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RedsManRick
09-24-2007, 03:07 AM
The St. Louis Cardinals: 1999-2007
What Can We Learn?

In 1999, the Cardinals completed a mediocre decade that saw them win less than half their games (.488 winning %) and make the playoffs just once. Their longtime icon, Ozzie Smith, was on his way out, and they lacked any real identity or direction. The late 90ís saw a trade for Mark McGwire, who wowed fans and fellow ballplayers alike with record home run totals. Unfortunately for the Cards, he didnít do much for their playoff chances. The team was the definition of mediocre.

However, times were changing. A confluence of events would quickly turn the Cardinals in to the NL team of the 2000s. From 2000 through 2006, the Cards averaged 94 wins, made the playoffs every year but once, and capped the run with a World Series victory. The road wasnít without itís bumps, including the tragic death of ace starter Darryl Kyle, the spectacular and untimely collapse of pitching phenom Rick Ankiel, and the underwhelming contributions of supposed all-world and oft-injured OF JD Drew.

Itís now the end of the 2007 season and the run appears to have ended. The Redbirds have just locked up their first losing season of the decade, have one of the weakest minor league systems in baseball, only a few high ceiling youth on the major league roster, and their best on-field talent is quickly showing its age.

That said, any organization would love to have that 7-year run capped with a Championship. Letís take a take a look at how it happened, what they did right, what went their way, and what lessons can be gleaned from their success. And letís also examine how it fell apart. Could it have been prevented?

Sources:
Baseball Reference (http://www.baseball-reference.com)
Cotís Baseball Contracts (http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com)
USA Today (http://asp.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/totalpayroll.aspx?year=yyyy)

I apologize in advance for any factual errors. I've changed my approach a few times and had to go back over things. Also, apologies for the authoritative tone and haphazard organization observations section. This is really meant to spur discussion; not as my declaration of truth. So, on to the case study.


October 1999 Ė The Setup
Record: 75-86 (78-83 pythag)
Runs Scored-Against: 809-838
Playoffs: None
Opening Day Payroll: $46,248,195 (15th MLB, 8th NL)
Top 3 Draft picks: P Chance Caple (#30), P Nick Stocks (#36), 1B Chris Duncan (#46)

Major Midseason Transactions:
Aug 24th, 1999: Traded P Kent Mercker for P Mike Matthews and C David Benham (minors)

Primary Contributors:
C Marrero
1B McGwire / Clark
2B McEwing / Polanco
SS Renteria
3B Tatis
LF Lankford
CF Drew / Bragg
RF Davis / Howard / McGee

SP Bottenfield
SP Oliver
SP Jiminez
SP Mercker
SP Stephenson

CL Bottalico
RP Acevedo
RP Aybar

Summary: This was a team with a very shallow identity. For lack of a better term, they *****d McGwire and tried to put enough of a team around him to maintain respectability. McGwireís salary was over 20% of the payroll, which says a lot about the construction of the roster. Renteria, Drew, and Tatis represented a nice young offensive core, but the pitching staff was full of low ceiling youth and mediocre retread veterans and performed accordingly.


2000 Ė Here Comes The Sun
Record: 95-67 (91-71 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 887-771
Playoffs: Lost NLCS
Opening Day Payroll: $63,900,023 (8th MLB, 5th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: 2B Shaun Boyd (#13), P Blake Williams (#24), P Chris Narveson (#53)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Nov 16th, 1999: Acquired P Pat Hentgen and P Paul Spoljaric for C Alberto Castillo, P Matt DeWitt, and P Lance Pantier
Nov 16th, 1999: Acquired P Darryl Kile, P Luther Hackman, and P Dave Veres for P Manny Aybar, IF Brent Bulter, P Rich Croushere, and P Jose Jiminez.
Dec 15th, 1999: Signed C Mike Matheny; arb eligible
Dec 20th, 1999: Acquired 2B Fernando Vina for P Juan Acevedo, C Eliezer Alfonso (minors), P Matt Parker (minors)
March 23rd, 2000: Acquired OF Jim Edmonds for P Kent Bottenfield and 2B Adam Kennedy

Major Midseason Transactions:
July 31st: Acquired 1B Will Clark for Jose Leon.

