The 2016 season is finally complete and many Cardinals fans, myself included, breathed a sigh of relief. As I admitted to my wife almost a week ago, I was okay with the Cardinals missing the playoffs this season because I was tired of hoping. Tired of hoping that this team would find the next gear. Tired of hoping that they would click. Tired of hoping that things would finally fall their way. Tired of hoping they’d flip the switch.
Coming into spring training this year there really wasn’t much of a question about the St. Louis Cardinals’ pitching staff. There were five healthy starting pitchers in Adam Wainwright, Mike Leake, Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha, and Carlos Martinez ready to contribute. There was Tim Cooney and Marco Gonzales likely starting in Memphis waiting for an opportunity. Plus Tyler Lyons in the St. Louis bullpen who could always be stretched out if needed.
Today on Twitter, a conversation began about whether John Mozeliak was a good General Manager. Outside of John Mabry, there may not be an employee of the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization that brings more mixed feelings from fans than John Mozeliak. Some see Mozeliak as an overrated GM who has ridden the coat tails of those before him. Others see him as a genius at team building. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
John Mozeliak finally got someone to take his money. And while Mike Leake certainly isn’t David Price, he will do the trick. With the deal happening quickly today, the Cardinals introduced their first Major League free agent acquisition in an afternoon press conference at Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals and Leake agreed to a 5 year, $80 million deal that has a mutual option for 2021 that would make the contract worth as much as $94 million, according to reports. That deal makes the largest deal that the franchise has given out to a player who had never played for the franchise before.
Michael Wacha has a 9-3 record through his first 14 starts this season. He also has a 2.85 ERA and 136 ERA+ that stacks him up as the 19th best starting pitcher in baseball this season (among starting pitchers with at least 10 games started). So the question is whether Wacha can continue this pace to become the third different Cardinals pitcher to win 20 games in the last 13 years?
Let’s take a quick glance at the history. In the last 10 years, there have been 23 times a pitcher has posted a season of 20 or more wins. Here is how many wins each had through 14 games.