2. Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina
“When an Old Cricketer Leaves the Crease” – Roy Harper
It is like driving a car over 200,000 miles. You know it is going to break down, you just don’t know when. But it’s your favorite car. And you’re going to “Miss it When It’s Gone.”
Just like you need to have money saved up before the car gives out, the Cardinals will need to spend a lot of time, energy and money (that they probably don’t have, see issue #1) on what comes after Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina depart the stage.
A dependable number three starter will have to be minted to take Wainwright’s place eventually (Fangraphs and Baseball Reference disagree wildly over who our number two starter was this year, but Waino was definitely number three).
Catcher is the most important position on the field. Molina has been the rock for championship teams going back to 2004. He is a Hall of Famer. There is a whole generation of fans that have grown up not knowing what it’s like to have anything other than a total generalissimo behind the plate.
May they never have to know! Don’t put off these issues, Cardinals!
3. Jose Martinez and Yairo Munoz
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds
Jose Martinez is older and needs to “settle down.” Yairo Munoz received diminished at-bats in his sophomore year and will want to reverse that trend so he can at least be in the conversation as a starter. Whether either gentlemen can do that with the St. Louis Cardinals remains to be seen. But they are the “forgotten men” of the roster. And how – or if – to use them in 2020 will be an issue.
There was actually talk about leaving Jose off the postseason roster entirely, but a strong game against Arizona in the famous “scrubs game” September 25, 2019 made his case for him. But he was not to be a starter, only a pinch hitter, until the Cardinals’ hitting malaise became evident to everybody in the room.
Then, Jose acquitted himself well as a starter in two NLCS games. The only exception was a fielding miscue in right-field in Game 4 where it appeared that second-baseman Kolten Wong was trying to take the pop-fly burden off of Jose, but couldn’t talk him out of it. If there was a Cardinals NLCS MVP it would be Jose! (I know, I know, slim pickings there).
Munoz, even more forgotten, received no playing time in the postseason until one pinch-hitting appearance in the “everybody in” last game against the Nationals. He joined the gang and struck out. But the versatile Munoz has been a loyal veteran and no doubt feels he should get a crack at subbing for under-performing batsmen, be they in the infield or outfield.