This was a disappointing trade deadline, to say the least. The problem is, the St. Louis Cardinals may not face consequences for their lack of action.
Let’s all flashback to just over a year ago to right before the All-Star break in 2018. The St. Louis Cardinals were hovering around .500 and there was a growing online mob of fans who were calling for our old friend Mike Matheny’s head.
The team made no comments about his job security and all seemed well at the surface level between the manager and the front office. Then one day after a particularly bad series against the cellar-dwelling Cincinnati Reds, the announcement came that Matheny was fired. Fans had wanted it for a while but it was more or less out of the blue.
It was almost like a burst of energy for the club and with all due respect to Matheny, everyone was very happy with the move, to say the least. I am sure I’m not alone when I say that the parallels between the growing mob calling for Matheny’s head then and the same feeling now.
If the feeling wasn’t there before, yesterday’s uneventful Trade Deadline certainly recruited plenty of fans to the #FIREMO twitter mob. I’m not here to call for Mo’s head, but I am here to set clear what Mo is setting himself up for.
Mo has picked his hill. He is already getting criticized more than I think Matheny was, but with his inability to make moves, he has stapled his card on this year’s iteration of the Cardinals team. As it is…warts and all.
I really feel like this Deadline might’ve scarred some fans. Even if the team makes the playoffs, with how much Mo and Girsch said they were going to make additions to the team and then weren’t able to make it happen, I don’t think it’s going to going to be something that will be quickly forgotten.
“All-in for 2019” never happened.
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Prices on top players seemed like they were sky high, so I don’t blame them for not going after the top end of talent, but there had to be something they could’ve done.
There is, of course, a world where Mo stays untouchable. If the team doesn’t make the playoffs, Mo may still be here for years to come and I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. I am not in the #FIREMO camp, but I do think Mo really needs to find the part of himself that he knew in 2011 when he wasn’t gunshy.
He used to have it in him, there’s not really any reason why he couldn’t find it again. Continuing to view the team’s talent, the Trade Deadline and free agency the way Mo has in the past four years is likely not going to work anymore.
On the bright side, the team is still in first place. Paul Goldschmidt is hot, and Mo might be right about this team. He is hanging his hat on it this year and the talent he has been unwilling to give up could be worthwhile. If Tyler O’Neill or Harrison Bader were too valuable to give up to fix your biggest need in a trade for Zack Wheeler, Mo better hope those two are worth it. If he’s wrong though, there will be consequences. That’s all I will say.
John Mozeliak has chosen the 2019 Cardinals as they are to stand on and present as his work for this year. He tried to acquire talent and failed. Mo was honest that he was unwilling to move the top two prospects, Dylan Carlson or Nolan Gorman, but it’s a huge disappointment that there was no middle ground to be found between moving them or doing nothing.
Again, we could all be wrong and Mo could be right. This team could figure it’s stuff out and go on to win the World Series. That won’t change the bad thought processes that led to good results. Mo knows fans are frustrated, he is too. That won’t keep fans from calling for his head.