Primary Contributors:
C Matheny
1B McGwire / Clark
2B Vina / Polanco
SS Renteria
3B Tatis / Paquette
LF Lankford
CF Edmonds
RF Drew / Davis

SP Kile
SP Hentgen
SP Stephenson
SP Ankiel
SP Benes

CL Veres
RP Morris
RP James
RP Slocumb
RP Benes

Summary: Show me the money. Jocketty went out and traded a lot of young talent for 4 all-stars in their primes who were approaching FA and coming off poor years. Did a great job of buying low and selling high to improve the level of talent at the major league level without completely emptying the cupboard. The 99/00 offseason was the big bang that set the Cardinal dynasty in motion.


2001 Ė The Dawning of the Age of Albert Pujols
Record: 93-69 (94-68 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 814-684
Playoffs: Lost NLDS
Opening Day Payroll: $78,538,333 (9th MLB, 5th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: P Justin Pope (#23), P Danny Haren (#72), SS Joe Mather (#104)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Dec 14th, 2000: P Pat Hentgen granted free agency.
Dec 14th, 2000: Acquired P Dustin Hermanson and P Steve Kline for P Britt Reames and 3B Fernando Tatis.

Major Midseason Transactions:
Aug 2nd: Acquired P Woody Williams for OF Ray Lankford


Primary Contributors:
C Matheny / Marrero
1B McGwire / Pujols
2B Vina
SS Renteria
3B Polanco / Pujols
LF Lankford / Pujols
CF Edmonds
RF Drew / Pujols

SP Kile
SP Morris
SP Hermanson
SP Benes / Smith
SP Williams / Matthews

CL Veres
RP Matthews
RP Kline
RP Timlin
RP Stechschulte

Summary: Pujols was the 402nd pick of the 1999 draft and had a very solid debut in A ball, getting about 100 at bats in high A and AAA to end his first professional season. In 2000, he arrived a fully formed dynamo, able to keep the offense chugging along. The trade of Lankford for Woody Williams was a brilliant stroke which put Pujols in the everyday lineup while shoring up the starting rotation. Morris matured in to a starter, the deep bullpen gelled, and the team defense was excellent; Combined, run prevention improved significantly. It was very much a year of careful stewardship rather than bold action.


2002 Ė OnceÖ TwiceÖ Three Times a Winner
Record: 97-65 (95-67 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 787-648
Playoffs: Lost NLCS
Opening Day Payroll: $74,660,875 (10th MLB, 6th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: SS Calvin Hayes (#102), P John Boyer (#132), C Josh Bell (#162- DNS)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Dec 11th, 2001: Signed P Jason Isringhausen as a free agent; $27M/4yrs
Dec 15th, 2001: Traded P Dustin Hermanson for 1B Dustin Brissom (minors), 1B Luis Garcia (minors), and OF Rick Asadoorian (minors)
Dec 18th, 2001: Signed 1B Tino Martinez as a free agent; $21M/3yrs

Major Midseason Transactions:
June 22nd: P Darryl Kile passed away
July 19th: Acquired P Steve Finley for 1B Luis Garcia and OF Coco Crisp
July 29th: Acquired 3B Scott Rolen and P Doug Nickle for IF Placido Polanco, P Mike Timlin, and P Bud Smith

Primary Contributors:
C Matheny / Difelice
1B Martinez
2B Vina
SS Renteria
3B Polanco / Rolen / Pujols
LF Pujols / Marrero
CF Edmonds
RF Drew / Marrero

SP Morris
SP Kile / Williams
SP Benes / Smith
SP Finley / Simontacchi
SP Smith / Stevenson / Hackman

CL Isringhausen
RP Veres
RP Timlin
RP Kline
RP Crudale

Summary: Career seasons from a number of pitchers and great all around defense led to continued improvement in run prevention, despite a number of injuries and the tragic loss of Darryl Kile. The post-McGwire offense is in flux and scores fewer runs for the 2nd straight year. However, the midseason acquisition of Rolen cemented the middle of the lineup for years to come.


