The St Louis Cardinals Burned by Hot Stove

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The St Louis Cardinals suffer as the 2015-2016 offseason continues to challenge players, team doctors and John Mozeliak.

The St Louis Cardinals and all of Cardinal Nation suffered the worst October-December offseason that I can remember. First we lose Lance Lynn for the year to Tommy John surgery.

Then John Lackey and Jason Heyward head north to Wrigleyville and now Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk undergo surgeries. It tastes like a very nasty sandwich of injuries, losses to hurricane Cubtrina, and then even more injuries. Give us a break… PLEASE.

On the positive side, we still possess the ability to acquire players using cash reserves and can further leverage a farm system that continues to produce. The free agent market has some decent players left that may require some flexibility in “the Cardinal way” in order to bridge the gap.

Alex Gordon, Justin Upton and Yoenis Céspedes could help in the outfield, but were categorized by John Mozeliak to not fit our needs. Maybe the players in the farm system “fit” like Mo wants.

The farm clubs will get pushed early this year as players like Tim Cooney and Luke Weaver may be needed sooner than later. That’s not excluding the efforts we will need from 2015 farm club call-ups like Stephen Piscotty, Tommy PhamTyler Lyons and Greg Garcia either.

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Some of these players must do more than simply fill a spot on the 40-man roster in a call-up role. They must contribute regularly with offense, pitching and defense. Industry insiders point to the farm system as a positive, but also write about the terrible offseason we’ve been having.

In his article Inside Baseball: Hot Stove’s mid-point winners and others; plus MLB notes, Jon Heyman ranked the St Louis Cardinals as the biggest losers. He gives the organization credit while making good points in his piece on this Hot Stove season as he highlights how things look.

"They’ll probably figure it out, they always do. But insult was added to injury when Lackey and Heyward both bolted for less loot with the rival Cubs. Lance Lynn needed Tommy John surgery, Yadier Molina needed a second thumb surgery and Randal Grichuk had a sports hernia.While only Lynn is expected to miss time (he’ll be out for all of ’16) that’s a lot of pain. GM John Mozeliak says not to expect a “dynamic” signing now after offering $190 million for Price and $200 million for Heyward. But the Cardinals look significantly weakened from a year ago."

When looking at all 30 major league clubs, the St Louis Cardinals experienced the most setbacks since September 2015. We not only lost players, but lost them to a division rival that equates to fewer wins for us and more wins for the Cubs.

The Dodgers rank as the other playoff contender that look considerably weaker with the loss of Zach Greinke plus issues with Justin Turner’s knee. Arizona added Shelby Miller along with Grienke to bolster their atrating staff and will take wins away from Los Angeles.

The teams that gained the most? The Cubs come in at #4 on Heyman’s list behind the aforementioned Diamondbacks and Giants who finished #2 and #3.

"They won three key players despite being outbid for all three, as Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist and John Lackey all decided to sacrifice millions to join the party at Addison and Clark. Can’t blame ’em.Heyward may not be a middle-of-the-order bat, but he’s one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, an excellent baserunner and a clubhouse plus. He and Lackey also diminish the rival Cardinals by moving 200 miles to the north."

The biggest winner thus far? The team that outbid the Cardinals for David Price lead all others this offseason. Good news – they aren’t in our division or the NL. Bad news – they finish as our number one nemesis in the American League having won two World Series battles in the past 11 seasons. Damn those Red Sox.

Next: What leftover free agents can help the St Louis Cardinals?

Plenty of heavy lifting remains before opening day 2016 and our leadership knows it. Expect some wins over the next three months with acquisitions of players across the spectrum of our needs.

They already have the starting pitching pickup of Mike Leake, trades are being discussed, and some outfield depth before and during Spring training could be had. Why? Because we gotta.

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