The St. Louis Cardinals are right where they have been all year, just hanging on in the standings. Do they deserve the playoffs?
Obviously, as a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I want them to make the playoffs. I want them to win, I want them to be good, I want them to win another World Series.
The problem I have with them making the playoffs this year is that they will be doing so with a flawed process. That is what I don’t like. Making the playoffs with a flawed process will do nothing to grow the team long term. Making the playoffs after how the team has been run this year will just reinforce a bad process, making it seem like it’s okay when in reality it isn’t.
This team doesn’t deserve to make the playoffs? Not even a little bit. They still may though.
This season had one of the most energetic beginnings and the biggest letdowns. After the team’s acquisition of the best bat (Paul Goldschmidt) and best reliever (Andrew Miller) and a 20-10 record over the first month of the year, it finally seemed like the team would be destined to dethrone the Cubs and make the playoffs confidently.
Fast forward to the Trade Deadline and after the team responded to criticism by the front office, the front office failed the team by not making a single addition on July 31st after stating publicly that they were going to change their plan of attack and buy.
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Since then, the team has proven just how broken they are by losing series to the Astros and the Dodgers showcasing the underpowered offense that the front office has provided them.
More than that, the team refuses to call up the hottest hitter in the entire minor leagues, Randy Arozarena, from AAA. He is batting .374 at Memphis this year and .417 over his last 10 games. What more does he need to show you?
The only defense the team has given is that they won’t be able to find a place on the 40-man for him or playing time. As Kevin Wheeler frequently says on 101 ESPN, “God forbid we lose Tyler Webb or Rangel Rovelo…” That’s who is apparently keeping Arozarena away. A middling lefty reliever and a career minor leaguer who would likely both pass through waivers AS THEY HAVE BEFORE.
As for playing time, the Cardinals couldn’t possibly take playing time in the outfield away from utility infielders, Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz. Both of them have shared time at outfield spots while actual outfielder, Lane Thomas has rotted on the bench. Edman admitted himself that he hadn’t played OF since little league. Now he’s starting there regularly. It’s ridiculous.
There is no logical reason why Arozarena hasn’t been called up and been given a starting job no matter who is being sat. This is an MLB team. Feelings can’t be a worry when the team is fighting for a playoff spot.
Those frustrations with the front office and Mike Shildt are very wrong, but it remains that the team is still just two games behind the Cubs and a half-game out of a Wildcard spot. If the team had a tough schedule the rest of the way, the playoffs would be out of the question.
The team is currently on pace for 83 wins. That’s three fewer than last year with arguably a better team. This team is simply not that good, and the systems that the manager and front office have in place are flawed. The only reason this team is where they are in the standings is because of the down years the rest of the NL Central have had. That’s it.
It could work out for them this year, but I worry that it working this year will make leadership think it is okay to try and repeat these systems. It’s not. Any fan can see that the way this team is run is flawed yet nightly Shildt or Mo try and feed fans lies that everything is all fine and dandy.
The changes needed aren’t hard. Just field the best 9 men, the best 25-man roster, and find the middle ground for upgrades midseason. Those two things didn’t happen this year, and a good result from it will be a farce.
The Cardinals have proven they can beat mediocre teams, which is why the chance for the playoffs remains. The team has proven to be severely outmatched against the best of the best, but for the rest of the season, (not counting Sunday) they play predominantly losing teams and have seven of their last ten games against the Cubs. If they keep beating up on mediocre teams, they have a chance.
The season could come down to how the team plays in those last ten games against the Cubs. The broken processes the team has shown this year continue the fall from grace the team has seen the last four years. Right now the process should be way more important to focus on than the wins. This team needs a serious psychological overhaul. The way to correct this way of thinking is murky at this point with the current front office and dugout personnel.