2003 Ė Three Steps Forward, One Step Back
Record: 85-77 (88-74 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 876-796
Playoffs: None
Opening Day Payroll: $83,786,666 (8th MLB, 4th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: C Daric Barton (#28), P Stuart Pomeranz (#65), P Dennis Dove (#95)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Nov 1st, 2002: Signed P Kiko Calero as a minor league free agent
Nov 26th, 2002: Exercised option on P Woody Williams; $7.25M/1yr
Dec 13th, 2002: Signed P Chris Carpenter as a free agent; $.5M/1yr w/ team option
Dec 15th, 2002: Acquired P Brett Tomko for P Luther Hackman and P Mike Wodnicki (minors)

Major Midseason Transactions:
None

Significant Contributors:
C Matheny / Widger
1B Martinez / Pujols
2B Hart / Vina / Cairo
SS Renteria
3B Rolen
LF Pujols
CF Edmonds
RF Drew / Perez / Palmeiro

SP Morris
SP Williams
SP Tomko
SP Stephenson / Hitchcock
SP Simontacchi / Haren

CL Isringhausen
RP Kline
RP Eldren
RP Fassero

Summary: The unfortunate death of Kile, the loss of Finley and Benes to FA, and the return to Earth for Woody Williams led to a big regression in run prevention. The bullpen, which had gone 5 deep the past few years, was suddenly quite mediocre behind the steady Isringhausen. The offense was superb, 2nd in the NL in runs scored, but it simply couldnít score enough to outpace the poor pitching.


2004 Ė Far Away, So Close
Record: 105-65 (100-62 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 855-659
Playoffs: Lost WS
Opening Day Payroll: $83,228,333 (11th MLB, 7th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: P Christopher Lambert (#19), 1B Michael Ferris (#60), P Eric Haberer (#90)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Nov 21st, 2003: Traded 1B Tino Martinez for P Evan Rust (minors) and 1B John-Paul Davis (minors)
Dec 2nd, 2003: Re-signed P Chris Carpenter (2004 option not exercised), $2.5M/2yr
Dec 13th, 2003: Traded OF JD Drew and C/OF Eli Marrero for P Jason Marquis, P Ray King, and P Adam Wainwright.
Dec 18th, 2003: Signed P Jeff Suppan as free agent, $6M/2yr
Dec 19th, 2003: Signed OF Reggie Sanders as free agent, $6M/2yr

Major Midseason Transactions:
Aug 6th: Acquired RF Larry Walker for Jason Burch, Luis Martinez, and Chris Narveson

Significant Contributors:
C Matheny / Molina
1B Pujols
2B Womack
SS Renteria
3B Rolen
LF Lankford / Sanders / et. al.
CF Edmonds
RF Sanders / Walker

SP Morris
SP Williams
SP Carpenter
SP Marquis
SP Suppan

CL Isringhausen
RP King
RP Tavarez
RP Kline
RP Eldred

Summary: Ladies and Gentlemen, THAT is a starting rotation. Those 5 starters combined for 154 games started and all but Williams had ERAs under league average. The most notable addition being Chris Carpenter, the once top prospect who spent 2004 rehabbing from Tommy John on the Cardinalís dime. The bullpen was spectacular, as new additions ROOGY Tavares and LOOGY King were used very effectively, easily offsetting the offensive downgrade from Drew to Sanders. The offense, with career years from Rolen and Edmonds, and with Pujols continuing to do his best Ted Williams impression, led the league with 855 runs scored.


2005 Ė You Canít Always Get What You Want
Record: 100-62 (98-64 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 805-634
Playoffs: Lost NLCS
Opening Day Payroll: $92,106,833 (6th MLB, 3rd NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: OF Colby Rasums (#28), SS James Greene (#30), P Mark McCormick (#43)

Major Offseason Transactions:
Oct 29th, 2004: Edgar Renteria granted free agency
Nov 4th, 2004: Woody Williams granted free agency
Dec 7th, 2004: Re-signed P Matt Morris; $2.5M/1yr (earned $6.25M w/ incentives)
Dec 18th, 2004: Acquired P Mark Mulder for P Danny Haren, P Kiko Calero, C Daric Barton (minors)
Dec 23rd, 2004: Signed SS David Eckstein as free agent; $10.25M/3yrs

