The St. Louis Cardinals can jumpstart their transition this winter

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Manager Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 16: Manager Mike Shildt of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on in the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers during game one of a doubleheader at Miller Park on September 16, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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It is obvious that the St. Louis Cardinals are going through a transition period in their organization between now and 2022. This winter, they can jumpstart that.

It has been very clear that the core of the St. Louis Cardinals is about to change. For the past decade, Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, and Kolten Wong have all been key members of the team

For the first time, Wong, Wainwright, and Molina are all free agents at the same time. At least for the past decade, this is the first time that three key members of the leadership group of the team could leave all at once.

This is all part of the natural way of progression though. Things change, players retire.

While the majority of fans want the Cardinals to resign all three of these core members of the last decade, we know that a transition has been coming. Letting these three players walk could be the jumpstart of that.

After the 2021 season, Matt Carpenter, Andrew Miller, and Dexter Fowler all come off the books, freeing up nearly $45M in salary room. Of course, COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into normal revenues which is affecting spending, but the team will look very different in 2022 and beyond than it did in 2020.

At some point, everyone knew that Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina would leave the team. We just didn’t think it would be after a season like 2020. The possibility is also still there for the Cardinals to bring all three of these players back, but if they want to jumpstart the transition, letting them walk is the best route.

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It wasn’t clear that Wong (who would’ve been a free agent after 2021 if the team had picked up his option anyway) could be leaving, but we knew that it was nearing the end of this core.

Giving the starting reigns behind the plate to Andrew Knziner and second base to Tommy Edman is a huge step towards a youth movement. With the current players the team has under control until 2022, the oldest position player will likely be Paul Goldschmidt.

If the Cardinals don’t sign Wong, Molina, or Waino this winter, we will certainly get to see what this young group of players will look like, which may be for the better. With the amount of uncertainty with the league right now, spending to bring in older players on short deals may not be the smartest move. I understand the nostalgia factor, but nostalgia will lead you down bad financial pathways.

The transition is coming and it may be smart to embrace it early.

Next. The Arozarena trade has lessons for all. dark

Nobody is excited to envision a St. Louis Cardinals team without Yadi, Wong, or Waino, but it could be the best way to get the young guys another full season under their belt before the team has the financial flexibility to put more resources into the team in 2022.

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