Thursday Morning Notebook
By Jeff Jones
Twitter – @jmjones
LAS VEGAS – Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch met with the assembled media in the team’s suite on Wednesday afternoon and kicked off the press conference with a simple promise: “You guys can all enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner.” He then immediately went to work rolling back that promise by offering some tidbits which suggest movement to come for the Cardinals in the near future.
n MLB general managers had a meeting on Wednesday where they discussed, among other topics, ways to police electronic sign stealing and countermeasures taken by teams which some felt grew out of control during the playoffs. Girsch intimated that MLB would much prefer to seize control of the process than to see teams attempting to police each other.
n Super-agent Scott Boras made his long-awaited annual appearance for the media on Wednesday afternoon directly in front of a large Christmas tree situated in the middle of the lobby at the Mandalay Bay conference center. Some sharp bettors (IE., yours truly) anticipated that Boras’s appearance would be made in front of Mandalay Bay’s shark reef.
n Boras also said, in response to a question about whether the Cardinals were a large enough market to satisfy Bryce Harper, that the team was “sitting on the big bank of St. Louis.”
n In related news, Girsch went into some detail about the Cardinals belief that rules and guidelines issued by the Players Association prevent them from openly discussing free agents by name. According to Girsch, the union believes that a team acknowledging that they are “in” or “out” on a player runs the risk of affecting that player’s market and earning potential, and so should be prohibited.
n Girsch did acknowledge that the Cardinals are doing their best to remain appraised of any developments in the markets around certain high-profile free agents.
n Earlier in the day, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt kicked off his press conference by saying the team had acquired a lefty hitting, 26-year-old outfielder from Las Vegas: Drew Robinson, who was traded from Texas on Tuesday. He later admitted that he had heard that line used in the team’s suite and thought he would appropriate it. Girsch identified the originator as John Vuch, director of baseball administration.
n Cardinals outfielder and Las Vegas native Dexter Fowler, along with his family, planned to host the team’s front office staff at his home for dinner on Wednesday evening. Asked if the gathering could be interpreted as a goodwill gesture from Fowler, Girsch downplayed any symbolism and instead pivoted to politeness and convenience.
n Girsch also acknowledged that the Cardinals had “skeletons” of several deals in place but cautioned that they would still need to be hammered out before any substantial announcements could be made. Earlier in the conversation, he classified some moves as potentially only one phone call away from consummation.
n The Rule 5 draft takes place in Las Vegas on Thursday morning. At time of this writing, the Cardinals had a full 40-man roster and thus would be ineligible to participate in the major league portion but could still be at risk of losing players such as RHP Junior Fernandez or INF Max Schrock.
n Girsch said that the speed of both the free agent and trade markets remained slow but cautioned that he could envision a scenario where several announcements were made around the league this evening.
n One of those potential pieces of news broke while the meeting with Girsch was occurring. Former Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn reportedly agreed to a three year, $30 million deal with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday evening, providing him with the multi-year security which eluded him last winter.