St. Louis Cardinals: Before worrying about Kimbrel, worry about us

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Nike promotional sign of pitcher Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox on the ground after the Boston Red Sox Victory Parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 31: Nike promotional sign of pitcher Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox on the ground after the Boston Red Sox Victory Parade on October 31, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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Much to the chagrin of many St. Louis Cardinals fans, the Chicago Cubs signed free agent reliever Craig Kimbrel to a 3 year, $43M deal

There is obviously much reason for St. Louis Cardinals fans to be annoyed at this turn of events. After all, there are 29 other teams that fans would much rather see Craig Kimbrel on, though my number is somewhere around 26 (yea, I really do hate the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers a little too much).

Whatever the case may be, the Cubs picking up an elite bullpen arm and filling a need is certainly an issue, but it’s not one that the St. Louis Cardinals have the luxury to focus on. Sure, it makes the games against the Cubs more difficult, but I think we have to pump the brakes a little bit.

If the Cardinals are .500, it won’t really matter whether or not the Cubs have Craig Kimbrel or Craig Counsell as their closer this year. Before the Cardinals focus on how they are going to deal with this new look Cubs bullpen, they should focus on what they need to do to get back to playing at the level their talent has fans thinking they should play.

As crazy as it may sound, while the bullpen isn’t elite, having the Hicks, Gant, Brebbia combo has been enough to keep the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen in the top 10 in ERA, which makes it a bit difficult to pin the bullpen as an immediate need when Genesis Cabrera is making starts.

The St. Louis Cardinals need to focus on one thing: playing back up to par. It will be hard for some of the players to return to the form they were at during the Cards 20-10 start, but they can get back up to a sustainable level of play, and it starts without the Cardinals needing to worry about Craig Kimbrel.

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Possibly taking some lessons from the Redbirds’ Greg Holland fiasco, Cubs manager Jon Maddon told media that Kimbrel will not be ready to play in games for 3 weeks. Funny enough, guess who plays the Cubs during that span?

Yep, St. Louis has a 3 game series with the Cubs starting tomorrow. Winning that series will bring the Cardinals within a game and a half on the Cubs and possibly the division lead.

If there is anything the Craig Kimbrel did, it made this next series a bit more important to capitalize on. This trade does make the Cubs better, but it doesn’t make them that much scarier. It makes the win condition a bit more strict, but achieving that win condition can completely and entirely neutralize this move.

The St. Louis Cardinals simply need to build a lead off of the starters, which is something that is well within reason. They certainly have been playing decently enough, but the rotation of Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Jose Quintana, and Yu Darvish is something I may have been afraid of 3 years ago, but certainly not today.

Next. Genesis Cabrera wasn’t ready for the MLB. dark

If the Cardinals can get themselves back together and get out of some of these slumps, they should have to tools to minimize Kimbrel’s effect on them. There will be games where the Cardinals will in fact have to face dealing with him down a few runs, but keeping those moments in control is a very reasonable goal for the team to have against the Cubs and Craig Kimbrel.

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