As he rang the bell at a local grocery store to help the efforts of the Salvation Army earlier this week, there wasn’t a pack of rabid fans chanting for Bryce Harper or Paul Goldschmidt, but St. Louis Cardinals General Manager Michael Girsch warmly accepted the advice and eagerness from those who did offer on how the team will reshape their roster this winter.
“I understand,” Girsch smiled. “I feel the same way about the teams in other sports that I follow. You want something to happen immediately.”
Thus far in MLB, there have only been a couple of trades with more moves concerning 40-man roster protection and staff changes. Seven teams will have a new manager for 2019, plus a couple of teams have made changes in their front office as well.
“We’re still just at the beginning of the off-season,” Girsch said. “There’s been a lot of turnover on that end that is sort of getting wrapped up now. As we get into the Winter Meetings, we’ll probably see the market speeding up.”
“I think there will probably be some stuff that will start happening next week and some stuff will happen over the weekend and some stuff will happen the day we get there–it just sort of naturally happens when it happens not so much based on ‘I want to wait until we get to Vegas and look you in the eye’.”
The Cardinals finished up their own roster management on Friday, signing pitcher Chase Shreve to a new one-year contract and tendering contracts to their other arbitration-eligible players in Dominic Leone, Marcell Ozuna, and Michael Wacha.
Acquired in late July before the trade deadline from the New York Yankees, Shreve is among the left-handers trying to find a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. Another arm that could be in the mix is Genesis Cabrera, who was recently added to the 40-man roster. With velocity in the upper-90s, Cabrera had been used as a starter in the Tampa organization but threw some relief when he was acquired by St. Louis in the Tommy Pham trade.
“Definitely has the potential to be a starter going forward,” Girsch said. “He’s the kind of guy we’ll look at and see what makes sense. A year ago right now, if you would’ve asked me if Jordan Hicks would’ve been in our bullpen or a starting pitcher in the minors, I would have said he would’ve started the season in the minors as a starting pitcher. Cabrera’s the kind of guy that depending on need and how he performs and how he’s looking he could end up in the minor leagues, keep stretching him out and keep him as a starting pitcher or if the fits right, he could end up in the big league bullpen.”
And make no mistake about it, these sort of moves are not meant to take the place of addressing the roster needs on a bigger level. Girsch and the Cardinals front office understand that the fan base is looking for a rather large present or presents under the tree this year.
“We are eager to make something happen,” he said. “But at the same time, you don’t want to chase a bad deal just to have a deal. You don’t get anything for being first in the off-season. Our goal is to make good decisions, put ourselves in a good spot, and celebrate next October.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com, Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports