St. Louis Cardinals: Hang on, we are almost over the hump

JUPITER, FL - MARCH 14: A New Era cap and Oakley sunglasses sit atop a Wilson glove in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout during a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium on March 14, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. The game ended in 1-1 tie after nine innings of play. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - MARCH 14: A New Era cap and Oakley sunglasses sit atop a Wilson glove in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout during a spring training baseball game against the New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium on March 14, 2019 in Jupiter, Florida. The game ended in 1-1 tie after nine innings of play. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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It has been a long offseason for St. Louis Cardinals fans but fear not, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming fast and soon we will have baseball.

What a fun offseason! Right guys! Didn’t you have fun! I know I did. It may have been a disappointing one for some of you, but I am in the minority that believes the 2020 St. Louis Cardinals will be better than 2019. That isn’t blind faith.

More than half of the lineup in 2019 underperformed career norms. So much so that only two players exceeded them, and one (Tommy Edman) didn’t play most of the season. A couple of players like Dexter Fowler and Yadier Molina are past the point where a return to career norms is expected, but an offensive bounce back from Paul Goldschmidt, Matt Carpenter, Paul DeJong, and Harrison Bader is an expectation buried in the law of averages and is worthy of trust.

Beyond that, John Mozeliak has kept payroll right around where it was last year (which was his bosses goal for him) while simultaneously clearing out some outfield depth in return for a top-50 prospect in baseball. Mo also signed a cheap middle of the rotation backup option in Kwang-Hyun Kim.

The Nolan Arenado rumors have died down recently but it was fun to ride that roller coaster. Not that you asked, but I think a big problem with the anger surrounding the team is just that things are taken much too seriously. Nobody ever said the Cardinals were “close” to getting Arenado, it’s just rumors of reports.

Each fan’s vote is their dollar and if it really makes you that angry, don’t show up. In this writer’s opinion, I understand why Mo made or didn’t make the moves he did all winter. The Cardinals said from the beginning that they weren’t going to raise payroll and that they wanted to see what they had in the outfield.

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Should it surprise you that spring is here and they haven’t raised payroll or added any new outfielders?

Questioning these goals are fair, it can be frustrating, but at the end of the day, that doesn’t mean that this season is doomed.

As I said before, the light at the end of the tunnel is coming fast. If you’ll take a step back with me for a second, it’s easy to notice something interesting. During the season and during the offseason, fans tend to yearn for the benefits of the opposite.

During the season, fans whine and moan about lineup decisions and at times yearn for the offseason when the team has the best chance to improve or adjust the roster. During the offseason, all would do anything just to turn on Fox Sports Midwest at 6:30 for the pregame.

Just remember how you feel right now the next time you are pissed off at 2pm when the lineup comes out… at least there’s Cardinals baseball to watch.

But (as of writing), there are just eight days left until pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter. Less than 10 days. That’s all until our favorite team reconnects, ready to build on their NLCS performance from a year ago.

We are almost there, so take a deep breath. There is no need for anger. Sure, you may not be happy with how the offseason went, but this team has a lot of mysteries, and there’s no way all of the dice roll against the Cardinals.

This team might just surprise you.

If my overwhelming optimism is making you sick, well I guess I understand. Sometimes it makes me sick too. I can never not be excited for this time of year. On paper, the Cardinals could easily finish fourth in the division, or they could finish first. As of right now, every team is equal. Cliche or not, we won’t know if Mo’s moves or lack of moves hurt or helped the team until we give them a chance to play.

Not just a month, but the season. We can judge Mo when October comes and the Cardinals have done everything they were going to do. For now, just take a deep breath of spring, and get ready to enjoy baseball being back. Drop the anger, what’s done is done.

How can you not be romantic about baseball?

Next. Starters in the ’80s will never be seen again. dark

I guess what I’ve done here is told some of you “how to fan” and if that makes you angry, then I sincerely apologize. In fact, I probably shouldn’t have written all that. I have no more authority on any of these subjects than you readers, I just put a ton of time into it. In doing so, you get trapped up in the toxicity of Twitter and the bustle of rumor season. It’s just nice to be able to step outside into the fresh spring air and be pulled out of it all and reminded that baseball will soon return.

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