Notebook: GM Meetings, Day 2

Day 2 of the General Manager Meetings in Orlando, Florida took place today. Unlike yesterday, we’ll just go ahead and call this “Stanton Day” as we finally have everyone involved playing games with media leaks.

Stanton’s price too high?

Buster Olney reported this morning that rival executives believe that the Marlins’ asking price for Giancarlo Stanton is “shockingly high and somewhat out of touch with reality.”

This probably means that the Marlins don’t want to eat much contract, but still want to receive meaningful prospects in return. Given that Stanton’s remaining deal is not extreme for what he is and similar to what he would receive in free agency, I think the Marlins do have a point. Unfortunately, everyone knows their motivations for wanting to move him.

Trying to sift fact from fiction on Stanton is difficult because so much has been bouncing around that it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s just pure discussion while frustrated that nothing’s happening. But I’m growing to believe that Stanton is willing and wanting to stay in Miami, but would prefer to win. This is why he can be as picky as it sounds like he’s willing to be. Because the worst case is living somewhere he wants to be. I’m growing convinced that this is not a “get out of town at all costs” situation.

Rays listening on players?

Jon Heyman reported this morning that the Rays are listening to other teams on many of their players. Some listed in the article as potential candidates are Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Alex Colome, Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier, and potentially even Evan Longoria who is just shy of receiving 10/5 rights (after 10 years in the league, five years with a franchise gives players the ability to block a trade).

Given what the Rays said yesterday about Archer being one of the guys they intend to build around, I find it doubtful that they’re too serious about dealing him, but there are a number of players here I’d have interest in if I were the Cardinals.

I think Odorizzi could benefit from a move out of the AL East. He had a rough summer, but otherwise put together a decent year. I can’t imagine he would cost that much given his recent struggles and he should be cheap enough that you could cut him loose if he doesn’t figure it out. I really like Colome, their closer. And Kiermaier may be the best defensive center fielder in baseball. To give you an idea of how good, Kiermaier missed time with a hip fracture last season and was still worth 5+ WAR thanks to his defense.

Stanton won’t accept a trade to Red Sox or Cardinals?

Chad Jennings of the Boston Herald reported this morning a source tells him that Stanton will not accept a trade to the Red Sox or the Cardinals. Those were the two teams believed just yesterday to be most heavily pursuing him.

Whether this is just gamesmanship at this point is the question. The Marlins are the gatekeeper. They’re setting the standard of the kind of return they want to get before they present Stanton the option to say yes or no. And then it’s up to Stanton to decide what he wants to do.

Derrick Goold discussed how no trade clauses can affect trade discussions between teams, using Houston’s Justin Verlander pursuit as the example. However the distinct difference there is that Houston was leading the AL East and was poised to be the best team in the American League. The Cardinals won 83 games and finished third in the NL Central, falling further back from postseason contention than they were the year before. Filling the club’s other needs may be the key to convincing Stanton that St. Louis is a worthy destination.

Seven teams have checked in on Stanton?

Jon Heyman reported this afternoon that as many as seven teams have inquired about what it would take to trade for Stanton.

Obviously there’s no more information here beyond teams checking in. This could be ask easy as someone asking what it would take, laughing, and then walking away to go sign J.D. Martinez. That’s what we don’t know. But obviously a player of Stanton’s caliber being available is worth doing your due diligence on. The last thing you want his him going somewhere else for a price you definitely would have paid.

Stanton hasn’t ruled out any destination?

Battle of the conflicting reports. Evan Drelich of NBC Sports reported this afternoon that according to a source with knowledge of Stanton’s thinking he has not ruled out any potential destinations.

And just like that the Cardinals have a chance again. Obviously there’s the battle of leverage being played out. The more destinations it seems like Stanton might have, the more likely an organization is to increase their offer in an effort to get past the gatekeeper. If the world knew Stanton only wanted to play for one or two franchises, the Marlins have much less bargaining power.

Cardinals have talked to Morrison?

Rob Rains reported this afternoon that the Cardinals have had conversations with first baseman Logan Morrison. It was reported yesterday by Jon Heyman that the Cardinals were exploring options at first base and Morrison has been linked with the Cardinals before.

Morrison hit 38 home runs last season to go along with a .246/.353/.516 batting line. He had a 135 OPS+ after being a barely above average Major League player for the previous seven seasons. In fact, before he posted a 3.6 WAR this season, he had never had more than the 1.4 WAR he put up in 99 games with Seattle in 2014.

Certainly Morrison’s 2017 was nice, but he has more track record as a middle of the road hitter than he does as a middle of the order hitter. And the Cardinals have plenty of the former already.

Cardinals interested in Ohtani?

Rains also reported that the Cardinals do have interest in Shohei Ohtani if he does get approved by the MLB and posted. Ohtani has said that money is not his primary factor and wants to continue to play two ways. One would think the Cardinals would have to let him both pitch and play in the outfield in order to nab him since they have a maximum bonus cap of $300,000 for international free agents, much less than other teams who aren’t under penalty.

On top of whatever they pay Ohtani in signing bonus, they would have to pay the $20 million posting fee in addition.

Carpenter to be “super utility guy”

Derrick Goold reported this evening that the Cardinals have told Matt Carpenter he should prepare to be a “super utility guy” in 2018 depending on who the team acquires and what they do this winter.

I’m sure many of us collectively cringe when they hear that. I’m not opposed to the idea of Matt Carpenter defensively at first base, second base, third base, or even a corner outfield spot. However, I do note when looking at his defensive metrics that he is generally better overall when he plays one position. His worst defensive seasons have come when he’s been bouncing around the infield. That’s a concern to me.

Also is the shoulder if rest doesn’t fix it. Last season he discussed the shoulder hurting him when he threw. Will he really be able to play a position that asks him to throw the ball regularly? And if he elects to play through the pain once again, is the team prepared to take a diminished offensive Carpenter?

Reyes to miss opener, begin as reliever

Rick Hummel reported this evening that the Cardinals intend to have Alex Reyes begin his season around May 1st and putting him into the bullpen depending on the team’s needs. John Mozeliak said that he believes Reyes would be ready on Opening Day, but this is to watch his innings and ensure that he is available at the end of the season. There’s also some notes in there about Sandy Alcantara.

This confirms what I’ve been suggesting since the beginning that they will bring Reyes along slowly. No need to push him into the rotation out of the gate this year, even though Mozeliak indicates he believes Reyes will be ready.

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