Major Midseason Transactions:
None

Significant Contributors:
C Molina / Diaz
1B Pujols
2B Grudzielanek
SS Eckstein
3B Nunez / Rolen
LF Sanders / Rodriguez
CF Edmonds
RF Walker / Taguchi

SP Carpenter
SP Morris
SP Mulder
SP Marquis
SP Suppan

CL Isringhausen
RP Tavarez
RP Reyes
RP Thompson
RP King

Summary: The offense was a testament to the power of OBP, as they had just 4 guys hit more than 10 HR. Pujols finally got his MVP over Bonds. Chris Carpenter apparently made it all the way back Ė and won a deserved Cy Young. New acquisition Mark Mulder replaced Woody Williams at little expense to the major league roster. The bullpen was excellent once again. The ERA of the various pitchers with mediocre stuff such as Suppan, Marquis, and Morris are a real testament to the value of a great defense. A healthy Scott Rolen might have been the difference between making the WS again, and being sent home by Carlos Beltóerr the Houston Astros.


2006 Ė Iíd Rather be Lucky than Good
Record: 83-78 (82-79 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 781-672
Playoffs: Won WS
Opening Day Payroll: $88,891,371 (11th MLB, 7th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: P Adam Ottavino (#30), P Christopher Perez (#42), P Thomas Furnish (#54)

Offseason Transactions:
Oct 28th, 2005: P Matt Morris granted free agency
Nov 9th, 2005: OF Larry Walker granted free agency
Dec 7th, 2005: Traded P Ray King for OF Larry Bigbie and 2B Aaron Miles
Dec 22nd, 2005: Signed P Braden Looper as free agent; $13.5M/3yrs
Jan 10th, 2006: Signed OF Juan Encarnacion as free agent; $15M/3yrs

Midseason Transactions:
July 5th: Acquired Jeff Weaver for Terry Evans
Aug 18th: Signed Preston Wilson as free agent

Significant Contributors:
C Molina / Bennett
1B Pujols
2B Miles / Belliard / Luna
SS Eckstein / Luna
3B Rolen
LF Taguchi / Duncan / et. al.
CF Edmonds / Taguchi
RF Encarnacion

SP Carpenter
SP Suppan
SP Marquis
SP Mulder / Reyes
SP Ponson / Weaver

CL Isringhausen
RP Looper
RP Hancock
RP Wainwright
RP Thompson

Summary: 2006 was the awkward culmination of the Cardinals mini-dynasty. Make no mistake, this was a mediocre team with a few standout players dragging the rest of the roster to the playoffs in a pathetic NL Central. Injuries gave lots of at bats to backups who had no business getting them and Molina and Miles were sub-replacement level. Carpenter was superb yet again, but Jason Marquis fell off a cliff, Mark Mulder was ineffective before admitting injury, and none of the replacements were very good. The bullpen was merely ok, with rookie Adam Wainwright a bright spot. Jeff Weaver got confused and thought he was a good pitcher in October as they outlasted the Mets in the NLDS, out-pitched the Padres in the NLCS, and then the clearly superior Tigers just rolled over in the World Series.


2007 Ė You Donít Know What Youíve Got ĎTil Itís Gone
Record: 75-87* (70-92 pythag)
Runs Scored-Allowed: 719-834*
Playoffs: None
Opening Day Payroll: $90,286,823 (11th MLB, 4th NL)
Top 3 Draft Picks: SS Peter Kozma (#18), P Clayton Mortensen (#36), P David Kopp (#71)

Offseason Transactions:
Nov 11th, 2006: Signed IF Scott Spiezio as free agent; $4.5M/2yrs (team option for 2009)
Nov 28th, 2006: Signed 2B Adam Kennedy as free agent; $10M/3yrs
Nov 28th, 2006: Signed P Kip Wells as free agent; $4M/1yr
Dec 4th, 2006: Signed P Chris Carpenter to extension; $63.5M/5yrs
Jan 10th, 2007: Signed P Mark Mulder as free agent; $13M/2yrs (team option for 2009)

