It's nice when you need something in your house and after looking in a few spots, the item is found in a hidden drawer in a room you haven't looked in lately. Easy and comfortable. No need to leave the house. It won't be that easy for the Cardinals this coming offseason to find what's missing.
They need to leave the house and throw out the old playbook if they wish to sit at the big boy table in 2018. I can't speak for everyone, but I threw up a little in my mouth when President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said in Tuesday's season wrapping press conference that he saw a lot of solid pieces when he looked around the Cardinals roster. That's not comforting to hear, like an exterminator saying the basement looks fine, even though a spider is crawling across his shoulder.
Everything is not alright, Mo. Fix it or get the carpet out for Theo Epstein again.
The Cardinals need to change their entire spending philosophy this offseason in order to impact the division standings the next few years. Stop looking from within and take a glance outside the organization. Spend some of that 3.4 million in fan revenue on the parts that could bring championship #12 to the city. Promoting from within is nice and makes for "good" seasons, but it doesn't move the needle in a division with true firepower (The Brewers) or a team with legit superstars (Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant).
The MVP for the Cardinals this year was Tommy Pham, and while the out of nowhere season from the journeyman outfielder was sweet and all, he isn't striking fear in the hearts of other teams. The Cardinals need a bad man in that lineup. Someone that makes an opposing manager reallocate pregame time to draw a plan to stop him. The kind of bat that makes bullpen arms nervous.
Attention: There is no such bat in the Cardinals organization. Tyler O'Neil is cool and all, but forget about it. After all, his name is T-Y-L-E-R!.
When the notion of acquiring such a reckoner came to fruition on Twitter, the responses were predictable:
"Mo doesn't have the (guts) to pull off such a deal."
"This year's press conference sounded like last year's conference."
"The money is being there, so why spend?"
Fans are losing faith in the Bowtie guy, wondering if he can still deliver the treats. I'm sorry Mo, but you may have to cough up Sandy Alcantara's live arm or Luke Weaver's future.
The Cardinals are rumored to be among the top three teams in line for Giancarlo Stanton's services. While an eyeroll is prescribed at the very mention of the artist formerly known as Michael, the Cardinals need to back this up. If you acquire Stanton and his player friendly contract, the lineup changes dramatically and you'll get 3.5 million fans in those seats next year. You'll acquire a household name, a fearsome bat, a superstar, and someone who makes other teams think too much. Stanton is in his prime, so don't finish second.
You'd have to give up a few players, but due to Derek Jeter and his new ownership group needing to shed that contract, the request in return shouldn't include Alex Reyes, so there's no reason not to pull the trigger.
In case you missed it, the Cardinals are flush in payroll and making a lot of money. They finished in the top five in attendance while missing the playoffs, sitting outside the division lead by nine games in third place.
There is no reason NOT to spend. If a trade for Stanton or Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson cost you valuable pieces of your farm system, pull the trigger.
There's no proven data that will tell you Harrison Bader or O'Neil will turn into superstars. Pham may not repeat his 2017 heroics. Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler are pillars-not towers-in the operation. They need someone to make them look better.
How many RBI will Stanton and/or Donaldson rack up with Carpenter, Pham, and Fowler ahead of them? If a trade cost Pham or Kolten Wong, pull the trigger. They are not proven stars. It's time for the Cardinals to get real.
Worried about Donaldson's age and rental status? That's fair, but he would change the dynamic of the lineup and lend the infield defense a formidable face at third? In case you were wondering, Donaldson's OPS away from Skyline's home run palace was .982. He can hit away from the hitter friendly confines of Toronto's dome.
J.D. Martinez cranked 29 home runs in half a season for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He would alter the genetics of the Cardinals attack if he were inserted into the #3 spot. He will be a free agent this winter, so sign him and only spare money instead of players. Martinez won't save you many runs in right field, but he won't cost the team many either. His bat does enough talking, so why wait?
Don't be outbid again, DeWitt Jr. Please don't draw a line in the sand, saying you won't spend past this mark. It's not going to work. Remember when you thought Max Scherzer wasn't worth the money or years? Wrong move.
If the Cardinals acquire any combination of Stanton/Martinez/Donaldson, you will erase the memory of losing the rights to David Price and Jason Heyward.
The itinerary for the Birds is simple: go big or go home again next October.
Spend money and sacrifice prospects that haven't fully bloomed yet or get comfortable in third place. The National League isn't afraid of you anymore and the league doesn't care about the Cardinal Way. The envy has left the building.
So, reestablish your dominance and take back the division. You fielded flawed teams with no thumpers for the past two seasons and were in the playoff race until the last week of the season. Make an upgrade and kick the Cubs and Brewers. They may be strong, but are far from invincible.
If Mozeliak and Michael Girsch want to improve the Cardinals roster dramatically, they will have to go outside their comfort zone to get it done.
If clutch really was the problem for the Cardinals in 2017, check out these results with runners in scoring position:
Donaldson, 32 years old in December: 1.163 OPS
Stanton, 28 in November: .892 OPS
Martinez, 30 : 1.125 OPS
Make your choice, Cardinals. Get bold or become even less relevant in the postseason. The answer doesn't lie within anymore. It's out there on the market.
To quote Trent from Swingers, MoGirsch can no longer be the guy in the PG-13 movie that we all hope gets the girl in the end. They have to be the guy in the R rated flick, the ones we aren't sure about but may just surprise us in the end with their bold moves.
Be bolder, suits. It's time to put your money where your mouth is.