The St Louis Cardinals’ staff has held strong in its belief in certain players. Sometimes that pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t.
The St. Louis Cardinals have been hovering around the .500 mark for most of the season, and while many fans have been calling for heads to roll in the team’s front office because of the Cardinals’ failure to live up to expectations this season, the Cardinals’ front office and staff has stayed firm in believing in certain players despite doubt among the fans.
While fans often clamor for the front office to seek help outside the organization, if the coaches can find something extra in their players, that’s always preferable. The pain comes when Cardinals who leave the organization find another gear with their new teams. Randy Arozarena‘s record-shattering 2020 playoff performance repeatedly shoved daggers into the hearts of Cardinals fans, many who believed Arozarena wasn’t given enough of a shot with the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are notably conservative when it comes to pursuing players at the trade deadline, and this year the team only picked up veteran pitchers Jon Lester and J.A. Happ. Since those pitchers are clearly temporary solutions, it is clear that the staff continues to look inside the organization for talent.
The Cardinals’ faith in its players’ development has paid off several times. One can look at Tyler O’Neill‘s breakout year to see that remaining loyal to a player can reap massive benefits. The team’s outfield talent has thinned in recent years, but that has let O’Neill have more time to play and flourish.
Sometimes, though, the Cardinals’ steadfast loyalty to players can be a hindrance. Matt Carpenter played almost every game last year despite performing poorly at the plate for nearly the entire season. The team’s acquisition of Nolan Arenado has relegated Carpenter to a reserve role, which is much better for him at this stage of his career.
This article will comprise players whom the Cardinals took a bit of a gamble on in letting them stick around. In two of these cases, the Cardinals’ patience appears to have paid off, at least in 2021. In the other instance, the team might wish it could have a do-over.