Sunday, October 26, 2008

Roundtable Questions

As a part of the month-long series of questions of the day with the United Cardinal Bloggers, my question of the day was: There's been talk that Jake Peavy is on the market and the Cards are a possible option. Do you see them going after Peavy at all. If so, is Rasmus on the table or would you trade Skip or Ludwick for him?

C70 at the Bat: Up front: I'm a huge Peavy fan. I would love to have him in Cardinal red.

That said, with the financial obligation it would take to get him, I think it'd wind up crippling the team. This is where we get into those contracts we wish we didn't have, because without the resigning of Lohse or Carpenter's extension, maybe they can do something. But you know that, since the only reason SD would be dealing him is for salary relief, they aren't going to pay any of it nor take back a bad contract of ours.

Assuming, though, that ownership decided to really raise the payroll level and a Peavy acquisition wouldn't put major crimps in other parts of the ballclub, I think I would make the deal, even if it included Rasmus. Obviously, if they'd take Skip or even Ludwick instead, I'd do that first, but pitching wins in my book.

Pitchers Hit Eighth: While I was definitely on-board with a Peavy trade when the news first started circulating, I’m thinking a little differently now.

Trading away your top prospects and young players for Peavy now, regardless of his age and/or ability, would signify a large step toward a return to the Jocketty Doctrine. Trade your promising young players for vets, scrape together a couple of competing seasons, then find yourself right back where you began.

It’s those trades that put the Cardinals in the position they find themselves today, having to rebuild a farm system from scratch. Not having any more trade capital to make the deals that kept the Cards competitive for so long (Edmonds, Rolen, Kile, etc).

The organization has put an emphasis on building a self-sufficient franchise and farm system, something that is an absolute necessity for the Cardinals to continue to compete on a yearly basis, given their market. By that, what I mean is this: can you imagine an Oakland A’s type of system of virtually interchangeable parts, with the Cardinals’ payroll? I mean, even an increase to the Cards’ level would represent a huge increase over what the A’s are putting out on a yearly basis, and they could keep a lot more of those players together.

In today’s MLB, I think the key to winning is developing cheap, cost-controlled pitching. With pitchers being so prone to injury, so volatile in going from league to league (or even park to park, in an argument more specific to Peavy), there just seems to be increasing risk in signing free agent pitchers or trading for guys who are beginning to break down (which also begs the question of why other teams (read: the A’s) know a guy is about to fall apart, but some teams (read: the Cardinals) can’t see that?).

Sorry, I’m getting a little long-winded here, but my point is this: don’t sell out the farm again for a guy like Peavy, who may well end up on the shelf with similar arm troubles as Carp or Mulder. Let’s actually see what some of these youngsters can do before we sell them off trying to “win one more for LaRussa” or something silly like that. Sure, some of these kids are going to flop and we could’ve gotten great value for them while they were still in the minors. But some of them will go on to do great things for the Cardinals, and wouldn’t you rather see a minimum salary flop, than a $15m per one? The Cardinals have some guys who are being paid a lot more than I to determine whether these players are going to be worth anything in the big leagues – I trust them, if they say we shouldn’t trade Rasmus because he’s going to be a perennial All-Star. Isn’t six years worth of cheap Rasmus (obviously assuming he pans out) always going to be worth more than Peavy at his price?

The Redbird Blog: Based on the latest news (per Strauss and Miklasz), I'd say the Cards are not in the hunt for Peavy. Do I think they should be? Absolutely. Would I consider Rasmus in a package for Peavy? Absolutely.

IMO, the Cards need to try to win while Pujols is under contract. We just don't know what his eventual asking price will be, or whether the Cards will be in a position to meet that price. Acquiring a pitcher of Peavy's caliber does a few things:

1) Acquiring Peavy through trade (and he has a reasonable salary for the next two seasons) means the Cards have more $ to spend in the offseason this year---potentially on another bat or on bullpen help.

2) A rotation including both Peavy and Wainwright would match up against any in the NL. If Carpenter is healthy, it might be the best rotation in the league.

If I'm Mozeliak, I try to make this deal.

Cardinal Nation Globe: Unfortunately, I don't see the Cards going after Peavy, although I would like them to. I would would put Ludwick or Schumaker on the table, not Rasmus.

