What a lovable mug! Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
After a wildly successful rebuilding year in 2013, the St. Louis Cardinals have several things to be thankful for, including the fact that they still have all of their draft picks and all of their young guns.
The constructive month of November welcomed two fresh faces to the starting line-up of the Gateway to the West’s ball club. Following a week when tears were shed as another hero heads for Anaheim, last week featured the baseball world pouting over the Cardinals signing a former PED user.
The microscope that examines St. Louis’ baseball organization is both deserving and flattering, but as General Manager John Mozeliak pointed out, there was nothing preventing Jhonny Peralta from getting the job, and the Cardinals are not MLB’s moral police.
Forgiveness is part of St. Louis and Leonard Little can attest to that.
Back up in baseball history to Mark McGwire’s tenure in St. Louis and recall the love he often got from the Birds on the Bat and the community. His two time former manager was conveniently oblivious. The images of Big Mac wearing glasses in court still it did not deter the Cardinals from naming him the hitting coach in late 2009. Nor did STL abandon him when his specs came off on television and he admitted cheating while weeping, rather they stood and cheered for him on opening day in 2010.
Now here we stand today up in arms over a guy who admitted he broke the rules. Signing a guy of Peralta’s caliber who was on top of the Yankee’s no-limit shopping list because of his versatility and power is not a traditional Redbirds move, but after being only two games away from their 12th championship, 2014 looks to enjoy a sense of urgency that was lacking before. Just like in 2009, the Cards wanted the best, not the cleanest.
The 2013 Cards lineup was top heavy like Pamela Anderson in 93’, however the 2014 squad will be both well rounded and fast like Katniss Everdeen. But there is no guarantee that the Birdinals are done spending or dealing. A prolific starter in their prime or a right handed utility guy with pop not named Ty Wigginton are both feasible.
Below are some specific individual and collective performances that already have plenty of pressure surrounding them.
- Will Matt Carpenter continue to be productive atop the order in STL in 2014, or will Peter Bourjos, Oscar Taveras or somehow Kolten Wong spend time leading off?
- Will the Cardinals starters and relievers have the same ability to obliterate offenses next season?
- Is Oscar Taveras going to start in St. Louis or in Memphis?
- Can Kolten Wong be what the Cardinals want him to be?
There is the possibility that Johnny Peralta turns out to be the most offensive St. Louis shortstop since the great Edgar Renteria. It is also in the cards that Peter Bourjos outshines the 50 million dollar man and wins a gold glove. Nevertheless, the most exciting question is what other moves the Cardinals will make before March and before the end of July.
Sep 1, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos (25) rounds third base in the sixth inning as third base coach Dino Ebell (21) gestures against the Tampa Bay Rays at Angel Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports