If you’ve paid attention to John Mozeliak for any length of time, you’ve heard him say this line in one form or another. It’s his fallback answer for questions about anything from anticipated roster moves to how he decides which argyle socks to wear with a certain bow tie on a given night. He’ll change up the wording a bit and maybe throw in an occasional variation, but his message remains the same.
Don’t spend too much time focusing on a bridge that you may not have to cross.
Like many of you, I see a lot of bridges.
There is the “Sierra Small Sample Size Bridge” made of surprisingly sturdy materials that was built practically overnight. It spans an extremely short gap, but it surely must have the potential to cover a much larger one. It’s new and shiny, so maybe we should abandon other bridges to see how far this one can go.
Next to that one is the “Piscotty Extension Bridge” which seems like an unnecessarily expensive bridge to nowhere. After just one full year of steady traffic, a ton of money was committed to the continued use of this bridge. Unfortunately, the bridge hasn’t been nearly as useful this season, and it’s currently down for maintenance. That new bridge smell is already gone.
The “Randal Grichuk Hair Flip Bridge” may provide a solution to alleviating the traffic expected to be handled by the Piscotty one, but traffic flow always seems to be an issue. It’s all stop-and-go with an occasional burst that lasts long enough to think things are really going to move. Then you have to pump the brakes, and that’s unfortunate. It’s a really great looking bridge, and you do so enjoy the view, but you just can’t consistently rely on it to get you home.
The “Pham Express Bridge” gives you a high capacity option at times, and it’s easy to fall for the expedited travel. It’s so good for short commutes that you overlook the inevitable regression. Sadly, you’ve never used this bridge long enough to really see what it’s like as a daily option for a full year. You probably never will.
The “Fowler Mother Of All Bridges” infrastructure project represents the future, and you’ll just have to be patient when it comes to using it. Because it’s such an expensive work and costly to maintain, I wouldn’t worry about its use right now. It’s there, and it will be there for many years to come.
Finally, there is the “Jose Martinez Obstructed View Bridge” which is a seldom-used bridge that people easily forget about until they have no other options. The bridge is currently down for repair, and travelers are divided on whether or not it’s still needed given the emergence of other bridges.
While you ponder the bridges you can see clearly, keep in mind that other bridges are close to opening as well. Many aren’t even on the 40-bridge list right now, but they could be. The “Bader New Hope Bridge” could open late this year or early next.
Discussing bridges makes for fine water cooler talk, but some of the “what if” chatter is just a bridge too far.
The Cardinals don’t have a problem involving a glut of talented outfielders. If they had more than 3 productive outfielders at once, THAT might create a problem of sorts. Of course, that would be a fairly enviable problem to have. Instead, the Cardinals have a potential logjam in the outfield that should work itself out just like traffic tends to somehow find a balance involving which bridges to use.
Fowler appears ready to go, but he doesn’t HAVE to go, or at least he doesn’t have to go immediately. With his contract and skill set, he has no issues with job security. If the Cardinals want to keep playing Sierra in CF, then why not play him until he regresses? Then he can go back to A-ball and work on plate discipline and all the other weaknesses that a stint in the big time can expose. Until then, Fowler can continue to pinch hit or play alongside Mags.
Jose Martinez has proven to be a productive but expendable player. If he really is a legitimate 115 OPS+ guy for a season, then someone should get fired for overlooking him all these years. Seems more likely that he’s not that guy for a full season, so just enjoy the ride until the ride stops, right?
Grichuk and Piscotty aren’t exactly distinguishing themselves, so what does it really hurt to sit them and play the hot hand(s)? Sure, they all want to play, but this is a performance-based business, and playing time is the reward for performance (also a ton of money too).
Instead of looking at this as a problem per se, I think of it as an opportunity. Should the Cardinals decide that they need bullpen help, they’ve got spare parts to trade. If a key player gets injured, they’ve got options. When it comes time to decide whether they are buyers or sellers, nothing about this plethora of outfielders hurts them.
But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.