Midseason Transactions:
Jun 8th: Signed P Troy Percival as minor league free agent:
Jun 22nd: Acquired P Mike Maroth for PTBNL
Jul 31st: Acquired P Joel Pineiro for minor league PTBNL
Aug 31st: Acquired IF/OF Russell Branyan for PTBNL

Significant Contributors:
C Molina / Bennett
1B Pujols
2B Kennedy / Miles
SS Eckstein / Miles
3B Rolen / Speizio
LF Duncan / Ludwick / Taguchi
CF Edmonds / Taguchi
RF Encarnacion / Ankiel

SP Wainwright
SP Looper
SP Wells
SP Reyes / Pineiro
SP Thompson / Wellemeyer / Maroth

CL Isringhausen
RP Franklin
RP Springer
FP Flores

Summary: Blame the injury to Chris Carpenter if you want, but the real story is the absolute failure to replace lost talent. The 06/07 offseason was one of the most active, and yet a bunch of money was thrown to bit players. Why? Because 60% of the $90M payroll was invested in retaining Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds, Isringhausen, and Carpenter. Injuries continued to sap Rolen and Edmonds of playing time and effectiveness. Rick Ankielís miracle comeback is possibly already over. The minor leagues produced only a relatively ineffective Anthony Reyes and the midseason trades were for a bunch of castoffs rather than legitimate upgrades. They havenít scored runs and they havenít prevented them. It doesnít look promising for 2008 either. ~Fin


Observations
So, what can we learn? Well, Iíll let you draw your own conclusions. But I will make some observations, in no particular order.

1. You need to get significant contributions from players making very little money. A winning team requires so much production, and production is valued so highly in the market, that no sub $100M payroll team can buy enough.
2. If the players on your team making a lot of money arenít earning it, youíre in deep crap.
3. Mediocre money spent on mediocre talent in free agency is money wasted. Unlike top level production, it can be obtained cheaply given prudent general management and good scouting. There's a new Jeff Keppinger every year.
4. You have to either develop your talent or trade it for already developed talent. You cannot just let it rot. Itís like not getting your employers match on your 401k. You might not care now, but you will regret not maximizing your assets. Turn Kent Bottenfield into Jim Edmonds while somebody still believes he'll be more than just Kent Bottenfield someday.
5. Beware significant investment in pitchers. It just comes down to injury. Few position players suffer season and career ending injuries. Many pitchers do and are more impacted by those injuries. Money should buy you less commitment, not more.
6. Donít underestimate the value of not having sub replacement-level talent getting significant at bats. You can gain superstars worth of production by having real professional ballplayers at the bottom of your roster.
7a. The value of good defense and offense in the same player cannot be emphasized enough. Those players are so rare and itís very easy to focus on one aspect of a playerís game and not give proper value to their failings in the overall evaluation of their worth. If Adam Dunn hit .250/.350/.475 and played average defense, would we consider him a potential cornerstone?
7b. This is especially true up the middle. Quick, name all of the players up the middle who are average or better both offensive AND defensively. It shouldn't take long.
8. Player development matters. Often, people pay a lot of attention to the draft and then put the responsibility of success solely on the player. The examples of players left underutilized or underdeveloped because of institution bias is incredibly long. The cost/benefit of good player development personnel decisions is the highest of any in the organization.
9. Rescuing guys off the scrap heap can pay dividends, but donít build your retirement strategy around it. Jeff Weaver played a significant role in the 2006 WS win at minimal cost. Mark Mulder and Mike Maroth will provide virtually nothing for some significant money.
10. If youíre going to make a move, make it matter. Don't go halfway with the hopes of getting the best of both worlds. Assuming the best rarely ends in good results. If you need everything to go your way to win, you need more things.
11. Remember upside. Donít trade mediocre youth for mediocre vets. Do trade mediocre vets for mediocre youth. You might be underestimating your youth. Youíre likely overestimate the vets. If another organization has a history of exploiting these types of deals, be very very careful. They are probably better than you at evaluating talent.
12. Talent is the real currency of baseball, not money. Talent is finite, money (essentially) isnít. If you have talent, you can get money. You can get money from a variety of places. But no matter how much money you have, talent is quite limited. There is only 1 Albert Pujols. In other words, donít "cash in" talent with the assumption you can buy it back later. If you can ever afford to, hoard talent.
13. If you feel you have the opportunity to succeed in the short term, identify your needs and fill them. You never know when you'll get another chance. Just donít forget the ďdonít do it halfwayĒ rule.

