The St. Louis Cardinals traded Matt Adams to the Atlanta Braves last month. The move was appropriate and reinvigorated the left-handed slugger. It has also shed light on a REAL problem facing the Cardinals.
The St. Louis Cardinals had exhausted their use of left-handed first baseman Matt Adams. With Matt Carpenter moving full-time to first, the Cards did not need a second left-handed hitter to man the position. In addition, Adams was flailing to say the least.
The general thought was that Adams had reached the end of the rope with the Cardinals and even fans- me included- were begging for him to be sent elsewhere. Many of these fans- me included- believed that Adams needed a change of pace and needed to be away from John Mabry.
And the change of pace and scenery was exactly what Adams got in his new home of Atlanta. This change provided incredibly positive results for Adams. Prior to his St. Louis Cardinals departure, Adams was hitting .292/.340/.396 in just forty-eight at-bats. Since joining Atlanta, Adams is hitting .306/.361/.658.
Clearly he is responding better to a few things: additional and regular playing time, and a different hitting coach not named Mabry. That said, reports are surfacing that there is more in play than just the additional playing time and difference of coaching staff. In recent days, Adams has reported increased joy. Here, take a look at a few:
Quote, “I’m having fun…AGAIN.” Again. Every single player performs better when they are having fun. We all know that. But, to me, his statements indicate that he wasn’t having fun with the St. Louis Cardinals.
I’m not alone in this conclusion either:
Something is amiss in the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse for sure. Is this Mabry as I’m quick to point to or something else? Perhaps it has a lot to do with the players…
“…from teammates of his that I’ve known for a long time…” If former teammates of Adams (for those who don’t know, Adams has only played for the Cardinals organization in his career) are texting an opposing manager in favor of a departed player, doesn’t that show discontent at the player level?
"“The players don’t like their manager. If that doesn’t tell you something, you’re simply not listening.” -@stlCupofJoe"
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Clearly, the management of the St. Louis Cardinals should start listening. If the problem is a Mike Matheny problem, then fix it. If the problem is a John Mabry problem, then fix it. If the problem is a player chemistry issue, then fix it. Bottom line: fix the problem.
The St. Louis Cardinals might win against the bottom-dwelling teams, but until they have fun winning and losing, the loss streaks are likely to continue. The time has come for the Cardinals to return to the kind of fun exemplified in the Carlos Martinez water splash celebrations.
What do you think? What changes need to occur on this team to generate fun again? Let me know on Twitter and thanks for reading!