Staying Away From Mad Max Is Smart

MLB: Washington Nationals at Detroit TigersIt sounds like a great story. Max Scherzer comes home at the age of 30 to finish his career under the Arch pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, the team he grew up watching. The headline sweats and bleeds through the keyboard as I continue. The dreamy thought of Max coming home belongs inside a baseball fan’s head. Let it sleep there. Once the thought is wrestled analytically, the reality sets in. Scherzer was never in the Cards scope or in play for St. Louis. There are crazy general managers. There are a couple boneheaded general managers out there who like to play with a real hot stove with four beaming hot burners. Then there is the Cards bowtie genius, John Mozeliak. I trust him like I trust my coffee to open my eyes fully every morning.

He will never give a pitcher a seven year contract. Adam Wainwright didn’t get a seven year contract. Remember when Chris Carpenter got a 6 year contract and spent half of it hurt. Wainwright’s arm is showing signs of trouble as his six year deal unfolds. It’s a risky business to extend any pitcher beyond 4 years but the agents and owners have a leg up on the GM’s in this day and age. Mega agent Scott Boras always wanted 7 years for Scherzer. The Cards may have stepped into the ring for 5 years, but that meant paying Scherzer somewhere in the vicinity of 31 million per season. It wasn’t going to happen and I doubt Mo even pushed his foot forward in that discussion.

I said it last week on the United Cardinal Bloggers podcast. I said last month. I produced the opinion in my roundtable discussion last week. Max Scherzer is bad news for the Cardinals. he is 30 years old, very expensive and wants a long term deal. It was always wise to stay away from the kid. Let him go off to Washington and get that seven year deal. There are reports tonight that the Nationals are going to stack their rotation to the ceiling with premium pitching talent and Yahoo reported that Max is their latest piece. Let it be. Stay home and fight with your own army, Birds.

Unlike the Nationals, the method of building from within and making the spot trade when needed for pitching has helped the Cards reach the playoffs four years in a row. They reached the World Series in 2013 and played for the pennant last year. When you have young talent like Carlos Martinez chomping at the bit for a chance to start 25 games in a season, there’s no reason to spend ridiculous money on Scherzer, David Price or Cole Hamels. Marco Gonzales looms like a rotation piece this season. Lance Lynn showed the composure and maturity of an ace in 2014. Adam Wainwright dealt with a dead arm in 2014 and had surgery done to clean it up. He is 100 percent today. Michael Wacha‘s latest MRI showed zero damage. It can all go wrong, but that is the same risk every single team in baseball faces. Other teams don’t have guys like Gonzales and Tyler Lyons(if he can get some run support when he pitches) ready to jump in and provide 6-7 innings. The Cards have Tim Cooney ready this season. The Cards have pitching depth that they trust. They didn’t trade Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins because they didn’t trust the guys they have. Mo is comfortable and that makes me trust his judgement going into the 2015 season.

Scherzer is 30 years old (35 in starting pitcher years), has logged over 1200 innings and only averages around 6 innings per start. Do you really want to spend 31 million per year or invest 7 years in that? Max’s arm action during his pitching motion isn’t pretty and the man’s arm is a ticking timebomb. If you worry about Waino’s arm, don’t hold your breath on Max’s right limb. He has logged 30 plus starts in six straight innings and pushed over 200 innings and 200 strikeouts in back to back seasons. In the last two years, he is 39-8 with an ERA right around 3.00. Good for him. I still wouldn’t give him 7 years or 31 A.A.V. The Cards aren’t that desperate. I don’t think Mozeliak and his staff have ever been that desperate.

Like I said, it’s a great story. Journalists here would fire ink into paper like their hands were Tommy Guns. Believe me. Max is from St. Louis and went to The University of Missouri, Columbia. The perfect end to his career would be coming home. That’s why fairy tales are best left out of sports and far away from business. Believing in fairy tales can get a General Manager in big trouble. Once again, Mozeliak made the right call to stay away from Mad Max. Boras called and probably called again. He dangled the hometown spin like he was baking an IMOS pizza in his office with Mo on the phone. Our wise bowtie guy didn’t budge. Not even for a second. Let Washington GM Mike Rizzo join the starting pitcher serious injury SWAT team.

I hope Max buys his parents something very nice. Maybe he can buy them a house and put brand new tile in it. He is a rich man and deserves every cent in this open market. I am simply glad that the money didn’t come from the St. Louis Cardinals. Let the Chicago Cubs spend wild. The last thing the Cards need to do is dictate their spending based off what Theo Epstein and the Cubs are doing. If anything, every other MLB team have notepads full of notes on the Cards’ strokes. The Cards have the starting pitching to start the year just fine. If a need arises, they can make a move then. Why now? Why Scherzer? Why a big name? Save it for Jason Heyward. Save it for something that makes more sense.

Have a good Monday folks.

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  • Michelle Dubman January 19, 2015, 10:05 am

    So much truth to this article. Just look at the . Stats of deals like this. I think Mo thought about this for one second and then came to his sences.

  • James Berry January 19, 2015, 11:47 am

    This is a great article and right in tune with smart thinking. Am i worried about Martinez pitching deep into games? Yes. Am i wondering if both Waino & Wacha are truly healthy? Of course. But am i of the belief that the Cards will win the division and go deep into the playoffs even with those worries? Definitely.

    This is not Mo’s first rodeo. This is not some hyped up prospect laden team. This is a mixture of veteran leadership and young hungry good players that know how to win.

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