Will the St. Louis Cardinals battle for first with the acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt? Will Goldschmidt add or subtract with the present chemistry with the pressure mounting, and can Goldschmidt lead St. Louis to a division title for the first time since 2015?
The offseason for the St. Louis Cardinals has been arguably among the best ever, but will October bring a trick or a treat for the Cardinals season? While anything is possible, it’s hard to believe that the trade for Paul Goldschmidt will not be viewed as a monumental success, seeing as they only had to give up a pitcher who was underachieving, a talented catcher blocked by a future Hall of Famer, and a prospect outside of the organization’s top 30.
This fan is already excited. The one year left on his current deal will hopefully motivate Mr. Goldschmidt; and the entire fan base will be cheering for Paul Goldschmidt right from the first at bat.
Will we even remember who the St. Louis Cardinals gave up to acquire the slugger when the Cardinals have the potential to sign the All-Star first baseman to an additional few years? Maybe, because while the Goldschmidt signing is a major turning point in the team’s trajectory, questions have to be answered before we can truly anoint them as contenders
Can the Redbirds clubhouse become an atmosphere of one pulling for the other? That environment has been present to an extent through the struggles, but there was clear discord between ex-manager Mike Matheny and players. With a manager who is as respected internally as Mike Shildt is, I am expecting it to be no problem, even given Shildt’s inexperience.
Can Marcell Ozuna and Goldschmidt become a solid one two punch on other teams? Ozuna might be the one who benefits the most from this move. He was never in the position to be “the guy” in Miami, batting behind Giancarlo Stanton most of his career. Having a bum shoulder when you’re thrust into a position you aren’t ready for certainly doesn’t help either.
Goldschmidt’s bat should provide a similar effect for Ozuna, as he reverts back to his role as a safety bat for the true slugger in the lineup.
Will St. Louis management use Paul Goldschmidt at other positions? He has been at first base for his entire career, but the Cardinals have placed players in new fielding spots before. Goldschmidt’s overall fielding ability might be at a point where he can move to other spots without much of a drop off from the player that was there before, specifically at third base.
Matt Carpenter‘s noodle arm at third base has been much maligned, so it would be ideal to somehow have Marp on first. If Goldschmidt can somewhat translate his defensive game from one corner to the other, it could have dramatic effects on the Cardinals defense.
The mental grind for players is something to keep in mind as well. After three consecutive missed postseasons followed by an offseason raid, expectations are high and the pressure is palpable. St. Louis needs to keep Paul Goldschmidt and the rest of the Redbirds fresh, so this should motivate management to use their talents in spots where they can succeed.
Hopefully developing secondary positions in the field for all Redbirds that can develop, push their talent to new levels. Guys like Marp and Yairo Munoz have played multiple positions before, and utility players have always had a spot on the Cardinals roster. However, with Munoz’s defense under scrutiny and Greg Garcia departing from the team, there is no true utility player off the bench, making secondary positions on the starters a factor for 2019.
The signing of batting coach Jeff Albert via Houston should pay significant dividends with a cut down on strikeouts and the birds on the bat will make consistent contact.This should help Paul Goldschmidt and the rest of the Cardinals.
Hit and runs, timely steals, hitting behind the runners, taking the extra base. The teams of Cardinal past did this when legends Jack Buck and Mike Shannon called the games for the Redbirds in the early to mid 80’s.
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With this style, a Goldschmidt-led core will have an abundant amount of RBI chances in key situations. The Cardinals have gotten away from this style in recent years, but improvements in these areas will help with a better mental condition to grind out situations throughout the year.
When injuries and streaks hit, as they do for every team, the St. Louis Cardinals will need to ensure that they work on becoming better at coping with the mental grind. The pressure to perform at an elite level far beyond what you have done in the past several years could also help keep players focused on their approach to their own personal conditioning for the physical grind as well.
There is a lot to dissect with the expectations placed on this new Cardinals team, but one man has the power to make much of this obsolete. Can this 6 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glover, and 4 time Silver Slugger come to camp ready to lead his first year with the Redbirds?
It might seem obvious to excited St. Louis Cardinals fans, so I will be straight and to the point.
Paul Goldschmidt should thrive with his new team of Redbirds.
Will this translate on paper to the field, and, lead the St. Louis Cardinals into a recipe that has success in 2019, compete for a division title, Wild Card appearance, will they become a solid chance to win it all? I think it’s time we can finally start asking those questions.
The answer to the age-old question “Will the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series this year?” could finally be a valid one again, and while the answer isn’t clear, it starts with the return to an old Cardinals brand of baseball, and how Paul Goldschmidt will take this brand to the next level.