M2
09-24-2007, 04:24 AM
Nice post RMR.

Chip R
09-24-2007, 09:17 AM
It should read "The St. Louis Cardinals 1999-2007 - The Empire Built on Steroids."

Fine article, though.

Crosley68
09-24-2007, 09:19 AM
Very nice. I particularly buy into #12.

Johnny Footstool
09-24-2007, 01:14 PM
12. Talent is the real currency of baseball, not money. Talent is finite, money (essentially) isn’t. If you have talent, you can get money. You can get money from a variety of places. But no matter how much money you have, talent is quite limited. There is only 1 Albert Pujols. In other words, don’t "cash in" talent with the assumption you can buy it back later. If you can ever afford to, hoard talent.

Exactly right. Money is easy to come by in MLB; talent is not.


New acquisition Mark Mulder replaced Woody Williams at little expense to the major league roster.

This is one of the few statements I'd have to dispute. Kiko Calero was excellent in the Cards' bullpen in 2003 and 2004, and Haren's decent 2004 showed he was ready to break out in 2005. And both were making near league minimum. Even if you disregard the performances of all parties in 2005, those two were valuable parts of the Cards' roster at the time of the trade.

RedsManRick
09-24-2007, 01:38 PM
This is one of the few statements I'd have to dispute. Kiko Calero was excellent in the Cards' bullpen in 2003 and 2004, and Haren's decent 2004 showed he was ready to break out in 2005. And both were making near league minimum. Even if you disregard the performances of all parties in 2005, those two were valuable parts of the Cards' roster at the time of the trade.

As I typed it, I realize that their could be disagreement. But Calero pitched fewer than 50 IP in 2004 and Haren, unfortunately wasn't going to crack the Cardinal rotation in 2005. I was referencing an expected contribution rather than what they really could have done had the trade not been made.

It's not that Calero and Haren weren't valuable to the Cardinals. It's that their expected contributions for 2005 were not significant. While I never come out and say it explicitly, the Mulder trade was absolutely one of the major causes of the downfall.

Whereas Jocketty bought low on Darryl Kile due to his poor year in Colorado, and added a key starter without giving up too much, he paid full price on Mulder. And whereas Kile rebounded wonderfully, with the cause of his poor year removed, Mulder's poor year was not a fluke.

Furthermore, the acquisition of Kile and Edmonds was predicated on a payroll expansion which would allow for retaining their services without financial impact to the current set of commitments. When Mulder was acquired, payroll was already maxed out. Jocketty lost sight of the necessity to get major contributions from pre-arb players, as failure of any paid-for talent leaves little wiggle room for improvement.

Bottom line, Jocketty overvalued Mulder, and undervalued Haren. Haren could've approximated Mulder's contributions much more cheaply and for years to come. Jocketty was playing to a window, which in general isn't a bad idea. The problem was in the choice of player he acquired.

He also gave up on Haren at precisely the wrong moment. The only purpose of trading him at that point in time is if you think he's not going to make it, that his value has peaked, and that he better served the organization by converting his value into a more efficient use of the roster spot on a greater talent. It was a move about increasing the talent to roster spot ratio, but it failed on it's premise. Instead, St Louis simply got a higher risk, more expensive version of Haren, lost a solid reliever, and gave away a top hitting prospect. A net talent loss for the organization for which they are still paying.

WVRedsFan
09-24-2007, 03:02 PM
Very nice. I particularly buy into #12.

I totally agree. That is my main gripe against the Reds' front office in this regard. We ussually sift through the garbage can to find talent. That's risky. It sometimes works and sometimes doesn't as we've seen in the players we have obtained over the last two years.

