Matt Carpenter, 13th round, 2009 draft.
Matt Adams, 23rd round, 2009 draft.
Allen Craig, 8th round, 2006 draft.
Trevor Rosenthal, 21st round, 2009 draft.
Kevin Siegrist, 41st round, 2008 draft.
I’m not saying that Diaz is going to turn out to be an All-Star or an MVP candidate, but price isn’t everything. This front office has made a habit of finding quality, major-league talent that is looked over by everyone else. Look at that list from above, and you could also toss in acquiring David Freese, who was in single-A with the Padres, for Jim Edmonds into that equation, and it seems pretty clear the Cardinal valuation system is different than other teams. That can be good, that can be bad. Right now, with a team primed for another World Series run, it looks pretty good.
Now, granted, this is their first real step into the international market, assuming you don’t count the Wagner Mateo incident. So you don’t know whether their valuation systems are going to work in this arena as they have in the drafting and trading arena up to this point. However, the Cardinals have followed Diaz for over a year now and were able to get him at a price that means they don’t have to rush him. I’m not seeing how this is going to be any sort of problem, even if Diaz is more the utility player that some think he will be.
What I also like about this is the fact that it shows the organization isn’t going stagnant. They could easily set back on their laurels and hope to keep hitting the lottery with their draft system, but they realize the best way to stay on top is to diversify a bit. With Diaz, they get their first test of that valuation system and they get it without an extensive outlay. If he confirms their system, well and good and we can start talking about roster ramifications this time next year. If he doesn’t, they know where they have to modify and adjust to be ready for the next opportunity that comes along.
The Diaz news came on the heels of Carpenter signing a long-term extension with the club, a validation of their process so far. The Carpenter extension wasn’t as pricey as I thought it might be, though I expect that’s a function of the lack of leverage the player might have had. It’s a contract that doesn’t require Carpenter to be the 6.6 WAR player that he was last year, either. I can’t quite find what the given value of 1 WAR is now, but around $6 million sticks in my head. That means Carpenter needs to be an approximately 9 WAR player over the life of the deal, which seems doable, I believe. His versatility and work ethic will play a huge role in that as well.
Oscar Taveras really can’t catch a break. (Well, I probably shouldn’t say that, because if he did catch one, it’d likely be in his leg.) He’s not playing again today against the Mets (which, if I don’t hurry up with this post, you’ll be able to see before this actually goes up) and Mike Matheny is quite down on his prospects of making the team. I think we all knew that Taveras needed almost a perfect spring to make the club without a stop in Memphis and this spring has been anything but. When your name gets tied to J.D. Drew‘s among some Cardinal fans, it’s not a good thing. Hopefully once he gets clear of all the issues around that ankle surgery–and I expect this hamstring injury ties into that some as well–he’ll be the talent we all expect him to be. It’s been disappointing not to get to see him this March, though. With so many spring training games televised, it’d have been a wonderful opportunity for some of us to get the first real look at him.
Cards made their first cuts of the spring, sending down folks like Marco Gonzales (who was sent down the day before due to forearm issues), Carson Kelly (who apparently made a lot of fans behind the plate this spring), Patrick Wisdom and Mike O’Neill. No surprises or anything of that sort, but a number of those guys made an impression, even though all of them save O’Neill are a year or more away from challenging for a spot.
Cards and Mets in ten minutes. Minnesota Pepper coming in just over an hour. You are going to have a busy afternoon!