Grading Mozeliak, Girsch and the St. Louis Cardinals front office at the season’s midway point

Aug 24, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch looks on during a ceremony prior to the start of a game against the Colorado Rockies during an MLB Players' Weekend game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager Mike Girsch looks on during a ceremony prior to the start of a game against the Colorado Rockies during an MLB Players' Weekend game at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /
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Willson Contreras. Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
Willson Contreras. Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports /

Free agency

The big offseason free agent splash in St. Louis involved the signing of catcher Willson Contreras, formerly of the Cubs. The Cards needed somebody to step in for the retired Yadier Molina, and Contreras was available, although at a premium cost. The Cardinals got Contreras through 2028 at a cost of just under $100 million.

What did they get? Apparently, they got a catcher they’re not happy with; less than two months into the season, the Cardinals abruptly decided Contreras was better suited somewhere beside behind the plate.

The uproar that change of plans created forced a rethinking within the week, but it didn’t change the numbers. Contreras finishes the first half of his first season in St. Louis batting just .215 with sharply negative defensive numbers.

In his final season, veteran pitcher Adam Wainwright has been even more of a liability than Contreras. Signed for that career swan song season, Wainwright looks like a guy who didn’t know when to go home: He’s carrying a 7.45 ERA in 10 starts, good for a -1.4 WAA.

Reliever Giovanny Gallegos got a friendly extension through 2025, the result being a 4.83 ERA in 30 appearances and a -0.4 WAA.

Overall the Cardinals signed, re-signed or extended seven players, not one of whom has produced a positive return on their investment.