ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- It took the second largest contract for a pitcher in baseball history to lock up Cole Hamels. It will likely take elite prospects plus similar dollars to do the same with Zack Greinke this upcoming offseason.
If you take a look at the history of transactions Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has (and more importantly, has not) made in his tenure, you’d realize getting involved with pitchers like this are typically not his modus operandi.
Now, he’s not afraid to dish out some big contracts to hurlers. Don’t get me wrong. Kyle Lohse didn’t do too badly after the ‘08 season when he got his 4-year, $41 million deal. And I’m pretty sure the numbers you’ll see connected to Adam Wainwright this upcoming offseason will at least double, possibly triple, that total figure.
But when you’re talking about an AAV (average annual value) of, say, $15 million or more, this is not an organization prepared to handle more than one of those among its pitchers.
Adam Wainwright will be that one.
If, for example, Wainwright wasn’t here for whatever reason and this club didn’t have someone to be its ace for the next several seasons...that’d be different.
I’m sure John Mozeliak would be willing to get aggressive and acquire a top talent like that and shell out the big bucks to keep them here.
But with someone such as Wainwright in the fold (I’m assuming here he’ll be locked up, by the way) it does not make much sense for this payroll to go out and take on another one.
The model the Redbirds seem to be following lately is having a select few players at around the $15 million mark or above (currently only Matt Holliday falls in this category), a few in the middle (Carlos Beltran, Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal make between $6 million and $13 million this year) and the rest at much less than that (Jaime Garcia is the next highest paid player at just over $3 million).
Mozeliak would much prefer to go with his younger, cost-controlled prospects that he knows he’ll have for 6 seasons rather than get a “name” at a much higher price.
Lance Lynn is doing just fine as a starting pitcher. He also makes $482,000 this season. Why move him to the bullpen just so you can replace him with someone that is more well-known around the country but makes 20 times that amount?
It doesn’t make sense.
And that’s why the Cards typically stay away from the high priced pitchers.