Subscribe for 99¢
Cardinals face Brewers in second game of final homestand

Cardinals relief pitcher Brett Cecil, after giving up a homer to Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers on Sept. 25, 2018. Photo by Robert Cohen,

QUESTION: What do the following players have in common: Leake, Cecil, Fowler, Gregerson? They were all middle-tier free agents. Do the Cardinals recognize their lack of success with mid-tier FAs? If so, will they switch to signing a smaller number of top tier free agents, or will they cite the lack of success with the mid-tier as a reason to not play in the deep end of the pool?

GOOLD: They do recognize it. It would be hard not to recognize it. It's only been the topic I've asked most about at winter meetings in each of the past two years, especially as Mozeliak and his group made the point that they would prefer to trade for those players (Ozuna, Goldschmidt) then chase them on the open market.

But, yes, this is a common topic, and ongoing discussion, and it's something that the Cardinals can provide answers for with their actions. Call it the puke point. Call it the pain point. Call it a reach, a leap, a break from character, whatever. The Cardinals have remained in the middle because a lot of times they sign from the middle, and that perpetuates being in the middle -- which, as we've discussed many times, is the worst place to be these days in baseball.