Some garbage is hidden treasure. Some garbage is garbage and it's a real gamble to operate like that.

oneupper
09-24-2007, 03:09 PM
I like number 6. Don't underestimate how much crappy players (Juan Castro...I'm talking to you) can hurt you.

OnBaseMachine
09-24-2007, 08:28 PM
It should read "The St. Louis Cardinals 1999-2007 - The Empire Built on Steroids."

Fine article, though.

:thumbup:

Spitball
09-24-2007, 08:39 PM
Very interesting read!

mth123
09-24-2007, 09:02 PM
Good stuff RMR.

RedsBaron
09-24-2007, 10:28 PM
Good post. I enjoyed it, and you made good points. :thumbup:

Kc61
09-24-2007, 11:06 PM
Enjoyed the post. Thanks for the work putting it together.

The lesson I see is that you need to get talent from a number of sources -- but when the opportunity presents itself you have to be willing to spend for big time talent. McGwire, Rolen, Walker, Edmonds, Kile, Mulder, Carpenter -- the Cards were willing to spend to acquire these guys because the Cards view themselves as a top major league franchise competing with other top teams. Not every move worked, but generally these major acquisitions helped the Cards become a winner.

Other than Griffey (special situation due to home town connection) and arguably Milton, I can't remember the Reds going after big name, top talent from other teams.

Drafting well is great, finding good bargains is great, but at some point you have to go for it. Patching together kids and cheap free agents is not a winning plan.

I think on RedsZone we are sometimes too understanding of the Reds' small market approach. Ultimately, there are a limited number of great baseball players and if you don't have some of them it's very hard to win. A few are available every year. They cost money but somebody goes out and gets them and those teams generally win.

paintmered
09-24-2007, 11:14 PM
Very nice. I particularly buy into #12.

If there is one bit of advice Krivsky needs to hear, that's it.

Wonderful stuff, RMR. :clap:

(Mods, can you copy this to the archives?)

PuffyPig
09-25-2007, 12:02 AM
As I typed it, I realize that their could be disagreement. But Calero pitched fewer than 50 IP in 2004 and Haren, unfortunately wasn't going to crack the Cardinal rotation in 2005.


If the Cards didn't have Mulder in 2005, Haren would have been in the rotation.

Deepred05
09-25-2007, 02:35 AM
refresh my memory, what does pythag mean?

WVRedsFan
09-25-2007, 02:40 AM
I think on RedsZone we are sometimes too understanding of the Reds' small market approach. Ultimately, there are a limited number of great baseball players and if you don't have some of them it's very hard to win. A few are available every year. They cost money but somebody goes out and gets them and those teams generally win.

You hit the nail on the head. The RedsZone gets so into the "small market" thing that they worry about what we can afford. That's not my problem. And if you look at all things, bringing in a winning ball club with superior talent instead of trying to man the team with people nobody else wants (thought it works occasionally... see Brandon Phillips and Josh Hamilton and doesn't work with many more trash heap players), brings in attendance and $$$. Other teams have done this while we try to skate around spending some money in hopes of making some.

I hate the Cubs, but they spent the money, sell out their stadium, and are in first place, no matter how bad they are. As a fan, I'd like to see that here no matter how foolhardy it is.

Aronchis
09-25-2007, 05:35 AM
You hit the nail on the head. The RedsZone gets so into the "small market" thing that they worry about what we can afford. That's not my problem. And if you look at all things, bringing in a winning ball club with superior talent instead of trying to man the team with people nobody else wants (thought it works occasionally... see Brandon Phillips and Josh Hamilton and doesn't work with many more trash heap players), brings in attendance and $$$. Other teams have done this while we try to skate around spending some money in hopes of making some.

I hate the Cubs, but they spent the money, sell out their stadium, and are in first place, no matter how bad they are. As a fan, I'd like to see that here no matter how foolhardy it is.

Then next year they lose 90 games while the Reds go to the playoffs. Seasonal wonders mean little. Substaining it over a timeframe is more crucial.

nate
09-25-2007, 08:27 AM
refresh my memory, what does pythag mean?

