If you’ve followed any of the Cardinal bloggers for very long, you know that every year since 2011 we’ve had a chance to spend the day at the ballpark and have a Q&A with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt III. A couple of years ago, we were able to arrange to submit questions in writing after the season for Mo to answer. This offseason was the third or fourth time we’ve been able to do that and after a bit of a delay, we’ve gotten our responses back. I always go with the strategy of throwing a number of questions out there to see which one he’ll answer. Sadly, he didn’t comment on my Tyler Lyons question this year, but he did take on two of mine. Let’s look at them with a bit of commentary.
Question: While the budget is obviously a consideration, what other factors go into determining how hard you pursue a free agent?
Answer: First off, it’s based on need. Secondly, there are financial terms that need to be considered—length has to be considered. Then when you put all that together, then you have to understand what the risk is. When you’re putting together a roster, there’s a lot of different ways to do that—build from within, the trade market, the free agent mark—ignoring any of those is a prescription for failure. For us, although we haven’t had a ton of success on the free agent market in terms of our long-term commitments, it doesn’t mean were not willing to considered that. You also have to remain opportunistic. You think about Bud Norris for example, he was signed in early February and ended up being a very good signing for us. For us, it’s always about ‘is this the best place to be deploying your resources?’ and if so, then we should do it.
Thoughts: I’ll admit that I was wondering if Mo would talk about some of the qualitative issues that went into these decisions–character, reputation, things of that nature. My guess is, given that it was not really touched on here, those things are more tiebreakers than anything else. It still is comforting to see that the club isn’t ruling out the long-term commitments. It’s not the fact that they are long-term that’s been the problem, it’s who they have given them to. It’s good that they aren’t closing avenues off because of failure, but trying to learn from it to determine how to do that better in the future. Also, you wonder when they look at Norris (and Kyle Lohse before him) they think that they can wait and have a little less urgency to get something done earlier in the winter. (Of course, Greg Holland shows you might not want to wait TOO late.)
Question: What’s one baseball article/blog post you’ve recently read that you found interesting, even if it was completely wrong?
Answer: Of course, we all gravitate to articles about the organization or specifically some of the on-goings of what we’re doing in the offseason, but in fairness, I’ve always been one of those guys that found the blogger world to be pretty insightful. I don’t know if it’s necessarily a “wisdom of crowds” theory, meaning that sometimes it might be a much more concentrated opinion, if you will, on what they’re hearing, writing or theorizing about, but I do find it valuable. I think the Cardinals are lucky because we have so many different people that actually have an opinion about it. It can be helpful to have at least a pulse of what’s going on. Nothing jumps to my mind as I sit here right now with respect to a particular article/blog post, but I do feel that our bloggers that write about the Cardinals are helpful. I certainly encourage people to do that because I believe any type of excitement, whether it’s positive or negative, is good to have.
Thoughts: It would have been neat to hear that one of the stats posts from Zach Gifford (though, sadly, that wouldn’t have been recently) or Joe Schwarz or others would have been a notable piece for them. (Mo also could have popped a lot of bubbles by saying some pro-Harper post was way off.) I also truly believe the front office keeps up with, if not all the different blogs out there, at least a good selection of them. Not saying that the blogs are an influencer by any means, but I do think it gives them an insight into the fan base and perhaps helps them determine the best ways to shape their public arguments on their different moves. Mo has always been very complementary of the blogging community and I don’t really think that’s blowing smoke just because we are with him or whatever. I know my Gateway co-host Tara Wellman ran into Mo at one of Alex Reyes‘ rehab starts and Mo was quite cognizant of who she was (even if he did think she wanted to get rid of everyone, which is not necessarily a Tara opinion!) I don’t know if they monitor the podcasts and the like–I feel for the poor intern that has to listen to Turnin’ 2 (joking, guys!)–but they do respect those that put this sort of passion into their product and that’s not something you can say about every front office, I don’t think.
Those were the two questions that I submitted that Mo took a swing at. There were a number of other bloggers that got questions answered as well, so be looking for stuff both here and at other sites around the web!