Cardinals GM: I would go for Peavy and include Rasmus in a trade along with Skip if it took to get him. Rasmus has potential but so did Daric Barton and so far that hasn't been an impact many thought it would.

Fungoes: The first thing to ask is "Would you want Peavy's contract, regardless of what one would have to give up for him?" To this, I'd answer "yes": The $82 million he's due over the next five seasons (according to Strauss), is, believe it or not, about the same as the $82.65 million that he'll be worth (according to BPro's MORP, Marginal Value Above Replacement Player). The contract covers his age-28 through -32 seasons; just at and slightly beyond his peak. So he's a good value. Nick's point that "cheap, cost-controlled pitching" is key to winning is well-taken; but given that Peavy comes with a good contract and is still relatively young, he actually represents "reasonable, cost-controlled pitching."

The second question, as a couple of you have already noted, is how much to give up for Peavy, and how that changes the club's post-Jocketty era direction. Given their current outfield situation and Rasmus's lack of a strong half of AAA ball, Rasmus isn't too steep a price to pay. Beyond that, the deal starts losing value for the Cardinals. I do wish that people, including Mozeliak, would remove the phrase "if Carpenter is healthy" from their vocabulary and realistically consider a 2009 (and beyond) without him (though perhaps Mozeliak is merely being publicly coy about it).

Redbirds Fun: If I were Mo, I'd make the deal too. I like Skip, Rick, Ludwick, and Rasmus but I feel as if our outfield will be overcrowded soon enough.

I hope we either make a run at Furcal or Peavy. We really need a solid middle infield.

Pitchers Hit Eighth: The problem with a Peavy deal is this:

Everyone assumes it will be Rasmus, a few throw-ins (because Raz is THE NEXT COMING), and then Peavy wins Cy Youngs for the Birds.

What if Towers wants to get Rasmus, Perez, Motte, and Jess Todd for Peavy? Do you still make the trade?

Rasmus, Anderson, Daryl Jones, and Pete Kozma? Do you do that deal?

The fact that Mozeliak and others (the Braves’ Frank Wren dismissed rumors about a prospects for Peavy deal today) are so quickly panning tells me one of two things – either the asking price (rumored to be at least Bedard-level, probably higher) is prohibitive, or everyone’s playing possum.

Stan Musial's Stance: Pip hits the nail on the head below. Peavy's only 27; to get the 5 years of his prime for a reasonable price seems to me to be a no-brainer. The only issue would be the size of the package required to pry him from San Diego. The club will have to give up somebody good; Kevin Towers won't make a Woody Williams for Ray Lankford trade again, even if all of us said novenas asking for the trade to be Duncan and Piniero for Peavy.

I would prefer to trade Ludwick on the premise of sell high - Love the kid, but I believe we witnessed his career year in 2008. I don't think the Padres would take Schumaker. If the deal required parting with Rasmus, then I think we should go for it.

Remember, David Green was our centerfielder of the future in 1982 - then he got hurt, and some guy named Willie McGee came along. No matter how touted a player is, you just never know.

Bert Flex: I really don't know why we'd be interested in Peavy when Mark Mulder is back on the market...

Stan Musial's Stance: Nice. I almost spit coffee on the screen while reading that one...

Pitchers Hit Eighth: Again, though, I don't think the issue is Rasmus. I suspect that if the Pads wanted to go Peavy for Rasmus straight up, Mozeliak couldn't put his stamp on the deal quickly enough.

I just don't think he's going to come that cheaply. So it's not just a matter of "will you trade Rasmus?" It's a matter of "how much more do you want in addition to Rasmus?" I would guess it's quite a bit...

Stan Musial's Stance: That's true. The Union Tribune here indicated the Padres want two pitching prospects in addition to a position player for Peavy. I don't know our minor league pitchers as well as some on this email chain, but if the Padres hold out for two pitching prospects the level of Rasmus then it gets dicey. I think Mo could talk Towers into Rasmus, Anderson, and 1 class "A" pitching prospect for Peavy. The other pitcher, well, Kelvin Jimenez, anyone?

Pitchers Hit Eighth: If they're looking for Raz plus pitching - my guess would be that Towers would start at Rasmus, Jess Todd, and either Perez or Motte.

Maybe even Rasmus, Perez, and Motte.

If I was in charge, I'm not willing to make either of those deals. Maybe I'm just too invested in this youth movement thing...

No comments: