I fully and understand and embrace what Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is referring to when he says the Cardinals need to emphasize defense for the 2017. The Redbirds had quite possibly the worst year in that department that this journalist can remember in his lifetime.
But it’s important to remember this isn’t football. This isn’t a sport where offense and defense is completely separate. Altering one is altering both.
For years the Cards had issues swinging the bat. They would have at least two players that were essentially defensive specialists (i.e. Brendan Ryan at shortstop) and offered very little with the bat.
That amounted to your numbers seven and eight hitters being automatic outs. When you factor in the pitcher at nine that’s an entire inning the team gave away. Well, in a half-decade long effort to boost the offense it finally reached a point where the Cardinals scored a bunch of runs but failed properly defend.
They robbed Peter to pay Paul.
Now Mozeliak needs to be careful not to go the other way and bring in position players who are stellar on defense but offer little offensively. It helps very little to go in the opposite direction.
But not doing enough and failing to properly address the defensive deficiencies would also bring about a repeat from last year. That wouldn’t do much help either.
I like what the GM had to say regarding getting an athletic center fielder to allow Randal Grichuk to move to left field. Grichuk’s bat would play anywhere given his power so a drop off in value isn’t much of a worry. It’s finding that right fit in center that’s the bigger deal.
The traditional lead off hitting center fielder would boost the speed of the team and allow Matt Carpenter to drop down in the order where he can be more of a run producer than table setter.
A tradition lead off hitting center fielder could theoretically provide more stolen bases which is something this team has not had in quite some time.
It’s a tough chore given the timeliness of the offseason and what teams may want in return for someone like Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon or Arizona’s A.J. Pollock. But that’s apparently what John Mozeliak is going to stress in the offseason.