Its a way to predict a team's winning percentage based on runs scored vs. runs allowed. Basically:

Winning Pct = RS^2 / RS^2 + RA^2

Here (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=342) are a couple (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_expectation) of articles about it.

Strikes Out Looking
09-25-2007, 09:04 AM
It should read "The St. Louis Cardinals 1999-2007 - The Empire Built on Steroids."

Fine article, though.

I actually think its HGH. Agree that the article is nice, but I really wonder how much the drugs aided their run, which is something we'll probably never know.

jojo
09-25-2007, 09:41 AM
So, what can we learn? Well, Iíll let you draw your own conclusions. But I will make some observations, in no particular order.

1. You need to get significant contributions from players making very little money. A winning team requires so much production, and production is valued so highly in the market, that no sub $100M payroll team can buy enough.
2. If the players on your team making a lot of money arenít earning it, youíre in deep crap.
3. Mediocre money spent on mediocre talent in free agency is money wasted. Unlike top level production, it can be obtained cheaply given prudent general management and good scouting. There's a new Jeff Keppinger every year.
4. You have to either develop your talent or trade it for already developed talent. You cannot just let it rot. Itís like not getting your employers match on your 401k. You might not care now, but you will regret not maximizing your assets. Turn Kent Bottenfield into Jim Edmonds while somebody still believes he'll be more than just Kent Bottenfield someday.
5. Beware significant investment in pitchers. It just comes down to injury. Few position players suffer season and career ending injuries. Many pitchers do and are more impacted by those injuries. Money should buy you less commitment, not more.
6. Donít underestimate the value of not having sub replacement-level talent getting significant at bats. You can gain superstars worth of production by having real professional ballplayers at the bottom of your roster.
7a. The value of good defense and offense in the same player cannot be emphasized enough. Those players are so rare and itís very easy to focus on one aspect of a playerís game and not give proper value to their failings in the overall evaluation of their worth. If Adam Dunn hit .250/.350/.475 and played average defense, would we consider him a potential cornerstone?
7b. This is especially true up the middle. Quick, name all of the players up the middle who are average or better both offensive AND defensively. It shouldn't take long.
8. Player development matters. Often, people pay a lot of attention to the draft and then put the responsibility of success solely on the player. The examples of players left underutilized or underdeveloped because of institution bias is incredibly long. The cost/benefit of good player development personnel decisions is the highest of any in the organization.
9. Rescuing guys off the scrap heap can pay dividends, but donít build your retirement strategy around it. Jeff Weaver played a significant role in the 2006 WS win at minimal cost. Mark Mulder and Mike Maroth will provide virtually nothing for some significant money.
10. If youíre going to make a move, make it matter. Don't go halfway with the hopes of getting the best of both worlds. Assuming the best rarely ends in good results. If you need everything to go your way to win, you need more things.
11. Remember upside. Donít trade mediocre youth for mediocre vets. Do trade mediocre vets for mediocre youth. You might be underestimating your youth. Youíre likely overestimate the vets. If another organization has a history of exploiting these types of deals, be very very careful. They are probably better than you at evaluating talent.
12. Talent is the real currency of baseball, not money. Talent is finite, money (essentially) isnít. If you have talent, you can get money. You can get money from a variety of places. But no matter how much money you have, talent is quite limited. There is only 1 Albert Pujols. In other words, donít "cash in" talent with the assumption you can buy it back later. If you can ever afford to, hoard talent.
13. If you feel you have the opportunity to succeed in the short term, identify your needs and fill them. You never know when you'll get another chance. Just donít forget the ďdonít do it halfwayĒ rule.

This post was a real pleasure to read. The list above has the makings of a RMR manifesto....

RedsManRick
09-25-2007, 11:03 AM
Definitely looking for critical feed back. I spent a ton of time compiling the info, and then spent about 20 minutes with the observations because I was tired and wanted to finish it Sunday night. I need to rewrite them so they are a bit more succinct, consistent (and coherent), but it is meant as the beginnings of a rules list....

KronoRed
09-25-2007, 12:50 PM
I actually think its HGH. Agree that the article is nice, but I really wonder how much the drugs aided their run, which is something we'll probably never know.

Oh I think we'll find out in about 20 years