(BaseballSTL) -- Some admit it. Others don’t. Some see it. Others refuse to. But no matter what other organizations in Major League baseball say or do it really doesn’t matter anymore. Deep down they all know.
The Cardinals are everything they wish they were. They don’t just win. It’s also not just because they’re set up to win for years and years due to the impressive amount of young talent. It’s also because there is not a single bad contract on this team that hinders the Cards ability to go out and do something.
If anything, GM John Mozeliak might be changing the game of baseball by the way he’s run this franchise. Gone are the days of signing the best talent to the most dollars and having that directly correlate to winning games. Gone are the days of committing an obscene amount of money to an aging player for several years. Well, teams might still do that on occasion, but it just hurts them in the long run.
Mozeliak is proving that spending does not equal winning. He’s proving scouting and developing are the way to go. A 22-year old is - by definition - hungrier (for money because they don’t have it yet) and healthier (because there’s significantly fewer miles on their tires) than an aging veteran. Why not stock your roster full of players whom you know are only getting better as the years go on rather than those who you know are only getting worse?
We could be witnessing a change in how front offices operate. If I’m an up and coming player now in baseball I’m not so much looking forward to free agency nearly as much as I once was. You think the Angels don’t regret giving Albert Pujols $240 million over 10 years? You don’t think they wish they could have their draft pick back which the Cardinals used on Michael Wacha?
Maybe players (and their agents alike) are going to shift the way they operate - and negotiate - knowing teams are less likely to hand out mega-deals because they know doing such a thing could hinder their ability to win in the future. Maybe we’ll see more extensions signed during the arbitration years to get players locked up during the prime of their careers. Maybe fewer and fewer elite talents will even reach free agency until they’re well into their 30s.
The game of baseball could be changing drastically. And it’s quite possible, should that happen, that the St. Louis Cardinals were the ones to start it all.