Two days of inactivity at the Winter Meetings bled far into the third day, causing expectant Cardinal fans to twitter nervously. What in the world was Mo’ doing down there in Nashville? Cutting a country album?

Then came the news that the team had reached an agreement with left-handed reliever Randy Choate. Signing the 37 year-old journeyman addressed one of the major admitted needs of the team, even if it was about as exciting as listening to Mozeliak read the phone book. In other words, it was yet another pick off of the scrap heap.

Choate has some decent stats over the last several years. Here’s what he’s done since 2009:

Year Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB Awards
2009 TBR AL 1 0 1.000 3.47 61 0 13 0 0 5 36.1 28 15 14 4 11 3 28 0 0 0 142 126 1.073 6.9 1.0 2.7 6.9 2.55
2010 TBR AL 4 3 .571 4.23 85 0 8 0 0 0 44.2 41 23 21 3 17 5 40 3 0 4 187 93 1.299 8.3 0.6 3.4 8.1 2.35
2011 FLA NL 1 1 .500 1.82 54 0 6 0 0 0 24.2 13 7 5 3 13 5 31 2 0 0 103 217 1.054 4.7 1.1 4.7 11.3 2.38
2012 TOT NL 0 0 3.03 80 0 4 0 0 1 38.2 29 18 13 1 18 3 38 5 0 2 168 131 1.216 6.8 0.2 4.2 8.8 2.11
12 Yrs 11 11 .500 4.02 476 0 83 0 0 6 309.1 268 157 138 16 146 30 266 32 1 15 1344 109 1.338 7.8 0.5 4.2 7.7 1.82
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2012.

While those general stats aren’t exactly inspirational, consider these fairly impressive splits:

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
vs RHB as LHP 38 52 40 3 13 1 0 0 0 0 9 8 0.89 .325 .471 .350 .821 14 1 2 1 0 1 2 .406 188 126
vs LHB as LHP 72 116 101 13 16 3 0 1 0 0 9 30 3.33 .158 .243 .218 .461 22 2 3 1 2 2 2 .208 63 44
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/5/2012.

I’m not sure anyone would complain much if he came close to that kind of performance, which is certainly better than Marc Rzepczynski last year.

I think the terms scare fans more – three years at $2.5M a year ($7.5M total). Basically, Choate is finishing his career as a Cardinal. Will Choate survive three seasons of postseason-bound baseball? Let’s hope so. For the record, Choate has largely avoided the disabled list – he’s never had surgery throughout his career. So I guess there’s that hopeful bright spot.

With the left side of the bullpen now complete, the team appears ready to stand pat on the whole shortstop/second base problem. Mozeliak was quoted as saying that he feels confident about Rafael Furcal‘s ability to throw a baseball across a diamond approximately 500 times this season. Meanwhile, a dazed Mike Matheny insisted that “someone” needed to “step up” and take the second base job. Who knows what that means.

ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE

Ultimately, the Cardinals’ uninspiring trip to the Winter Meetings is yet another edition of Mozeliak’s “wait and see” game. Get used to the idea, Cards fans; the middle infield simply will not be addressed until next summer’s trading deadline.

On April 1, 2013, Mozeliak intends to field virtually the same team that limped out of the NLCS last fall. He’ll let those pieces play for a few months, see what works and what breaks, and then fix it at the trading deadline in July. This seems to be Mozeliak’s favorite strategy.

I can’t argue with the strategy given Mozeliak’s success rate. And I’ll admit that it’s difficult to assess and fix future problems at the Winter Meetings. However, such a course does feel non-committal, boring, safe. It also seems insulting considering the increased ticket prices that were announced last week.

After all of the speculation and hype, Cardinal fans were handed a Choate. Suck it up.

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About The Author

Lifelong Cardinal fan and general loudmouth.

  • Dan

    I honestly don’t think it’s a fair statement to describe these winter meetings as “another edition of Mozeliak’s Wait and See game”. We offered Scutaro 8 million a year. Whether you liked it or not, they made a significant offer and weren’t waiting and seeing. We already know they tried to get Cabrera and the Indians asked for too pitchign that we didn’t want to give up. I just totally disagree with your comments on this. They haven’t just at by and we don’t even know the half of what they’ve tried to do, I’m sure.

    • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

      I can understand your point. Still, Scutaro wasn’t a search for a more permanent solution, either. Mo seems content to be very cautious in the winter, preferring to wait until he knows for sure what isn’t working. Of the players we pursued this winter, only Cabrera had any lasting or permanent value, and the club didn’t chase him very hard.

      • Dan

        What do you mean by “permanent solution”? I think the entire baseball world acknowledges that we have that solution with the impending arrival of Wong. Granted he’s a prospect, but he is considered to be the answer at 2nd either sometime this year or next. I was very confused by the 2 year offer to Scutaro as I see a need for someone who can play SS either full time with Raph moving to 2nd or a 2nd who can adequately play SS when Raph gets hurt. I didn’t see Scutaro as that answer.

        I see the only long term being a SS but I do believe the club went after Cabrera but just didn’t want to part with all the pieces Cleveland wanted in return.

        I have no issue with them waiting to see what happens in spring. It’s is a good possibility that Wong can make the club and start at 2nd. If that’s the case, we’re set. Then if Furcal gets hurt, then we can look for that trade to find that long term solution at SS.

        I see no reason for anyone to have any negative feelings regarding Mo’s inactivity/inability regarding middle infield so far.

        • http://www.stlcardinalbaseball.com/ Ray DeRousse

          We haven’t had a permanent solution at either position in years. I didn’t like the Scutaro deal because of Wong (of course), but we still don’t have a solid SS plan. The Cabrera “deal” wasn’t really much of a deal; the Cards simply kicked the tires on it. I’d like to see some sort of more permanent solution at SS.

          • Dan

            100% agree.