There seems to be one big question coming from the fans this off-season. Will the Cardinals spend the money to get a superstar? There hasn’t really been a a superstar in St Louis since Pujols left after the 2011 season. The fans, the commentators, the couch GM’s are all seemingly are calling for at least one big signing. It has been 7 years since this team had a “superstar,” it is just time, right? Three years of missing October ball is enough. Mozeliak addressed that 88 wins is just not good enough. They will be making what they see as the correct moves this offseason, and there is a possibility of a massive free agent signing.
Enter Bryce Harper… Manny Machado……. Josh Donaldson? Anybody who has a big name, or a big reputation? Anybody?
Here’s the deal, there will be 25 men on the active roster on opening day, and one “big move” is not going to fix every single problem that the club has. If that was the case, The Orioles would have won more than 47 games this season. The Nationals would have made a post season berth or made it past the NLDS just once since Harper showed up. These teams had two of the biggest names in baseball. Giancarlo Stanton couldn’t save the Yankees during the ALDS. wait. He struck out 6 out of 18 times that series, no home runs and didn’t walk. None of these players have been heroes in the post season so far.
“You can’t sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and kill the clock. You’ve got to throw the ball over the d*** plate and give the other man his chance. That is why greatest game of them all” -Earl Weaver. Hall of fame manager, author and television broadcaster.
This is baseball, and there isn’t a Lebron James, or a Tom Brady that can be inserted into the roster and create a dynasty. If Moneyball and Sabermetrics have taught us anything, there is more value in analytics than flashy, showy big name and big salary baseball.
The question is, do we want to win a world series, or do we want to have one big player to buzz about as we win 88 games next year and miss the playoffs again. What is the solution to getting us over the hump? There is a need for a star, right?
Wait, have we forgotten about one of the biggest pillars of this organization? Yadier Molina is still here. He is still leading this team and playing like he is still the best catcher in the game. There is a bigger, more glaring issue here, and it seems nobody is talking about. What are we going to do when Yadi retires? This is a guy who has been here through 2 world series, and has been a staple in this team, and he does not qualify as a superstar?
Okay you’re right, he doesn’t hit like a superstar, but watch just one game, and pay attention to Yadi behind the plate. He commands the team like nobody else. He moves defenders, controls pitchers, and commands the defense like he is the manager. There was talk about the possibility this mid-season of a player manager situation. The departure of Mike Matheny opened a door for Yadi to potentially be leading this team. It didn’t happen, but you don’t earn that conversation when you are just some mediocre player.
In the not too distant future, some young catcher will have big shoes to fill when Molina retires. The question is, who will lead this team, and can anybody replace Molina? It does’t have to be the catcher, but we will need a veteran leader. Do we trust that Harper or Machado can take that responsibility? If there is any doubt, then they are not the “superstar” that we need. We need that veteran leadership that can guide this young roster into the postseason. We do need a lasting franchise player to transition in, while Molina transitions out.
The simple answer to fixing this team is to let the managers, coaches, front office, and team do their jobs. There isn’t a one stop shop in baseball to fix every single need. If we get a superstar, great. If we don’t, well then let’s go get players that can win a championship. The defense needs some work, the bull pen needs adjusting, the young arms need some relief, and players need to get healthy mentally and physically. Signing one of the big players to a 300-million-dollar contract isn’t going to cripple the organization, but it also won’t solve all of our other problems either.
So, do we need a superstar? It’s not my place to say. But personally, I believe we shouldn’t overpay for talent that isn’t worth it. A long-term signing could be great, but if they aren’t good for the clubhouse in every way that you expect from a franchise player, don’t waste the money. If you are chasing a name just to make fans happy, then the fans will be crushed seeing year after year of what we have seen recently. But we have to trust Mo, if he fails, it may be his last year commanding our off-season.
It’s going to be a long off-season. While it technically it hasn’t even started yet, here we are sitting on pins and needles waiting to see what happens. The anticipation is building every minute, and most of us can’t wait to get answers. Something will happen this offseason, but we have to sit back and wait, hope and get excited.
Perhaps next year the stars align, and we find ourselves playing games at this time next year. Hopefully we find ourselves shattering the competition and advancing through an NLCS and gunning for another trip to the World Series. This team has potential, and each season is a fresh slate. No matter what happens, we will be in the fight next year.
Maybe we will be there with another Cardinal superstar.
What a story that would be, how can we not be romantic about baseball?
Thanks for reading,