-jerk reaction.
KEEP IN MIND, NOTHING FIRM FROM THE CARDINALS CAMP
Now, keep in mind, nothing firm and still today evidently still a question mark by the Cardinals.
Why? Entering Cardinals' hope that RHP Carlos Martinez may be a viable option in 2020 to return to the rotation. His seven year career - as starter his first six, until recent injuries befell him to place him in the Cardinals bullpen last season. An expensive bullpen piece. He still has two years on his contract, $11.7 MM each season until 2022, which would be the earliest as a free agent. Cardinals do hold team options for 2023 - $17 MM with a buyout, 2024 $18 MM with buyout, should they exercise their options.
C MARTINEZ CLEARED FOR THROWING, December 7
Per Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch sports writer, Mozeliak: “Clearly when you look at the potential of what our rotation might look like, there are questions,” Mozeliak said Friday in an interview with The Post-Dispatch. “We need to keep the pulse of where Martinez is, where he is physically, and also what (the market) looks like. That’s a fair question to ask.” Sound familiar?
But, that is the Cardinals Mozeliak Way. I don't believe any other MLB executive holds information as close to the chest as John Mozeliak. On the flipside, no, I'm not familiar with all, either. But, Cardinals fan are familiar with "Mo". He is the master of "talking" without really revealing any pertinent information and 99% of the time begins with "Clearly". No, I'm thinking not so clear to the Cardinals fans. I do realize he does not hold a crystal ball, either; but, he could find some new verbiage to begin his statements.
My thought on Martinez. Not only physically ready is important, but mentally. He must show a decisive concentration level to execute control. Let him prove to us all that he truly is ready in Spring Training come February - to return to be an excellent late inning - closer possible - for 2020.
IN MY LOBBYING OPINION
Cardinals should move forward and strongly entice Bumgarner to come to St. Louis. Paul Goldschmidt is happy with his move. Why not "MadBum"?
I feel he presents the missing link Cardinals need in their rotation to make it complete for 2020 and going forward. Especially since this very well may be Wainwright's last season.
As far as I'm concerned C Martinez can continue out of the bullpen in 2020. Closer? He did give the Cardinals 24 saves last season after closer Jordan Hicks was placed on IR (eventual TJ surgery) June 22, 2019. Hicks had 14 saves.
On that note, I'm afraid the Carlos "Rosie Syndrome" Martinez would have much to prove as closer. In the end - some very important games given up in 2019 and beyond ~ which unfortunately is what fans remember over the good. Would I like to see him returned to his very lethal ways on the mound of previous seasons? Yes. But, my confidence is just not there yet.
That is why, I truly feel seeing Madison Bumgarner in a 'Birds on the Bat' uniform would be a very good thing.
Thanks for reading. You may also follow me on Twitter @elichap822.