The St. Louis Cardinals are not in decline
Can I vent for a minute? As a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I am tired of the narrative, that the Cubs are going to pass them up and that they won’t be on top for much longer. It really is annoying and whoever truly thinks that this is true, cannot possibly pay much attention to this team at all.
This team has continued to get better each year Mike Matheny has been the manager, this team won 100 games with Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday missing over half of the season. Not to mention the team has a budding ace in Carlos Martinez waiting to take the stage as the ace when Adam Wainwright hangs it up, a minor league system that continues to keep churning out top pitching prospect after top pitching prospect, and is starting to produce some offensive difference makers.
The Cubs and Joe Maddon may be the darlings of the media and the baseball world right now, but did we forget how the Mets’ pitching dominated them in the NLCS? Look, I know that the Cubs can only get better in terms of talent and performance, and their massive payroll will continue to get larger as they likely land another free agent pitcher. However, one cannot ignore that the Pirates and Cardinals aren’t simply going to lay down to the Cubs because all of baseball media is in love with them.
The past three years we’ve heard “The Pirates are coming, the Pirates are coming”, and look what happens each year. Clint Hurdle‘s team, as good as they are, still has not been able to surpass the top dog in the division. In my opinion the Pirates have had a more complete team each year than the Cubs have right now.
Gerrit Cole is a stud, and has proven that in each of the past three years. The Pirates also have top prospects waiting in the wings to replace guys like A.J. Burnett, they have gotten great performances from guys like J.A. Happ and Sean Rodriguez (despite his cooler abuse). They’ve had the Manager of the Year, Rookie of the Year candidates, and even an MVP in Andrew McCutchen. However, each year it has ended with them losing the division to the Cardinals.
It’s almost as if the Cubs’ have a stronghold on all of the good prospects in baseball and that no other team has a good enough farm system to rival the Cubs. He may be suspended for the first 40 games of this season, but the Cardinals have yet another top pitching prospect in Alex Reyes waiting in the wings to take his place in the rotation. The Cardinals have already been rumored to be ready to be a key player in the free agent market, potentially landing David Price or another key starting pitcher, or maybe even landing someone to fill the hole that is first base.
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may be good. However, we all know that really good pitching will always beat good hitting. Especially when you have guys that strikeout a lot, like Schwarber and Bryant. This Cardinals team isn’t going anywhere, they may struggle some offensively at times, but they will always have enough hitting to be good enough to the point that the pitching can take over and lead them to another division title.
Stephen Piscotty, Kolten Wong, Randal Grichuk, and Tommy Pham may not have been highly touted like Schwarber and Bryant. However, they are good enough for a team that will lean on strong pitching, despite losing Lance Lynn.
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This division may be a tough one, and will be a tough one for years. But, to assume that the Cardinals are going to fade away because baseball writers are buying the “Joe Maddon is a god” narrative is foolish. This team with Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak at the helm, will continue to be the team to beat in this division.