St. Louis Cardinals: How to fix this team, offense edition
The St. Louis Cardinals’ offense has fired on all cylinders as of late, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still improve.
The St. Louis Cardinals have hit a wall, again. After breaking off an impressive eight game win streak, the team seems to have reverted back to its old self. This team has holes, it’s obvious, and while the offense has seen improvement of late, it is still far from perfect. In the second part of a three-part series on how to fix this team, the focus will be on the offense.
The Cardinals have been scoring runs in bunches. Their recent tear, dating back weeks, has been extremely impressive. Top to bottom it seems like guys are contributing. While it may seem odd to nitpick the one part of the team that is successful, there are definitely areas that could be improved.
Paul Dejong has had an impressive rookie campaign. Thanks to his success he finds himself slotted right into the three-hole in the current lineup. For a rookie, this is not only impressive, but rare. To expect Dejong to stay slotted in the three-hole going into next season is a little bit unfair to the young shortstop.
Dejong has been more than what anyone had expected. The twenty home runs and nearly .300 average would be in conversation for Rookie of the Year most seasons (thanks Cody Bellinger). Expecting that to continue into his sophomore season, without any sort of dip in production, isn’t realistic.
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Dejong is still at a point where teams are working on figuring him out. Once they get a better read on him, things will get far more difficult for him.
If the Cardinals want to fix this offense, the biggest move is bringing in a true three hitter.
Names like Josh Donaldson, Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton would be perfect. A star in the middle of an order strikes fear into opposing teams and has a collected benefit to the rest of the lineup.
So far this season, the team has had to piece together lineups to be competitive. If this team added a solid three-hitter, and built around that, fans would see far more consistency than they have seen to this point.
This is to take nothing away from Dejong, though. He has been extremely impressive. Being able to move Dejong down in the order to say four or five would mean this team is improving. Cardinal fans cannot be blinded by the success of the lineup over the last few weeks; the previous three months should be remembered very well.
The inconsistency of the offense before the latest spurt is more of a microcosm of where this team is in comparison to one of the best offenses in the league.
The next question facing this team when it comes to the offense is Jedd Gyorko. The last month has been full of ups and downs for Gyorko. From being the most consistent producer for the offense in the first half to hitting a prolonged slump that dropped his average and his place in the lineup.
Is Jedd Gyorko an everyday player? Can the team rely on him for 162 games? These are questions the front office will have to answer.
If the team decides that Gyorko would be better as a super utility player, they will have to find enough playing time for him to make it so his bat doesn’t completely disappear. If they believe he is their third basemen, then they may have to have a better backup option than a Greg Garcia. Garcia has had to play a lot more recently and while he has been remotely successful, it is hard to believe there aren’t better options.
The St. Louis Cardinals are not out of this race. They have shown this team has the ability to go on a run. But, John Mozeliak is a smart man and it would be irresponsible to not be looking toward how to improve this team for the future. Whatever happens the rest of this season, changes need to be made if this team is going to compete in 2018.