Can Cardinals take advantage of slow offseason?
I should say it’s embarrassing for the fans. I don’t think the Cardinals’ front office seems to care at all what happens around it. We’ve already been told not to expect any major moves before spring training. It’s just hard to take it sitting down when the team the Cardinals were going to have to battle for second place and a wild-card berth, the Milwaukee Brewers, goes out and makes two big splashes.
On Thursday, the Brew Crew landed former Miami Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich, long rumored to be of interest to the Redbirds because of his excellent all-around play and his team-friendly contract. But before the buzz on the Internet could even start to die down regarding that deal, Milwaukee landed former Kansas City Royals star outfielder Lorenzo Cain. Speculation immediately began that the Brewers were working on trying to land a starting pitcher with their surplus parts left over from their new acquisitions, maybe even targeting Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays.
The result is the Brewers have a killer top five of their batting order. They greatly improved their team defense and their team speed. And if they can add a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with. The might even be able to make a play for the division title. I’d heard a lot of speculation lately that Cain might end up in Chicago himself. But I believe the Cubs have held back on adding an outfielder with plans to make a run at Bryce Harper in a year when he hits free agency.
It was nice for the Cardinals to land Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. And the Cardinals managed to add a couple of relief arms, signing righty Luke Gregerson away from the Houston Astros and trading Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for middle reliever Dominic Leone. But it seemed like the club decided to stop shopping for help when it should have just been getting started. There are still gaping holes to fill on a club that has no obvious closer and more questions than answers when it comes to the starting rotation.
The bottom line is the Cardinals finished in third place last season in their division, nine games behind the Chicago Cubs and three games behind Milwaukee. So it’s disturbing that it seems the Cubs and Brewers will do more to try to get better for the 2018 campaign than St. Louis. While the Cardinals have made no move to replace former closer Trevor Rosenthal, the Cubs signed Brandon Morrow. While the Birds have made no overtures toward re-signing or replacing workhorse starting pitcher Lance Lynn, looking to replace him with a former MLB washout who was toiling in Japan, Chicago has signed Tyler Chatwood and is said to be talking to its own free-agent hurler, Jake Arrieta, as well as potential imports Alex Cobb and Yu Darvish.
I really don’t get the St. Louis front office’s complete lack of urgency. I am interested to see what the young pitchers and outfielders can do. But if this club isn’t going to add to its firepower this offseason, when it’s flush with cash and has obvious needs, then when?