The title tells it all.
All the eggs are in the basket of Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter and Yadier Molina. For the past several years the Cardinals organization have leaned on them pretty heavily. In order for the Cardinals to breakout, they are going to need the play of those with a shimmering of light like Harrison Bader and Kolten Wong to become bona fide big leaguers to the first degree.
….. and then with one-year contracts the Cardinals, are counting on Paul Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna to have great seasons. One year, people. After that, the organization is counting on enticing them to stay in St. Louis. If they have those great seasons then their contract demands are going to exceed what owner DeWitt hands out.
Let’s get a bit more specific. It is a nice gesture for the Cardinals to take care of (born in 1981) Adam Wainwright. Loyalty is a lost art. But let’s face it, he isn’t close to his glory days in terms of performance on the field. Yes, he is a plus to have around and work with the young pitchers in relaxed and in-game situations. However, to count on him to be any more than an average pitcher for the entire season is rather silly. In May, Adam Wainwright was quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch as saying the Cardinal fans deserve better from his performance as a starter. He gets it.
Matt Carpenter (born in 1985) is aging on the field. He is a very streaky bat that has put the team in jeopardy early last season with his ineffective bat. The only thing that got him going was when manager Mike Matheny had to pinch hit for him (since he was really bad early) and his pride was hurt. He got better for quite a while but faltered when needed badly in September. His recent inability to change his game has become an albatross. He has shown the inabilty to change his batting approach to counteract the shift. That hurts. Another thing about Carpenter is the fact that he has to lollipop the ball to first base and now that he is expected to play third base, that becomes magnified. The Cardinals want to crow about how batted balls will have a difficult time getting through the right side of the infield but they don’t want to mention the left side.
Then we have Yadier Molina (born in 1982) who is the heart and soul of this team. There is nothing to harp on here about how he plays or hits nor handle the pitchers. The issue is going to come to a point when and if he gets hurt. No capable backup on the field nor a good hitting catcher is on the roster to take over for the Cardinals. I still have trust in Yadi but all the work is taking a toll on his body.
The next oldest player that is on the field regularly is (born in 1986) Dexter Fowler. We know hat happened last year but the hope is that it is an anomaly. I am ready to give him that chance but the age thing is catching up.
Who’s the Next Star?
Is it possible to rely on Harrison Bader to become a star? In my estimation, he will and is a defensive star. That is good to have in his position in the outfield. With that said, he doesn’t show the makeup to become an offensive juggernaut. He will hit for extra-base hits and an occasional home run but that appears to be his limits.
The same kind of things can be said about Kolten Wong. He is a defensive wizard but lacks a consistent approach at the plate. He lacks power for the most part and is a bottom of the order guy until he can reach base more often.
Tyler O’Neill is a wildcard on this roster as it remains to be seen if he gets regular playing time. President of Baseball Operation John Mozeliak stated that O’Neill could become an elite hitter.
The pitching staff is stacked with young pitchers that have the ability to be very, very good but the other eight positions are lacking star power with longevity. The Cardinals need to get better with young players. It’s a must to consider some of the free agents that can man the field for the team for the next 5-8 years. Let’s get younger!