Based on the offers they made to David Price and Jason Heyward, I think it’s fair to conclude that we know the Cardinals’ top two free agent targets this offseason.
That the Cardinals landed neither player might fill you with some sense of SCardenfreude, but it’s always worth reminding folks of the Winner’s Curse in free agency – typically, the team that gets a player bid the most for him (unless you’re the Cubs) – and that, in the long run, not getting either player might prove to be just fine for the Cardinals.
Remember, the last big name they missed out on under these kind of circumstances? Albert Pujols. And I have no doubt they’re just fine that it didn’t work out, given his precipitous decline and the massive weight of his remaining contract. There are also other opportunities to improve the club by way of trades and other free agents.
All things equal, as a Cubs fan, you’d of course rather not see the Cardinals get the guys they want. But we’ve seen it for too many years: they’re likely to be fine regardless.
They’re still going to make some moves to improve – there’s just no chance in the world they go into 2016 without at least adding a quality arm to the rotation – but they might just sit back and be more opportunistic. Brace yourself for the Cardinals stealing a free agent in February on a great contract as the offseason winds down.
With the main thrust of the Cubs’ offseason now probably in the books – though pitching-related rumors will continue to swirl – I’m now deeply fascinated by what the other teams at the top of the NL Central are going to do. Each of the Pirates and Cardinals have been quiet so far, but they’re undoubtedly within a competitive window, and aren’t going to just sit back and watch the Cubs fly.
(If you feel cheated out of SCardenfreude by this post, may I instead recommend this column out of St. Louis, expressing the feelings you may want to see.)