St. Louis Cardinals: Go Big or Go Home?
St. Louis Cardinals: Go Big or Go Home?
It is no secret that Cardinals Nation is voicing their displeasure of watching yet another MLB playoff without their team in it. A spoiled fan base in a lot of ways, yet I totally get it. (as the expectations of wanting to get to the playoffs in St. Louis, is more than say Seattle, Miami or San Diego).
Some fans want the Cardinals front office to “go big or go home”, claiming that the only two players they should target are the two biggest names on the market. Manny Machado & Bryce Harper. While I admit, either or both would not hurt my feelings to see wearing the Birds on a Bat, I personally don’t think it should be viewed as those two or bust.
Friend & fellow Cardinals Nation 24/7 blogger Brian Swope wrote a good piece on some current Arizona Diamondback players that may be enticing to the Cardinals. Patrick Corbin, A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt. You can read that here.
If any of you listen to the Two Birds on a Bat Podcast, host Jim Cromer had some great discussions with Josh Potter of Arch City Media and Cardinals Spanish broadcaster Bengie Molina on Manny Machado. On their 10/15 episode titled ‘Is it Manny or Bust?’, they gave their thoughts on the importance of this free agent off-season in regards to not only Machado, but some available bullpen arms as well. you can check that episode out here. http://content.blubrry.com/twobirdsonabit/2_Birds_On_A_Bat_Episode_203.mp3
One thing we can all agree on, is that the Cardinals can not go into 2019 with this current roster and expect much different results, even despite Mike Shildt being at the helm a full season.
Today it was announced that Jose Oquendo was stepping down from his 3B coach duties, and will help the organization from Jupiter, FL near his home. This change resulted in Pop Warner being named new 3B coach, Oliver Marmol moves from 1B coach to bench coach, George Greer returns to the minors, and Mark Budaska stays on the big league club as a second hitting coach. But this opens up 2 spots. A primary hitting coach and 1B coach.
John Mozeliak has said Memphis Redbirds Manager Stubby Clapp will be considered for either position, but there’s a strong belief that Clapp may get offered a manager position from another organization for 2019.
So, there’s obviously some changes to the coaching staff and there’s no reason for me to believe the current Cardinals roster will look identical to last year’s team either. Despite re-signing Adam Wainwright, there are a few players like Bud Norris, Tyson Ross & Matt Adams who are free agents and likely departing.
There’s also the rehabilitating Alex Reyes and hopefully a healthy Michael Wacha to consider in 2019.
The Cardinals have two players in Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil still on the books, but somehow, I think they will look to move on from one or both this off-season.
Current players Jose Martinez, Jedd Gyorko, Greg Garcia, Yairo Munoz and Patrick Wisdom are all bench players at best, and should not be vying for starting positions for the Cardinals next season.
Guys like Josh Donaldson, Mike Moustakas, D.J. LeMahieu, Jose Iglesias, might be of some interest if St. Louis doesn’t go the route of Machado/Harper, or become possible trade partners for say a Goldschmidt.
Granted, this Cardinals team does indeed have a plethora of young arms that could take the next step in maturing next season, or would be hot commodities as trade bait to land some help if the front office went that direction.
It shouldn’t be overlooked however, that while the bullpen has been an issue for St. Louis, those young arms are still intriguing. That doesn’t mean that John Mozeliak should say he’s “comfortable” going forward with so many available ‘stoppers’ out there.
Jeurys Familia, David Robertson, Craig Kimbrel, Joe Kelly, Andrew Miller, Kelvin Herrera, Zach Britton, Cody Allen, A.J. Ramos and others field a pretty strong relief market that the Cardinals could & should tap into.
In my opinion, a consistently proven offensive threat should be the first point of focus for St. Louis. Although I wouldn’t want to see this off-season be a waiting game for the likes of only Machado & Harper. They can make strong offers to either of those players, knowing it will only cost a ton of money and no prospects, but, if the Cardinals put all of their eggs in that basket without taking a hard look at the second-tier bats, and strong relief available, they do risk looking very similar to the 2018 team. ... and that just can’t happen with realistic expectations of getting over the hump.
With that said, if the Cardinals don’t ‘go big or go home’, they will be staying at home yet again in 2019 watching the playoffs instead of participating in them, and John Mozeliak could be next on the chopping block despite competing during the regular season. Just ask Mike Matheny how much regular season success matters.
Thanks for reading